Willa Cather was a writer known for her novels of life on the American prairie. A native of Nebraska, she later moved to New York. That is where she became friendly with a family one would not associate with life on a prairie farm – the Menuhins. They were a family of incredibly talented musicians, none more so than the great violinist Yehudi. Cather's companion of the time described the Menuhin children as being one of the brightest spots in what was not generally a happy time in her life. Item 25 is a first edition of Cather's novel Shadows on the Rock, which dealt with French Quebec in the 17th century. It was inscribed on June 24, 1931 (prior to its August publication date), “For Yehudi Menuhin, With every golden wish there is.” Yehudi was 15 at the time. $22,500.
Item 88 is a copy of H.L. Mencken's Prejudices. Second Series, published in 1920. Mencken was a writer and editor of the first half of the 20th century. He was hard to peg by traditional standards, other than to say he was controversial. He managed to offend just about everyone at one time or another. This collection includes his notable essay on the Sahara of Bozart (Beaux Arts). It was a heavy attack on the American South from a cultural perspective. The title arises from his claim that the South is “almost as sterile, artistically, intellectually, culturally, as the Sahara Desert.” There are no painters, musical composers, sculptors, architects, theologians, scientists, or historians in the South he writes, not even a “bad one.” However, Mencken does not attribute this shortcoming to the race related issues for which the South is usually criticized. Instead, he looks to the antebellum, slave owning era as being a culturally advanced one, with the decline coming as poor whites took control after the Civil War. Offered is one of a very small number of copies issued with all edges untrimmed and signed by the author. $1,500.