Sutro Copy with Presentation Inscription & ALs from Author

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588. [BIBLIOGRAPHY]. [POE, EDGAR ALLAN]. ROBERTSON, John W. Bibliography of the Writings of Edgar A. Poe. [Title on Vol. II] Commentary on the Bibliography of Edgar A. Poe. San Francisco: Russian Hill Private Press, Edwin & Robert Grabhorn, 1934. Vol. I: [1-12], [1] 2-227 [1, blank], [4, appendix]; Vol. II: [1-8], [1] 2-300, [10, index], [2, colophon] pp., numerous plates (mostly title pages), text illustrations, decorative initials. 2 vols., 8vo (25.6 x 17 cm), original three-quarter red roan over tan buckram, spines gilt lettered and with raised bands. Joints and spine rubbed, hinges slightly cracked but firm, offsetting and browning from binding to flyleaves, otherwise very good, interior pristine, untrimmed. Alfred Sutro’s copy with his book label and that of Dan Volkmann. Author’s presentation copy to Alfred Sutro: “A lover and collector of good books, among which I am proud to have this volume included. San Francisco, Feb. 21, 1934.” Laid in is a one-page pleasant autograph letter signed (1 p., 4to, in ink) from author to Sutro, in which Robertson discusses his book collections, including his Poe collection. Robertson comments that he has promised to donate his collection to the Poe Foundation, although he detests the fact that they call it “The Shrine.”

     First edition, first binding, limited to 350 copies handset Garamond hand set and Granjon linotype on Van Gelder paper by Edwin & Robert Grabhorn. One of the Fifty Books of the Year. BAL Vol. 7, p. 151. Heller & Magee, Bibliography of the Grabhorn Press 201 & 202. Magee, Catalogue 131 (noting that some unbound sheets found later were bound in boards and black cloth). Henry R. Wagner’s copy which sold at Christie’s November 21, 1981, had a letter from David Magee to Slocum (1945) regarding this book: “The Poe bibliography when it originally came out was never actually published. A few copies, maybe fifty or so, were sold, and Ed never bound up the remainder. Recently the sheets were sold to a man here.” Robertson’s work is so thorough that it includes information that might be useful for detecting an autograph letter of Poe’s that is not genuine. Following p. 230 of Vol. 2 is a facsimile of an anastatic letter which Poe sent to several individuals (Poe wrote an essay about anastatic printing for the Broadway Journal).

     G. Thomas Tanselle, “The Descriptive Bibliography of America Authors” in Studies in Bibliography, Vol. 21 (1968), p. 13: “In 1934, two major authors were treated. One was John W. Robertson’s Edgar A. Poe, in two beautifully printed volumes from the Grabhorn Press, the second of which was a ‘commentary’ on the bibliography of the first. The work is useful for the numerous title-page reproductions.”


Auction 23 Abstracts

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