Less Than Nothing - or, The Life and Times of Sterling Finny
[NY], [The New Yorker], . 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
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