1986 "presented by Benjamin Hoff" whose signature is on title page - see pic; Ticknor & Fields publishers, New York; hardbound with cornflower blue and green boards and decorative gilt on spine; decorative end board writings; quite good condition; dust jacket good condition.
Opal Whiteley -
Opal Irene Whiteley (December 11, 1897—February 16, 1992) was an American nature writer and diarist whose childhood journal was first published in 1920 as The Story of Opal in serialized form in the Atlantic Monthly, then later that same year as a book with the title The Story of Opal: The Journal of an Understanding Heart. The diary gave Whiteley a celebrity status in her home state of Oregon, where she toured giving lectures on nature and the environment.
She lived her later life in England, where she committed herself to a psychiatric hospital in 1948; she spent the remainder of her life in psychiatric care until her death in 1992. Whiteley's true origins and the veracity of her diary were disputed during her lifetime, and continue to be questioned today.
Biography excerpts -
Biographers have confirmed that at an early age, Whiteley was a noted amateur naturalist and a child prodigy who was able to memorize and categorize vast amounts of information on plants and animals. One of her schoolteachers, Lily Black, felt that Whiteley was a genius; she was two grades ahead of her age in school, and Black took advantage of the then-new interlibrary loan system to get books for Whiteley from the Oregon State Library. In 1915 newspaper editor Elbert Bede began a series of articles in The Oregonian about her filled with glowing praise.
Whiteley attended the University of Oregon, beginning in 1916. When her mother and grandfather died, she moved out and began supporting herself solely through lectures she would give throughout the state. She also composed an unpublished book, The Fairyland Around Us, in 1920.
Whiteley traveled to India in the 1920s as her supposed biological father had done: she was the guest of the Maharaja of Udaipur, and wrote several articles about India for British magazines. Her presence caused some trouble with the British government in India, especially when a local cleric fell in love with her.
Leaving India, she eventually settled in London. She grew increasingly disturbed, and was often in dire poverty. She was committed to Napsbury psychiatric hospital where she was known to the staff of Napsbury as "the Princess", and visitors remarked that she actually behaved like one. Whiteley remained at Napsbury until her death. According to the Guide to the Opal Whiteley Papers, she was buried at Highgate Cemetery, where her gravestone bears both her names with the inscription "I spake as a child".