Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2008 Issue

A Maurice Sendak Collection from J & J Hanrahan

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A Maurice Sendak collection from J & J Hanrahan.


By Michael Stillman

The latest catalogue from J and J Hanrahan features items from Joyce Hanrahan's Maurice Sendak collection. The official title is Maurice Sendak. The First Twenty-Five Years. Sendak is still going strong today, though his first 25 years ended 37 years ago. However, it was during those first 25 years that he emerged from an artistically gifted but unknown high school student to the internationally recognized illustrator and writer of children's books.

A great many of these books are first editions, others are first editions in different languages, some are signed or include original Sendak drawings. Joyce Hanrahan has put together an extensive collection of Sendak's work, and now others who appreciate his creations have an opportunity to pick up some of his items that can be difficult to find.

The catalogue begins all the way back at high school, when Sendak was called on to provide illustrations for his high school yearbook. That yearbook is The Legend. June 1946. It was issued by Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, and Sendak was a senior that year. Along with providing artwork, Sendak was the Art Editor for the yearbook. Under his photograph, there is a prophetic verse: "You're delightful drawings make us all gay. A famous artist you'll be someday." As a caution, this is an imperfect copy with a couple of pages of the faculty section missing, but most of Sendak's artwork has survived. Item 1. Priced at $800.

It was during high school that Sendak landed his first true book-illustrating job. This was the dawn of the atomic age, and Maxwell Leigh Eidinoff and Sendak's high school physics teacher, Hyman Ruchlis, were preparing a book to explain this wondrous/terrifying new technology to the people. This is not a "children's book" in the typical Sendak sense of the words, though the book and his illustrations were designed to explain these scientific developments to the young. Offered is this first Sendak illustrated book, Atomics for the Millions, published in 1947. Item 2 is a first edition, first issue. Priced at $700. Evidently this book was of interest well beyond America's shores, as Hanrahan also offers editions in Japanese, Danish, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, and British. Okay, that last one is not a different language, but is a first British edition.

The Wonderful Farm, by Marcel Ayme, was the first true children's book Sendak illustrated. Sendak has noted that it was the book that "officially" made him someone in the children's book field. Item 14 is a first edition from 1951. $550.

You undoubtedly think of Sendak as an illustrator of books, but here is an unusual adaptation of his artistic talents: Cynthia Gooding Sings Turkish and Spanish Folk Songs. No, Sendak didn't join her for harmonies, but he did provide artwork for the album cover. It depicts Spaniards and Turks singing together, which was nice to see after centuries of fighting each other. The album was released in 1953. Gooding made several folk albums and did a radio show in New York in the 1960s where she once interviewed a 20-year-old unknown singer named Bob Dylan. Sendak was just thankful to get a paid illustrating job at the time. Item 28 includes both Sendak's cover and Gooding's vinyl music. $200.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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>

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