AE Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2006 Issue

New Old Items From Manhattan Rare Books

Monroe

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.

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