AUSTIN, Mary Hunter (1868 -1934). The Land of Little Rain. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1903.

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4to., (8 4/8 x 6 2/8 inches). Half-title, vignette title-page. Frontispiece and 2 plates, numerous marginal illustrations in the text by E. Boyd Smith , and EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED THROUGHOUT WITH 77 ORIGINAL WATERCOLOUR DRAWINGS OF WILD FLOWERS FOUND IN REDLANDS AND YOSEMITE by "Lucy". Original publisher's olive pictorial cloth gilt, top edges gilt, others uncut.  

Provenance: inscribed on the front free endpaper: "Aunt Hattie with love from Lucy. Christmas - 1904", and with manuscript index naming the watercolour drawings at end; with the bookplate of James S. Copley on the front paste-down, his sale, Sotheby's New York "Magnificent American, Historical Documents", 10th May 2011, lot 1059.  


First edition, and a BEAUTIFUL COPY, illustrated throughout in the margins and as background to the text, and occasionally as full-page illustrations, with FINE WATERCOLOUR DRAWINGS OF CALIFORNIAN WILD-FLOWERS, found by the artist at Redlands, near San Bernardino National Park, and the Yosemite. The artist has included a comprehensive index naming the flowers and their location in the wild, and in the text.  An early campaigner for preserving the natural landscape and culture of the American Southwest, and the early years of her disastrous marriage, in which she and her husband lived in a number of small desert towns, provided the background for this her first book, "The Land of Little Rain". Essentially a collection of fourteen sketches about the natural world of the desert and the people and beliefs it nurtured. "These charming sketches of the desert and semi-desert country comprising the Owens Valley and the approaches to the great sink of Death Valley have become practically a classic"- Zamorano Eighty 2.  

From the distinguished library of James S. Copley,"While institutional in scope and significance, the manuscripts and books in the Library clearly reflect the discernment of a passionate collector and equally passionate patriot. The birth, survival, and expansion of the United States is brilliantly documented in the writings of the men and women who founded and protected our nation. It would be wrong to think of the Copley Library as exclusively American, however. As a reader and a newspaperman, Mr. Copley had wide and eclectic interests, which also provided themes for the collection. Letters and manuscripts from authors, scientists, and musicians as diverse as Charlotte Brontë, Albert Einstein, and Tchaikovsky also found a place in the Library" (David Redden, Sotheby's).Graff 114; Howes A400; Lillian S. Robinson for ADNB.