[New York:] Printed, But Not Published, 1869, 1869. First edition. Fine copy.. 12mo, original blue wrappers, 46 pages. The most famous play (of many) by Tom Taylor (1817-1880) and arguably the most famous play of the 19th century: it was being performed at Ford's Theater, Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865, when halfway through Act III John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln - thus immortalizing a farcical comedy which otherwise would have been long since forgotten. The American rights to Our American Cousin were purchased by New York theater owner Laura Keene in 1858. It was immensely popular and was still being performed more than ten years later, but there was no printed version of it until this one in 1869. Keene had shrewdly stated on the title-page that it was "Printed, but not published" - a step taken to protect her valuable rights from unscrupulous theater owners who could produce plays that had been "published" because copyright laws did not give them adequate protection. On the verso of the title-page is list of the cast at the first performance at Ms. Keene's theater on October 15, 1858, which included Joseph Jefferson.
Manuscript title on the upper wrapper. (Inventory #: 27048)
English & American Literature, Americana, First Editions, Bibliography
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