Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2017 Issue

An Arkham House Archive Offered by Booksellers L. W. Currey and John W. Knott

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An Arkham House archive.

L. W. Currey, Inc., and John W. Knott, Jr., Bookseller are offering The David Rajchel Arkham House Archive. Arkham House will not be familiar to everyone, but those who are aficionados of the genre variously called weird fiction, fantasy, horror, even science fiction, and undoubtedly other names as well, probably know it. Those who are serious fans of H. P. Lovecraft in particular will surely know the imprint. It was the major publisher of his works after Lovecraft died almost unknown in 1937. His works had been confined to pulp magazines at the time.

 

Two of Howard Phillips Lovecraft's friends and admirers of his work were Midwest writers August Derleth and Donald Wandrei. They determined to keep Lovecraft's memory alive by forming a publishing house devoted to printing his works. It proved to be a good decision as Lovecraft's reputation has grown substantially in the years since his death, to the point that few writing within the genre would not cite him as a major influence. In 1939, the two men formed and published the first Lovecraft book from Arkham House, named after a fictional town in Massachusetts and the asylum therein, in several of Lovecraft's stories. The publishing house was not located in some major metropolitan city but in Sauk City, Wisconsin, a town with but a few thousand residents even today.

 

In 1941, Arkham branched out to publish a work by someone other than Lovecraft, Derleth himself. Derleth went on to write dozens of books, though he is best known for almost single-handedly keeping Lovecraft and the entire genre he inhabited alive. We may never have heard of Lovecraft but for his efforts. Derleth took over almost all responsibility for Arkham House after the Second World War.

 

Arkham House would go on to give many writers in the weird/science fiction field their starts. Ray Bradbury's first book was published by Arkham House. The same is true of Robert Bloch, known as the author of Psycho. Robert E. Howard, of Conan the Barbarian fame, had one of his earliest works published by Arkham. The same is true for the American debut of horror writer Ramsey Campbell. Meanwhile, Arkham continued to publish the stories and letters of H. P. Lovecraft.

 

While a huge success with its readers, Arkham House was never much of a financial success. Derleth at times had to cover its losses with income from his own writings. When he died in 1971, he never expected the publisher to survive. However his children, primarily his daughter, kept the house alive until her death in 2011. It has since passed on to her children, but no new titles have been issued since.

 

There are two collections of Arkham House archives from the years under August Derleth's management. One is housed at the Wisconsin Historical Society, and this is the other, the David Rajchel Arkham House Archive. This archive contains over 4,000 letters and documents, including a printing proposal for the first Arkham book in 1939. Most of the Historical Society material is from the later years of Derleth's career at Arkham. The Rajchel Archive contains much correspondence from numerous authors with whom Derleth worked, as are many manuscripts, mostly typewritten, submitted to Arkham. There is much in the way of business correspondence between Derleth and his agents, and material pertaining to imprints other than Arkham house with which Derleth was involved. A detailed description of the material in the archive is available from the booksellers.

 

The entire archive is priced at $415,000.

 

L. W. Currey, Inc., may be reached at 518-873-6477 or lloyd@lwcurrey.com. Their website is www.lwcurrey.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750

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