Ephemera, Part V

Last week we continued our discussion of collecting various types of Steinbeck ephemera or secondary items by looking at movie memorabilia and interesting editions of Steinbeck books issued by subsequent publishers.  This week we will end this series on how to personalize or color your collection so that it reflects you, your personality, your tastes, and so that your collection is distinguishable from all the other Steinbeck collections.  We have cited a number of examples in each category and will do so again, but note that these examples are a very limited sampling.  There are many, many more options from which to choose.  Go to www.jimbooks.com to see hundreds of them.

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25.  Braley, Berton, Morgan Sails the Caribbean, Macmillan, 1934, hardcover with dust jacket.

26.  Hargrave, John, Summer Time Ends, Bobbs-Merrill, 1935, hardcover with dust jacket.

27.  Gasser, John and Dudley Nichols (editors), The Best Film Plays—1945, Crown, 1946, hardcover with dust jacket.

28.  Capp, Al, The World of Li’l Abner, Farrar, Straus, and Young, 1953, hardcover with dust jacket.

29.  Halsman, Philippe, Philippe Halsman’s Jump Book, Simon and Schuster, 1959, hardcover with dust jacket

30.  Patrick, Ted, The Thinking Dog’s Man, Random House, 1964, hardcover with dust jacket.

All of these items fall into the category of Steinbeck contributions to anthologies or books  by others.  Morgan Sails the Caribbean was Steinbeck’s first contribution to a book.  It is cited as Goldstone & Payne B1.  It may also be the first book containing material about Steinbeck.  It includes Braley’s acknowledgment to Steinbeck and his first book, Cup of Gold.  It also includes Steinbeck’s permission to use certain incidents from that novel in Braley’s book which is a narrative poem.  It also prints a Steinbeck letter to Braley.  As for John Hargrave’s experimental novel, Summer Time Ends, the first issue dust jacket was illustrated and carried no Steinbeck blurb.  But Steinbeck was so enthusiastic about the novel that he wrote to the author, prompting the publisher to produce a new, second issue dust jacket that prominently features Steinbeck’s letter.  The Gasser and Nichols-edited book of screenplays is an under-rated book.  It includes Frank Butler’s screenplay for A Medal for Benny, a film produced in 1945 that was based on a story by Steinbeck and his boyhood friend, Jack Wagner.  It also includes screenplays for such films as The Lost Weekend, Spellbound, Double Indemnity, and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo by writers such as Billy Wilder, Ben Hecht, Raymond Chandler, and Dalton Trumbo.  Steinbeck provided the introduction to Capp’s book of cartoons.  His introduction is also excerpted on the rear jacket panel.  The book was first issued as a Ballantine paperback original, but this hardcover version is by far the more collectible book.  It also falls into a collecting category of its own  —  Ballantine hardcovers.  The Halsman book of photographs is a fun concept book.  It is called The Jump Book because it is filled with photographs of famous people in the act of jumping.  Steinbeck jumps on page 54.  Steinbeck’s contribution to Ted Patrick’s book comes in the form of a letter explaining why he could NOT write an introduction to the book which, of course, the publisher used as an introduction.  Patrick was editor of “Holiday” magazine which often published Steinbeck’s journalism.  They were buddies, so his declining Patrick’s invitation was done tongue-in-cheek.  This non-introduction was also separately printed as a promotional piece that today is a rare, seldom seen Steinbeck “A” item.

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31.  Moore, Harry Thornton, The Novels of John Steinbeck, Normandie House, 1939, hardcover with dust jacket.

32.  Lisca, Peter, The Wide World of John Steinbeck, Rutgers University Press, 1958, hardcover with dust jacket.

33.  Maleska, Eugene T. and Albert Buranelli, 50 American Authors: The Educational Crossword Puzzle Series, Giant Cardinal, 1963, paperback.

34.  Benson, Jackson J., The True Adventures of John Steinbeck, Writer, Viking, 1984, an uncorrected proof issued in wrappers and the hardcover with dust jacket.

35.  Dunbar, Maurice, Collecting Steinbeck, Opuscula Press, 1983, miniature hardcover issued without dust jacket.

Harry Thornton Moore’s book is the first written about Steinbeck.  The Black Cat Press printed 1,000 copies.  There was also a British edition issued in wrappers.  Peter Lisca, a long-time Steinbeck scholar, provided the first full-length critical study of Steinbeck.  The Maleska/Buranelli volume is an obscure item, a crossword puzzle book that is difficult to find without the literary puzzles being filled in.  It carries a biographical note about Steinbeck, plus the Steinbeck crossword puzzle, and a Steinbeck quiz on pages 181-184.  It took Jack Benson 12 years to research and write his massive biography, The True Adventures of John Steinbeck, Writer, which remains the Bible of all Steinbeck biographies..  He also spent another three years to get the book published.  Lawsuits were filed over some seemingly innocuous passages spanning about 20 pages which were eventually extracted from the published trade edition.  However, the proof state of the book includes these disputed passages.  It can be quite expensive.  The Dunbar book is one of a very few miniatures done about Steinbeck.  A previously unpublished photo of Steinbeck is tipped in.  It is one of 250 copies signed by both Dunbar and the publisher.

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