At this website, you will find a (partially completed!) discussion for book collectors of the editions and bindings of the various Winnie-The-Pooh books.
The author is just a book collector. Any illustrations used with credits to a bookseller should not be taken as indicating an affiliation or endorsement... by them of the material on this page, or of me, or by me of them. Sadly, I do not necessarily own the books in the illustrations. And my thanks to many people for letting me study their Milne/ Shepard books.
Ask the next ten people you meet if they have heard of Winnie-The-Pooh, and I would be surprised if even one said "No".
And yet, in 1920, no one had ever heard of him. He did not yet exist. Even now, forgive me, children of all ages, but, is he "real"?
As this is a story about some stories, I should start in the traditional manner....
Once upon a time, Mr Milne sat down and wrote some poems. And Winnie-the-Pooh was "born". (And, as I believe Christopher Robin observes, on the endpaper maps, Mr. Shepard helped too.)
Collecting the books in which Winnie-the-Pooh appears is not for the faint hearted!
The good news is that there are only four books for you to acquire....
At 21 June 13, Wikipedia's article on Winnie-The-Pooh explains that there are three contenders for "when Winnie-The-Pooh" first appeared...
a) In the 13 February 1924 edition of Punch magazine. (At that time known as "Edward Bear".) The poem "Teddy Bear" refers to him. The poem re-appeared in "When We Were Very Young".
b) In the 24 December 1925 edition of The Evening News (London), where he appears under the name we know and love, in a Christmas story.
c) In the book "When We Were Very Young", 1924. (Came out after February, Punch.)
I haven't seen the Evening News appearance, but in Punch and in the book, although the bear is not yet known as Winnie, Mr Shepard's drawing is recognizably "our Winnie" (to those who haven't had their concept degraded by the Disney-fi-cation, of which we shall not speak again).
Bound collections of Punch for the first half of 1924 are not hard to obtain (at 7/13). Punch was running a series of items from Milne, each headed "When We Were Very Young". The one sub-titled "Teddy Bear" was number nine in the series, and is on page 157 of the compendium. It is given a very attractive full page spread... unusual for Punch, as it was then laid out... with two thirds of the page given over to drawings by Shepard, who has signed them "Ernest H Shepard", vs just his initials.
The first poem under the heading "When We Were Very Young" appeared in Punch in January 1924. It appears (with two other poems) on page 36 of the same compendium. It is "Brownie", ("In the corner of the bedroom is a great big curtain..."), and is the ninth poem in the book of "When We Were Very Young".
The poem, by the way, is the one that begins...
A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat...
(Note the use of capital letters on "Teddy Bear", clearly denoting (in that more precise time) a proper noun, as opposed to a generic term for a bear-type toy stuffed animal.)
The poem appears late in the book, on page 85, the thirty-eighth poem of the forty-four in the collection.
Returning to the matter of the bear's name:
As I said, in the first appearances he was called Teddy Bear, the name Christopher Robin used, I am told. By December 1925, though, Christopher Robin had started calling his bear "Winnie", apparently inspired by a black bear at London zoo which was called "Winnipeg", or "Winnie", because she was from there. (Wikipedia gives the details for you.) Yes... she. So... is Winnie a boy or a girl? I suppose we will just have to file this one in the same folder as the fact that the in the TV show "Lassie", the heroine was usually played by a male dog.
So... you decide that you'd like to collect the Winnie-The-Pooh books. Be careful what you wish for!
By the way... I own but a fraction of all the books I discuss here. If only! But various booksellers have been generous in letting me look at (and photograph... to follow...) these lovely artifacts from the dawn of the much loved bear and his friends.
I am enjoying my adventure, collecting the books... but the story is complex, so I hope you will appreciate that I split the story up into several pages.
Each link below will open in a new tab or window, leaving this page in place "underneath". Just close the subordinate tab or window to "return" here... you will, actually, merely be "uncovering" it again.
You can start gently... with nice reading copies of the Winnie-The-Pooh books, or an audio CD.
You might want to start your collection with the basic "trade" editions.... but even that isn't as simple as you might think. I've prepared a page for you with details.
Without venturing into the realms of editions published outside of England, or of special re-bindings by various masters of the book-binding craft, after the "trade" editions, you will find "special" editions in two broad categories. I am calling them....
The "ordinary" special bindings (three varieties), and...
the "ne plus ultra" special bindings (two varieties)
The spines of two of the "ordinary special" bindings were gorgeous...
A page pulling together some more information, about other bindings of the Winnie-The-Pooh books, bindings and editions not already covered in the categories above.
Ah, book collecting... it is so much more fun than buying stocks in the stock market! One lot of a 100 shares of IBM is pretty much like any other. No scope for detective work, mysteries, etc.
Editor's email address for comments or questions.
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