London: J. Harris, 1806. 32mo. (16)ff. First edition, Moon's fourth state with 1806 date on front wrapper, but with SMC initials on the earliest-state engraved dedication page. Illustrated with fifteen hand-colored copperplate engravings. According to Moon, this is the most significant children's book published by Harris, and surely one of the most famous children's rhymes of all time. Sarah Catherine Martin assembled the material, though its origins remain hazy. The name Mother Hubbard had been in use since 1591, and it has been argued that the first stanza, due to its different meter, is older than the others. Whatever its previous history, Martin's version has become the standard. Morgan says of this book: "It became an immediate best-seller in an era when most children's books were still in the somber clutch of the moral tale." Part of its popularity arose because some believed it to be a political commentary. So many copies sold in the first year that the engraving plates had to be touched up. The book went through numerous reprintings and even today remains popular. In publisher's printed wrappers, which show some soiling to exterior and one-inch split at tail of spine, with handwriting of former owner on upper wrapper. An unsophisticated copy of a chapbook with uncommonly strong plates, bright coloring, and exceptional literary significance. Item #27789
(Gumuchian 4327; Moon 559(1B); 561(2); Morgan 155).