Literature, Film, Science Fiction and More from James Pepper Rare Books
By Michael Stillman
James Pepper Rare Books has issued Catalogue 184 of books and ephemera in their fields of specialty, including literature, film, detective and, this time, a large selection of science fiction. Offered are 142 items in these areas, along with a few from other fields such as sports and aviation. Here are a few samples.
We start with an item for collectors of Truman Capote, looking for an early item from the renowned author to complete their collection. Item 15 is the original typescript for This is for Jamie, presumably written in 1941. If the story is unfamiliar even to the serious Capote devotee, the explanation is that this was written for his 11th grade teacher, Catherine Wood. Wood was the first person to fully recognize Capote's writing talents and made it her job to encourage his career. The typescript comes heavily corrected by both Capote and Ms. Wood. It is said to be unusually accomplished for one of Capote's age, an insight into the writing that was to come. Priced at $7,500.
Item 44 is a notable piece of Greta Garbo ephemera. It is a 109-page mimeographed screenplay for The Divine Woman, produced in 1927. It is the story of a poor 19th century French girl who comes to Paris and must choose between a young man and an older producer who offers fortune and fame. The Divine Woman is the only "lost" Garbo film. Only a 9-minute reel, along with the script and various publicity pieces are known to survive. This film came at the height of her silent career, which would soon end with the invention of talking films. $1,350.
For fans of science fiction, item 122 is a copy of The Twilight Zone Companion, inscribed to perhaps the greatest fan the genre has ever known. This is a 1992 second edition of Marc Scott Zicree's show-by-show reference guide to the memorable television show of the 1960s, featuring Rod Serling. Zicree has inscribed this book "To Forry on his 90th birthday - a fellow citizen of the Zone... A man without whom most of the writers in this book would not have been what they were." "Forry" was Forrest J Ackerman, a writer, producer and agent who is best remembered for his support of science fiction and its writers, and his enormous personal collection in the field. Ackerman died in December 2008. By the way, we did not forget the period after the "J" of Ackerman's middle initial. He never used one. $150.
Item 59 is a copy of Gold Dust: A Collection for the Golden Counsels for the Sanctification of Daily Life. The book offers a collection of Christian devotional thoughts, originally published in French, but translated and published for the benefit of Americans in 1880. This copy contains the inscription of one Grace Hall Hemingway of Oak Park, Illinois, later wife of Dr. Clarence Edmonds "Doc Ed" Hemingway, to her mother: "Mama from Grace, July 8th, 1889, Chicago." Grace Hemingway was an accomplished musician and artist. She was a talented opera singer, but settled into a life writing and teaching music from the large home she shared with her physician husband and six children. While an accomplished person, Grace probably would have been lost to history were it not for a momentous event which occurred 10 years and 13 days after she inscribed this book to her mother - the birth of her son, Ernest Hemingway. $350.