Book History

Author: Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll (born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) was born January 27, 1832 and died January 14, 1898. He is best known for his work Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the sequel Through the Looking Glass. He was an author, poet, mathematician, photographer, and an Anglican deacon.
Bibliographic Information
The book was published by the Argosy Bookstore in New York in 1980. It was edited with and introduction and notes by Morton N. Cohen. The book has 48 pages. It is number 181 in the series printed.
Physical Description
The book is a hardback with a linen cover covered by floral-patterned Laura Ashley wallpaper. The dimensions of the book are 11 1/4 inch high by 8 3/4 in wide by 1/2 in thick. It was designed by Dennis J. Grastorf of the Angelica Press. It has a Baskerville type which is printed on Mohawk Superfine Paper. It has Publishers book binding from Long Island City.
Publisher: Argosy Bookstore
The Argosy Bookstore was founded in 1925 and is a family run business. They specialize in old and rare books, prints, and maps. They are founding members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America and belong to the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers and the Appraisers Association of America.
There were only 793 copies made. Other than the Argosy Bookstore it was published by the Lewis Carroll Society in New York in the same year. The first copies printed I through XXIV contained one of the letters. The others were number 1 through 750. The manuscripts exist in the collector’s editions. This is the first edition and is not available electronically.

Argosy Book Store. “86 Years in Business!”. (accessed November 11, 2011).

Darnton, Robert. The Case for Books. New York: Public Affairs, 2009.

Lewis Carroll Society of North America. “The Official Web Site of the LCSNA”. (accessed November 11, 2011).

MaGill, Frank N., ed. Cyclopedia of World Authors. 4th ed. Vol 1. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 2004.


In the last decade there have been several big changes in the way books are made and how people are reading them. The Internet brought an entire new way of dealing with the world. For example, more and more people are using e-Readers. What does this mean for the future of books? There is not an infinite supply of all the books in the world. Many books are considered to be rare for the number printed or the number still in existence. Also, because of the sheer number of books that have been made since man learned to write, there are too many for all of them to be digitalized. One rare book that does not exist online is Lewis Carroll and the Kitchins Containing Twenty-Five Letters Not Previously Published and Nineteen of his Photographs. This book needs to be preserved for future generations. Luckily, the University of Mary Washington owns a copy that is in the Special Collections.

This book should be preserved for the rareness as well as the art of the book itself. Lewis Carroll and the Kitchins was published in 1980 by the Argosy Bookstore in New York, which specializes in rare books and antiques. The paper is thick and holds ink very well, suggesting that it is an item that was made to last a long time. The cover has a beautiful and rare floral print that was designed by Laura Ashley. The book was edited by Morton N. Cohen, a fairly well-known Lewis Carroll scholar and biographer. He provides notes and an introduction to the book, making it valuable research material.

As stated before, this book is rare because of the small number published by Argosy. This book is part of a limited edition, with only 793 made. The first several copies were labeled with a letter or a roman numeral. These copies contained either one of the original letters written by Lewis Carroll, which had not been released yet, or one of his rare photographs. The last 750 copies were numbered and Mary Washington holds copy 181.

This rare book serves multiple purposes. There has been a near-constant interest in Lewis Carroll ever since Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written. Despite this, there is still so much that is not known about the author. The scarce letters offer unique information to someone interested in studying Lewis Carroll or the Kitchins, the family he wrote to. Lewis Carroll is also very well-known for his photographs of children. The images contained in this book add to the importance of the overall work. This work is not just important to scholars or to those that want to study Carroll. It is a collector’s item.

It is a well-crafted book that is meant to be held and looked at. Simply posting copies of the pages online would not do a book like this justice. For centuries there has been a human want for information and knowledge to be freely accessible to anyone, no matter their income, status, race, gender, etc. Until very recently, this seemed an almost impossible task. Now, with big corporations like Google doing their part to finally achieve that dream, it has become an almost possible task. The simple fact that a book may be available in a different and more accessible format does not mean that the older, paper versions need to be tossed out or destroyed. The exact opposite should be true. Books are a major part of humanity’s history and each of them needs to be treated as an individual gem. Lewis Carroll and the Kitchins contains exciting information and is a real pleasure to hold and look at. As of now there is no digital version, but with the work of preservationists and collectors hopefully it will exist to be enjoyed for many generations to come.

Submitted by Aerona Cullen
Published: 1980
Call Number: RARE PR 4612.A364