Anna and The King of Siam, published in 1944 by the John Day Company. Illustrated by Margaret Ayer.
Whenever I find a treasure in an old and rare book shop or a favorite Antique store, I can't wait to learn about the history of the book.
It was like that when I found this beautiful edition of The King of Siam by Margaret Mortenson Landon.
In 1927 Margaret and Kenneth Landon signed up as Presbyterian missionaries to Thailand. While living there Margaret read about Anna Leonowens who was governess to the Siamese Royal Family. Here is a link to photographs of the family.
In 1937 after returning to the States, Margaret began her research into the life of Anna Leonowens. The result in 1944 her novel became an instant bestseller.
In 1950 she sold the musical play rights to Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammenstein II, who created the musical The King and I.
In this beautifully illustrated volume published by in 1944, you will also find Margaret Landon's story about how she wrote this book. With serendipitous meetings and book discoveries her own story seems as magical as that of her heroines.
One of my favorite movies has always been The King and I. I can almost feel how she must have felt seeing Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner dance across the screen to the music SHALL WE DANCE.
I have just placed this book in my shop For The Love of Old Books on etsy.