Inscribed Books from James Cummins Bookseller
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was an unusual individual -- teacher, photographer, clergyman, writer. It is as a writer he is best known, though most know him by his penname, "Lewis Carroll." Carroll was friendly with a number of young girls during his life, including the inspiration for "Alice" of his Wonderland books. Much has been written about these relationships, with theories ranging from his being childlike in nature, to avoiding an appearance of an improper interest in women of age, to pedophilia (if so, it must have been a latent, repressed form as he never acted inappropriately and the girls continued to appreciate him into adulthood). Perhaps it was just that knowing young girls enabled him to write stories that would appeal to children, as well as adults. Whatever it was that motivated Dodgson, he had a number of "child-friends" over the course of his life. Enid Stevens was the last of them, and item 26 is the two volumes of his final book, Sylvie and Bruno (1889,1893), inscribed to her mother. The second volume is inscribed, "Mrs. Stevens, with sincere regards, from the author." $3,000. Item 25 is Dodgson's Alice's Adventures Under Ground, a facsimile of his original manuscript, inscribed "For Grace Denham, from the Author, Jan. 1887." Grace Denham was also a "child-friend," but by this time she had reached 18 years of age. $8,000.
Theodore Geisel is another children's author better known by a penname, in his case, "Dr. Seuss." Item 82 is an early edition of Horton Hatches the Egg, inscribed to a neighbor boy who was seriously ill at the time. Seuss not only signed the book "Best Wishes," but drew one of his trademark cats, holding a sign reading "For Johnnie!" The young owner was one John Austin Lane. $1,000.
James Cummins Bookseller may be found online at www.jamescummingsbookseller.com,
phone number 212-688-6441.