Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2007 Issue

Cinema, First Editions, and the Eclectic from James Pepper Rare Books

Pepper165

More firsts, cinema, and oddities from James Pepper Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

James Pepper Rare Books
recently issued their Catalogue 165 of Literary First Editions, Mystery and Detective Fiction, Rare Cinema Material, and Assorted Eclectic Offerings. The catalogue is similar in format to others offered by Pepper, but the material is new. For those who collect first editions, mystery and items related to films, here is a whole new group of items to consider. For example...

Item 95 is a rarity, the first edition of the first Mr. Moto mystery by John P. Marquand, No Hero. Mr. Moto was a fictional Japanese secret agent who became popular in a series of films in the late 1930s, with Peter Lorre playing the title role. Moto fell out of favor in America after the bombing of Pearl Harbor (as might be expected), but staged a modest comeback in the 1950s. This copy is inscribed to Hart F. Pantzer, whom I have not been able to identify despite his distinctive name. He and Marquand shared some memories from 7 Landis Street in Cambridge. Pepper notes that while Marquand signed some limited editions, he rarely signed regular trade copies such as this. Priced at $16,500.

You will find lots of items you like in Peppers' catalogue, but there is only one place you can get anything you want (excepting Alice). That, of course, is Alice's Restaurant. Item 4 is the Doubleday first edition screenplay for the film version of Alice's Restaurant, by Venable Herndon and Arthur Penn. The movie, of course, was based on the song of the same title by Arlo Guthrie. It starred Guthrie, Pat Quinn, James Broderick, Tina Chen, and even Arlo's Dad's (Woody Guthrie) old cohort Pete Seeger, appearing as himself (to this day Seeger is still singing his songs and trying to make the world a better place). This 1970 paperback is signed by director, co-writer Penn. $125.

Here is a strange association copy -- Mao Tse-Tung and Marlon Brando. Brando was always interested in politics and causes, so perhaps it is not that surprising he would have owned this copy of the Quotations of Mao Tse-Tung, once one of the most well-read books in the world. This copy contains Brando's bookplate plus a signed letter from his former girlfriend Pat Quinn (who played Alice in the aforementioned film) stating she gave him the book. Brando got anything he wanted at Alice's. Item 15. $1,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.

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