What leaped off the pages and (figuratively) screamed "Buy Me!" as we thumbed through the most-recent catalogs from ABAA members. Well, these items for starters...
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1941. First edition, first printing with the “A” and the publisher’s seal on the copyright page. A roman a clef, following the Hollywood rise to power of Monroe Stahr, modeled after film producer Irving Thalberg, and his conflicts with rival Pat Brady, a character based on studio head Louis B. Mayer. The novel was unfinished and in rough form at the time of Fitzgerald’s death at the age of 44. His close friend, literary critic and writer Edmund Wilson, collected the notes for the book and edited it for publication. This copy is inscribed on the front flyleaf by Frances Kroll Ring to Nicholas Patrick Beck, an avid F. Scott Fitzgerald collector and scholar, who was also a journalism professor at California State University, Los Angeles. Ring (1916-2015) was the personal secretary of F. Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood from 1939 and until his death in 1940. She typed the manuscript for The Last Tycoon and settled Fitzgerald's affairs upon his death. This included corresponding with Wilson and advising him on the author’s intentions for the book. Octavo. Original blue cloth binding, with gilt titles. An especially crisp and tight, near fine copy in an uncommonly nice example of the dust jacket with only some light fading along the spine and occasional mild edgewear. Offered together with a first paperback edition (1987) of Frances Kroll Ring’s AGAINST THE CURRENT: As I Remember F. Scott Fitzgerald, also inscribed by Ring to Beck and accompanied by a small group of correspondence (1983-91) between Ring and Beck. This includes one typed letter signed and four handwritten notes. Notably, in a 1991 note, Ring confirms the authenticity of a typed letter signed in Beck's collection from Fitzgerald to Charles Marquis Warren. A photocopy of the Fitzgerald letter, dated May 15, 1939, is included. The group also includes a four-page document entitled Facts About Gatsby, which was prepared by Beck and is signed by Ring on the front panel. (Offered by Johnson Rare Books & Archives)
This item is not listed on abaa.org.
I have a soft spot for the doomed F. Scott Fitzgerald. One of my college professors was the renowned Fitzgerald expert and collector Matthew Bruccoli, whose enthusiasm for his subject would convert anyone. While I had of course read Gatsby long before college, Professor Bruccoli convinced me to look at Fitzgerald with new eyes. Johnson Rare Books & Archives' new catalog includes a large number of books and pieces of correspondence from Fitzgerald, acquired from the estate of the late Nicholas Patrick Beck, another avid F. Scott Fitzgerald collector and an authority on the writer's Hollywood years.
Matisse, Henri. Portraits. Monte Carlo: Andre Sauret, 1955.
1 of 500 copies of the English edition (this #1682). The entire edition was 2850 copies: 500 as this in English numbered 1501-2000. The translator is unknown; 2350 copies in French. Large 4to (10 3/4" x 12 1/4"), pictorial wrappers, glassine. As new. Housed in a two-piece board sleeve & slipcase, the spine of the sleeve shows extremely light fading. With 60 black and white portraits, and 33 mounted color plates. With introduction by Matisse. Entirely planned by Matisse who designed the cover, chose the portraits to be reproduced, and did an original lithograph for the frontispiece. The original lithograph, cover and color plates were printed by Mourlot Freres, collotypes by Louis Duval, 1500typography by Imprimerie Union. “[a portrait] appears to me as though every charcoal stroke was removing from a mirror the mist which had so far prevented me for seeing it.” (Introduction p.15). (Offered by Golden Legend)
This item is not listed on abaa.org.
One of the true geniuses of 20th-century art, Henri Matisse's work changed so much that critics have a hard time deciding exactly which "movement" he should be classed among. Like Picasso, Matisse really stands above categorization.
The news that Amazon are developing a TV series based on Larry Niven's classic Ringworld made this beautiful Easton Press edition "fly out of the screen" at me. While not very rare or prized as highly as true first editions, many collectors do love the handsome editions of classic novels from publishers like the Easton Press or the Folio Society. A bookshelf of Easton Press titles is always an eye-catching part of any collector's library, and signed books are always special.
Norwalk: The Easton Press, 1995. First edition thus. Hardcover. Fine. Signed on the titlepage by Niven. First Easton Press edition, 1995. Bound in gilt-decorated full leather, raised bands, gilt title on spine, all edges gilt, 288 pp., Fine copy. With Collector's Notes pamphlet loosely inserted. Uncommon signed. (Offered by Caliban Book Shop)
The flipside of beautiful bindings is the glorious pulp paperbacks from the 1950s and 1960s. This Ace paperback of Harlan Ellison's first novel may be rubbed, but it's stil undeniably cool. I challange any collector to walk past a display of vintage Ace paperbacks without stopping to appreciate the covers.
by Harlan Ellison
New York: Ace, 1958.. Small octavo, pictorial wrappers. First edition. Ace D-312. The author's first book. Front cover rubbed with some surface loss along fore-edge, just a bit of shallow loss at upper spine end, crack between pages 136-137 (fixable), a good copy. (Offered by L.W. Currey)
Among the many claims to fame of Black Sparrow Press is the fact that it was founded by a book collector, John Martin, expressly to publish the avant-garde work of Charles Bukowski. For 31 years Martin published Bukowski with success. Bukowski became more than just a cult, regional author and the press thrived, publishing many other writers. Black Sparrow Press books share a visual sensibility and design features that make them instantly recognizable. Martin's wife Barbara was the designer for most of the covers, many of them iconic. One word of warning if you have not come across a book from Black Sparrow Press before: they are addictive. If you like what you see, you can rarely stop at owning just one!
by Charles Bukoski
Bukowski, Charles. POST OFFICE. A Novel. Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1971. First edition. #22 of 251 copies numbered and signed by Bukowski. His first novel, published when he was 50 years old. An autobiographical account of his years working as a carrier and sorter for the U.S. Postal Service. On the dedication page: “This is presented as a work of fiction and dedicated to nobody.” Krumhansl 38b. Ownership signature to top of front endpaper, sunning to spine and top of boards, otherwise a very good plus copy bound in light blue paper covered boards with a red, white and blue back strip with a stars and stripes design. (Offered by Ed Smith Books)
This item is not listed on abaa.org.
I was having a conversation recently with a distant relative who, as far as I knew, was not a collector of any stripe. When the conversation turned to rare books, he began rhapsodizing about vintage maps and singing the praises of Martayan Lan, Inc., whose New York City gallery he regards as an Aladdin's cave of beautiful maps and illustrations. Ever since, I've been looking at old maps with new eyes.
by H.H. Lloyd & Co.
New York,, 1867. Hardcover. Very Good. 22 ¾ x 17 inches. With original red covers, separate; bright original color; some light offsetting, else fine condition. An unusual, scarce, two-sided map, one a large, striking map of the metropolitan region covering a radius of 40 miles in all directions from Manhattan, and the other a street plan of the city and the immediately adjoining areas. The maps, especially the former, reflect the vibrancy of the dynamic, post-Civil War city, as the city and its surrounding area can already be envisioned as an interconnected, single region, unified by a dense network of rail lines and roads. While this map still showstopography to some extent, this kind of detail has receded into the background just as its relevance had. The street plan, which also includes most of Brooklyn, Hoboken, and Jersey City, also has a transportation focus in the showing the numerous ferry routes connecting New York City and its surrounding areas. Haskell 1173. (Offered by Martayan Lan, Inc.)
Early printed maps often had to proceed on guesswork and incomplete information, which could create some interesting visuals.
Amsterdam: Jodocus Hondius, 1639. unbound. Map. Engraving with hand coloring. Image measures 18.75" x 21.5". 1639. Map. Engraving with hand coloring. Image measures 18.75" x 21.5". 1639.
This beautiful, large-scale map is one of the earliest Dutch depictions of North America. As such, it is also one of the most influential, particularly for its rendering of California as an island. This myth, which originated in literature in the early 16th century, found its seeming confirmation through this highly detailed map and its subsequent replication and dissemination. While the west provides the maps point of historical interest, it is in the east that one finds its beauty and elegance. The continents Atlantic coastline cascades along the vertical axis of the double-page map, extending from as far north as the Arctic Circle down to the northern part of South America and including the West Indies. Its ample labeling and detailed undulations demonstrate the wide extent of geographic knowledge that characterized the Dutch Golden Age. Notable inclusions are Iames Towne (Jamestown) in Virginia, Manhates (Manhattan), Lake Champlain and an early reference to the Great Lakes (Lac des Iroquois). In the lesser-known interior of the continent, a number of explanatory notes describe preliminary discoveries. Moreover, the small renderings of native wild animals are some of the earliest depictions of creatures, such as the Longhorn steer, buffalo, and wild horse, that Dutch explorers encountered in their incursions into hitherto unknown lands. The coast of Labrador for the first time includes Dutch terms, depicting the heightened whaling activities in the region. In South America, Hondius maps the legendary Lake Parima and the city of Manoa or the fabled kingdom of El Dorado along its banks. Following Sir Walter Raleigh's 1595 publication of "The Discoverie of the Large, Rich, and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana", in which he connected the city of Manoa with El Dorado, European interest in the regain grew considerably in the 17th century and various explorers set out in search of gold in Guiana. The city and the lake would continue to appear on maps until the early 1800s. This is the rare first state of the map, without any imprint in the lower left cartouche. French text on verso. The map is in good condition with minor wear along the centerfold and minor spotting along the lower border. Narrow margins to neat line from binders cropping. Hard to find. Jodocus Hondius (1563-1612) was the founder of a prolific map publishing business, which helped to propel the Dutch to lead the Golden Age of cartography. When Jodocus the elder died in 1612, his wife Colette ran the business until their sons came of age to join the firm. During this time, their daughter Elisabeth married Johannes Jansson and the two of them helped Colette run the business. Jodocus & Colette's youngest son, Henricus Hondius (1597-1651) later ran the business along with his extended family. (Offered by Argosy Book Store)
Finally, the latest email newsletter from Buddenbrooks focuses on a stunning piece of movie history, a first editon of Walt Disney's Fastasia: An Animation Classic (1940), a companion book to the classic film. By today's standards this would be a spectacular illustrated book, in 1940 it must have been breath-taking.
Walt Disney's Fantasia - An Animation Classic - First Edition
Lithographically Illustrated In Colour Throughout
Including Wonderful Contributions by Kay Nielsen
[Disney, Walt]; Taylor, Deems. WALT DISNEY'S FANTASIA With an Introduction by Leopold Stokowski (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1940) First edition.
Profusely illustrated throughout with wonderful colour and black and white lithographic decorations finely produced by the Western Printing and Lithographing Company. Sixteen of the colour illustrations are tipped in, others printed directly on decorated pages featuring a great deal of musical notation. Folio, publisher's original tan cloth lettered in blue on the upper cover and spine and in the original colourfully decorated dustjacket. 157 pp. A near fine copy, the textblock is very fine but for the lightest age mellowing, the tan cloth is just lightly mellowed, the jacket is still complete and quite attractive with some typical general edge wear. (Offered by Buddenbrooks, Inc.)