Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2009 Issue

New Works in Literature and Film from James Pepper Rare Books

Pepper183

The latest from James Pepper Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

James Pepper Rare Books has issued a new catalogue, Catalogue 183, which follows their typical format, but is filled with new material we have not seen before. Literature, film and mystery are their primary subjects, with many of the items being one-of-a-kind, such as manuscripts or inscribed copies of books. There is even an unproduced, unpublished script from the Great Fitzgerald, whose attempts at screenwriting were not as successful as his book writing. Here are few items now available.

Item 53 is that archive of original manuscripts from F. Scott Fitzgerald, his attempt to write a screenplay for the film Madame Curie. A script, based on a biography written by Mme. Currie's daughter Eve, had already been started by Aldous Huxley when MGM put Fitzgerald on the job in late 1938. The plan was for this to be more of a love story about the famed scientist and her husband, Pierre, than a scientific study of their work with radiation. Greta Garbo had already been tabbed to play the leading role. Fitzgerald created 86 pages of script, 13 handwritten in pencil, 73 typewritten but filled with penciled corrections, when the project came to a halt. It had shown the Curries up to the time of their marriage. Evidently MGM and Fitzgerald saw this story differently, so by early 1939, the project was mothballed. The film was eventually released in 1943, but without Garbo in the starring role or Fitzgerald's script in the storyline. Along with the 86-page typescript are two earlier drafts, an early analysis of how Fitzgerald wishes to treat the script, his contract with MGM agreeing to write the script, and a letter to his personal typist where Fitzgerald proclaims, "I am working on the script of Madame Currie which I find very interesting." Priced at $25,000.

Here is another item for Fitzgerald collectors, the 1934 (first edition thus) printing of his The Great Gatsby. This was the first edition to carry Fitzgerald's reflective introduction, with the comment, "What I cut out of it both physically and emotionally would make another novel..." Unfortunately for Fitzgerald, this Modern Library edition was not a success, and Pepper notes that many of the copies were remaindered and have "discontinued title" stamped on the dust jacket. This copy, fortunately, did not suffer that fate. Item 52. $2,000.

Item 87 is a lengthy 1927 letter from H.P. Lovecraft to fellow writer Clark Ashton Smith. Smith, like Lovecraft, wrote about fantasy and horror. So, what did Lovecraft find to be horrible? Here are some words from his letter: "...Los Angeles appears to be a particular centre of emptiness & pretense - a nest of crazy cults & lopsided Babbitry & realtorism out of which nothing good can be expected for many mellowing generations..." Was he right about LA? You be the judge. $4,500.

Here is one of those endearing stories, The Big Love by Mrs. Florence Aadland and Tedd Thomey, published in 1961. It is the memoirs of the swashbuckling, 48-year-old actor Errol Flynn's romance with Mrs. Aadland's 15-year-old daughter Beverly. Pepper shares with us the book's opening line: "There's one thing I want to make clear right off: my baby was a virgin the day she met Errol Flynn." We aren't sure about the evening. This copy is signed by Thomey. Item 54. $200.

Item 96 is a special copy of actor Vincent Price's I Like What I Know - A Visual Autobiography, published in 1959. The book contains a printed dedication to his wife, Mary, along with a handwritten one. While Price was noted for his roles in horror films, in real life he was a connoisseur of fine arts. Mary helped him build his collection, which is described in this book. She also co-wrote a book of recipes with him. In the inscription, Price writes, referring to the printed dedication, "Darling! I mean it and I love you! Ever, Vincent." The Prices were divorced in 1974. $2,000.

James Pepper Rare Books may be reached at 805-963-1025 or pepbooks@aol.com. Their website is www.JamesPepperBooks.com.

You will find many of James Pepper's books listed in "Books For Sale" on this site.
Click here.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
  • <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 54. Fanciful engraving of earth's interior with magma core and errupting volcanoes (1682). $1500 to $1800.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 165. Rare state of Jefferys' influential map of New England in contemporary color (1755). $8000 to $9500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 177. Mouzon's foundation map of the Carolinas (1775). $10000 to $13000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 183. Very rare first state of De Fer's map of the Lower Mississippi Valley (1715). $20000 to $25000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 253. Scarce Scottish edition based on Ellicott's plan of Washington, D.C. (1796). $2400 to $3000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 313. Stunning view of Philadelphia by John Bachmann (1850). $3250 to $4250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 338. Rare Civil War map based on Bucholtz map of Virginia (1862). $9500 to $12000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 667. First map to accurately show Luzon in Philippines (1590). $6000 to $7500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 682. Rare map of Shanghai International Settlement published just after WWI (1918). $7000 to $9000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 738. Coronelli's superb map of the Pacific showing the Island of California (1697) Est. $2400 - $3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 743. A cornerstone piece in the mapping of Australia and New Zealand (1726) Est. $6000 - $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 781. An uncommon signature during Jefferson's Governorship of Virginia (1779) Est. $9500 - $11000
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.

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