[1908 Publishing Contract for Frances F. Perry’s “A Mother from Mars,” published by Dodd, Mead & Company in 1909 as “Their Hearts’ Desire.”]
Signed contract for the rights to publish the novel A Mother from Mars written by Indiana author Frances Foster Perry.
A manuscript addendum states Dodd, Mead will issue the book in the Fall of 1909 and that they will make “...no changes to the title or text of the book without consent of the Author.” The publisher did publish the book on time, but with a less extraterrestrial sounding title, Their Hearts’ Desire. Docketings on the contract’s verso reference the book under both titles.
In the book, a motherless child becomes fascinated with Mars. He speculates that if Santa Claus can “make live things” he must be getting them from Mars. His Santa letter: “Dear Santa — I do not want the things I said. I only want a mother ... Maybe you can get one in Mars.” (p44) He later asks Daddy if he knows of anyone from Mars, who went to Mars, etc.
While a charming plot element, perhaps Dodd, Mead & Co. felt A Mother from Mars was not revealing of the book’s plot. A contemporary ad for the published book describes as a “sweet and tender little love-story.” The illustrations by popular American artist Harrison Fisher (1875/7–1934), noted for his drawings of beautiful women, underscore the book’s romantic themes.
Once A Mother from Mars, Perry’s only published novel appears to have sold well. At least here on Earth.
Description: [1908 Publishing Contract for Frances F. Perry’s “A Mother from Mars,” published by Dodd, Mead & Company in 1909 as “Their Hearts’ Desire.”]
[New York, July 31, 1908]. p. 13¾ x 8½ inches. Partly-printed document, completed in manuscript. Folds; minor creasing; Very Good.
See The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Vol. LXXIX, No. 1, November 1909 (The Century Co., New York), p33. HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: Wabash Valley women are prominent in arts and literature [Tribune-Star newspaper] accessed online.