Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Birthday, Royal Alice!

by Bryan Whitledge

We are almost too late for a very important date! November 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the release of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. A favorite of children and adults alike since its release, the first 2,000 copies released back in November 1865 quickly sold out. Today, a first edition is considered a must-have for children's book collectors and the Clarke is fortunate to have one those 2,000 copies.

While all first edition copies of Alice are special, some have added significance. One can find copies of Alice owned by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll was his pen name) in the Morris L. Parrish Collection of Victorian Novelists at Princeton University. A copy that belonged to Alice Liddell, the namesake for the story, can be found as part of the Harcourt Armory Collection of the works of Lewis Carroll at Harvard University. At the Clarke, our copy also has added significance: it is the copy that was presented to the eight-year-old daughter of British Queen Victoria, Beatrice.

The copy, in presentation white vellum and containing the bookplate of Princess Beatrice, is part of the Lucile Clarke Memorial Children's Library. The Royal Alice, as it is affectionately called, is a favorite of library visitors of all ages. On the 150th anniversary of the release of one of the most beloved stories of all time, we think there is no better way to celebrate than to share this historically significant copy of Alice.