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E-list # 156

New Arrivals: E.B. White

1.
[NY], [The New Yorker], [1925]. White's first book, a collection of humorous advertisements he wrote anonymously for The New Yorker, showing how subscribing to the magazine could offset one's social shortcomings and enhance one's prestige. Short vignettes, each illustrated with photographs White took of a couple, "Sterling and Flora Finny," embodied by mannequins from Wanamaker's department store. Inscribed by White (as "Sterling Finny") to himself: "To E.B. White/ without whose skill with a camera, untiring desire to make money, and patience, I and Flora would still be in Wanamaker's where we belong. - Sterling Finny." Taped to the verso of the title page is a typed note signed "EBW" and dated August 27, 1967, giving the background on the Finny advertisements and on the book, which was put together by the advertising department as a good-will offering to agents and customers, without Harold Ross's knowledge, and with a prologue and epilogue by John Hanrahan (credited in the book only in pencil, by White). A very scarce publication: OCLC locates only seven copies, none of them signed by the author let alone with a humorous inscription/commentary by him, and an explanation of the book's history. We can find only one appearance at auction listed in the online records we reviewed. A thin, hardbound volume: text block separated from the front board, thus a good copy, now housed in a custom clamshell case. The best possible copy of the scarce first book by the great New Yorker essayist and the author of the classic, Charlotte's Web, among many other books. [#033503] $15,000
2.
NY, Harper & Brothers, 1929. White's third book, co-authored with James Thurber, who also provided the illustrations, and for whom it was his first book published. Signed by White on the front flyleaf. White and Thurber had both been hired by The New Yorker in 1927, and their humor helped set the tone for that magazine in its early years. Both authors had long and distinguished literary careers in the decades that followed, with dozens of books published. This title was printed in an edition of only 2500 copies, with this being the (likely) first issue, bound in light green boards. Some handling apparent to boards; minor foxing to page edges and endpages; a very good copy, without dust jacket. Very scarce signed; no signed copies sold at auction in the online records we reviewed. From the library of the White family. Letter of provenance available. [#033505] SOLD
3.
London, Gollancz, 1943. The first British edition of this collection of White's short, inimitable essays -- most from his column in Harper's and a few from The New Yorker. With the ownership signature of Katharine S. White on the front flyleaf. Stained, sunned, and with the spine cloth detaching; a fair copy. Britain had been at war for several years at that point, and the restrictions on wartime publishing dictated that books be produced as cheaply as possible. That this was published at all during the war is a remarkable testament to the British people, and that this copy survived and made it to the U.S. is also remarkable. A unique family association copy -- E. B. White's wife's copy of his book -- from the library of their heirs. A letter of provenance is available. [#033504] $500
5.
[Tokyo], [Kosei Daigaku Shuppankyoku], (1954). The first English-language edition printed in Japan, in June, 1954. Laid in is a note from C.P. Scott to Miss Nordstrom conveying four copies, of the 2000 copies printed, noting that royalty terms are 3% of the retail price. An additional note says three copies were sent to Mr. White, August 3, 1954. Modest sunning, small tears at front hinge; very good in wrappers. From the author's library, via his descendants. [#033507] $350
5.
NY, Harper & Brothers, (1962). First thus, the Harper's Modern Classics edition, inscribed by White to his wife: "With love to my modern classical wife/ KSW from EBW." E.B. White and Katharine White were both highly literary authors: Katharine White was both a writer and, for 35 years, the fiction editor of The New Yorker, beginning a few months after the magazine's founding. E.B. White was hired in 1927 and for years wrote "The Talk of the Town" columns, which were published anonymously, as well as contributing his own credited essays. As such, the two represent one of the great American literary couples of the 20th century, and one of the most influential, by virtue of the impact each of them had on The New Yorker, which became the preeminent standard of literary taste and sophistication. This is a collection of White's essays, stories and poems, originally published in 1954, two years after the enormous success of Charlotte's Web. Near fine, without dust jacket. The best possible association copy of this book. [#033506] SOLD
6.
Moscow, [Russian publisher], 1964. An English-language Russian school edition of White's first children's classic. Inscribed to White on behalf of students in School No. 1, Leningrad, Russia: "To Mr E B White from the pupils of School No. 1, Leningrad, who read your book with great interest and pleasure!" Dated January 21, 1975, and with the calling card of the Director of the school laid in, who is also identified as a Member of the Leningrad Peace Committee. On a separate sheet laid into the book is a note in White's hand: "This was brought back from Russia by Scott Nearing and Helen Nearing. They gave it to me. Discovered that it was being used in schools in Leningrad, to teach English." The Nearings, authors of the 1954 back-to-the-land book Living the Good Life, lived about ten miles from White; they had been on a tour of schools, factories, and farms of the USSR and China. Russian stamp on title page; pages acidifying; very good in wrappers. An unusual edition, with highly interesting provenance. From the author's library, via his descendants. [#033508] SOLD
7.
Garden City, Doubleday Page, 1914. E.B. White's copy, signed by White using his full name, "Elwyn B. White." Highly unusual thus. White seldom signed his full name after he reached his 20s, preferring to use "E.B. White," "EBW," or his nickname, "Andy." White was 15 when this book was published, although there is no indication that the signature is from that year. First edition, third state; hinges cracked; staining to boards; a fair copy, lacking the dust jacket. A forgettable copy of the book were it not for White's ownership and his rare signature. [#033510] $375
8.
(n.p.), Dutton, 1936. A family association copy, inscribed by E.B. White to his wife: "To my wife Katharine - who flowered right in it./ August 1936." No signature, presumably because none would be needed between the two. Offsetting to endpages, faint edge stain, light general wear; very good, lacking the dust jacket. [#033509] $1,750
9.
NY, (n.p.), 1946. E.B. White's copy of the UN Charter, signed by White on both the front cover and the title page, and with a couple of notations in the first pages of text. White covered the creation of the UN in a number of essays for The New Yorker, from 1943 to 1946. In one history of the UN, White was characterized as "the most droll and brilliant of journalists in favor of world government." White's essays on the subject were collected in his book, The Wild Flag, the only overtly political book he wrote in his career. Wear and loss to the spine ends; very good in wrappers. From the author's own library, via his descendants. [#033511] $750
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Catalog 170 Rockwell Kent Archive