Chicago: Herbert S. Stone and Company, 1902.
First Edition. Hardcover. This first printing of Mary MacLane's avante-garde memoir comes signed by Mary MacLane herself and extra-illustrated with more than 25 contemporaneous newspaper clippings and illustrations related to Mary MacLane pasted in by the original owner, additionally accompanied by an advance reading copy (ARC) of Emily M. Danforth's 2020 novel Plain Bad Heroines, inspired by The Story of Mary MacLane, and a circa 1910 postcard featuring a photograph of two schoolgirls holding hands in the countryside.
The radical, openly bisexual, avowed feminist, nineteen-year-old Mary MacLane originally entitled this debut memoir "I Await the Devil's Coming," but her publisher demurred. On its publication, The Story of Mary MacLane sparked immediate controversy, from heated censure and dismissal from male critics to fanatic approval from schoolgirls across the country. The memoir sold over one hundred thousand copies in its first month of publication and made her an overnight hit. MacLane's scandalously frank, direct, and self-aware writing about topics such as self-love, her wish to marry the Devil, her sexual attraction to other women, and her dissatisfaction with daily life in Butte, Montana helped usher in the confessional movement in autobiographical writing. Her words remain startlingly fresh today. As author Emily Gould wrote in an article for The Rumpus: "[T]he medium she was born to write in had not yet been invented. MacLane’s public diary entries, with their succinct, crystalline descriptions of quotidian events, would have made her an instant star on the Internet, if the Internet had existed in 1902. She was a blogger avant la lettre, to an extent that is almost eerie." This signed first printing of The Story of Mary MacLane comes extra-illustrated by the original owner with 26 newspaper clippings and printed illustrations that offer a fascinating example of the reception of Mary MacLane's controversial debut, from critics, contemporaries, and from the passionate fandom her work inspired. Nearly 120 years later, MacLane's writing continues to influence, with this, her first book, forming the basis and inspiration for Emily M. Danforth's gothic lesbian horror novel Plain Bad Heroines, a pre-publication copy of which is included here.
The Story of Mary Maclane: Signed by Mary MacLane to front free endpaper and dated Butte, May 1917. 7 3/4" X 4 7/8". 322pp. Red cloth over boards, with upper board and spine lettered in white within decorative white frame and publisher's device in white to rear. Mild wear to binding, with some spots of soiling to upper board, edgewear, and bottom corners turned in. Printed square "158" pasted to spine. Front hinge tender. Binding is firm and sound. Ex libris H. Gail Davis, with his bookplate to front pastedown. Extra-illustrated with 26 turn-of-the-century newspaper clippings and small printed illustrations, relating to Mary MacLane and her writing, pasted in by original owner throughout. Occasional toning to pages from newspaper clippings, else clean and unmarked. There appears to be first edition point about variations in the color of the cloth binding. This is the first printing in the lighter of the two cloth colors.
Plain Bad Heroines ARC: 9" X 6". 623pp. Complete with publisher-issued decorative wrap-around band and faux-newspaper insert featuring article about The Story of Mary MacLane on recto and a letter from the author about being inspired by The Story of Mary MacLane on verso. Mild shelfwear only, else fine.
Circa 1910 Sapphic Postcard: 5 1/2" X 3 1/2". Photograph of two schoolgirls holding hands on a hill, one in white and hte other in a sailor-inspired outfit with large bows, with older figure and building in the background. Moderate wear to rounded edges and small scratch. Unmarked and never posted. Very good +. Item #10011