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Manslaughter [Photoplay Edition]

Miller, Alice Duer New York: Grosset & Dunlap. Fair in Good dj. [1930] (c.1921). 1st printing thus (see notes). Hardcover. [book is well-worn, bumped at all corners, with considerable foxing and staining to edges of text block, previous owner's signature in several places as well as his bookplate (generic) and embossed stamp on ffep; the jacket is a bit more presentable, with just some minor paper loss at the extremities and a one-inch split at the top front flap-fold]. (8 B&W film stills) Movie tie-in edition of this popular early 1920s novel, "the story of a woman who thought because she had wealth and beauty she could not go to jail!" This is the Photoplay Edition for the 1930 Paramount film starring Claudette Colbert and Fredric March (misspelled "Frederic" on the dust jacket), NOT the 1922 Paramount film starring Leatrice Joy and Thomas Meighan. It's a source of continual annoyance to me that so many booksellers have no idea how to properly catalog Photoplay Editions, so I offer here a mini-tutorial: (1) Usually, neither the copyright date (in this case 1921) nor the stated printing date (in this case "Seventh Printing, Feb. 1922") is the date that this particular iteration of the book was published: the date of the MOVIE is the date of the book, and with today's resources (specifically a little thing called the IMDb) that date is simple to find; i.e., there's no excuse for anybody to state that *this* (Claudette Colbert-1930-movie) version of the book was published in 1921 or 1922. (This takes its most ludicrous form when a date of, say, 1907 -- a time when feature-length films weren't even being made yet -- is ascribed to a book that's a tie-in with a famous movie from the 1920s.) (2) In those cases -- and there are plenty of them -- when a book was filmed as a silent feature and then again in the early talkies era (ca. 1928-1932), many booksellers fail to ascertain this fact, and therefore fail to clearly indicate *which* movie their book represents. I can only say: you will never encounter these failings at ReadInk. .
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The Low-Down

Shaw, Charles G. New York: Henry Holt and Company. Good. 1928. First Edition. Hardcover. (paper label on front cover; no dust jacket) [VG in external appearance, with some dust-soiling to the top edge and bumping to the upper corners; the front hinge is cracked, however (not separated), and there is an array of small white paper bits adhered to the rear cover (likely remnants from the long-vanished dust jacket having been stuck to the book at some point)]. (caricature sketches) A collection of brief personality snapshots of 24 celebrities -- pretty much a Who's Who of literary and theatrical figures of the day -- each accompanied by a full-page caricature drawing by Peter Arno. It's not really accurate to call these pieces "profiles," as we think of them today, but they are both amusing and insightful nonetheless; essentially, each one is just a rundown of observations about its subject, quotes from them, character traits or tics, etc. (Examples, from the piece on Anita Loos: "She travels with seventeen pieces of luggage, the bulk of which consists of her husband's ginger ale and California massage mud." "She thinks sophistication without sweetness is the deadliest thing in the world." "She is constantly losing bits of her belongings.") Charles G. Shaw (1892-1974) (per Wikipedia) was "a significant figure in American abstract art, [who] enjoyed a varied career as a writer and illustrator, poet, modernist painter, and collector"; during the 1920s, before he turned his attention seriously to art, he had been a freelance writer for various trendy magazines. (Per an acknowledgement note, a number of these pieces had previously appeared in the pages of Vanity Fair, The Bookman, and The New Yorker.) There's probably no better way to illustrate the range of the crowd the author profiled (and probably ran with) than to simply list them: Clarence Darrow, Deems Taylor, Texas Guinan, Gene Tunney, H.L. Mencken, George Jean Nathan, Helen Wills, George Luks (who was among Shaw's art teachers), Ernest Boyd, Ralph Barton (who had illustrated Shaw's first book, "Heart in a Hurricane," published the year before), Lillian Gish, William Beebe, George Gershwin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anita Loos (whose caricature in miniature adorns the book's front cover), Hermann Oelrichs, Paul Manship, Herbert B. Swope, "Michael Strange," Sinclair Lewis, Robert W. Chanler, Adele Astaire, Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr., and Tex Rickard. .
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Imitation of Life [Photoplay Edition]

Hurst, Fannie New York/Chicago: A.L. Burt Company. Poor in Good dj. [1934] (c.1933). First Edition Thus. Hardcover. [book is well-worn, both hinges cracked (but holding), tear at bottom hinge of second ffep, light staining to top of text block, surface deterioration on both covers, numerous indicators of original ownership (see notes), etc.; jacket is edgeworn but presentable, with small tears at several corners, shallow paper loss at top of spine]. (photographic endpapers) Very uncommon edition of Hurst's classic of interracial motherly devotion and sacrifice, a tie-in with the 1934 Universal Pictures film version starring Claudette Colbert. 1934 represented pretty much the last gasp of the original "photoplay edition" format, which had its heyday during the 1920s but continued into the early years of the talkies, until Depression-era economics brought about a lowering of production and design standards -- in which regard the A.L. Burt books had always been a touch lower that the Grosset & Dunlaps anyway. (The Burt books more typically had four movie stills bound in, whereas G&D often had eight, but by 1933 or so both publishers had pretty much dispensed with stills altogether -- sometimes, as in this case, substituting an endpaper montage of movie scenes.) It was around this time (1934) that the original format was abandoned entirely, in favor of a gaggle variations, none of which ever became as dominant or ubiquitous as the 1920s version had been. It's also possible (although this is just a bit of an assumption on my part) that in the declining years of the format, the print runs were smaller, which might account for the relative scarcity of this particular edition. Take note that this copy is excessively festooned with declarations of ownership by one Guy M. Harrington of Macon, Georgia; at various points inside there are an address label, an embossed Notary Public stamp (Mr. Harrington's, from Bibb County), a bookplate (generic, with his named typed in red ink), five examples of his signature (the "M" stood for Marvin, by the way), and various admonitions to "Please Return" (although honestly, it seems like he was probably a little too possessive to ever let the book out of his sight). We can also deduce, from the evidence, that Mr. Harrington lived at at least three different addresses in Macon during the time he owned this book (so which one should it have been returned to?). And as a final little lagniappe, it can be observed that at the bottom corner of the ffep (nearly obscured by the photo-montage) is yet another embossed stamp, that of Brown's Book Store in Macon, no doubt the source of Mr. Harrington's original purchase. (And it might as well be additionally noted, as long as I'm researching all this, that Brown's, operated by one Burr Brown, was on Mulberry St., a mere 7-minute walk from Mr. Harrington's residence at 220 New St.) .
American Cinematographer (July 1977) [cover: STAR WARS]

American Cinematographer (July 1977) [cover: STAR WARS]

(Lightman, Herb A., ed.) Hollywood: ASC Holding Corp.. Very Good+. 1977. (Vol. 58, No. 7) [see notes]. Magazine. [covers lightly rubbed, a bit of wear along spine, minor scarring/remnants from removed subscription label on rear cover, which is also lightly soiled]. (B&W & color photographs, ads) Monthly magazine of the American Society of Cinematographers, a very technically-oriented publication with plenty of information (articles and advertisements) related to the latest equipment, technical processes and production techniques then in use in the Hollywood motion picture industry. This is one of the most sought-after and collectable issues of A.C., due to the substantial content devoted to the production of STAR WARS: in addition to the magazine's usual behind-the-scenes look at the shooting of the film, there are additional articles on its miniature and mechanical special effects (by John Dykstra), its composite and optical photographic effects (by Robert Blalack and Paul Roth), and the use of the Dolby sound system for recording the film (by Ioan Allen); all of these features are profusely illustrated. Also in this issue: an additional "filming of" article about MACARTHUR, incorporating an interview with cinematographer Mario Tosi; Part 2 of the transcript of an American Film Institute seminar with Haskell Wexler; articles on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 50th anniversary, the Camera Assistant Training Program in Hollywood, and the Tenth Motion Picture Seminar of the Northwest. On the technical side, there is a report on a new type of Foley recording stage (and if you have to ask what a Foley stage is, you probably won't be interested in this). (We have numerous other issues of this and other film-related periodicals that are not listed online; please inquire if you have particular needs or wants.) [Bibliographical note: although it's stated on the contents page that this is Volume 58, No. 6, it is, in fact, Volume 58, No. 7 -- A.C. having hewed quite religiously to its monthly January-to-December, issues 1-12 publication schedule since its earliest days.] .
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Anya Kovalchuk

Taber, Clarence Wilbur Chicago: Covici-McGee Co.. Very Good-. 1923. First Edition. Hardcover. (no dust jacket) [moderately worn copy, bumping/fraying at several corners, soiling to cloth near base of spine, rather a bad tear in the page preceding the first page of the text; vintage bookseller's label (Fanny Butcher Books, Chicago) on rear pastedown, another rubber-stamped bookseller's name on front pastedown (Bertrand Smith's Book Store, Long Beach. California)]. Very uncommon novel, set in Chicago, about a war widow whose writer-husband had been killed in action in October 1918, and whose psychological and emotional life subsequently seems to have been almost exclusively devoted to obsessing over his long-ago affair with a Russian immigrant woman named Anya Kovalchuk, and its repercussions for their marriage -- or, more precisely, for her memory of their marriage. If there's such a genre as "Freudian fiction," this novel would be a prime example: the book actually begins with the wife, Jean MacDonald, in hospital suffering from some unspecified "delirium," and attended by a young nurse named Madeleine, who subsequently (upon the lady's recovery and release) becomes Mrs. MacDonald's live-in companion and confidante -- and who, in a soap-opera-worthy plot twist, is eventually revealed to be none other than the daughter of the aforementioned mistress. (Madeleine also works in a book store, and part of the plot involves Jean looking for clues to her own psychological distress in a novel written by her dead husband, posthumously published under a pseudonym; don't ask me to explain this.) Anya Kovalchuk herself (conveniently still living right there in Chicago) comes into the story later on; eventually Madeleine reveals her parentage, and the plot machinations all churn towards a climactic meeting between Jean and Anya. What's kind of fascinating, though, is that after the conclusion of the story proper, along comes a three-page "Publisher's Addendum," purportedly tacked on "at the request of the author," to explain the "psychological history of Jean MacDonald"; this consists of excerpts from an address supposedly delivered to the American Medical Association, under the title "The Freudian Complex and Its Release," by an eminent doctor who just happens to be a prominent character in the book's narrative -- and which we learn, among other things, that the whole tale had been extracted by this doctor from Mrs. MacDonald's somnambulistic "twilight states," and that two of its primary characters were entirely figments of her imagination! The author was a Chicago businessman, editor and publisher, whose greatest success was as the author of "Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary," originally published in 1940 and still in print today, in its 23rd edition (or maybe its 24th, by the time you're reading this). This was apparently his only published work as a novelist -- and given his long interest in medical literature (predating even this book by many years), you have to wonder if he wasn't "novelizing" an actual case history here. .
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Family Reunion

Owen, Janet Curren (pseud. for Helen Gould Curren Owen) New York/London: Harper & Brothers. Near Fine in Very Good+ dj. 1933. First Edition. Hardcover. [nice clean copy with minimal shelfwear, a bit of dust-soiling to top of text block; jacket shows a bit of wear at ends of spine, one short closed tear and some minor diagonal creasing at bottom right corner of front panel]. Female-centric novel about a 70-year-old woman who hosts a skeleton-rattling family reunion, which very definitely revolves around the multiple generations of womenfolk, primarily: "her daughter-in-law Sylvia, dark and fiercely tender, whose whole life away from them is secret, and sweet to her, however precarious; the flippant, sensuous granddaughter Rosamond, who cannot be accompanied by her handsome husband because she no longer lives with him; another granddaughter, Harriet, beautiful and pure and strangely in love with a husband who must be dragged away from his fascinating canvasses; and the precise daughter Beryl, who surely has a counterpart in every family." (The old lady herself, thrice-married and considering a fourth, has a "most surprising secret [which] is dropped into the laps of her amazed family.") This author appears to have published just two novels, this one and "Late Flowering" the following year. The New York Times critic was impressed by the novel, calling its author "an excellent and zestful gossip who manages to amuse us constantly with her dry humor and her tart characterizations." Mrs. Owen, per her jacket bio, was a New Jersey native who had worked as a "copyholder" at the Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia as a teenager, prior to her marriage. .