The Lady and the Panda: An Adventure - Ruth Harkness 1938 - Carrick & Evans, New York - First Edition A bright copy – in the rare original dust jacket – of this uncommon book, American socialite Ruth Harkness’ account of her panda-hunting expedition to China in 1936. Successfully – and unexpectedly – capturing an infant panda, which she named Su-Lin,

Harkness brazenly side-stepped Chinese bureaucracy, and garbed in fur with a cigarette dangling from her lipsticked mouth and a baby bottle propped in hand, she waged a savvy public battle to extricate Su-Lin from his native land, eventually finding a home for him at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, where he attracted record crowds: 53,000 visitors the first day, a number yet to be matched.

Wonderfully illustrated throughout with 16 pages of black and white photographs taken during Harkness’ journey and of panda, Su-Lin.
  Originally from Pennsylvania, New York fashion designer Ruth Harkness (1900-1947) set out to complete her late husband Bill’s mission to travel to China in search of a panda in 1936. With her entire (albeit minor) inheritance at stake, the 35-year-old boarded a cruise liner to Shanghai, teaming up with young Chinese-American explorer Quentin Young, who later became her lover. Supported by 16 coolies and a cook, the pair barrelled off into Sichuan Province, where in November 1936, they encountered and captured a nine-week-old panda cub. Harkness would return to China and capture more pandas, before bad luck, heavy drinking and regret consumed her. She grew troubled by the hard-to avoid facts behind her greatest success: that her capturing of pandas wrested babies from their mothers and robbed a natural heritage from the loved, risking – and taking – panda lives in the process. She died, of acute alcoholic gastroenteritis, in 1947.

References: Croke,
The Lady and the Panda 2005. Paul, ‘The Lady and the Panda’ The New York Times 2005.

Octavo (14 x 21 cm). pp. 288. Publisher’s red cloth, yellow title label printed in black to spine, red illustrative maps to endpapers, in original dust jacket, priced ‘$2.50’ to upper front flap.
  Condition: Near fine, a hint of toning to upper edge of paper label and faint occasional soiling to cloth, in very good dust jacket, 3 cm chip to head of spine, minor edge wear to tail of spine and edges of front panel, short nicks to corners, and very slight toning to spine.   Ref: 108306   Price: HK$ 9,000