First edition of The Jungle Book inscribed by Rudyard Kipling discovered
An inscribed first edition of The Jungle Book has been discovered at the former home of one of Rudyard Kipling’s daughters.
The inscription is to the author’s first daughter, Josephine, who died of pneumonia at the age of 6. The book was found in the library of Wimpole Hall, near Cambridge, where Kipling’s second daughter, Elsie, lived between 1938 and 1976.
The National Trust, which owns the property, said that staff cataloguing the library found the book.
Kipling dedicated the book to Josephine when it was published in 1894. The inscription, which reads “This book belongs to Josephine Kipling, for whom it was written by her father, May 1894” is unsigned but the handwriting has been identified as Kipling’s.
The book is on display at Wimpole Hall.
Mark Purcell, the trust’s libraries curator said: “There are nearly 7,000 books in the Wimpole library and this has been a big project to catalogue them all properly, but as one of the nation’s favourite children’s books of all time, this first edition of The Jungle Book with its rare inscription is very special.”
The curator of Wimpole Hall, Fiona Hall, added: “This inscription is very touching, especially when you consider that Kipling lost not only Josephine, but also his youngest child, John, who died in the Great War. As Kipling’s only remaining child, Elsie would have really treasured this book.”