New Old Items From Manhattan Rare Books
Richard Avedon's photo of Marilyn Monroe, forever young and beautiful.
By Michael Stillman
The Manhattan Rare Book Company has released an email catalogue of its newest items. Manhattan's catalogues cover a variety of fields, from literature to history to science and more. The common thread is that these are significant books. That, and condition, as Manhattan concentrates on exceptional copies of the books they sell. Here are a few of their latest items, but you really need to contact Manhattan to see them all.
Richard Avedon was one America's most noted photographers over the past five decades. He started as a fashion photographer, but spread to varied projects, from major events such as the civil rights movement and fall of the Berlin wall, to the most notable of Beatle posters and album photos. He is perhaps best known for his minimalist photographs, a portrait in front of a blank wall. Offered is Avedon's An Autobiography, one of 250 copies of this 1993 first edition, signed by the author/artist. It contains 284 of his photographs. Avedon divided it into three sections, the illusion of laughter, the illusion of power, and the loss of all illusions. Whatever. What is most important is that it comes with a large, engraver's proof photograph of Marilyn Monroe. The illusion of innocence. Priced at $3,600.
Nine-hundred fifty dollars will buy you one of two very different "firsts." One is John F. Kennedy's Why England Slept. Published in 1940 and taken from Kennedy's senior thesis, it was meant as a follow-up to Churchill's "While England Slept." One of Kennedy's major points is to say that it is inaccurate to lay all of the blame for England's "sleep" on Chamberlain. In a democratic society with a free press, all must share in the responsibility. Perhaps these are important words for people unsatisfied with their government today to recall. The other item available for $950 is the first edition of J.D. Salinger's first published work of fiction. It was a story called "The Young Folks," and it appeared in the March-April 1940 issue of Story magazine. Salinger and Kennedy would take very different paths from their first publications in 1940, but both are now household names.
Maurice Sendak is one of the great children's book illustrators. Perhaps his most famous is one he wrote and illustrated, Where The Wild Things Are. Offered is a 25th anniversary edition from 1988, signed by the author/illustrator. $500. Also available is a book he illustrated, She Loves Me...She Loves Me Not... This one was not written by Sendak but by Robert Keeshan, better known to you as "Captain Kangaroo" (or, if you are really old, like me, as "Clarabell," the clown from Howdy Doody). $1,300.
New Old Items From Manhattan Rare Books
The Heart of the Antarctic is E. H. Shackleton's account of the British Antarctic Expedition he led in 1907-1909. Shackleton never made it to the South Pole. That would be left for Roald Amundsen a few years later, but he came within 97 miles, the farthest south anyone had traveled at the time. Part of their group did succeed in reaching the South Magnetic Pole. Offered is a first edition of this two-volume set published in 1909. $1,700.
Here is another two-volume set: Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, by General and President Ulysses S. Grant. This book was completed in the last days of Grant's life, as, suffering from cancer, he rushed to complete his autobiography so that there would be income for his family after he died. Writing about the surrender of Lee, which finally brought America's Civil War to an end, Grant recounts that he felt no joy: "I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse." $1,300.
The Manhattan Rare Book Company can be found online at www.manhattanrarebooks.com or reached by phone at 212-326-8907.