First edition, first printing. Inscribed presentation copy. Publisher's original green cloth with gilt titles to the upper board and spine. With 77 full-page illustrations, 8 of which are in colour. An excellent near fine copy, the binding square and firm. The contents, with the recipient's Villa Trianon bookplate to the reverse of the illustrated front endpaper and circular ink stamp to the bottom corner of two pages, are otherwise clean throughout.
Inscribed by the author in blue ink to the front blank "With enthusiasm / to Two Enthusiasts / Sir Charles + Lady Mendl / from / William Beebe / June 29. 1926". The recipients are the newly married British diplomat Charles Mendl and his famous American interior designer wife Lady Elsie De Wolfe Mendl. A marriage of social convenience, the couple kept separate residences. The openly lesbian Lady Mendl maintained a long term relationship with another pioneer career woman, theatrical and literary agent Elisabeth "Bessie" Marbury (whose clients included Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw) until the latter passed in 1933. In 1926 the New York Times described de Wolfe as "one of the most widely known women in New York social life" and in 1935, Paris experts named her the best-dressed woman in the world, noting that she wore what suited her best, regardless of fashion. The author William Beebe is regarded as one of the founders of the field of ecology, as well as one of the early 20th century's major advocates of conservation. A well-known figure in the Roaring Twenties of New York City he was more famous in the United States than any other American naturalist prior to the days of television. Provenance: from the library of Martin Stone.
Stock code: 16544