Boston: D. Lothrop and Company, 1883.
Hardcover. This charming introduction to astronomy through fact and fantasy was published in 1883 and is a stunning sidereal exploration from cover to cover. Employing classical myth, fantastical allegories, and imaginative journeys through the heavens, In the Sky-Garden follows its young heroine Joy as she not only learns about but travels to the stars, at one point sitting in the passenger's seat of the Sun's chariot, asking the star about the "Dutch river" of the Milky Way. Wonderfully, this book is dedicated to the ground- (and glass ceiling) breaking, comet discovering female astronomer Maria Mitchell (for whom the author named her only daughter as well), by "her pupil and satellite" Lizzie Champney. Elizabeth Williams Champney (1850-1922) was a student of Maria Mitchell's at Vassar, and later, a close friend; as a student, Champney determined to pursue literature as her profession; indeed she remains best known for her popular series for girls Three Vassar Girls Abroad. This astronomical introduction is a splendid showing of her passion for imaginative literature and her admiration for astronomy, together on full display. Lizzie Champney's sidereal fables are here strikingly illustrated in frontispiece and eighteen plates by her husband, the artist James Wells "Champ" Champney (1843-1903), with twelve vignettes and numerous lovely headpieces, tailpieces, and initials.
7 1/4" X 5 1/2". 217pp, plus two leaves of ads. Color pictorial paper over boards, displaying a child's playthings on a windowsill with a snowy landscape outside. Rather heavy edgewear to binding, with chipping to paper at corners, head and tail of spine, and extremities, bumping to corners, tears to spine, and lean to spine. "Ethel" in pencil to front pastedown. Lacking front free endpaper. Rear hinge a touch tender. Binding is sound. Light marginal foxing to plates, else pages unmarked. Illustrated in nineteen plates by the author's husband, J. Wells "Champ" Champney, with twelve vignettes and numerous lovely headpieces, tailpieces, and initials. Good. Item #6160