Oxford: Emberlin and Son, 1890. Stated first edition. A fine set of illustrated pieces by Lewis Carroll, with practical tips for composing, writing, and mailing letters. The set includes the stamp case, the slipcase, and the Letter Writing booklet. The Letter Writing Booklet lacks the back wrapper which is blank; otherwise the set is in fine condition. It has the earliest possible date of 1890, with 'First Published, 1890' printed on the verso of the booklet cover.
The stamp case bears the statement on the rear: "Invented by (image of the Cheshire Cat's smile) Lewis Carroll MDCCCLXXXIX". The case into which it slips, with the publisher's imprint above the Cheshire Cat, is the second state (Williams 194.1).
The "Pictorial Surprises" that Carroll describes in the text on Stamp Cases are visual jokes having to do with the images on the stamp case and slip case. They are copyright images and so protect Carroll from imitators. The slip case front cover shows Alice holding the Duchess's wailing baby, and the rear cover shows the Cheshire Cat; but when the stamp case is withdrawn the baby has been transformed into a pig, and only the Cheshire Cat's smile is visible.
The booklet, 38pp, publisher's ads pages 36-38 (lacking p. 39, which is blank), 3 x 4" Fine. Item #23269