Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Some treats I'm taking to the Sacramento Rare Book Fair (part 1 of several)

It's the Wednesday before the Wednesday before the Sacramento Rare Book fair.  Usually by the Wednesday right before the fair *most* of the packing is done, the books are sorted - for better or worse - and it's time for me to start yanking apart my book mobile and loading boxes, which means I don't have a great deal of time at that point to sit down and write, or take jpgs, etc.

SO.....  with that in mind, I'm starting a week early and doing something I don't generally do -- toot my own (well, the BOOKS) horn -- and showing off some of the cool items I'll be bringing with me to the book fair.

Here's one of them:

More Goops and How Not to Be them by Gelett Burgess (illustrated by Gelett Burgess)

Burgess, Gelett: MORE GOOPS AND HOW NOT TO BE THEM : A Manual of Manners for Impolite Infants Depicting the Characteristics of Many Naughty and Thoughtless Children with Instructive Illustrations. c1916. Frederick A. Stokes Company. New York. Hardcover.  11th Printing. VG+ / VG-.  B&W Illustrations by Gelett Burgess. Goops.  Early copies such as this are difficult to find with the dust jacket intact.   "Children, although you might expect my manners to be quite correct (for since I fancy I can teach, I ought to practice what I preach), 'T is true that I have often braved my mother's wrath, and misbehaved! And almost every single rule I broke, before I went to school! For that is how I learned the way to teach you etiquette to-day. So when you chance to take a look at all the maxims in the book, you'll see that most of them are true, I found them out, and so will you, for if you are as GOOP derided, you may perhaps reform, as I did!" 

This book is a decently early copy (c1916) of the book, but what makes this copy stand out is the dust jacket.  With children's books of this age / era,   (and frankly, with many books that included dust jackets at this time)  it was par for the course to either take the dust jacket off the book and store it, or most likely, for the owner to chuck it in the circular file without a second thought.  Add to that that the book was meant for children (shudder) who if they are anything like my two, are not the most careful with their personal belongings. (an aside here -- if the books belong to me and my business, they KNOW not to mess with them or treat them badly -- but their own library is, unfortunately, an entirely different case).

So dust jackets on children's books from the turn of the century through 1920's, while not unheard of, are generally unusual.

And this:

Frances Hodgson Burnett: A Little Princess (illustrated by Ethel Franklin Betts)
Burnett, Frances Hodgson : A LITTLE PRINCESS : Being the Whole Story of Sara Crewe Now Told for the First Time. 1905. Charles Scribner's Sons. New york. Hardcover. 1st Edition Thus/ 1st Printing. VG+ / NONE. Color Illustrations by Ethel Franklin Betts. DESCRIPTION: This is a First Edition Thus (the book was originally published in 1888 as Sara Crewe or What Happened at Miss Minchin's.   Illustrated throughout with 12 full color plates by Ethel Franklin Betts. T.E.G (Top Edge Gilt).   Burnett explains the rewriting of the novel thusly: "When I wrote the story of Sara Crewe I guessed that a great deal more had happened at Miss Minchin's than I had had time to find out just then. I knew, of course, that there must have been chapters full of things going on all the time; and when I began to make a play out of the books and called it A Little Princess, I discovered three acts full of things...After the play of A Little Princess was produced in New York, and so many children went to see it and liked Becky and Lottie and Melchisedec, my publishers asked me if I could not write Sara's story over again and put into it all the things and people who had been left out before."  Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett started her writing career before the age of 18 and, due to times of perceived need, continued to write stories and novels throughout her entire life.  When flush, she tended towards the jet-setting life (of her day), traveling between her birth country of England and the US, where she spent much of her married life. She had a fondness for expensive clothing and socializing. When strapped for cash, she would hunker down to her writing and produce another children's story or romantic novel to keep her family going. The results was somewhat mixed, and though most of her work was very popular during her lifetime, it is the children's stories that have captured the imaginations of young girls and boys worldwide and become classics.  

I'll admit that I was one of those girls who fell in love with this book (oh so many ages ago) and imagined what it would be like to live in an attic with no heat, work from dawn to dusk at a back-breaking job and not ever be allowed to touch, much less think about wearing pretty clothes. Of course, when I imagined it, it was dreamily romantic and not starkly realistic with any attendant hunger, cold or child labor issues.  Add in that Shirley Temple's movie made it into a song and dance fest and I was SO there!

These two examples happen to be from the consignment collection I've been mentioning in the last several weeks, but I'll also be including some of the books that I've collected myself in the past several months that will be going to the fair with me.

I'll highlight some more in the next blog entry.

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