Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2017 Issue

An Arkham House Archive Offered by Booksellers L. W. Currey and John W. Knott

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An Arkham House archive.

L. W. Currey, Inc., and John W. Knott, Jr., Bookseller are offering The David Rajchel Arkham House Archive. Arkham House will not be familiar to everyone, but those who are aficionados of the genre variously called weird fiction, fantasy, horror, even science fiction, and undoubtedly other names as well, probably know it. Those who are serious fans of H. P. Lovecraft in particular will surely know the imprint. It was the major publisher of his works after Lovecraft died almost unknown in 1937. His works had been confined to pulp magazines at the time.

 

Two of Howard Phillips Lovecraft's friends and admirers of his work were Midwest writers August Derleth and Donald Wandrei. They determined to keep Lovecraft's memory alive by forming a publishing house devoted to printing his works. It proved to be a good decision as Lovecraft's reputation has grown substantially in the years since his death, to the point that few writing within the genre would not cite him as a major influence. In 1939, the two men formed and published the first Lovecraft book from Arkham House, named after a fictional town in Massachusetts and the asylum therein, in several of Lovecraft's stories. The publishing house was not located in some major metropolitan city but in Sauk City, Wisconsin, a town with but a few thousand residents even today.

 

In 1941, Arkham branched out to publish a work by someone other than Lovecraft, Derleth himself. Derleth went on to write dozens of books, though he is best known for almost single-handedly keeping Lovecraft and the entire genre he inhabited alive. We may never have heard of Lovecraft but for his efforts. Derleth took over almost all responsibility for Arkham House after the Second World War.

 

Arkham House would go on to give many writers in the weird/science fiction field their starts. Ray Bradbury's first book was published by Arkham House. The same is true of Robert Bloch, known as the author of Psycho. Robert E. Howard, of Conan the Barbarian fame, had one of his earliest works published by Arkham. The same is true for the American debut of horror writer Ramsey Campbell. Meanwhile, Arkham continued to publish the stories and letters of H. P. Lovecraft.

 

While a huge success with its readers, Arkham House was never much of a financial success. Derleth at times had to cover its losses with income from his own writings. When he died in 1971, he never expected the publisher to survive. However his children, primarily his daughter, kept the house alive until her death in 2011. It has since passed on to her children, but no new titles have been issued since.

 

There are two collections of Arkham House archives from the years under August Derleth's management. One is housed at the Wisconsin Historical Society, and this is the other, the David Rajchel Arkham House Archive. This archive contains over 4,000 letters and documents, including a printing proposal for the first Arkham book in 1939. Most of the Historical Society material is from the later years of Derleth's career at Arkham. The Rajchel Archive contains much correspondence from numerous authors with whom Derleth worked, as are many manuscripts, mostly typewritten, submitted to Arkham. There is much in the way of business correspondence between Derleth and his agents, and material pertaining to imprints other than Arkham house with which Derleth was involved. A detailed description of the material in the archive is available from the booksellers.

 

The entire archive is priced at $415,000.

 

L. W. Currey, Inc., may be reached at 518-873-6477 or lloyd@lwcurrey.com. Their website is www.lwcurrey.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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