Literature and a Few Other Items from Thomas Goldwasser Rare Books
By Michael Stillman
Thomas Goldwasser Rare Books has issued their Catalogue 21. The catalogue is untitled, but it contains primarily literary works, generally first or other rare editions, some signed or inscribed. There are also a number of manuscripts and personal letters from literary figures. However, there are some items outside the walls of literature, such as an inscribed photograph of Thomas Edison. Here are a few of the expected, and unexpected items in this latest catalogue from Thomas Goldwasser.
Item 2 is a first edition of one of America's more important novels of the twentieth century, Winesburg, Ohio. It is actually a collection of stories from small town America formed around a central character. Life was not easy in Winesburg in 1919, at least not fictional Winesburg. There is a real-life Winesburg, but it is not the subject of this book. More likely, author Sherwood Anderson's hometown of Clyde was the model, but "Clyde, Ohio," isn't such a good title. This copy, with many first printing points, is signed by Anderson, and may have been his personal copy as it contains the cryptic notation, "And damn the man who borrows this book S.A." Priced at $45,000.
Dorothy Richardson was a pioneering writer, the first English writer to use the form later called "stream-of-consciousness" (Mary Sinclair coined the phrase to describe Richardson's writing). However, that description would not be applicable to the first book to bear Richardson's name: Consumption Doomed. A Lecture on the Cure of Tuberculosis by Vegetarianism delivered to the French Vegetarian Society by Dr. Paul Carton. Translated from the French by D.M. Richardson. Translator was one of Richardson's early jobs, along with dental assistant. Her first literary contribution would come a couple years after this 1912 translation on vegetarianism. Item 130. $500.
Now here's that Edison photo that somehow sneaked into this catalogue. Edison has signed and dated this photograph, July 10, 1910, "To Carlo Wedekind inventor gas turbine." Edison probably appreciated a fellow inventor. Wedekind was indeed an inventor of gas turbines, and took out a couple of patents on them. He was also a banker and an agent for a company that sold turbines, and his knowledge of them in French vessels concerned the French enough to place the German Wedekind under arrest during the First World War. Nevertheless, it does not appear that Wedekind could have been a notably successful inventor, certainly nowhere close to Edison's league, as information about him is scarce. Item 40. $2,500.
Item 64 is another first, the first book published by Zane Grey. Lacking a publisher, he had to pay for the printing himself. It is not a western, as Grey would later become famous for writing, but a biography of an ancestor, Betty Zane, who helped soldiers during the Revolution. The book was published in 1903, and this copy is inscribed to Miss Myra Emmons, an editor and magazine writer. $3,750.