(New York): Delacorte Press, (1974). Octavo, measuring 8 x 5.5 inches: , 196. Original red cloth lettered in gilt, original unclipped color pictorial dust jacket and pictorial title page designed by Robert Giusti. Inscribed by Tillie Olsen on half-title.
First edition of Tillie Olsen’s unfinished novel of working-class life in the American heartland. Olsen began work on Yonnondio in the early 1930s, when she was nineteen, publishing part of the first chapter in the Partisan Review in 1934. Her drafts were presumed lost for decades, but rediscovered in the early 1970s, when Olsen sat down to edit the novel of her youth: “it is all the old manuscripts -- no rewriting, no new writing.” The story follows the struggling Holbrook family’s search for a stable home, from the mines of Wyoming to the farmland of South Dakota to the stockyards of Nebraska. The narrative focuses on Anna, the mother of the family, worn down by successive pregnancies, and her daughter Mazie, who dreams of escape: “the children of packingtown turn from June wildnesses to deeper, more ancient play.” Olsen has inscribed this copy on the half-title: “For Barbara -- This from 30’s and too terribly now -- Write of it, & make it visible -- Tillie Olsen -- Best.” A fine copy of a powerful American novel.