New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1973. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher's illustrated paper-covered boards, original illustrated dust jacket.
"I always had the ganas, the desire...I always had something to say." First edition presentation/association copy of award-winning Nuyorican novelist and children's book writer Nicholasa Mohr’s first novel, about a teenage girl's struggles for respect and a sense of her own identity in 1940s New York. Born in East Harlem to Puerto Rican immigrant parents, Mohr grew up during the waning years of the Great Depression and the outbreak of World War II. She began her career as a visual art, but later turned to writing, often using her own childhood experiences as one of seven children raised by an impoverished widow in El Barrio as material. The present copy of Nilda is warmly inscribed on the verso of the front endpaper to fellow New York writer Paula Fox: "Para Paulita, / Hermanita de sentimientos con el cariño de... / Nicholasa / (Recuerdas de un verano en MacDowell 7/74)." Fox, best known for her revered novel Desperate Characters (1970), as well as her memoir Borrowed Finery (2001), was also, like Mohr, a prolific author of books for young readers (Blowfish Live In the Sea, Lily and the Lost Boy). The two writers presumably met and forged a bond at the celebrated MacDowell writers' and artists' residency program in Peterborough, New Hampshire. They were both advocates for literacy and public education, and appeared together as late as 2004 at an NYC roundtable discussion with teachers, legislators and community members, on strategies for incorporating reading into classroom learning. Illustrated with eight black-and-white drawings by Mohr, who also designed the dust jacket. Spine-ends and corners gently bumped; unclipped dust jacket worn, with large chip to head of spine, closed tear to tail of spine, light chipping to flap folds and edges, some soiling and traces of dampstaining to spine panel and edges. A very good copy with exceptional literary provenance, linking two singular postwar New York women writers. Item #4024