Monday, May 31, 2010

Louis Untermeyer read here

Food and Drink, a book of poems by Louis Untermeyer, was published by Harcourt, Brace and Company in 1932. This copy of the book has an inscription from a previous owner that claims Untermeyer was in Huntsville, Texas reading from a manuscript copy before the book was actually published. On the blank page following the front endpapers is the original owner's name, Emma something, and Emma recorded the place and date of purchase--Huntsville, Texas, March 3, 1932.

A taped newspaper clipping of a poem by Gerald Raftery has created, over the decades, a mirrored browning (acid) on the title page it was closed against, but the inscription beneath is still readable. The handwriting looks different from Emma's script. It could be that whomever inherited the book wanted to record a bit of history about Untermeyer and these poems. It is written under the publisher's acknowledgements about certain poems in this volume:
Several of these poems were read in Huntsville by Louis Untermeyer from manuscript early in 1932--before this book was published.

Untermeyer was an author, poet, anthologist, and editor and the fourteenth U.S. Poet Laureate, serving 1961-1963. I was familiar with him because of his friendship and correspondence with Robert Frost.

Huntsville is up the road from Houston an hour or so and the home of Sam Houston State University. I imagine that as the likely place for a reading in 1932, unless Untermeyer knew a local bookseller and appeared as a favor.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Book-collecting, it's a great game

Here's a nice inscription from the well-known bibliophile and writer, A. Edward Newton, in a copy of his book, The Book-Collecting Game (Little, Brown and Company, 1928)

On the front free endpaper, Mr. Newton offers the following to an unknown recipient:

It's a great game.
If you don't believe it,
read and be convinced.

A. Edward Newton

Nov. 20, 1928

Geoffrey D. Smith (Professor and Head, Rare Books and Manuscripts, The Ohio State University Libraries) has written an informative article about Newton and his collection for the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS).

Any bibliophile will enjoy perusing FABS' list of member clubs and linking to their sites. Plan to spend a little time there.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

To a son in combat in Viet Nam

In advance of the Memorial Day weekend, here is an appropriate first entry for this blog, as it reminds me of the sacrifices from our military throughout American history.

I spotted this book at a Houston library sale: Beyond Combat, by Major James M. Hutchens (Moody Press, Chicago, 1968). I bought it for the inscription inside.

Just a few words--brief, but poignant. My thoughts went immediately to the mixture of fear, love, and pride the mother must have felt for her son. Then I thought about her son and what he was experiencing and feeling at that time during that horrendous war. I wondered if he came back alive. Or did this book and other gifts from Mother, as well as his personal effects, return home without him? I wondered what his mother’s gift meant to him, assuming he survived to receive it, as well as the letters she must have sent to him.

Psalm 16:11 - Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence fullness of joy; at thy right hand pleasures for evermore.

The name of the young soldier in the inscription, Carroll, reminded me of another Carroll involved with books going to soldiers in America’s current war: Andrew Carroll of the Legacy Project, a component of which is distributing Armed Service Editions (popular in World War II) of literature and popular books.