Boston / Cleveland, Ohio: Published by John P. Jewett & Co. / Jewett, Proctor & Worthington [from 1852], 1853. First Edition. Decorative Cloth. A striking set of this early printing ("Two Hundred and Sixty-Third Thousand") in original bindings, published one year after the first edition, offered with a First Edition of Stowe's rebuttal to the Southerners and other apologists who had attacked her portrait of enslavement. Uncle Tom's Cabin: Complete in two crown octavo volumes: 4,x,13-312; 322,,12pp, with title-page vignettes (repeating cover motif) and six full-page steel-engraved plates (three in each volume). Publisher's brown T cloth (BAL binding B, no known priority), upper cover decorated in blind with center vignette in gilt, spine lettered in gilt and decorated in blind, lower cover repeating upper-cover design in blind, cream end papers. Inscribed in an elegant hand on both front fly leaves: "Mrs. Margaret Burnet / Elizabeth, N. J." An excellent set, light wear to spine tips and corners skillfully repaired, gilt undiminished, bindings tight (very slight spine slant), plates toned but pages generally fresh and bright. PMM 332. BAL 19343. Grolier American 61. Sabin 92457. Johnson, High Spots, p. 70. Key: BAL probable second printing, with imprint of both Hobart & Robbins, Stereotypers, and Damrell & Moore, Printers on copyright page. Royal 8vo (245 x 153mm): iv,5-262,pp. Publisher's brown S cloth (BAL binding D, no known priority), covers paneled and lettered in blind, spine titled and decorated in guilt, text in double columns. An excellent example (light sporadic spotting), tightly bound and clean throughout. BAL 19359. Sabin 92412. Fine. Item #BB2474
By March 27, 1852, just one week after publication, the first printing of 5,000 copies had sold out, and the presses began running on a 24-hour schedule to meet the demand of an eager public. Before the year was finished, 300,000 copies had sold in the United States alone. “In the emotion-charged atmosphere of mid-nineteenth-century America Uncle Tom’s Cabin exploded like a bombshell . . . [its] social impact . . . on the United States was greater than that of any book before or since." (PMM). "No other American novel has been translated into so many foreign languages . . . Though she offered no practical solutions to the slavery problem, Mrs. Stowe, with her scenes from 'life among the lowly,' added the fuel of righteous anger to a fire already kindled." (Grolier American) As soon as Stowe published Uncle Tom's Cabin, in installments in The National Era in 1851 and 1852, it was attacked. In response, she assembled voluminous printed evidence to support the characters and events in her novel and issued The Key (subtitled "Presenting the Original Facts and Documents upon Which the Story Is Founded, Together with Corroborative Statements Verifying the Truth of the Work," organized by chapter and character as a "key" that unlocks the historical foundation of Stowe's fictional work and sets out to substantiate the veracity of her portrayal of slavery by laying out source materials, including eyewitness accounts. In addition, Stowe uses A Key to continue developing her Christian antislavery arguments, notably in Part IV. The Boston edition was issued in both cloth and printed paper wrappers. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable mylar sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).