Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2008 Issue

Unpublished Faulkner and Marx (Groucho) Highlight Latest from James Pepper Rare Books

Pepper172

Unpublished Faulkner and Marx (Groucho) highlight James Pepper’s latest catalogue.



By Michael Stillman

James Pepper Rare Books has issued their Catalogue 172. It is their latest collection of items mostly either associated with film or theater, or first editions of literary works. Many of these items are signed, and a few include comments or inscriptions. Particularly interesting are a couple of works by well-known writers that never were published. Here are a few selections from this most recent catalogue.

Item 143 is a signed first edition of one of the greatest American plays of the 20th century. It is A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, a not-so-happy tale of a Southern family published in 1947. Pepper comments that this book is "rarely encountered signed." The play, starring Marlon Brando, opened on Broadway later that year, and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1948. Brando would reprise his role in the movie released in 1951. Priced at $25,000.

Item 46 is an unfinished 12,000-word screenplay created by William Faulkner in 1933. At the time, Faulkner was struggling to make a living off of his novels, and figured he could better support his family with some Hollywood work. The screenplay is entitled Louisiana Lou - Bride of the Bayou. Faulkner was writing for director Tod Browning of MGM. We are not certain what happened to Louisiana Lou, but MGM released Lazy River, set in New Orleans, the following year, and some sources say Faukner provided an uncredited screenplay for this film. Faulkner also recounted traveling to New Orleans at the time to work on a film for MGM. We suspect Louisiana Lou and Lazy River are very similar. This signed typescript is part of an archive that also contains a letter from Faulkner to Browning concerning the project and a couple of telegrams from MGM to Faulkner. Priced at $45,000.

Here is another manuscript that never made it to the printer. It was meant to be a revised edition of Groucho Marx's Many Happy Returns! An Unofficial Guide to Your Income Tax Problems. Groucho's book was published in 1942, but in the 1950s, he wished to provide an updated version. Marx wrote several new chapters for the book, and made revisions to others. Among the new chapters were, "The Author Is Investigated," "Warning to Rich Cats and Dogs," "The New Television-Deep Freeze Tax," "The Marx Tax Plan," and "How To Keep a Diary." Pepper notes the 43-page manuscript "has some very hilarious Groucho humor, all of which has never been seen before." Included is an envelope from Simon and Schuster, who published the first edition, postmarked April 2, 1956. Perhaps they weren’t satisfied, but while Groucho and the Marx Brothers' film career had fairly well wound down by then, Groucho was riding high on TV with his "You Bet Your Life" quiz show. Item 88. $15,000.

Item 87 is Room Service. A Play by John Murray and Allen Boretz. This is an advance review copy of the 1937 play which opened that year on Broadway. A year later, it was made into a film, starring Groucho and his brothers and a young actress named Lucille Ball. $650.

Here is an autograph you should look at very closely to decide what you see. Item 109 is a signed letter from psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach, of Rorschach test fame, to a fellow in the trade, Eugen Bleuler. It contains his diagnosis of a patient. This was one of the last writings by Dr. Rorschach. He died just eleven days later at age 37 of appendicitis. $7,500.

James Pepper Rare Books may be found online at www.JamesPepperBooks.com, telephone 805-963-1025, email pepbooks@aol.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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