London & New York: Hodder and Stoughton; George H. Doran Company, 1908. First U.S. edition, only printing. Hardcover. This is the U.S. first edition, humbler in appearance than its British counterpart, but also far more scarce. My African Journey is Churchill's travelogue on Britain's possessions in East Africa, written while he was serving as Undersecretary of State for the Colonies. This book is notable, among other things, for being the only one of his many books to contain photographs ostensibly taken by the author.
The first U.S. edition is far scarcer than the British first edition, with only 1400 copies sold (encompassing all three states), in contrast to more than 8000 copies of the more frequently seen British edition. The U.S. first edition was made from British first edition sheets bound in a plain coarse dark red cloth with the same gilt titles on the spine as used on the British. Unlike its British counterpart, the sheets were left untrimmed on the fore and bottom edges and were bound without the Hodder and Stoughton catalogue at the rear.
The three states of these U.S. first editions differ only in the title pages. The first state lists “Hodder and Stoughton” at the foot of the title page and the location as “London”. The second state still lists “Hodder & Stoughton” but with an ampersand instead of “and” and adding “New York and” to “London”. The third state substitutes “George H. Doran Company” for Hodder and Stoughton and lists only “New York”.
The strange troika of issues of the first U.S. edition owes to Doran’s relationship with Hodder & Stoughton and his newly minted status as a New York publisher in 1908. Doran had begun his publishing business in partnership with Hodder & Stoughton, who was a minority shareholder in Doran’s namesake enterprise, and had just opened his American offices in New York in February 1908. (See Cohen, Vol. I, p.159, A27.4)
This copy is the second state, with “Hodder & Stoughton | New York and London” on the title page. Condition is very good overall. While it is ex-library, it wears the status lightly, denoted only by a quite faint “916” on the lower spine and “Public Library | Chester, N.H.” ink-stamped on the recto of the blank sheet preceding the half-title. The only other marking is a tiny sticker of a Manchester bookstore affixed to the lower verso of the final free endpaper. The binding is square and tight with sharp corners. There is modest shelf wear and modest wear to the spine ends. The spine is a bit sunned, but the gilt remains legible. The covers retain bright color, the typical mottling quite light, with a tiny .375 inch (.95 cm) circular stain to the upper left front cover. The contents are also better than most copies we see. All photographic plates and maps are present and intact. We note modest age-toning but no spotting. A cosmetic split at the p.64-65 gutter does not affect either the mull beneath or binding integrity.
In the summer of 1907 Churchill left England for five months, making his way after working stops in southern Europe to Africa for "a tour of the east African domains." In early November, Churchill would kill a rhinoceros, the basis of the striking illustration on the front cover of the British first edition of his eventual book. The photograph of Churchill and his kill is the frontispiece of both the British and American editions. By now a seasoned and financially shrewd author, Churchill arranged to profit doubly from the trip, first by serializing articles in The Strand Magazine and then by publishing a book based substantially upon them. In November 1908 Hodder and Stoughton published My African Journey as a book, which was a substantial 10,000 words longer than the serialized articles.
Reference: Cohen A27.5, Woods/ICS A12(ab), Langworth p.83. Item #007536