San Francisco: William Doxey, 1895. ,80pp. Quarto. Original pictorial boards, illustrated dust jacket. Light wear and dust soiling to boards, corners slightly bumped. Several archival repairs and minor restorations, with one slightly larger at upper rear corner. Light tanning, an occasional fox mark internally. Very good. / Very good. Item #1483
A rare children's book by San Francisco journalist and author Winifred Sweet Black, in an excellent 19th-century pictorial dust jacket. She moved to San Francisco from Wisconsin in 1890, after pursuing a runaway brother and deciding to stay herself, and was hired as a reporter by the San Francisco Examiner.
"Since it was customary for woman reporters at the time to write under a pseudonym, she chose the name 'Annie Laurie,' after a song her mother had sung. Her first major story in 1890, in which she exposed the rough treatment given to vagrants at San Francisco Receiving Hospital by pretending to be a patient, established her reputation. Her article also led to reforms that included the initiation of the city’s first ambulance service. Annie Laurie became known for her investigative journalism, including stories on the leper colony at Molokai, Hawaii; polygamy among the Mormons in Utah; and the juvenile court system in Chicago, but she was also given political and crime assignments. In 1892 she secured an exclusive interview with President Benjamin Harrison by reportedly sneaking aboard his private train and hiding under a table to surprise him" -- ANB (online).
The present work is evidently based on the adventures of her young son in San Francisco, and consists of seven loosely connected stories. The illustrations throughout the work are by Jimmy Swinnerton, a prolific cartoonist and painter of California and Western scenes. Swinnerton joined the staff of the Examiner in 1892 as a teenager, and enjoyed a tremendously long career, drawing his most popular comic strip, Little Jimmy, from 1904 to 1958, and painting until his death in 1975. The present work therefore ranks as one of his earliest book illustration projects. Surprisingly rare, particularly so with the survival of its 19th-century illustrated dust jacket in very good condition.