Unpublished Pound Poem at Auction

Image via Lyon & Turnbull.

Coming up for auction next week is, according to the auctioneer, an “apparently unpublished” letter and poem from the hand of American expatriate poet Ezra Pound. Offered by Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh, Scotland, the autograph letter (with envelope dated April 21, 1909) was sent to Mrs. Isabel Konody, later known as Isabel Codrington, a painter whose circle of friends in London included many poets and artists. Pound was new to the scene, having moved to London only the year before and still finding his way among the city’s cultural elite. On page two of the letter, Pound pens a 14-line sonnet which begins, “If poets whom you know are not all fools, Methinks my songs but march amid the rout.”

The auction estimate is £7,000-9,000 ($11,000-$14,140).

Image via Lyon & Turnbull.

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Holographic Documents

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The Strand Publishes Newly Discovered F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story

Current issue of the Strand Magazine.

Andrew Gulli, editor of the The Strand magazine, discovered an unpublished F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Princeton University archives. Gulli released the story in the summer issue of The Strand, seventy-five years after the author’s death in 1940.

The story, entitled “Temperature” is a comedic tale about a 31-year-old writer named Emmet Monsen, who is a heavy drinker and suffers from heart disease.
“There’s some madcap comedy, some Wodehousian dialogue, some romance, even a little bit of some tragedy in it,” said Gulli about the story in an interview with NPR. “I just was struck by how funny, how interesting it was. And I said to myself, ‘I really have to have this story.’”
Gulli believes the story was never published because it was written in 1939, just a year before Fitzgerald died, when the author had a falling out with his literary agent.
Interested readers can check out the current issue of The Strand to read the Fitzgerald story alongside work by Ian Rankin and T. Jefferson Parker.

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Books by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Books by Ian Rankin

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Maya Angelou’s Typewriter Saved

Offered by Quill & Brush

Good news from Los Angeles collector Steve Soboroff: He purchased Maya Angelou’s personal typewriter at an estate sale at her former home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, last weekend. He paid $5,000 for the late poet’s electric Adler.

Soboroff, whose collection was profiled in our winter 2015 issue, said he felt “incredibly fortunate and honored” to add Angelou’s typewriter to his renowned collection, which numbers 33 now and focuses on typewriters owned by people who have appeared on the cover of Time magazine, including Ernest Hemingway, John Updike, and Truman Capote. His collection is on view at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. (more…)

Pope to Present Illuminated Bible to Library of Congress

Pope Francis Image: Via Wikipedia.

Pope Francis will present a copy of the St. John’s Bible to the Library of Congress during a visit to Washington, D.C. next month.

The Pope is donating one of twelve deluxe reproductions of an original seven-volume edition of the Bible that was handwritten and illuminated by the monks at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. With an estimated production cost of $8 million, the St. John’s Bible was completed in 2011 and is housed at St John’s University. Twelve special edition reproduction sets were then reproduced by lay people in the United States and Britain. One of these sets was then gifted to the Pope, who will in turn give the book to the American people.

The St. John’s Bible is thought to be the only handwritten and illuminated copy of the Bible to be produced in its complete form since the invention of the printing press.

When the Pope addresses Congress on September 24, he will formally give the Bible to Rep. John Boehner, as Speaker of the House, who will in turn transfer the book to the Library of Congress.


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Alice Goes To The Morgan

Tenniel, John, 1820-1914, Shower of Cards [print], 19th century, 1 print, 2005.203
John Tenniel (1820-1914), “Nothing but a pack of cards! “1885
Everyone has Alice fever this year, and with good reason; the precocious title character of Lewis Carroll’s (1832-1898) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland turns 150, and museums and libraries around the world are hosting exhibitions and lectures dedicated to exploring the enduring fascination with what many consider one of the greatest stories ever told.

From June 26 through October 11, New York’s Morgan Library & Museum will celebrate Alice with original correspondence, drawings and photographs from the Morgan’s own vast holdings. The centerpiece of the show is on loan from the British Library – Carroll’s original 1864 manuscript, complete with his own pen and ink drawings, that the author had presented to Alice Liddell, the inspiration for the Alice in his book.

Hoover Presidency Autograph Book

85_1 (Medium)Who keeps a good autograph book these days?

For decades, these handy blank books cherished by celebrity seekers and schoolchildren were employed in the collecting of notable signatures. The ornate–almost outlandish–one seen here, bound in quarter leather and highly decorative boards, served Paul N. Peck, a White House staff administrator during the presidency of Herbert Hoover, 1929-1933. Peck assembled an impressive roster of political autographs, including those of President Hoover, Vice-President Charles Curtis, Secretary of State Henry L. Stinson, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew W. Mellon, and Army Chief of Staff Douglas MacArthur, among others.

The keepsake is going to auction early August 2015 at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago and is estimated to make $3,000-5,000.

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Autograph Books

Presidential Ephemera

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Two Bay Psalm Books on Exhibit at the Library of Congress

Bay Psalm copy
Image: Credit Brett Barry. Used by permission.

Sightseers in Washington, D.C., have endless opportunities to be awestruck. This summer, the Library of Congress provides yet another option with its excellent new exhibit, First Among Many: The Bay Psalm Book and Early Moments in American Printing.

The first thing visitors behold upon entering the exhibit space is a case containing two copies of the Bay Psalm Book (1640), the first book printed in colonial America, of which only eleven survive. On the left sits the Library of Congress copy–worn and incomplete, but in its original binding. On the right (pictured above) is David M. Rubenstein’s copy–rebound, but complete, even with the original title page. Rubenstein purchased the book at auction in November 2013 for $14.2 million, the current auction record for any printed book. It is a remarkable pairing, and any bibliophile might be pleased to make the trip for it alone. (more…)

Rare Kafka Manuscripts Awarded to National Library of Israel

An Israeli court has awarded a unique collection of Franz Kafka manuscripts to the National Library of Israel, ending a legal dispute that lasted for several decades. The court ordered Eva Hoffe, a resident of Tel Aviv, to remit all of the Kafka manuscripts in her possession to the National Library of Israel. Hoffe currently owns the Kafka manuscripts because of a complicated provenance line.  When Kafka died in 1924, with much of his work still unpublished, he willed his … Continued

Google censorship: Good Intentions Gone Wrong?

Rolls and Historical Sketch of the Tenth Regiment, So. Ca. Volunteers, in the Army of the Confederate States by Cornelius Irvine Walker

From the article on For.TheLoveOfBooks.com by Brendan Sherar entitled “Google Suppresses Books Mentioning the Confederacy“:

In response to the recent tragedy in Charleston and subsequent (and just) calls to remove the confederate flag from public buildings and monuments, Google last week announced it was jumping on the growing bandwagon of corporations that are pulling merchandise featuring the confederate flag from their shelves. For Google, this means automatically disapproving these “product listing ads” that are uploaded to its popular shopping portal by individual online retailers.

It isn’t just items that bear the flag, either. Any book with “confederate” in the title or description is being removed from the Google product feed.

While we support the removal of that particular symbol from an exalted place in public spaces, this heavy-handed response from Google (and other large companies) is a bit much. We don’t want to rewrite history, just change the future.

You can read the full article (and see lovely examples of “prohibited books”) here:




Eight Pages of the Gutenberg Bible for Sale

Book of Esther - GutenbergA Gutenberg Bible for sale? Well, not entirely. What Sotheby’s New York will offer next week is an eight-page fragment of the book printed by Johann Gutenberg and Johann Fust in 1455. Single leaves of the famous 42-line Bible occasionally turn up at auction–one recently sold at Swann Galleries for $55,000–but a complete copy hasn’t been seen at auction since 1978, so this sizable section is estimated to make at least $500,000 for its consignor, the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York City.

The eight consecutive leaves comprise the Book of Esther from the first book printed in the West with movable type, of which only 48 (or 49, according to Sotheby’s) exist in complete or substantially complete condition. This particular set of pages was extracted from an incomplete Gutenberg Bible in 1921 by New York book dealer Gabriel Wells, who sold leaves ($150 each) and sections separately, accompanied by an essay by author and book collector A. Edward Newton, as A Noble Fragment. Banker and book collector Mortimer Schiff purchased this one and donated it to JTS in 1922. (more…)