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Main Street Fine Books & Mss

Rumpole a la Carte

Rumpole a la Carte

MORTIMER, John Small 4to. Black cloth with gilt spine lettering, pictorial dust jacket. 246pp. Fine/near fine. Handsome, tight first edition of this mystery in the popular series by the English barrister turned screenwriter and novelist (1923-2009). This unique copy bears seven fine and relevant autograph additions, a veritable "Who's Who" of actors from the British television series "Rumpole of the Bailey": Three on the front flyleaf, another three on that flyleaf verso and one on the facing half-title page. The six on the flyleaf all consist of fine, matching heavy stock 5" X 3" cards, each boldly signed at center and dated at upper right by its signer, neatly tipped one above the next. Front flyleaf, top to bottom: LEO McKERN (1920-2002), who played Horace W. Rumpole, signs hugely in blue fineline and dates it 5 November 1973; MARION MATHIE (1925-2012), second actress to play Rumpole's wife Hilda, a.k.a. "She Who Must Be Obeyed," signs in black ballpoint and dates it 23 July 1988; DAVID YELLAND (born 1947), who played Rumpole's son Nicholas, signs in black ballpoint and dates it 23 February 1980. Flyleaf verso, top to bottom: PETER BOWLES (born 1936), who played High Court judge Sir Guthrie Featherstone, signs in blue fineline and dates it 31 October [1985]; MORAY WATSON (1928-2017), who played Rumpole's friend and fellow barrister George Frobisher, signs in blue fineline and dates it 28 October 1985; LESLIE PHILLIPS (born 1924), who played guest star Boxey Horne, signs in blue ballpoint and dates it 18 December 1984. Facing flyleaf page is an 8½" X 3½" Autograph Note Signed from PETER BLYTHE (1934-2004), who played Head of Chambers and Rumpole's foil Samuel "Soapy Sam" Ballard. On the verso of an admirer's 18 May 1988 note to him, Blythe pens in black fineline a cordial note, signing handsomely and adding "Just about to start a new series of 'Rumpole'." Laid in are six of the original signature transmittal envelopes. An extraordinary, exceptionally unusual copy.
Portrait for a Grandson

Portrait for a Grandson

THOMPSON, E.P. Small 8vo. Brown cloth with black spine lettering, pictorial dust jacket. 188pp. 5 full-page plates. Very good/very good. A handsome and tight first edition of this privately published memoir of an 88-year-old British gent penned by his daughter -- "It tells of his early days in a Yorkshire colliery village. Then of a more varied life in Oxfordshire and Somerset, with more stories from the bench and the hunting field." Boldly inscribed and signed by the author in black ink on front flyleaf to popular American romance novelist Elswyth Thane (1900-84): "For Elswyth Thane / whose books / are a constant / delight to me. / With best wishes / from the author. / Nancy Thompson." She also corrects a humorous typo on title page verso, adding an "e" to change someone's name from "Hugh Sexy" to "Hugh Sexey." Laid in is a meaty Autograph Letter Signed from Thompson to Thane, 4pp (lettersheet), 4½" X 7", Surrey, U.K., 18 July 1953. Fine. On her imprinted stationery, Thompson thanks Thane for her letter and notes, "I would like to tell you with what pleasure I have followed the fortunes of your delightful Williamsburg folk. The last one 'This Was Tomorrow' I hated to leave at the last page. You must get on now with the next. Your people & dialogue always seem so real & convincing -- & they dwell in ones mind long after. Thank you for the pleasure." She goes on to chat about the dwindling market for short stories and the Writer's Forum in London to which she belongs, then transmits this book: "I wrote this book. in 1945 & as no publishers with the prevailing paper quota, would undertake to produce it in under five years & I was anxious for it to be at once available for my Father's contemporaries & family, I sold my car (& have never had another!) to pay for having 300 copies published privately. I still feel that in a cheaper edition it might have interest as a period piece." Interesting!
Custom-Book and Directory for the Religious Sisters of the Visitation of Holy Mary

Custom-Book and Directory for the Religious Sisters of the Visitation of Holy Mary

ORDER OF THE VISITATION OF HOLY MARY) Small 4to. Quarter black calf with gilt spine lettering and black pebble-grain cloth. x, 130pp, pp. 211-307, 2pp, 110pp, 14pp; pp. 131-210. 2 engraved plates, 2 foldout plates. Very good to near fine. Tight, handsome first edition of this how-to manual for the enclosed Roman Catholic women's order founded in 1610 by St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Francis de Chantal in Annecy, France -- here "Translated from the Edition Printed at Annecy, 1850." This fascinating handbook runs through every facet of the order that emphasizes Mary's mission of mercy to visit her cousin Elizabeth, stressing humility, obedience, poverty and patience but not so austere as other orders that require fasting and middle-of-night canonical chanting. Also interesting is the careful editing of this copy by later generations -- it was apparently a work in progress. Pages 131-210 were never bound in, and a neatly pencilled comment on page 211 notes, "The Directory with explanations for the Office has been taken out of this Book" -- although this offending section was retained intact separately and these 80 pages bound in stiff archival wrapper accompany this volume. Elsewhere (in 110pp section near the close) a neatly typed 4¼" X 7" slip apparently prepared in May 1913 has been neatly tipped in, noting that "According to the orders of our Most Rev. Archbishop, James J. Keane. the following are the only feasts on which we are permitted to sing the Office" and listing 12 religious holidays. The 14pp section at rear was inserted later, after binding, and consists of "Explanation of the General Plans of the Monasteries of the Visitation of Holy Mary." Front flyleaf notes "This book belongs to the Monastery of the Visitation of Holy Mary of Dubuque." Most unusual and very scarce, especially in such sharp condition.