Remembering Maya Angelou

May 29th, 2014

Maya AngelouWith Maya Angelou’s recent passing, we thought we would commemorate the amazing author, poet and role model by writing a bit about her life and works.

Angelou was born in 1928 in Missouri, the child of working-class parents who divorced shortly after she was born. When Angelou was eight, she was sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend. She told her family what had happened and this man was murdered, sending Angelou into a state of depression and disconnect from the world around her. She credits a teacher for helping her to reconnect herself to the world. She says that the teacher introduced her to famous literature and also many female black artists, which would help to shape her life and career.

Maya Angelou, First Edition of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Signed, Rare Edition

First Edition of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Signed by Maya Angelou

As a young woman, Angelou performed in several plays and become involved with the civil rights movement. Maya Angelou’s first book, an autobiography titled I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is her most well known title and chronicles the first few years of her life. This book received critical acclaim and was on the New York Time’s Bestseller List for two years. The amazing and inspirational book has been banned from several schools due to its graphic content. We have a first edition of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings that is signed by Angelou. In her life, Angelou wrote a total of seven autobiographies, making her one of the first famous African American writers to write more than two volumes.

Angelou, a greatly respected figure in society, was given several spectacular opportunities to recite her poetry at historical events. She read On the Pulse of Morning at the inauguration of Bill Clinton on January 20th, 1993. We have several first editions of On the Pulse of Morning. Angelou was also invited to read her poem A Brave and Startling Truth at the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. We have a first edition of A Brave and Startling Truth.

First Edition of Letter to My Daughter, Signed by Maya Angelou, Rare Book

First Edition of A Letter to my Daughter
Signed by Maya Angelou

An excerpt from A Brave and Startling Truth:

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet

Traveling through casual space

Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns

To a destination where all signs tell us

It is possible and imperative that we learn

A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it

To the day of peacemaking

When we release our fingers

From fists of hostility

And allow the pure air to cool our palms

First Edition of On the Pulse of Morning, signed by Maya Angelou, rare

First Edition of On the Pulse of Morning
Signed by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou published her final book, her seventh autobiography titled Mom & Me & Mom in 2013, at the age of 85. This book details her relationship with her mother. We have a first edition of Mom & Me & Mom that is signed by Maya Angelou.

Angelou passed away on May 28, 2014, at her home in Winston-Salem North Carolina. She will be missed greatly by all who were privileged enough to be touched by her works of literature and inspirational way of living life.

To view our entire selection of rare works by Maya Angelou, click here.

William Shakespeare: The Second Folio

May 28th, 2014
Rare Second Shakespeare Folio, Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. London: Printed by Tho. Cotes, for Robert Allot And Are To Be Sold At His Shop, in 1632.

Rare Second Shakespeare Folio, also known as Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies London: Printed by Tho. Cotes, for Robert Allot And Are To Be Sold At His Shop, in 1632.

We carry a rare Second Shakespeare Folio, also known as Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Besides being extremely excited about having this unique book and piece of history, we wanted to share exactly what the Second Folio is and why it is so important.

The Second Shakespeare Folio is essentially the second edition of the First Folio, published nine years after the first in 1632. Besides being the second edition, there are several other distinct differences between the First and Second Folios. People closely connected to those who published the First Folio published the Second Folio. The First Folio had the same title page for all copies of its edition. The Second Folio has each member’s name on a separate title page with information on the purchasers and location of each shop it was sold in.  Our version states, “London: Printed by Tho. Cotes, for Robert Allot And Are To Be Sold At His Shop, in 1632.” It is one of an estimated 200 copies still in existence today.

The Second Folio was also the first place an English Poem of John Milton’s appeared in print, An Epitaph on the Admirable Dramaticke, which was written in 1630. It is thought that the publisher, Thomas Cotes, added this poem to the backside of the title page because John Milton was the son of a successful clerk whose shop was very close to Cotes’ printing shop.

Scholars have noted that the Second Folio contains many new typographical errors from the First Folio, but also corrects many errors that can be found in the first edition. It is important to note that both King Charles I and II owned a copy of the Second Folio. King Charles I edition is now a part of the library at Windsor Castle and King Charles II edition is in the British Museum.

To learn more about our copy of Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, also known as the Second Shakespeare Folio, click here. To view all of our works by Shakespeare, including Midsummer-Night’s Dream and the first quarto edition of Shakespeare’s works, click here.

Midsummer-Night's Dream, William Shakespeare, Rare, Signed by Arthur Rackham

William Shakespeare’s Midsummer-Night’s Dream One of 1,000 copies; Signed by Arthur Rackham.



All About Golf

May 13th, 2014
Jack Nicklaus, 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score, Rare, First Edition

Jack Nicklaus’ 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score 
Signed first edition.

With the spring weather greening up the grass and Father’s Day just around the corner, we thought we’d highlight several of our favorite rare, first edition books all about golf.

The name Jack Nicklaus is synonymous with golf and it’s no surprise that he has written a variety of books about the game. My 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score is an instructional book that teaches readers the basics of improving their golf game, from tips on improving their swings to critical tips on playing the course. We have several signed, first edition copies of this classic book. In Take a Tip from Me, Nicklaus gives clear advice on various golf swings and explains his technique and philosophy of that swing. We also have a signed, first edition of Nicklaus’ Play Better Golf: An Illustrated Guide to Lower Scores. If you’re looking for books memorializing Nicklaus’ playing, try My Most Memorable Shots in the Majors or On & Off the Fairway: A Pictorial Autobiography. To view all of our rare, first edition books by Jack Nicklaus, click here.

A History of Golf in Britain, Rare, First Edition, Signed

A History of Golf in Britain
Rare, signed first edition.

A History of Golf in Britain is a collection of essays from several English writers who were trying to create a definitive history of the game of golf in Great Britain. Bernard Darwin, a famous English Writer and grandson of Charles Darwin, was the general editor of the project and also contributed several essays to the book. One of the most popular books for the golf enthusiast, we have a rare, first edition that is signed by Bernard Darwin on the front free endpaper.

Bernard Darwin, Playing the Like, Rare, First Edition, Signed

Bernard Darwin’s Playing the Like
Rare, signed first edition.

Bernard Darwin, one of the contributers to A History of Golf in Britain, was one of the best English golf writers and published several other books about the sport. Playing the Like is a book of stories, reflections and anecdotes on golf. A must-have for any golf lover, we have a first edition that is signed by the author on the front free endpaper. Our copy of Playing the Like is in excellent condition.

We have several other books about golf that are worthy to note. Golf Is My Game, a book by record-breaking golf player Bobby Jones, is a favorite. We have a first edition copy of this book that is inscribed the author.
Winning Golf by Byron Nelson is an insight into the legendary player’s career and talents in the game of golf. We have a first edition that is inscribed by Byron Nelson on the front endpage.

Whether you are a golf enthusiast or have a loved one who enjoys playing the game, a first edition of any of these historic books is sure to be treasured and kept forever. To view all of our books about golf, click here.

Bobby Jones, Golf is my Game, Rare, Signed, First Edition

Bobby Jones’ Golf Is My Game Rare, signed first edition.

Dick Francis: The Thrill of Horse Racing

May 1st, 2014

Dick FrancisWith the Kentucky Derby just days away, we are getting in the horse racing mood and being rare book enthusiasts, can’t help but think of Dick Francis and his body of work.

Francis, who grew up in Berkshire, England, was a professional jockey and won over 350 races in his accomplished career. He was first jockey to several powerful figures in the English horseracing society. While racing Queen Elizabeth’s horse “Devon Loch” in the 1656 Grand National Race, Francis lost due to the horse falling unexpectedly at the end of the race.

Dick Francis, Complete Set of Novels, First Edition, Signed by the Author

Dick Francis, Complete Set of Novels, First Edition, Signed by the Author

After sustaining an abundance of hard falls and injuries as a jockey, Francis retired and started to write about the pastime that had become his life – horse racing. His first book, The Sport of Queens, was an autobiography and met with much success. After The Sport of Queens came out, Francis became the racing correspondent for a large London newspaper.

Several years after his autobiography was published, Francis published his first fiction novel, Dead Cert. This thriller followed the story of a jockey that should have won a race, but instead was murdered by another jockey. Dead Cert was turned into a film in 1974, starring Scott Antony and Judi Dench.

After the hit of Dead Cert, Dick Francis was hooked on writing thriller novels based around horse racing. He often collaborated with his wife, Margaret Brenchley, crediting her with doing much of the research for his novels. In his long writing career, Francis wrote more than 40 international best-selling novels, all based around horse racing and the characters within that society. Several of his books were made into movies and his character Sid Halley, from five of Francis’ novels, was featured in TV movies.

Francis’ novels were not only best sellers and popular with readers in both England and the United States, but also the recipients of several prestigious awards. In 1999, Dick Francis was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

We have a rare and unique complete set of first edition Dick Francis’ novels, each one signed by the author. This complete set is in fine condition and in fine dust jackets. Whether you’re a horse racing enthusiast or just simply enjoy watching the Kentucky Derby every year, Dick Francis’ thrilling novels are sure to be a great read.

Dick Francis, Complete Set of Novels, First Edition, Signed by the Author

Dick Francis, Complete Set of Novels, First Edition, Signed by the Author

Rare Books, Wine, and Food: The Perfect Pairing

April 28th, 2014
Irma Rombauer, The Joy of Cooking, First Edition, Signed First Edition, Rare Book

First Edition of Irma Rombauer’s The Joy of Cooking Signed by the Author

At Raptis Rare Books, we love to throw parties. This week we had a lovely blind wine tasting, along with a wine and book exchange. Like an aged Cabernet and high quality steak, books about wine and food go together seamlessly and are some of the most popular books to give as gifts for birthdays, anniversaries or other special events. We have several rare books featuring delicious recipes and delightful wines.

Irma Rombauer’s The Joy of Cooking has become the most authoritative cookbook in America, a book that has been passed from generation to generation since its first publication in 1931. We have a first edition from 1931 as well as a first edition from the 1943 edition of the cookbook, which has been signed by Rombauer. Do you know someone graduating from culinary school or want to get your daughter a special gift she will carry with her forever? The Joy of Cooking is the perfect choice and remains a staple in home cooking even in the 21st century.

Another classic and authoritative name in home cooking is Julia Child. Her books The French Chef Cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and The Way to Cook have become household names and permanent fixtures on bookshelves throughout the United States.  We have Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 and 2, which are inscribed by Julia Child and Simone Beck. Both copies are in excellent condition, in dust jackets that show only light wear. This an extremely rare find and the perfect addition to any chef’s collection. Our first edition of The French Chef Cookbook is also signed and inscribed by Julia Child and is in great condition. Our copy of The Way to Cook, which was Child’s second large compilation of recipes after Mastering the Art of French Cooking, is in great condition.

Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, First Edition, Signed First Edition, Rare Book

First Edition of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 & 2, signed by Child and Beck.

Our collection of  rare cookbooks also includes a first edition of The New England Butt’ry Shelf Cookbook, which is signed by the illustrator and inscribed by the author. We also have a first edition of The Classic Italian Cookbook: The Art of Italian Cooking and the Italian Art of Eating that is signed by the author on the title page. Also from Marzella Hazan a first edition of More Classic Italian Cooking.

Pair any of these fine, unique cookbooks with our first edition of Bordeaux: The Definitive Guide for the Wines Produced Since 1961 for a thoughtful gift for the food and wine enthusiast. Looking for a French-themed pair? Collect Mastering the Art of French Cooking with our first edition of The Noble Grapes and the Great Wines of France.

Whether you are a wine or food enthusiast, collecting rare and unique copies of classic cookbooks is a great way to commemorate your interest and also pass your love on to those around you.

Robert Parker, Bordeaux: The Definitive Guide for the Wines Produced Since 1961, First Edition, Rare Book

First Edition of Robert Parker’s Bordeaux: The Definitive Guide for the Wines Produced Since 1961

Food and books

Author Spotlight – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

April 19th, 2014

Gabriel Garcia MarquezKnown as ‘Gabo’ by his affectionate and loyal fans, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s death on April 17th, 2014, is being mourned around the world. Marquez is considered one of the world’s greatest writers and the Columbian writer’s well-known works include novels, short stories, screenplays and articles.

The Nobel Prize winner first gained popularity and respect after publishing his first novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude. In the novel, Marquez touches upon his time growing up in Colombia with his grandparents. Although much of the novel is written based on his own experiences, many critics believe Marquez spoke for rural towns throughout Latin America. One Hundred Years of Solitude led to his winning the Nobel Prize in 1972 and made Marquez a highly respected literary figure in society. We have a rare first edition written in Spanish of the author’s masterpiece, inscribed by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Love in the Time of Cholera is another of Marquez’s most famous novels. Published in 1985, this love story explores the idea of love as a sort of disease and was met with a positive reaction from both readers and critics, being translated into English in 1988 and made into a film in 2007. One of the most quoted of Marquez’s novels, many readers feel as though they can relate the heartache and ‘disease’ he represents through his characters.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera, first edition, rare book

Love in the Time of Cholera, Signed First Edition

An excerpt from the book: “She would defend herself, saying that love, no matter what else it might be, was a natural talent. She would say: You are either born knowing how, or you never know.” An amazing novel, we have a First American Edition of Love in the Time of Cholera that is inscribed and dated by Gabriel Garzia Marquez on the dedication page.

Other famous works of his include Of Love and Other Demons, Autumn of the Patriarch, News of a Kidnapping, Living to Tell the Tale and Memories of My Melancholy Whores.

Marquez was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in 1999 and was also suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. After a recent stay in the hospital shortly before his passing, it is said that Marquez sent this message to the journalists outside of his home: “Are you crazy? Why are you spending so much time here? Go back to work.” It seems as though even in his poor health and older age, Marquez was still carrying the strength and sense of humor the world has grown to love and admire. Many believe Marquez to be the voice of Latin America, illuminating both passion and love in his works, but also the great inequality and violence felt within the culture. He will be greatly missed by all.

To view all of our works by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, click here.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera, Signed First Edition, Rare Book

Love in the Time of Cholera, Signed Limited Edition

Rudyard Kipling’s Time in Vermont

April 9th, 2014

Rudyard Kipling

Last week we had a rare opportunity to travel back in time to meet one of the world’s most beloved English storytellers of all time, Joseph Rudyard Kipling. His fiction works are some of the world’s favorites, especially his collection of short stories titled The Jungle Book. What many don’t know, however, is that Kipling spent a great deal of time in Vermont and built a house there, where he wrote many of his most famous works, including The Jungle Book and Captains Courageous.

Kipling purchased 12 acres of land in Dummerston, Vermont in 1892, to build a house with his American wife. The large house was built to resemble a ship and Kipling gave it the name “Naulakha.” There are several theories as to what Kipling was referencing with this name. It translates to “Jewel Beyond Price” in Hindi and is also the name of the Naulakha Paviolion, a monument in Pakistan. With either meaning of the name, it can be argued that Kipling saw his new house in Vermont as a sacred and priceless retreat.

Kipling's Home in Vermont

Kipling’s Home in Vermont

Kipling wrote about the construction of his Vermont home in his autobiography Something of Myself.

Lavish too was the long open attic, as I realised when too late. Pigeon asked me whether I would have it finished in ash or cherry. Ignorant that I was, I chose ash, and so missed a stretch of perhaps the most satisfying interior wood that is grown. Those were opulent days, when timber was nothing regarded, and the best of cabinet-work could be had for little money.

It is interesting to glimpse into the life of one of the world’s most famous novelists and see the somewhat common frustrations he had while building this beautiful home in the mountains of Vermont.

The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1993. The Landmark Trust owns the property, which offers it for week-long vacation rentals.

The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling, First Edition

The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling, First Edition

If you are a fan of Kipling or just looking for a fun place to stay in Vermont, we highly recommend it. Since we live nearby, we have not done this, but we did spend an evening at the house, learning about its history and listening to his “Just So” stories told to us by a wonderful Kipling impersonator. Hearing stories such as the Elephant’s Child (How the Elephant Got His Trunk) in the same room where he told these tals to his children was like stepping into a different world.

If you would like to read more about Naulakha and some of Kipling’s adventures there, including a visit from author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, there is a nice article in the New York Times entitled Where Kipling Reared Mowgli (in Vermont).

While living in Vermont, Kipling wrote several famous books. He wrote Captains Courageous, a novel about the adventures of a fifteen-year-old boy who is rescued by fisherman off the coast of Newfoundland, which we have a first edition copy of. While in Vermont, Kipling also wrote both editions of The Jungle Book, a famous collection of fables that provide moral instruction. We have a first edition copy of both The Jungle Book and the Second Jungle Book. Kipling also wrote The Seven Seas in Vermont. To view all of the works we have from Rudyard Kipling, click here.

Captains Courageous, First Edition

Captains Courageous, First Edition

Great Works on the Stock Market

March 31st, 2014

Signed, First Edition Copy of
The Stock Market Crash – And After

First Edition copy of The Stock Market Crash - And After by Irving Fisher

There are a select group of financial scholars and leaders that have left behind great literary works, helping us to better understand the stock market and other aspects of the global financial system. We carry several of these rare, historical books about the stock market, written by some of the best in the financial world. These books make a wonderful addition to any financial-enthusiast’s collection.

We carry a first edition copy of Irving Fisher’s The Stock Market Crash – And After. This historical work comes complete with its original dust jacket and includes a signed letter from the author himself, printed on his Yale University Letterhead. Irving Fisher was widely regarded as being the preeminent economic theorist in the United States, from the turn of the 20th Century until his death in 1947. Fisher was the first recipient of a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University in 1891, before embarking upon a distinguished career.

Rare, Signed Copy of
The Battle for Investment Survival

Signed copy of The Battle for Investment Survival by Gerald M. Loeb

Debatably one of the most important books on Wall Street, we have a rare, signed copy of Gerald M. Loeb’s The Battle for Investment Survival that comes with the original dust jacket. Originally written in 1935, The Battle for Investment Survival treats investors to a straightforward account of how to profit–and how to avoid profit loss–in what Loeb would describe as the constant tug-of-war between rising and falling markets. “Most of today’s advisors are telling us to diversify into stocks, bonds, foreign stocks, and perhaps gold, to spread the risk; Loeb tells us to put all our eggs in one basket, and watch the basket” (John Rothchild).

William Peter Hamilton was the fourth editor of the prestigious Wall Street Journal. His book, The Stock Market Barometer, offers a clear and in-depth analysis of the Dow Theory’s underlying principles, its explanation of averages and its remarkable affinity for predictable cycles of panic and prosperity.

First Edition Copy of
The Stock Market Barometer

First Edition copy of The Stock Market Barometer by William Peter Hamilton

More than just a blueprint of the Theory, however, Hamilton’s cogent discussion provides a concise examination of the stock market and its history since 1897, as well as thorough descriptions of the notable trends he observed during a distinguished career. Our first edition copy of this ground-breaking book is in great condition and still in the rare, original dust jacket.

We carry several other notable works about the Stock Market. We have a signed copy of Eugene F. Fama’s The Behavior of Stock Market Prices. Fama is widely recognized as the “father of modern finance” beginning with his groundbreaking Ph.D. thesis. His thesis, which concluded that stock price movements are unpredictable and follow a random walk, was published in the January, 1965 issue of the Journal of Business, entitled “The Behavior of Stock Market Prices.”

First Edition Copy of The Battle for Investment Survival

First Edition Copy of High and Low Financiers by Watson Washburn and Edmund S. De Long

We also have a first edition copy of Watson Washburn’s and Edmund S. De Long’s High and Low Financiers. This fascinating book tells the story of two notorious swindlers between 1929-1930 that were caught abusing the modern stock market.

Whether you’re a financial-enthusiast or are looking for the perfect gift for the one in your life, our rare, first edition books are the perfect choice. To view all of our books on Economics and Politics, click here, or email the owners here.

Mark Twain and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn First Edition Issue Points

March 24th, 2014

Mark TwainSamuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his nom de plume Mark Twain, was one of the most critically acclaimed and popular writers of our time. His vast body of work spans multiple genres. Twain was able to accurately reflect the sensitive social issues of his day in a way that intimately touched his readers and often caused great controversy. For this reason, much of Twain’s work has been restricted throughout the years. Schools across America banned what is arguably his most popular book, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, due to its frequent use of racial epithets. But despite his southern upbringing during the time of slavery, Twain was decidedly not racist. His books were a heartwarming and accurate reflection of his times, and his use of colloquialisms only added authenticity to his writing.

Book collectors have been adding Twain to their assemblage since 1885, when Leon & Brothers, rare book dealers from New York, devoted a catalogue entirely to American authors, which included 13 of Twain’s first edition books. This solidified his place among the literary elite and he was soon flooded with requests for his signature.

When buying a signed copy of any Mark Twain book, it’s especially important to verify the authenticity of the signature. Many of his books include a facsimile of his signature and endorsements, but this is not a true signature. Also, we advise staying away from ‘laid in’ signatures for most books unless there is strong provenance for the autograph.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

First Edition Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in Green Cloth

When collecting first edition copies of Mark Twain books, there are a few things to look for specifically. Check the date on the title page, not the copyright date on the back title page. The two dates should be no more than a year off to validate the edition. Mark Twain’s first book, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, is one of the rarest of Mark Twain works with only 1,000 printed copies. There are a couple of interesting things that will help you determine if your copy is authentic. Page 198 of an 1867 version of the book has an “i” in the word “this” that should be perfect and unbroken. Also, the last line on page 66 includes the word “life” that should likewise be unbroken. All first issue, first printing copies include a “single leaf of ads on cream-yellow paper before the title page,” according to the Collected Books: The Guide to Identification and Values by Allen Ahearn, Patricia Ahearn. Extremely rare editions have the frog on the middle of the front cover, instead of the more common placement of the frog in the left corner.

Identifying a first edition of Huckleberry Finn can often be confusing for collectors, but we hope to guide you in understanding what to look for when purchasing this book. American editions are more desirable than the British edition, as Twain was is an American author, but the British edition actually precedes the American edition by about six months. The first state of the British edition is a red cloth that says “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (the “The” being dropped for the American edition) and has a 32 page catalog at the rear dated October 1884.  It is saddle stitched with staples rather than being sewn.

The first American edition was haphazardly assembled by the printer and bibliographers still do not agree on whether or not there is a priority to various issue points. An estimated 20,000 copies were issued in cloth, most of them being green and about 1 in 20 issued in blue, if requested by the subscriber.  Another 2500 were issued in sheepskin and 500 copies in three-quarter leather.

There are three universally-agreed upon issue points that discern a cloth first edition copy of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from a later edition. The heading for Chapter VI (6) on the first contents page (p.9) reads “Huck Decided to Leave.” In later editions, this was changed to “Huck Decides to Leave.” On page 13, the Illustrations list, “Him and another Man” is incorrectly listed at page 88. On page 57, eleven lines from the bottom, it reads “with the was” which was changed in later editions to “with the saw.”   There are many other issue points that are of interest that can be found in some first printings and not others. This is referred to as being in various ‘states’ of the first edition. The Bibliography of American Literature (BAL) gives other points for the first edition, but there has not been agreement as to priority of these states. The copyright should state 1884, with the title page stating 1885.  Some copies show a cloth under the bust of Twain on the frontispiece and others do not, instead bearing the name of “Karl Gerhardt, Sc.” written on the bust . On page 161, the first edition copy is missing the signature “11″ at the bottom of the page, which can be found on later editions. On page 143, the “l” is missing from the word “Col.” in the illustration of Colonel Grangerford and in line 11, the word “body” has a broken b (missing the top of the letter) that was fixed in later editions. On page 155, some first editions are missing the final five and on other states they have been hand-stamped in, with the final five being slightly larger than the other two numbers. On page 283 of many of the sheep-skin copies, there is a ‘curved fly’ illustration that was found to be offensive. This illustration has never been found in a cloth-bound copy.

"Huck Decided to Leave" - later changed to "Huck Decides to Leave"

“Huck Decided to Leave” – later changed to “Huck Decides to Leave”

"Him and another Man" listed as being on p. 88 in the list of illustrations.

“Him and another Man” listed as being on p. 88 in the list of illustrations.

With the was vs. with the saw

First issue reads “with the was” instead of “with the saw”

Huckleberry Finn First Edition title page

Huckleberry Finn title page

Huckleberry Finn first edition copyright page

Huckleberry Finn first edition copyright page

Mark Twain bust with cloth

Mark Twain bust with cloth

Mark Twain bust without cloth visible

Mark Twain bust without cloth visible

huckleberry finn first edition issue points col. granger


Missing the final "5"

Missing the final “5″

huckleberry finn first edition issue points p.155

Final five slightly larger.

We offer several rare and first edition copies of Mark Twain’s works, including a signed edition of The Writings of Mark Twain, a first edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and a first edition of his nonfiction, The War: An Intimate History 1941-1945.

Mark Twain on books

Author Spotlight – Truman Capote

February 14th, 2014

Truman CapoteThe life of Truman Capote was riddled with glamor, addiction and even murder. His books are a staple among literary classics and Capote believed that real-life events could make better fiction than the imagination could ever dream of. The movie version of his own life was a testament to that. Capote, starring the recently deceased Philip Seymour Hoffman, was a ground-breaking tribute to Capote’s life and the creation of one of his more captivating novels. Hoffman portrayed the troubled author in a riveting, emotional performance. The movie was a critically-acclaimed re-telling of Capote’s journey while writing In Cold Blood, the true story of the gruesome murders of the Clutter family in Kansas. Capote, a drug addict himself, whose death was also partly contributed to intoxicants, could not have been more appropriately cast.

Capote’s personal life made him one of America’s most controversial authors. An open homosexual, drug addict and alcoholic, Capote was a target for the spotlight. His literary genius was almost overshadowed by his social life, but it was Capote’s troubled psyche that made him such a compassionate observer. His ability to capture the human spirit gave his novels instant success.

Capote did not shun the spotlight. Embracing his status among the elite and celebrating the success of In Cold Blood, Capote threw what some call the “Party of the Century,” The Black and White Ball. It was a considered to be “a pinnacle of New York’s social history.” But in 1975, when Capote published the first few chapters of a tell-all book in Esquire magazine detailing the intimate lives of his celebrity friends, he quickly found himself ostracized.

The Grass HarpAs ground-breaking as In Cold Blood was, Capote’s body of work is so large that it would be wrong to try to categorize his works into one genre. Capote is responsible for literary masterpieces such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Other Voices, Other Rooms. His rare and collectible books are in constant demand. When collecting rare Capote books, it’s important to find editions that are in prime condition. This is especially true with Breakfast at Tiffany’s, arguably Capote’s most sought-after title, due to its orange spine which easily fades.

We currently offer a first edition, signed copy of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. A first edition, first state binding edition of The Grass Harp, and a very fine, first edition, signed copy of In Cold Blood.