Q: I have a copy of A Gourd Fiddle with a dust jacket. The only date is 1904 on the copyright page, no date on the title page. McBride lists Altemus firsts as same date on both pages, so I assume this is not a first, although it was sold to me as a first. I can see how anyone might be confuse about that! As you can see from the scans, the DJ is in color, not the plain brown, though the book looks like your picture of #2 variant from the Cherrycroft series. Can you tell me what I have?
A: Your reference book is incorrect regarding how to determine whether this book is a first edition or not. Most Altemus editions do not list the date on the title page. In fact, it is really the exception when a first edition Altemus book has a date on the title page. My information is based on studying and owning thousands of Altemus books.
The reverse of the jacket helps tell the story. You can see that the Little Men and Women Series is listed there. Boy Geologist was added to this series in 1910. So just looking at this we know that your book was published between 1910 and 1915 (when the jackets changed to white uncoated). The earlier editions shown on the website also have white not black lettering.
The earlier Gourd Fiddle from the Boys and Girls Booklovers was published in the 1904-1907 range. The later ones were published in the Cherrycroft Series in the 1907-1911 range. The later series is where your book fits -1910-1911.
I am enclosing for your interest the reverse of two Gourd Fiddle book jackets. The one that lists the book title Tor is from the first edition. The other one lists the Little Men and Women Series but is an earlier edition than yours. It lists Sea Kings but not Boy Geologist making it a 1909 book.