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W. C. Baker Rare Books & Ephemera

PHILIPPE FRANCOIS BELLANGER DIT L'AVEUGLE DU BONHEUR

PHILIPPE FRANCOIS BELLANGER DIT L’AVEUGLE DU BONHEUR, AGE DE 55 ANS NATIF DE PARIS [caption title]

Bellanger, Philippe-François] Engraving, 9 x 7 1/8 inches (plate area). In French. Faint early folds, very faint foxing in lower margin. Near fine. Portrait engraving of Philippe-François Bellanger, the "Lucky Blind Man," "drawn from life at the Conciergerie on the day of his ordeal." Bellanger (ca. 1740-1805) was a Parisian pyrothechnician who lost his sight detonating fireworks. He moved to the Quinze-Vingts hospital for the blind and soon became widely known as a bird trainer and vendor of French National Lottery tickets. At Quinze-Vingts, Bellanger became deeply attached to a young widow named Fanchette whom he had hired to care for him. When Fanchette began receiving marriage proposals from a young curiosities seller named Pinson, Bellanger became enraged at both the couple and Pinson's blind aunt, who supported their engagement, and he began plotting their murder. On February 25, 1805, Bellanger visited Fanchette and Pinson's aunt in the latter's room and sent Fanchette to buy brandy. While she was gone, he placed a log he had secretly brought with him in the blind woman's stove and excused himself upon Fanchette's return. When Pinson arrived 15 minutes later, the room had begun to fill with a dark smoke, and the three noticed the log, removed it from the stove, and discovered that it had been hollowed out and filled with filled with gunpowder, a fireworks component, three bullets, iron nuts, and a Quinze-Vingts uniform button.The log and various exclamations Bellanger had made in the weeks leading up to the events provided more than enough evidence to convict him of attempted murder, and he was sentenced to death by guillotine at the Conciergerie on June 28, 1805. Bellanger's portrait was drawn on this date, and versions of the present engraving based on it were quickly distributed throughout France and beyond. The engraving features the central portrait of Bellanger surrounded by six illustrations, including four scenes from his life (among which are the moment he lost his sight and his fashioning of the explosive log device), and explanations below. This example of the engraving contains a plate number, "No. VI," indicating that it was most likely removed from the 1805 fifteenth volume of the German periodical LONDON UND PARIS, the only other appearance of the print bearing that number that we have located.
SONATA FOR ORGAN WITH STATE TRUMPETS : IN MEMORIAM WILFRID MEYNELL ZOGBAUM 1915-1965 [manuscript title]

SONATA FOR ORGAN WITH STATE TRUMPETS : IN MEMORIAM WILFRID MEYNELL ZOGBAUM 1915-1965 [manuscript title]

McLennan, John Stewart Folio (14 x 11 1/4 inches). [1],1-117 pp. Manuscript sheet music, inscribed and signed on the final page by the composer, "End | London 7 April 1968 | Tyringham-Cleveland-London 1966-1968 | John Stewart McLennan." Occasional manuscript corrections in pencil. In cardboard plastic-comb binder, manuscript paper cover label. Covers moderately worn, nearly all of binding comb perished. Contents toned, especially at edges, else fine. Overall very good. Original holograph musical score for the unpublished SONATA FOR ORGAN, by 20th-century American composer John Stewart McLennan, Jr. (1903-1996). McLennan was the son of the Canadian senator of the same name (1853-1939) and the American writer Grace Seeley Henop Tytus McLennan (1875-1928). He was born in Tyringham, Massachusetts, at Ashintully, his maternal family's estate. He acquired that property in 1937 and lived there for the remainder of his life. After the estate's Georgian-style mansion was destroyed by fire in 1952, McLennan moved into the farmhouse, converted the nearby barn into a music studio, and began designing the vast and elegant gardens for which the property is best known today. Ashintully Gardens has been given in multiple stages to the Trustees of Reservations land trust by McLennan and his wife Katharine since 1977.McLennan studied piano and composition at the Peabody Conservatory and, over the course of his long career, composed chamber and orchestral music, pieces for the piano and organ, songs, and choral works. He received the American Academy of Arts and Letters music award in 1985. The present piece was dedicated to American painter and sculptor Wilfred Zogbaum (1915-1965), to whom he had also dedicated his 1980 TRIPTYCH FOR ORGAN.
DÉCRET DE LA CONVENTION NATIONALE

DÉCRET DE LA CONVENTION NATIONALE, DU 18e. JOUR DE PLUVIÔSE, AN SECOND DE LA RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE, UNE & INDIVISIBLE. QUI NOMME LES MEMBRES DE LA COMMISSION TEMPORAIRE DES ARTS, & DESIGNE LES INVENTAIRES DONT ILS SERONT RESPECTIVEMENT CHARGÉS

French Collections] Small quarto. Bifolium, 4 pp. 3/4-inch of loss at upper corner (with no loss to text). Soft early horizontal fold. Very minor foxing. Very good. The 1794 French Revolutionary decree transferring the former royal collections of scientific, technological, and artistic objects to newly designated state inventories, naming the commissioners of each to form the new "commission temporaire des Arts." Forty-three commissioners and twelve categories of objects are named, offering a highly informative view of cultural authority and material taxonomy at the height of the Revolution. Almost immediately upon the overthrow of the French monarchy in 1792, members of the National Convention embarked upon the urgent and staggering task of protecting the massive royal collections and reorganizing them according to Republican and Enlightenment ideals. Within months, the famous Jardin du Roi and Cabinet d’Histoire Naturelle were newly established as the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, and on August 10, 1793, the anniversary of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s imprisonment, the Louvre palace opened for the first time as a public museum. The following February (Pluviôse II), the National Convention decreed in this document that a temporary commission of arts be established to "inventory and reunite in suitable depositories the books, instruments, machines and other objects of science and arts proper to the public instruction" and assigned forty-three leading scientists, engineers, artists, and craftsmen to the task. Among the commissioners inventorying the collections of natural history, botany, zoology, and mineralogy are the great naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and the veteran gardener of the Jardin du Roi, André Thouin. Other particularly notable names listed include the anatomist Honoré Fragonard, the famous watchmaker Antide Janvier (assigned to "instruments of physics, astronomy, and others"), the important Parisian printer Barrois, and the painter and landscape architect Hubert Robert (here, simply "Hubert"), who had narrowly escaped the guillotine a few months earlier. Additional categories of objects to be inventoried include maps, paintings, and sculptures, machines of war, antiquities and medals, maps, chemical laboratories, musical instruments "ancient, foreign, or the most rare in their perfection among the known and modern," and various others. The present copy of the decree is a departmental printing, containing a printed acknowledgment of the decree by the authorities of the department of Loiret in its capital, Orléans, signed 25 days after the decree was issued, on 13 Ventôse of the second year of the Republic (March 3, 1794).OCLC lists three copies. Scarce.
Portrait Photograph of Robert Creeley and His Dog

Portrait Photograph of Robert Creeley and His Dog, Spot]

Malanga, Gerard 1972. Image size 6 1/4 x 9 inches, sheet size 11x 14 inches, mat size 12 x 14 3/4 inches. Signed and dated "'72" by Gerard Malanga. Loosely mounted on new archival back with clear polyester protective cover. Light soiling and scuffing in mat. Minor soiling in margins of print. Image fine. Portrait of poet Robert White Creeley (1926-2005) with his dog, Spot, in Bolinas, California. Poet, photographer, and archivist Gerard Malanga (born 1943) was Warhol's right-hand man during the most important years of the Factory, where he worked from 1963 to 1970. Among his many collaborations with Warhol was the 1966/67 "Screen Tests" project. The project resulted in the 1967 book, SCREEN TESTS / A DIARY, which prints stills from film portraits of 54 poets, artists, musicians, and others, with poems by Malanga on facing pages. Malanga began pursuing portrait photography more actively in 1969 and left the Factory in 1970 to pursue the work further. Over the next several years, Malanga photographed dozens of people, famous and not famous, associated with the New York avant garde and produced a body of portraits noted for their warmth and a clear rapport between photographer and subject. In an essay published in the 2000 retrospective book, GERARD MALANGA : SCREEN TESTS, PORTRAITS, AND NUDES, Ben Maddow writes, "One feels, in spite of one's hard earned skepticism . on first viewing the labors of Gerard Malanga, a sensation of spontaneous pleasure. Each image is an act of friendship, and conciously so." He quotes Malanga from a letter, "Nothing is faked or was done for any other purpose than as archival remembrance. I believe each person, as it were, gave me their picture" (p. 120).
Portrait Photograph of Rene Ricard]

Portrait Photograph of Rene Ricard]

Malanga, Gerard [ca. early 1970s, printed later]. Image size 10 x 6 3/4 inches, sheet size 14 x 11 inches, mat size 16 x 12 inches. Numbered 1/10 and signed in pencil on the mat by Gerard Malanga. Loosely mounted on new archival back,new archival matting between original mat and print, and clear polyester protective cover. Light soiling and scuffing in mat. Print fine. Portrait of actor, writer, and painter Rene Ricard (1946-2014).Poet, photographer, and archivist Gerard Malanga (born 1943) was Warhol's right-hand man during the most important years of the Factory, where he worked from 1963 to 1970. Among his many collaborations with Warhol was the 1966/67 "Screen Tests" project. The project resulted in the 1967 book, SCREEN TESTS / A DIARY, which prints stills from film portraits of 54 poets, artists, musicians, and others, with poems by Malanga on facing pages. Malanga began pursuing portrait photography more actively in 1969 and left the Factory in 1970 to pursue the work further. Over the next several years, Malanga photographed dozens of people, famous and not famous, associated with the New York avant garde and produced a body of portraits noted for their warmth and a clear rapport between photographer and subject. In an essay published in the 2000 retrospective book, GERARD MALANGA : SCREEN TESTS, PORTRAITS, AND NUDES, Ben Maddow writes, "One feels, in spite of one's hard earned skepticism . on first viewing the labors of Gerard Malanga, a sensation of spontaneous pleasure. Each image is an act of friendship, and conciously so." He quotes Malanga from a letter, "Nothing is faked or was done for any other purpose than as archival remembrance. I believe each person, as it were, gave me their picture" (p. 120).
Portrait Photograph of Robert Duncan]

Portrait Photograph of Robert Duncan]

Malanga, Gerard 1972. Image size 6 1/4 x 9 inches, sheet size 11x 14 inches, mat size 12 x 14 3/4 inches. Signed and dated "'72" by Gerard Malanga. Loosely mounted on new archival back with clear polyester protective cover. Light soiling and scuffing in mat. Minor soiling in margins of print. Image near fine. Portrait of poet Robert Edward Duncan (1919-1988).Poet, photographer, and archivist Gerard Malanga (born 1943) was Warhol's right-hand man during the most important years of the Factory, where he worked from 1963 to 1970. Among his many collaborations with Warhol was the 1966/67 "Screen Tests" project. The project resulted in the 1967 book, SCREEN TESTS / A DIARY, which prints stills from film portraits of 54 poets, artists, musicians, and others, with poems by Malanga on facing pages. Malanga began pursuing portrait photography more actively in 1969 and left the Factory in 1970 to pursue the work further. Over the next several years, Malanga photographed dozens of people, famous and not famous, associated with the New York avant garde and produced a body of portraits noted for their warmth and a clear rapport between photographer and subject. In an essay published in the 2000 retrospective book, GERARD MALANGA : SCREEN TESTS, PORTRAITS, AND NUDES, Ben Maddow writes, "One feels, in spite of one's hard earned skepticism . on first viewing the labors of Gerard Malanga, a sensation of spontaneous pleasure. Each image is an act of friendship, and conciously so." He quotes Malanga from a letter, "Nothing is faked or was done for any other purpose than as archival remembrance. I believe each person, as it were, gave me their picture" (p. 120).
Portrait Photograph of Angus Maclise]

Portrait Photograph of Angus Maclise]

Malanga, Gerard [ca. early 1970s, printed later]. Image size 10 x 6 3/4 inches, sheet size 14 x 11 inches, mat size 16 x 12 inches. Numbered 1/10 and signed in pencil on the mat by Gerard Malanga. Loosely mounted on new archival back,new archival matting between original mat and print, and clear polyester protective cover. 2 1/2-inch crease and light toning in mat. Print near fine. Portrait of Angus Maclise (1938-1979), percussionist, publisher, occultist, and poet. Poet, photographer, and archivist Gerard Malanga (born 1943) was Warhol's right-hand man during the most important years of the Factory, where he worked from 1963 to 1970. Among his many collaborations with Warhol was the 1966/67 "Screen Tests" project. The project resulted in the 1967 book, SCREEN TESTS / A DIARY, which prints stills from film portraits of 54 poets, artists, musicians, and others, with poems by Malanga on facing pages. Malanga began pursuing portrait photography more actively in 1969 and left the Factory in 1970 to pursue the work further. Over the next several years, Malanga photographed dozens of people, famous and not famous, associated with the New York avant garde and produced a body of portraits noted for their warmth and a clear rapport between photographer and subject. In an essay published in the 2000 retrospective book, GERARD MALANGA : SCREEN TESTS, PORTRAITS, AND NUDES, Ben Maddow writes, "One feels, in spite of one's hard earned skepticism . on first viewing the labors of Gerard Malanga, a sensation of spontaneous pleasure. Each image is an act of friendship, and conciously so." He quotes Malanga from a letter, "Nothing is faked or was done for any other purpose than as archival remembrance. I believe each person, as it were, gave me their picture" (p. 120).
Portrait Photograph of Herbert Huncke]

Portrait Photograph of Herbert Huncke]

Malanga, Gerard [ca. early 1970s, printed later]. Image size 10 x 6 3/4 inches, sheet size 14 x 11 inches, mat size 16 x 12 inches. Numbered 1/10 and signed in pencil on the mat by Gerard Malanga. Loosely mounted on new archival back,new archival matting between original mat and print, and clear polyester protective cover. 2 1/2-inch crease and light soiling in mat. Print fine. Portrait of Herbert Edwin Huncke (1915-1996), the drifter, grifter, and writer whose use of the word, "beat," is said to have inspired Jack Kerouac's adoption of the term for the Beat Generation.Poet, photographer, and archivist Gerard Malanga (born 1943) was Warhol's right-hand man during the most important years of the Factory, where he worked from 1963 to 1970. Among his many collaborations with Warhol was the 1966/67 "Screen Tests" project. The project resulted in the 1967 book, SCREEN TESTS / A DIARY, which prints stills from film portraits of 54 poets, artists, musicians, and others, with poems by Malanga on facing pages. Malanga began pursuing portrait photography more actively in 1969 and left the Factory in 1970 to pursue the work further. Over the next several years, Malanga photographed dozens of people, famous and not famous, associated with the New York avant garde and produced a body of portraits noted for their warmth and a clear rapport between photographer and subject. In an essay published in the 2000 retrospective book, GERARD MALANGA : SCREEN TESTS, PORTRAITS, AND NUDES, Ben Maddow writes, "One feels, in spite of one's hard earned skepticism . on first viewing the labors of Gerard Malanga, a sensation of spontaneous pleasure. Each image is an act of friendship, and conciously so." He quotes Malanga from a letter, "Nothing is faked or was done for any other purpose than as archival remembrance. I believe each person, as it were, gave me their picture" (p. 120).
Portrait Photograph of Gerard Malanga with His Father

Portrait Photograph of Gerard Malanga with His Father, Gerardo Malanga]

Malanga, Gerard [1972, printed later]. Image size 10 x 6 3/4 inches, sheet size 14 x 11 inches, mat size 16 x 12 inches. Numbered 1/10 and signed in pencil on the mat by Gerard Malanga. Loosely mounted on new archival back,new archival matting between original mat and print, and clear polyester protective cover. Very minor wear. Near fine. Self-portrait in a mirror of Gerard Malanga with his father, Gerardo Malanga, in Holly Hill, Florida. Poet, photographer, and archivist Gerard Malanga (born 1943) was Warhol's right-hand man during the most important years of the Factory, where he worked from 1963 to 1970. Among his many collaborations with Warhol was the 1966/67 "Screen Tests" project. The project resulted in the 1967 book, SCREEN TESTS / A DIARY, which prints stills from film portraits of 54 poets, artists, musicians, and others, with poems by Malanga on facing pages. Malanga began pursuing portrait photography more actively in 1969 and left the Factory in 1970 to pursue the work further. Over the next several years, Malanga photographed dozens of people, famous and not famous, associated with the New York avant garde and produced a body of portraits noted for their warmth and a clear rapport between photographer and subject. In an essay published in the 2000 retrospective book, GERARD MALANGA : SCREEN TESTS, PORTRAITS, AND NUDES, Ben Maddow writes, "One feels, in spite of one's hard earned skepticism . on first viewing the labors of Gerard Malanga, a sensation of spontaneous pleasure. Each image is an act of friendship, and conciously so." He quotes Malanga from a letter, "Nothing is faked or was done for any other purpose than as archival remembrance. I believe each person, as it were, gave me their picture" (p. 120).
Portrait Photograph of Edwin Denby]

Portrait Photograph of Edwin Denby]

Malanga, Gerard [1970, printed later]. Image size 10 x 6 3/4 inches, sheet size 14 x 11 inches, mat size 16 x 12 inches. Numbered 1/10 and signed in pencil on the mat by Gerard Malanga. Loosely mounted on new archival back,new archival matting between original mat and print, and clear polyester protective cover. Small dents and minor crackling in print, 2 1/2-inch crease and light toning in mat. Very good. Portrait of writer Edwin Denby (1903-1983).Poet, photographer, and archivist Gerard Malanga (born 1943) was Warhol's right-hand man during the most important years of the Factory, where he worked from 1963 to 1970. Among his many collaborations with Warhol was the 1966/67 "Screen Tests" project. The project resulted in the 1967 book, SCREEN TESTS / A DIARY, which prints stills from film portraits of 54 poets, artists, musicians, and others, with poems by Malanga on facing pages. Malanga began pursuing portrait photography more actively in 1969 and left the Factory in 1970 to pursue the work further. Over the next several years, Malanga photographed dozens of people, famous and not famous, associated with the New York avant garde and produced a body of portraits noted for their warmth and a clear rapport between photographer and subject. In an essay published in the 2000 retrospective book, GERARD MALANGA : SCREEN TESTS, PORTRAITS, AND NUDES, Ben Maddow writes, "One feels, in spite of one's hard earned skepticism . on first viewing the labors of Gerard Malanga, a sensation of spontaneous pleasure. Each image is an act of friendship, and conciously so." He quotes Malanga from a letter, "Nothing is faked or was done for any other purpose than as archival remembrance. I believe each person, as it were, gave me their picture" (p. 120).
IN SEARCH OF THE MONKEY GIRL : PHOTOGRAPHS AND TEXT BY RANDAL LEVENSON : STORIES BY SPALDING GRAY [with:] [Autograph letter

IN SEARCH OF THE MONKEY GIRL : PHOTOGRAPHS AND TEXT BY RANDAL LEVENSON : STORIES BY SPALDING GRAY [with:] [Autograph letter, dated Arpil 26, 1995, signed, by Percilla Bejano to Johnny Fox]

Levenson, Randal; Spalding Gray; Percilla Bejano Quarto. 70,[1] pp. including numerous in-text black-and-white photographic images. Publisher’s brown cloth, stamped in gold, in pictorial dust jacket. Inscribed to Johnny Fox on the half-title and signed by the subject of the book’s title, Percilla Bejano: "Wish this book had never been wrote | this is how I feel about it | Percilla." Signed additionally by Grady Stiles, the "Lobster Man," beneath his portrait, and inscribed and signed by Fred "Mephisto" Lulling beneath his: "Johnny, when this was written and this pic. taken, of course it was a pose. I don’t bother to pose anymore, because by now I _am_Mephisto the Master. – Best always, M. 5/2001 By the way – in 1975 I danced the New Year’s Eve night away with Percilla!" Jacket lightly worn and chipped with small tears at extremities. Near fine in a good dust jacket. The only known example of In Search of the Monkey Girl signed by the "Monkey Girl," herself, Percilla Bejano (1911-2001). This copy of the book has been a matter of note for some time, as Bejano refused to sign the book for anyone but her close younger friend, the sword swallower Johnny Fox (1953-2017). Disturbed by what she considered to be the its exploitative nature and her hounding by its authors, her inscription was defiant: "Wish this book had never been wrote ." Percilla Bejano was born in Puerto Rico in 1911 with hypertrichosis, a condition that left with her with hair covering her body and, even as a small child, a beard. When Percilla was a baby, her parents took her to the mainland U.S. to seek medical treatment and met the sideshow owner Karl Lauther, who began exhibiting her at the age of three to help raise funds for the impoverished family. When her father was murdered three years later, Lauther and his wife – according to Percilla's father’s wishes – adopted Percilla and raised her as dedicated and loving parents. In the late 1930s, Percilla met and fell in love with Emmitt Bejano, the "Alligator-Skinned Man," who also had been adopted as a child and raised in the sideshow world. The two eloped in 1938 and performed together for Lauther until 1945, when they moved on to new shows and eventually started their own. In the 1950s, the couple followed the tradition of many fellow circus and sideshow performers and bought a home in Gibsonton, Florida, where they retired in the 1990s. During the late 1970s, Johnny Fox began spending long stretches of time in Gibsonton, hoping to learn stories from and perfect his sword-swallowing act around the "freaks" he had idolized since boyhood. While the resident performers and retirees were famously wary of outsiders, they nevertheless held small shows open to the public and began to allow Fox to perform for free during intermissions. In time, his persistence, sincerity, and talent won over the community, including the elusive Percilla, with whom he developed a close friendship that would last until the end of her life in 2001. A lifelong collector of photographs, relics, books, and ephemera relating to human oddities, Fox opened the Freakatorium / El Museo Loco on the Lower East Side in 1999 – New York City's first dime museum since Hubert's Museum closed 30 years earlier. This bookseller was an employee at the Freakatorium in the early 2000s and learned early on that the present book, thanks to its inscription, was one of Fox’s most treasured possessions. Laid in is a brief, poignant letter to Fox written by Percilla just before the death of Emmitt, the love of her life. The letter describes Emmitt's admission to the hospital on Valentine's Day, subsequent move to a retirement home, and Percilla's heartbreak over separation from the man who for "56 years been my Dear." An important piece of sideshow history, providing insight into the personal life of a beloved performer and linking its last great generation to one of its favorite adopted members.
SIAMESE TWINS THE UNITED BROTHERS

SIAMESE TWINS THE UNITED BROTHERS, CHANG-ENG, VERY RESPECTFULLY ACQUAINT THE LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF [blank] THAT THEY WILL BE IN THAT PLACE ON [blank] AND WILL RECEIVE VISITORS [caption title]

Bunker, Chang and Eng] [ca. 1839]. Broadside, 12 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches. Woodcut illustration in upper portion, text surrounded by ornamental border. Light, even tanning, a bit lighter at the edges where covered by an earlier frame. Very good. Early and scarce promotional broadside for Chang and Eng, the original "Siamese Twins," featuring a handsome woodcut portrait of the pair in dress and scenery evoking their native home.Chang and Eng were born in Siam (present-day Thailand) in 1811, joined at the sternum. They were "discovered" at a young age by a British merchant who spotted them swimming and, after several years, convinced their mother to allow him to hire them for a five-year tour overseas. The brothers left with the merchant and an American sea captain in 1829, never to see Siam or their mother again.Arriving in the U.S. at the age of 17, Chang and Eng entered into a life-long career of exhibition and performance. Developing stage routines involving song, dance, and acrobatics, the brothers toured in the U.S. with a 1860 residency at P. T. Barnum s American Museum and abroad for decades, becoming an international cultural phenomenon. After considerable early financial success, the pair bought a large property in North Carolina, adopted the surname, "Bunker," married a pair of sisters, and, between the four of them, raised 21 children.The broadside includes an early Victorian appeal to"ladies and gentlemen," as the promoters of the Siamese Twins were eager to assure visitors especially women that their sensibilities would not be shocked by viewing the pair. The illustration of the twins thus serves a double purpose both piquing the curiosity of potential viewers and assuring them of the propriety of the event. It is advertised that "Pamphlets containing an historical account of the twins" would be available for sale at the show, as well as engraved and lithographic likenesses. Admission was fifty cents, and there was "no re-admission to the room." The itemwas likely printed toward the end of the twins 1829-1839 first major set of tours and features one of their last depictions in exotic costume. As the American Antiquarian Society catalog notes, the printer, J. M. Elliott, is listed in New York directories at the address contained in the broadside from 1838 to 1845 and issued lithographs of the twins in 1837 and 1839.
RUBYIAT OF ABU-TAYB-AL-MUTANABI

RUBYIAT OF ABU-TAYB-AL-MUTANABI

Al-Mutanabbi; Amin Beder 79 pp., including in-text photographic portrait of the translator. Publisher's black cloth, stamped in gold. Front free endpaper signed and inscribed by the translator: "Presented To. Lt. Selwa Keamy A.N.N.756481 255 General Hospital A.P.O. 772 c/o Postmaster New York from Amin Beder 12-31-45." 1/2-inch chip at tail of spine, text block and spine split one inch at tail between pp. 78 and 79, else very good. The first translation into English of the Rubaiyat of the great Arabic-language poet Abu al-Tayyib al-Mutanabbi, with a preface, biography of al-Mutanabbi, and original poems by the translator. Al-Mutanabbi (ca. 915-965) is one of the Arab world's most lauded and influential poets and the namesake of the famous Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad, long the center of bookselling and literary and intellectual life in that city. The translator, Amin Georges Beder (1876-1955), was born in present-day Lebanon and emigrated to New York at the age of 14. Arriving in the U.S. with little English, he studied vigorously and went on to attend St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, where he graduated in 1899 as class valedictorian with a degree in English. He subsequently founded Amin Beder & Co., a business trading in "Oriental goods" that became a highly successful international firm, eventually specializing in fine women’s clothes and moving with him to Florida in 1929. Beder remained active in Arab culture, Middle Eastern affairs, and the Lebanese diaspora community throughout his life, as is evident in the production of the present book, its preface pointing to American interests in the Arabian peninsula, and its inscription to a Lebanese-American serviceman in a New York hospital on the last day of 1945. Beder's biographical sketch of Al-Mutanabbi traces his colorful life, examines his poetry, and describes him as the "progenitor of Omar Khayyam," who then, as now, was much better known to Western readers. The book concludes with several poems of Beder’s own, including a eulogy to Kahlil Gibran, a 1944 war lament, and a final "Longing for Schweir," his home town.
RUBAIYAT OF AN ACCOUNT OVERDUE

RUBAIYAT OF AN ACCOUNT OVERDUE

Morley, Christopher Small quarto. Single sheet folded twice. [4] pp. Lettered "HC" in contemporary red ink in the colophon. Fine. The "deluxe" edition of a satirical poem composed by Christopher Morley and designed and printed by Lew Ney to help their friend and patron, Frances Steloff, founder and owner of Gotham Book Mart, during a moment of financial insecurity at the store in the mid-1930s. It "has been printed in this limited edition of 350 copies from Inkanabula type, imported from Italy. It was set by hand, and the type has been distributed."In the 1975 "Special Gotham Book Mart Issue" of JOURNAL OF MODERN LITERATURE (Vol. 4, No. 4), Frances Steloff describes the origin of the poem and its publication. One day in 1935, Steloff was dictating correspondence in the back of the shop, unaware that her friend and Gotham Book Mart regular Christopher Morley had stopped by. "He asked why I looked so glum, and I told him that I had been dictating dunning letters with the remark that if I could collect half of the outstanding accounts I could pay my rent and most of my bills. He asked if he could see a few of the letters, and I handed him the carbon copies. He then asked if he could borrow them. I was uneasy and thought that he might turn them over to an attorney, causing my customers embarrassment. He assured me that he just wanted to look them over and would return them on his next visit. In a few days he called up, 'Frances are you there?' Of course I was, and in a few minutes he was also, holding a page of manuscript. He asked excitedly, 'Are you familiar with the meter of the Rubaiyat?' I was, of course, as it had at one time been a favorite. He then read aloud the 'Rubaiyat of Account Overdue.' . . . Delighted with it, I decided to have it printed in two formats: a single page, to be sent with bills to all past due accounts, stating that a deluxe, autographed edition would be forthcoming on receipt of a check by return mail. That not only brought good results but also a problem - our prompt paying customers then felt it was more rewarding to be delinquent" (pp. 791-792). The present example of the poem was printed in its deluxe format but never signed and lettered, "HC" ("hors commerce"), rather than numbered, in the limitation statement. A fine survival from a touching and memorable chapter of the history of Gotham.