MARY SCHWEIDLER. THE AMBER WITCH. The Most Interesting Trial For Witchcraft Ever Known. Printed From an Imperfect Manuscript by her Father, Abraham Schweidler, The Pastor of Coserow, in the Island of Usedom. Edited by W. Meinholdt, Doctor of Theology, and Pastor, etc. Translated from the German by Lady Duff Gordon.
New-York: J. Winchester, New World Press, XXX Ann Street. No Date . First American Edition. Hardcover. Tall octavo, rebound in full marbled paper boards, printed paper labels on spine and upper cover. 62 pp., printed in double columns,  pp ads at rear. Browning and foxing to text block, ink name clipped from top of title leaf (not affecting text); small stains. A decent copy, in a nice binding executed by John Ruyle in his basement press-shop / bindery in Berkeley, California. There are two extra matching labels laid in at the rear (they are had typeset and hand printed). Ruyle was an avid Sherlockian and published over 100 booklets of his own writings; he was also a very serious book collector. An old pencil note in his hand on the front flyleaf states "1st US Ed  - 2 copies listed in NUC". Originally issued in paper wrappers priced at 12½ cents. A Very Good copy of a Rare Book. Very Good. Item #312588
¶ Freeman Hunt's MERCHANT'S MAGAZINE AND COMMERCIAL REVIEW, Volume 11 (July to December 1944) lists this edition as being in pamphlet form and 'Just Received",, this Winchester edition precedes the 1845 American Edition published by Wiley & Putnam's in their 'Library of Choice Reading', which is commonly referred to as being the First US Edition. The First English edition was issued by John Murray, London, 1844. The work was originally published in Germany as 'Maria Schweidler, die Bernsteinhexe' in 1838, and purported to be an actual 17th-century chronicle discovered by Meinhold, who claimed to have discovered an old, damaged manuscript written by a 17th-century minister, Abraham Schweidler amongst some old rubbish in the choir of the old church in Koserow, Germany. The manuscript contained the story of the pastor's daughter Maria, the "Amber Witch". When it first appeared, almost all of the German critics believed it was an authentic historical document, & the work attracted critical notice - not only for the dramatic nature of its narrative but also for disputes about which parts of it were original and which were Meinhold's reconstructions, written in imitation of the 17th-century style. It was several years before the author admitted that the tale was entirely imaginary and, in fact, a type of 'literary hoax'. As for the tale itself, the story is set during the Thirty Years' War. The purported author, Reverend Abraham Schweidler, almost loses his only child, Maria, to a plot by a rejected suitor who has accused Maria of practicing witchcraft. After a trial and under threat of the most dire torture, Maria, wholly innocent of the crime, confesses. While on her way to the stake, she is rescued by a courageous young nobleman who loves her and who exposes the evil plot against her. A contemporary review in the London Quarterly Review states "We have read nothing, for a long time, in fiction or in history, which has so completely riveted and anchored our interest, as this little volume. It is worth (we can give no higher praise) of De Foe." E.F. Bleiler (The Guide to Supernatural Fiction (1983) states "A minor masterpiece, and still the best novel about witchcraft"