Thirst and Other
Boston: The Gorham Press, 1914
First edition, with dust jacket
Atkinson # A1-I-1
Sanborn and Clark # 4
NOTES: O'Neill's first
book. Signed presentation copy to Robert Sisk.
[On front free
For Robert Sisk / All friendship! / Eugene O'Neill
THIRST, which contains five of O'Neill's early one-act
plays, was published by Richard G. Badger as a part of his American Dramatists Series.
O'Neill had offered the manuscript elsewhere, but could convince no one to risk publishing
it. Badger offered to do so on the condition that the author defray all expenses. The
printing cost of $450 was financed by O'Neill's father who, though he did not appreciate
his son's writing, was relieved to see O'Neill trying to make something of himself. One
thousand copies were published in August of 1914 and had an unspectacular sale. O'Neill
was offered the unsold volumes (almost the entire edition) at thirty cents a copy, but
refused, later stating, "I scorned (the) offer as a waste of good money on my lousy
Richard Badger eventually sold the remaining copies of THIRST to Frances
Steloff, who, in
1920, became the proprietor of the Gotham Book Mart in New York. Miss Steloff bought the
unsold volumes plus Badger's contract with O'Neill for $200. While she had not read the
book before making the purchase, her instincts proved sound -- less than twenty-five years
later THIRST became a collector's item.