Philadelphia: Printed by Henry Miller, in Second-Street, 1765.
First edition. xxvi, , 223,  pp. 1 vols. Small 4to. The first play produced by an American. Period style full calf, red morocco label to spine, spine and boards with gilt rules. Small paper repair to lower corner of title. A superior copy in a fine binding. Evans 9983; Sabin 27658; Hughes p.38; Hildeburn, C.R. Pennsylvania, 2129; Wegelin, O. Amer. poetry, 183; Hill, F.P. Amer. plays, 119; Stoddard, 176; Everett Emerson, American Literature, 1764-1789: The Revolutionary Years, pp 91-92. Item #302329
First edition of The Prince of Parthia which was "the first drama written by a native American to be produced upon the professional stage" (DAB). The play debuted on 24 April 1767 at the Southwark Theatre in Philadelphia. Performed by David Douglass's American Company, its riches were such that a second performance was deemed unnecessary. Nonetheless it's a significant moment in American theatre, not least for being performed in the first permanent theatre in the country. This work and its performance precedes Royall Tyler's comedy, the Contrast, by some twenty years.
Alas, Godfrey did not live to see his play produced. He had passed away from yellow fever in 1763. However, in his short life he was friends with the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Francis Hopkinson and Benjamin West, all significant players in the founding of American arts. He was also the son of the inventor of the same name which possibly facilitated these relationships.
In addition to the text of the play, his poetry is collected here. Godfrey's poetry is considered to be the some of the best produced in the colony and its inclusion here adds to the significance of the volume. Furthermore, this work includes two pieces titled "Elegy, to the memory of Mr Thomas Godfrey" one by John Green, the other by Nathaniel Evans, who helped usher this volume into print. It is complete with the list of subscribers.
Rare. ABPC lists no copies at auction in the past 35 years.
Price: $8,500.00 Free International Delivery