The Summer Dancers – Clyde Miller (Macmillan, 1961)

There are many kinds of endings. There’s the good or the bad. The happy or the sad, and of course also any combination of the above. There are endings that leave you satisfied and there’s the ones that leave you frustrated and angry. The ending to Lost is a good example of the latter, i still can’t believe i wasted six years on that show and countless hours on nerdy forums and i still get mad when thinking about it today… But that’s not really relevant here. The point is that eventually everything will come to an end. And how to best write the ending for the story here? Sounds a bit over dramatic… it’s not like it’s the end of the blog, but in a way it is the end of a long and exciting journey. But maybe i should save the thoughts on that for a later post and just get to the point.

When trying to read up on these books and things i will sometimes start planning out the basics for a future post in my head even though i haven’t found the actual item yet. I’m starting to get sick of writing that i thought i would never get to make this or that post, so i can imagine that it must be equally boring to read about it… But here it comes it again. And this time it’s true. I had basically come to terms with never getting a hold of this book and that i would forever be stuck with having that one small, but still HUGE, hole in my collection. Without question this is one of the absolutely most rare dust jackets and i figured that with the ongoing exhibition and more and more people finding them interesting that even if one did show up somewhere it would either be ridiculously priced or show up on ebay where there is always that someone who has a little more money than you do. So yeah… all this considered i didn’t really start making plans for this post ahead of time.

I really, REALLY wish there was some spectacular and thrilling story behind all this as it would make for a much better post and endning. But sadly there is nothing like that to be told. There could have been though. The few but avid readers might remember this post from late last year where i wrote about an old article in something called The Flyleaf that i happened to stumble upon and that had a very familiar cover. The magazine/monthly leaflet or whatever was put together by something called Friends of the Fondren Library and through them i was actually able to contact the guy who had written the article. He was now retired and had developed other collecting-interests than Warhol and his dust jackets. If i remember correct he had found about seven or eight of them, and he had done so without any help from the internet so i must admit it’s a pretty impressing achievement. Anyways… for some reason i initially didn’t think about asking him if he would ever consider selling his copy of the book. At the time i was also looking for a number of other jackets than just this one and i thought it was great enough to actually find a guy who had it, and that if i would ever be in the situation where this was the only hole to fill i would start pestering him then. And of couse that time came. And i don’t really know how to define “pester” but i did send him more than a couple of emails. My final offer or whatever was of course money together with my spare copies of The Strange Case of Lucile Cléry and the Corgi edition of The Immortal. Oddly enough i never heard back. I don’t feel i was overly pushy in any way and he seemed genuinely interested in talking about these old books and to someone who now shared one of his old interests and who dug up his old article, so yeah… i don’t really know what happened. And it doesn’t really matter, but it would have been a somewhat better story than what actually went down.

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Another thing that would have made for a better story or ending would have been if my crazy quest to contact hundreds of book sellers would have been successful. The final number ended up being more than eight hundred. And even though a surprisingly high number of these replied none of them responded with anything but no’s, sorry’s and unfortunately’s. The only thing i learned from this is that it was highly demotivating and i don’t intend to ever embark on such an endeavour ever again.

So… let’s get to the actual ending however non exciting it may be. If nothing else it made me feel a little bit like Nostradamus. A little over two months ago i wrote this post before i started with all the emails which ended with “most likely what will happen is that i’ll send out +500 emails and shortly after that the book will just appear in my wish list”. And even though i was way off when it comes to the number of emails this is basically exactly what happened. Sometime at the end of september it was just there… not on Amazon but on ebay of all places. As i’ve also ranted about in the past i was so sick of seeing nothing but my little ponies all over the place but this time there was actually a blue little dot thing next to the saved search for “summer dancers miller”. Before this i had also noticed that copies of Pistols for Two and The Butterfly Tree were also on ebay all of a sudden so even before i checked out this new mystery listing i had a feeling it would in fact be for the book this time. And it was! It may sound dorky but i almost couldn’t believe my eyes. I don’t really have anything to compare this feeling to… never before have i tried so hard to find something and to just see it available somewhere was pretty amazing. I have an old friend who for some reason is into bird-watching and once upon a time we were set to watch a fotboll match at a pub somewhere after work and i was sitting there waiting, waiting and waiting… eventually he calls and says that he has to cancel because there had been a sighting of a rare bird of some kind way up north. Way. Up. North. Almost 800km or about 500 milers to be exact, so he decides to call in sick the next day and drive all through the night just to maybe, MAYBE be able to see this bird… This was many years ago now and although i didn’t understand what the hell he was thinking or doing at the time i think i have a better sense of understanding now. But it’s not an easy feeling to explain to someone who hasn’t been there.

Anyways, any inital excitment i felt was, as always, quickly turned into anxiety. How the hell was i going to be able to win this auction, and what would it end up costing me… Considering that this was the first and only time i had ever seen this anywhere i decided early on that i would try and get it no matter what. Well, maybe not exactly no matter what but i would at least be prepared to bid more for this single book than what i had basically payed for all the others combined. I’m still not much of a great strategic when it comes to ebay but i think i did fairly good this time. I did however place an early bid but once i got trumped i actually decided to compose myself and wait until the end of the auction and not continue to help drive the price up early on. I remember that the auction ended on a thursday night, and even though it was far from in the middle of the night i remember i still set one or two alarm clocks which was a good thing since i fell asleap early. I ended up going to war with primarily one other guy, and he does not appear to be no Sun Tzu either. He hit the button more than 30 times raising only the minimum bid each time, and for each bid i think my heart rate went up by a couple of beats per minute so needless to say it was quite high at the end… As this was going on i was of course also terrified that the late, sniping rich guy would appear and spoil the day. And he did appear, but for once he didn’t spoil the day! Even though i ended up paying waaaaay more than i have done for any of the other twenty dust jackets, well… that’s excluding The Butterfly Tree of course, i’m still very happy with what i ended up paying and i think i got a fantastic deal in the end! I know i’ve said it hundreds of times but i really have been trying to put this all together on a pretty tight budget but what can you do… i guess the holes in your pockets gets bigger the smaller the same holes gets in your collection, if that makes any sense. Perhaps i was a little bit lucky the seller (who is a great and friendly guy from France) had a couple of other rare jackets listed and ending at the same time thus forcing buyers to chose between all these great books. Or perhaps it’s just me who has to beg and chose… Whatever the case i’m absolutely thrilled about the way this all played out.

Like a selfish douchebag i’ve also tried not to mention this book in any of the previous posts thinking this would increase my chances to keep it under the radar or whatver… I doubt this was called for though, this book is mentioned and shown in at least one of the articles on the dust jackets that i always mention and it should have been obvious which one i was stuck looking for in the end for someone willing to put in a little time and effort. I still haven’t forgotten about the previous little “sabotage attempt” though so maybe it wasn’t stupid to try and keep it on the down low after all. But seeing as it all ended up going down out in the open on ebay it didn’t really matter when push comes to shove.

So… what is this thing that i have been so childishly excited about? Well, if the title of the post didn’t give it all away this is of course the absolutely spectacular dust jacket for the book titled The Summer Dancers written by Clyde Miller and published by Macmillan in 1961. I say spectacular because there is really no other word. This is without question one the best looking jackets and as said it’s also one of the absolute rarest. I love this for more reasons than one but i particularly love how is uses the entire jacket – both front and back. Well, maybe the “entire” jacket is a bit of an exaggeration but even if it’s just by a little bit over the spine and on to the back cover i think it’s such a wonderful little detail. I also love how the remainder of the back cover has been left white and not been cluttered with short little excerpts from reviews or a synopsis kind of thing. The only other dust jacket to feature this kind of a back/front design is Borderline Ballads. One might argue that The Adventures of Maud Noakes also makes good use of the back cover in similar fashion and it does, but at the same time it’s also just the same stamped faces and not really the same kind of “continued” design as these two.

On to Clyde Miller… and as usual this will be short and sweet. Record breaking short to be exact – i’ve not been able to find ANYTHING at all about him. Again, the few but dedicated readers of this blog will have learned that the “Warhol dust jacket authors” were hardly Nobel Prize winning material but it’s still a bit unusual to not be able to find anything whatsoever… The small contribution i can make comes from the inside of the back flap where there is a little bit of a biography kind of thing and some short additional information:

“Clyde Miller was born in 1926 in Louisiana. His short novel The Gentle Season attracted favorable critical attention when it appeared a few years ago. He has taught at the University of Florida, has frequently traveled the lenght of the East Coast, and now lives and writes in New York City”.

Not much of use there. Being born in 1926 i guess he could actually still be alive, but this will NOT mean the beginning of a new stalking endeavour. And at least there is a lead to Florida… And that lead made me find a guy namned Gene Baro who apparently, among many other things i’m sure, organized over 150 art exhibitions, was a consulting curator of prints and drawings at the Brooklyn Museum, senior editor of Art International magazine in Lugano (Switzerland) and a former director of the Corcoran Gallery in Washington. To top this all of he was also a member of the graduate faculty in the history of art at Williams College in Williamstown which coincidentally held the Warhol by the Book exhibition from March 7 to August 16. I’ve just copy/pasted all this from this site so who ever might be interested can find more information there. My main interest in this guy though is that apparently he was good friends with Clyde Miller, you can learn that by checking out this site which is another collection of these “Person X papers”. The same kind of thing that i found on Robert E. Bell, run a search for “Miller” and you’ll find quite a bit of correspondence between Clyde Miller and this Gene Baro. Among A TON of other things there are of couple of at least remotely interesting lines. For exampel:

Miller, Clyde. Letters to Gene Baro, 1960 – Neiswander, Rosemary. Typed transcript of a very unfavorable review [of Summer Dancers] Library Journal, December 1, 1960, with ANS “Clyde”.

TLS to Gene Baro. 1961 May 2 [New York] 2 p. Does not know what happened to Baro’s books, which were taken from Cross Creek house to the UF library. Comments about the condition of Baro, who apparently has been injured in an automobile accident. He is moving into Herschel’ apartment. Making final revisions to Summer Dancers [published 1961] He does not think it will be successful, but can do no more.

Miller, Clyde. The Summer Dancers. Uncorrected proofs. 1961.

I guess that last one is perhaps of little interest, but i find it somewhat funny and interesting that he appears to have not been fully satisfied with his work himself. To bad there is no mention of Warhol among all that stuff. Oh… one last thing. He actually did publish a couple of other things. I’m not sure these would be called “books” or whatever but for starters there is the title that is mentioned on the back flap – The Gentle Season. This is part of some kind of collection of novels and can be found cheap on Amazon or Abebooks, sadly it does not come with a previously unknown Warhol jacket. There are also some other published things here, but good luck trying to find images of these…

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OK, so that’s that about Clyde Miller and moving on to the actual cover design.To the best of my knowledge the drawing first appeared in the self published book In the Bottom of My Garden from 1956. I’m actually not sure how many drawings are in this book but if this site shows them all that would mean there are a total of 20 drawings. Now and then i think you’ll also see some of these sold individually at Christie’s and then i believe they are sometimes refered to as “plates”, i don’t really know what this means… But anyways, there was a veeeeeery cool auction for one of these just a couple of days ago that Guy Minnebach told me about featuring a very familar drawing… Sadly i couldn’t convince my better half to cut a couple of thousand dollars out of the house budget. Maybe something like this would better suit my budget, but that thing is of course a lot less cool. But after all, ’tis the season… But my of my, what i wouldn’t give to someday be able to get one of these orignal drawings related to one of the dust jackets. Someday…

I wasn’t sure where to squeeze this next thing in but i guess here is as good a place as any. I’ve also found an alternative cover at The national Galleries of Scotland website, this also features a drawing from the previously mentioned book In the Bottom of My Garden and although it looks great as well i think someone made the right call and went with the design that ended up on the actual jacket.

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Throw some kind of art history test on the desk in front of me and i would most definately hand it in with a terrible score. But i know a little bit about Andy Warhol, and from what i’ve learned these angels, fairies and/or cupids was a common theme early on in his career. When it comes to the dust jackets this is of course obvious on the cover for Three More Novels as well as on the alternative and somewhat finished cover for Borderline Ballads. I don’t know anything about two these other two guys though – Raphael and Marcantonio Raimondi. I had of couse heard the name Raphael but, perhaps embarrassing, i doubt i would be able to single out one of his paintings in a line up. And that other guy i had never heard about at all but apparently he is a key figure in the rise of the reproductive print in the early 1500’s… So why are these guys important here? Well, even though i’ve been unable to find to orignal design by Raphael i’ve found plenty of works that have words like “after” and “follower” attached to them. I don’t know how these things work but what i’m trying to get to is that it’s blatently obvious were Warhol got the inspiration for this drawing from. And that’s from a work titled (i think) “Dance of Cupids” by Marcantonio Raimondi after Raphael. So yeah, to the best of my knowledge this “after” thing means the original was done my Raphael and then reproduced by Marcantonio Raimondi… There are quite a few of these with minor differences and you can get a high resolution image of the most obvious basis for the design here. As mentioned there are also others, like this one, credited to Follower of Marcantonio Raimondi, i guess this means pretty much the same thing…

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Phew, i guess that about sums it up… And to follow standard protocol i always wait until the end to say something about the condition. And in this case i think it’s absolutely fantastic! I would have settled for a copy of this book in any condition whatsoever, torn, taped, barely in one piece… it wouldn’t have mattered. So to be able to get a hold of one in as great shape as this is nothing but fantastic. There are some small tears and tiny smudges, but what the hell. Considering how rare and old these books are i’m surprised some made it through in one piece at all. Oh, this is also one of the books that give credit to Andrew Warhol, the other being Three More Novels if i remember correct. The last couple of days have been exciting times when it comes to these books and ebay with a lot of the rare ones being sold lately. The interest in this collection of mine from my better half has been non-existent but when i showed her what they were selling for and told what i had payed for most of them she all of a sudden became a little more interested and we sat down and looked at them all. And it’s pretty cool that a lot of the most hard to find ones are in really good shape. But i don’t understand that some people (at least one particular woman) need to see dollar signs on a screen before they raise an eyebrow and become interested in even having a look at all these great looking books….

In a way this is also the end. And it’s a good, happy and in a way sad ending all rolled together into one. Even though there are still a number of books with Warhol’s on the cover, all from the 80’s i believe, that i still need to find this post concludes what has been a two and half year something long journey towards completing what i intend to title my privately published book someday – Andy Warhol: The Dust Jackets, 1951-1963. I plan on doing some kind of summary of this whole thing later on so i’ll leave it at that for now. But it’s a pretty cool feeling to lay them all on the floor and see a complete collection. I also think it’s pretty great that this blog has now become a decent source of information on all these, at least it comes with images of them all. Of course there is also the great book Reading Andy Warhol, but if i remember correct that doesn’t feature The Strange Case of Lucile Cléry, so at least there is some extra spice here… And i of course haven’t given up on finding that previously unknown jacket so i’m sure i will find plenty of things to waste my time on during the coming year. I also plan on rewriting/revisiting some of my previous book posts, many of the early ones are embarrassingly short and really need to be done right. And then there is of course also the AIGA book… And magazines… And record covers… Maybe i should see this as a way to finally get to focus more on those again. Anyways, time to wrap things up for real. Happy, thrilled, excited, exhausted and in a way also a bit sad…

The end.

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The Butterfly Tree – Robert E. Bell (Lippincott, 1959)

Time is slowly working it’s way towards the end of the year and i really need to get a move on if i want to cover all the years finds before it’s time for the usual yearly summary kind of thing. But my oh my… How and where to start with this? I actually went old school yesterday and sat down with a good old pen and paper trying to piece together the timeline or whatever going from the knowledge of it’s existence to the successful acquisition. I’m not sure it made me any wiser though, there have been so many twists and turns and crazy attempts and endeavors involved in trying to get a hold of this book that it’s hard to remember them all. But i’ll do my best…

I’ve probably mentioned this a couple of times already but when i started my collection of dust jackets what i had in front of me was basically a blank piece of paper. But luckily a couple of people had already done the legwork so i didn’t have to go and completely invent the wheel from scratch. I also think i’ve already mentioned these sources more than once but they are certainly worthy of yet another mention and in the beginning my bibles were the two acticles in Rare Books Digest and Polari Magazine. Even though these are an excellent starting point none of them (not even when combined) are complete and for example the book of interest here is not mentioned in either of the articles. So how did i learn this book existed? Well, i’m pretty sure this is another thing i’ve already mentioned before but (as usual) i owe a great deal of thanks to Guy Minnebach and his extensive lists of books and magazines. So i guess that completed phase one – i knew the book existed. But i still didn’t know what the cover looked like as searches for anything relating to the title, publisher or author didn’t bring up anything useful at all. Luckily Guy sent me some images later on, not that this brought me any closer to finding it but then i at least knew what to look for, both in words and image so to speak…

Had i been a less patient and/or wealthier man this whole thing could have been over in a lot less time than two-something-years. Early on i found the book on Amazon for $500 or something like that and i’m pretty sure but not entirely sure that the same copy is still on there now. The few but avid readers of this blog will have learned by now that prices like that are generally of little interest to me even though i’ve been forced to change my ways a little bit as time have moved on. At the time i didn’t pay much attention to this listing though, if it is in fact the same one as back then i did manage to get the price down by $50 or so but it was still nothing nothing that was ever going to happen. So as with a lot of other books i was forced to play the extremely boring and tedious waiting game.However, there was this one thing that surfaced in connection with this book that actually called for action instead of just waiting, and that thing was a book titled Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree written by Mary Lois Timbes Adshead. As i was going along with my daily and obsessive image searching this book kept popping up and eventually i also noticed that Robert E. Bell was actually noted as the (co-)author on this book as well. Once i finally got that fact in my thick head i put two and two together and figured that Mary Lois obviously must have known Robert E. Bell in one way or another. Luckily she had a couple of blogs and i was able to get a hold of her email adress and sent out a shot in the dark email with questions and whatnot, of course i was hoping that she would have a whole box of old and prestine butterflies lying around and that i would be able to pick up a cheap copy. Unfortunately she didn’t. But what followed was a fantastic and nowadays very rarely seen commitment and effort on her part in trying to help me in this quest. She has really gone out of her way with this thing, asking friends, and friends of friends, checking used book stores and asking the owners to keep an eye out and if i remember correct even trying to contact Bell’s brother… Quite remarkable to put in such an effort for someone you don’t know in any other way than as a name in an email. Even though she was unable to track the book down for me i am forever grateful for these efforts, thank you so much!

It was also by advice from Mary Lois that i found the newspaper The Fairhope Courier. The word “Fairhope” comes up a lot when it comes to this book and maybe i should have gone into it a little bit more earlier but it’s really not THAT important. Anyways, at first i had no idea what is was. Was it a place or just some… thing? I’ve now learned that it is in fact a city in Alabama and to keep the biography thing short and sweet this is where Robert E. Bell spent his summers as a child and as far as i know also where he lived for a time later on in life. Most importantly it’s also the city on which the fictual town of Moss Bayou in his book is based upon. For some reason i got the idea that the book would have been sold primarily in Alabama and the surrounding states. I’m not really sure why i got this idea but i figured that since it was far from a bestseller it would have generated the most buzz and most interest among local people, thus making local book stores a good bet for finding a used copy. Turns out this wasn’t the case, i got a few replies from people saying they had it but all of these were for the reprint published by University Alabama Press.

Anyways, back to the Fairhope Courier… I had already played around with the idea of placing an ad in some local newspaper based on the assumption that the book is quite old and most people who in 2015 read newspapers made of actual paper are also… well, old people. I never did anything with this idea though, seemed like to much hassle to place and pay for an ad from halfway around the world. But then this site/magazine came along and all of a sudden the whole thing seemed much easier. After a couple of emails back and forth i ended up with an ad placed on the site,  this was sometime back in January/February and i also posted about this endeavour in this old post. I can’t say i expected much from this but as always i figured it couldn’t hurt. What i didn’t count on though was to immediately get sabotaged from beyond the grave. In a matter of days after my post Andy Warhol himself made a comment on the ad post asking “Is that the copy that has a dust jacket drawn by Andy Warhol and is extremely rare?”.

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Maybe i’ve been incredibly lucky but everyone i’ve ever come in contact with since i started my collections have been nothing but helpful, friendly and very forthcoming. So i guess this thing and this guy is the exception that confirms the rule… This is the kind of douchebag who before class in 7th grade would go and tell the teacher i just spent resess copying some other guys math homework. No personal benefit to be gained, just something done to sabotage another person. I can’t say i lost much sleep over this though. But i must assume this guy will be reading this post as well. So to whoever you are i just want to say that i hope you never find the book. Never. Ever. Ever… Ever.

Moving on… to sum up all the crazy adventures i guess i have to mention this attempt at contacting some journalist who interviewed a guy who mentioned the book. Crazy and fruitless indeed…There has also been a similar thing with some guy who mentioned the book in some blog post, needless to say this didn’t amount to anything either. Phew… i think that pretty much covers all the failed attempts so it’s time to get to the good stuff and the happy ending. Subconsciously i’m still working on my post about trying to “rare rank” the dust jackets and i’ll get around to it sooner or later and without a doubt this will be in the top five, at least. Besides the one, or perhaps two, copies that i’ve seen on Amazon this has been a rare sight. Almost rare enough to start coming to terms with the idea of never finding it. But i’ve come to learn that things have a funny way of working out, eventually… As said i placed my ad and contacted all the book stores in late january or early February. I can’t remember the exact dates and things when it comes to what happened after that, but luckily most sites store your message history. And what happened next took place on Etsy. I’ve refreshed my memory with the help of said message history and on March 10 i sent my first message about a newly listed item… I can’t find the first listing now and i might be mistaken but i think it was originally priced at $400 or thereabouts. And what followed was a number of attempts of haggling but seeing as the book was just put on the site the seller, understandably, wanted to wait and see what happened and not just jump on the first idiot who offered just short of half the asking price.

At this point i was missing more than a couple of the books, had this been the only hole to fill i most definately would have jumped on the opportunity even with it’s original price tag. But as it happened i decided to wait, i kept checking the site now and then up until the start of the summer and the book was always still available. Then sometime in June i went to have a look and to my surprise it wasn’t there. After the initial depression had worn off i sent more than a couple of messages to the seller asking if it was still available or if it had been sold. In the couple of months since i first noticed it i had picked up some of the other books i needed to find so at this point i was only missing one or two and i was just about to contact the seller and make a resonable offer. Unfortunately this was right in the middle of us selling our apartment and getting everything in order with the new house and for some reason i was incredibly stressed out by all this and figured i would wait until everything had settled down. So naturally i was terrified and kicking myself over potentially blowing what in my head was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Turns out the world hadn’t come to end though. Apparently you need to renew your listings on Etsy after a certain amount of time, something the seller had forgotten to do so the book was still available and to cut to the chase we settled on a price of $275 which i was very pleased with, and as i recall the price was suggested by the seller so i must assume she was pleased with the deal as well. All said and done and the book went back online, and i even got a special listing reserved just for me…

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It took a while before i got my hands on it though. The seller was kind enough to order protective mylar which took a while to get sorted out and then i also shipped it to Frank Edwards where it stayed and got some rest before finally ending up with me. So… there it is. That’s the (short but still way to long) full story about how a lot of failures eventually turned into something with a very happy ending. Regardless of how frustrating and annoying the chase for some of these things can be it’s journeys like these that are the most rewarding and most fun to look back on once you get to the finish line. I’ve had a lot of fun chasing this book and together with the Giant Size $1,57 cassette and booklet  it’s really one of the highlights of my entire “collecting career”. One of the reasons this post has been somewhat delayed is that i had a million questions for the seller that i was hoping to get the answers to. Well, maybe not a million questions but i was very curious about when and where she found it and also what it was that attracted her to the book. Did she notice Warhol’s credit on the cover or did she just like the cover design and by chance happen to pick it up for a couple of dollars and see the credit later on? I’ve asked her repeatedly but so far i haven’t heard back. Things and information like this are perhaps mainly of interest to me personally but i still enjoy to know and to be able to add stuff like that to a post. If i ever get an answer i’ll get back with an update. One funny thing she did tell me though was that i wasn’t the only one who contacted her when the book went AWOL, apparently there were more than a few people who did so who all (like me) had been waiting for the price to be lowered. I guess that sometimes it pays off to be the annoying stalker sending messages left and right and all of the time…

The last couple of months have been exciting times on ebay when it comes to Warhol’s dust jackets, but i’ll get to the details of that in a later post. Anyways, this book made it’s first appearance on ebay (at least that i know of) about two months ago and ended up selling for $230. I have no intention to pat myself on the back to much but i think my copy is in better condition than this one so i’m still very happy with what i ended up paying. And i couldn’t have bought this one anyways since there was something else ending at about the same time that i just had to get. But again, more on that later… Hopefully one of those who missed out on my copy was able to get this copy instead. For those still on the prowl who also have deep pockets i can recommend this listing for a signed and very nice looking copy, the price tag isn’t as nice though.

This post has gone on for way to long already, but there are still a couple of things i want to get to so bear with me. Unlike some of the other authors who’s biggest claim to fame ended up being that they had a book published that had a dust jacket designed by Andy Warhol and where it’s basically impossible to find any information about them things are are a little bit different with Robert E. Bell. That said he’s still no Dickens or Hemingway but there are more than a couple of sites with good information and biographies. I’ve also learned a little bit from my emails with Mary Lois. I don’t intend to go on copy/paste spree, anyone interested can go read up on any of the sites at The University of South Alabama, The Alabama Literary Map or at the Encyclopedia of Alabama, all of these are great resources. I think it’s safe to say that he had a passion for writing, reading and books in general since he, from what i understand, spent the better part of his life holding various positions within the “literary society” or whatever one might call it. He held various positions at different libraries, was the director of The Book Club of California and opened book stores in both New Orleans and San Francisco. And in the midst of all this he still found time to write and publish a number of books where the most noted one just happens to be The Butterfly Tree. I can’t say i’m confident enough to claim i know exactly how many books he published, but after a couple of laps around Amazon i keep ending up with the same number of titles and besides the two already mentioned my guesstimate would be there are (at least) four more books. The first book he published was in 1956 and was titled A Bibliography of Mobile, Alabama. It seemed he also developt a love for classical mythology and apparently he published three award-winning reference books on the subject titled A Dictionary of Classical Mythology: Symbols, Attributes, and Associations, Place-Names in Classical Mythology: A Biographical Dictionary and Women of Classical Mythology: A Biographical Dictionary. Finally, and this might be considered overkill, but amazingly his dissertation from Berkeley titled History of the Grabhorn Press is also available on Amazon. Images of some of these titles are available online and i’ve also seen the others and i can say that none of them have covers by the hand of Warhol. Not that i was expecting that…

However, and this is a big HOWEVER. There are at least four alternative covers for this book that the world has yet see, and in all probability they will remain a mystery forever and ever. As i recall this was first noted by Guy Minnebach and to get to the how and where we need to once again return to the “sister book” Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree. I now have a copy of this book, not only is it a great read but it also uses the same tree design done by Warhol as the original book so if you’re not interested in the book for the sake of reading it i would still get it for that little cover design detail alone. Anywhooo… as said Guy was a little more creative and a lot smarter than me since he used the “Look inside” feature on Amazon and in Bell’s first letter to Mary Lois he mentions that he has five original drawings made for the cover, pretty freaking cool! Naturally this started another quest but nothing of value has surfaced so far… But i would looooove to see these one day, but yeah… i doubt they will ever see the light of day.

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Where they might be? Well, of course i have no idea but had i been able to i know where the first place i would look would be. Robert Bell passed away in 1999 and if i remember correct it was Mary Lois who first told me that after his death, or perhaps even after the death of his partner Mark Hanrahan in 2009, most/all of his work was donated to The University of South Alabama and that it’s now archived there and the details of this can be found here. I’ve come across similar things like this before, for example the New Directions archives or whatever, and interestingly there are also mentions of Warhol in these “Robert Bell Papers”. More specifically there are entrys/postings/whatever like “Correspondence re: Warhol Collection, 1989 – 92, 1996”, Retrospective: Andy Warhol by Heiner Bastian and Andy Warhol Stamps, Ebay Info”. The one in the middle is this book and apparently Bell was also an avid stamp collector and there is an image of the commemorative Warhol stamps among other Bell related items from an old exhibition here. So that just leaves us with the first one… i guess this could also be something relating to a book or something? Whatever the case i doubt the drawings are hidden in that material, but who knows. Lately i’ve not had the energy or time to embark on some new looney adventure but i’m sure this will change soon enough and then stuff like this and the New Directions archives thingy are all highly possible projects. I would assume The University of South Alabama got the bulk of Bell’s work but it seems parts of it also ended up at the Fort Worth Public Library in Texas. The details of the material kept there are less extensive and the only things that are mentioned are “a scrapbook, a novel, and some biographical information”.

Time to wrap things up… and why not begin to end with a funny little thing. I haven’t read more than a couple of pages of the book but someone who did read the whole thing and who also seemed to have enjoyed every word of it was Harper Lee, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Apparently The Morgan Library in NYC (i think) at one point displayed a collection on things relating to Harper Lee and among these were some letters from her sent to Robert Bell, images of these can be found here. There are some funny lines in there, especially the way she starts the letter and her anger towards Lippincott (who was also the publisher of her book) is also pretty funny. There is also another, less angry, letter found among one of the images here which yet again praises Bell’s book, maybe i should actually get around to reading this one. And while on the topic of Lippincott… this is the second book by that publisher with a Warhol jacket, the other one being The Madhouse in Washington Square which was published the year before in 1958. Both also follow the same concept with a drawing on the front and a photograph of the author on the back. I’ve of course googled this photograper, Squire Haskins, as well. Besides learning that his real/full name was Lewis Benjamin Haskins, Jr and that the company he once founded is still up and running today i didn’t find anything usefull or interesting. I do however love the fact and little detail that Bell is holding a cigarette in the photograph, i’ve always enjoyed how people smoked ALL THE TIME and EVERYWHERE in the 50’s and 60’s. Must have been good times…

Oh yeah, what about the book itself. Even though i didn’t get the information i had hoped for from the seller i can still use my eyes and tell that it’s an old library book. And taking that into consideration i must say it’s in absolute spectacular condition. It’s definately one of the best looking ones in my collection, which is quite nice since it’s also one of my favourite jackets. As said it was also one that i was starting to doub’t i would ever get to put on the shelf. And that would probably also have been the case had i not been willing to up my budget a little bit, it’s funny how you somehow and magically get more money to spend as the holes in ones collection gets fewer and fewer… Oh, i’ve also tried to contact Lippincott (which is now Wolters Kluwer as far as i understand) to try and find out how of many of these books that were printed, but as usual i’ve not heard anything back. I just noticed that apparently Wolters Kluwer also owns Swedish publisher Liber, maybe i could try taking a detour via them… Whatever the number of printed books may be i’m still extremely happy that i managed to find one of them and it’s great to finally get to write the post i thought would never be.

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The Adventures of Maud Noakes – Edited by Alan Neame (New Directions, 1961)

In an effort to try and avoid doing a repeat of my previous post about this book where i basically just wrote about how, where and when i found it i’ve spent the better part of the day trying to find anything about the book and/or it’s cover. Unfortunately i can’t say that i found anything of use. I’ll have to try and get a couple of lines down anyway so let’s get the obvious out of the way. I think i’ve already mentioned that i got this after having seen it in my wish list on Amazon for a very long time. The reason i didn’t get it sooner was first and foremost that in the beginning the asking price was much higher and another thing was that the seller stated that it was impossible to provide images. I can’t remember exactly how the price developed over time around but as i recall it gradually went from $150 or thereabouts down to about $10. And once it got there i figuered i might as well have a look, turns out i got lucky. Other obvious facts are that it was published in 1961 by New Directions (a year before the british edition published by Chapman & Hall that i previously had) and that it’s the last dust jacket that Warhol designed for the company and one of the last ones he did altogether. Not surprising considering that this was done at the beginning of his rise to superstardom.

The copy i got is an old library book so it has the usual issues and markings that i’ve learnt to expect when it comes to these kinds of copies, nothing too bad though and the stickers are on the protective plastic so eventually i’ll get around to removing them. It’s also a good example of the issues with printing the color red that Guy Minnebach gave me a crash course on when i got my/his copy of The Runaway Pigeon. In short, apparently red is notorious in the printing world for being difficult to work with. Not only is it darker than black in greyscales (to be honest i can’t say i understand the exact practical meaning of this, but i figured that if i mention it i might seem like i know what i’m talking about), it also does not react kindly to being exposed to sunlight. Guess it’s the vampire of the printing world… Anyways, as said this is a good example of that. The title of the book together with the name of the author and publisher that is supposed to be on the spine has faded to such an extent that any trace of it actually being in red at one point have disappeared completely. It’s still pretty crisp on the front cover though. Not being a huge bestseller and/or a hit at the library i guess that’s what happens when a book is never checked out and just left of a shelf near a window with the spine exposed for a couple of decades. However, all this is based on the assumption that the text was in fact red on this edition. There isn’t a huge number of images of the book available online but among the ones you can find there is not a single image of a New Directions edition where the text is not faded and/or greyish. So i don’t know… maybe it’s wasn’t ever red after all, in that case most of the above was a whole lot of nothing…

Personally i think this is one of the better jackets and that it’s interesting in a number of ways, so it’s really a shame that there is not much information to be found. New Directions has written a handful of words about it on their now apparently defunct blog, but apart from the obvious that it was perhaps a bit of a controversial yet humorous design i can’t say they bring up anything else of interest. The most interesting thing to me is that it’s the only dust jacket to feature the use of repeated images, a technique he apparently started using early on in his commercial work. And of course also later on in some of his paintings, where i guess the Marilyn Diptych is perhaps the most famous? Anyways, there is a great “gallery guide” to the Warhol by the Book exhibition that mentions a little bit about how the faces of the africans were created and apparently Warhol used hand carved rubber stamps which i then assume you just dip in ink and start stamping away… This is basically everything that is mentioned about this book but the guide is great and can be found here. Another thing that makes this jacket design somewhat unique is that it’s one of the few books where the design is not only focused to the front cover but also continues on to the back, the other two being The Summer Dancers and Borderline Ballads.

What else… well, when i got my first copy of the Chapman & Hall editon and noticed that Warhol was not credited on the cover i remember that i was wondering if that was also the case on this, the New Directions edition. And now i can say that it is. So that’s another thing that makes this jacket somewhat unique, the only other book where he is not given any credit for the design is Love is a Pie by Maude Hutchins, also published by New Directions. I know a little bit about how many books that were actually printed but i’m still trying to get more information about this, and on all the other books as well so i’m saving that for a later post. The little information i do have i got from a guy namned Aaron who has a shop thing on Etsy and a “normal” site as well called Projectobject. He has a lot of cool stuff and usually one, two or more Warhol books available. Once upon a time he also mentioned that he remembered reading something along the lines of Warhol not getting paid for the british version of something and that he was a little upset by this. I have looked everywhere and all over to try and find what this little quote or whatever might relate to, but sadly i have not been able to find anything. But i agree that it does sound like it might have something to do with this book, but who knows… Guess we’ll have to dub it as an unsubstantiated rumor.

Last but not least… during my mostly fruitless searching i did find two things that are at least remotely interesting. The first being a couple of reviews of the book in magazines from the year it was published. These magazines are The Harpers Monthly, The Nation and Commonweal, all of these appear to still be active and running in at least a digital format. Unfortunately they all also require you have a subscription thing to access the archives that holds these old magazines, it’s not incredibly expensive though so i might get that set up and have a look eventually. I can’t say i’m at all interested in what they had to say about the book itself but i’m very curious about if the mention the jacket design in any way. I’m not a frequent reader of book reviews but i doubt such a thing is regularly discussed though.

The second, and more interesting thing i found is definately not as easily accessible, at least not to me. Anyways, it seems there are plenty of truckloads of stuff relating to New Directions at Houghton Library/Harvard College Library at Harvard University. To be more precise there are 286 linear feet and/or 860 boxes containing the New Directions records from 1932-1997, the list with details can be found here. The entry/posting/whatever of primary interest here is 2721 or more exactly “Neame, Alan. The adventures of Maud Noakes : promotional materials, 1961 and undated. 1 folder. Includes hardcover book jacket”. I would LOOOOVE to check out what might be hidden among that promotional material… That would mean taking a bit of a trip though, and it would definitely not be as cheap as a magazine subscription. But who knows, maybe it would be worth it… I have no idea how things like this work but it says there are no restrictions on physical access to the material, so i guess that means anyone can dive head first into the boxes and check it out. I doubt the people at the library will go pull up one specific thing from all this stuff but maybe it’s worth a try, or maybe it would be time better spent to find someone at Harvard willing to go check it out. Maybe i should make this my new project…

There are two more cool thing in that list as well, first there is entry thing number 3036 where there similar things relating to The Desire and Pursuit of the Whole“Rolfe, Frederick, 1860-1913. Promotional materials, undated. 1 folder. Includes hardcover book jacket for The desire and pursuit of the whole and a press release for Nicholas Crabbe”.
Second… go to entry 2282 to find the same stuff on Three More Novels“Firbank, Ronald, 1886-1926. Production and promotional materials, 1949-1986 and undated. 1 folder.Includes materials for titles: The complete Ronald Firbank; Five novels; The new rhythm and other pieces; Two novels; Valmouth, and 3 more novels”. Of course there is nothing to indicate that there is anything by Warhol in this material but needless to say i would love to find out and make sure. There is nothing of the same when it comes to the forth title on New Directions – Love is a Pie. There are however plenty of entries for the author Maude Hutchins containing correspondence with various people. Oh… there is of course an entry for Andy Warhol as well, there is basically nothing mentioned but for anyone interested it’s entry 3214…

So… i guess that’s it. I can’t say i was terribly unsatisfied with the first copy i got even though it wasn’t the edition i thought it would be and/or wanted. If nothing else at least it made me aware of the fact that there were two editions on differents publishers using the same cover. And even though finding a copy of the New Directions edition has not been a priority i’ve still wanted a copy, and i’m of course happy i was able to do so in what turned out to be a cheap and lucky gamble. The last thing (for real this time), and this is of strictly academic interest, is that there seems to be a slight but obvious difference in the color of the cover between the two editions where the New Directions is much whiter than the one by Chapman & Hall which seems to be more tanned. I can’t say for sure this is the case, but it sure looks that way in most of the images i’ve seen and it’s definitely hard to miss when comparing my copies side by side. But yeah, whatever…

In more exciting news i just checked the tracking number for a package i’m waiting on, and it looks like it’s made to Sweden. Fingers crossed it’s there waiting when i get home!

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25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy / Holy Cats by Andy Warhol’s Mother

I forgot one thing in yesterdays little summary, maybe because i’m still shell shocked after finding something Warhol-related that’s even remotely interesting on swedish ebay-site Tradera. This thing is nothing absolutely spectacular but to see anything on that site besides overpriced prints is a very rare thing.

It’s hard enough to find some of Warhol’s dust jackets but for anyone looking for the challenge of a lifetime there are also a couple of privately published books that of course are both incredibly rare and incredibly expensive. Two of these are 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy and Hole Cats by Andy Warhol’s Mother. I don’t know more about either of these than any other guy who’s able to use Google but if we start with 25 Cats… it was privately printed and published in 1954 and despite the title it consists of 16 drawings of cats namned Sam and naturally also a drawing of a blue pussy. Fairly good images of them all can be seen here, there you can also get a decent idea of this price of one of these. Ouch! Anyways, a guy namned Charles Lisanby who apparently was a good friend of Warhol’s at the time is credited as the author and from what i understand the reason for this is that he came up with the title. It appears there is also some uncertainty about how many copies were actually printed, the title page or whatever states that the total edition is 190 copies but i’ve read here and there that there might only have been about 150 copies produced. Whatever the case all copies were hand colored and numbered and most of them ended up as gifts for clients and friends. The calligraphy was done by his mother Julia Warhola and apparently Warhol was amused by little errors and imperfections so he didn’t want to correct her misspelling of “name/namned”. And besides that, who would ever think it was a good idea to correct your own mother?

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I don’t really care how many copies that were actually printed but i am a little courius as to how many survived. The wikipedia article on the book mentions that a mere three copies has been located but has no reference or source for one of them. I doubt someone is keeping track and constantly updating that page though, so who knows. Anyways, the auction i linked to above with the images is from 2014, here is another one from 2007 at Christie’s that mentions that the copy is dedicated to Paul Cadmus and here is very recent one from some german auction house called Ketterer Kunst. I can’t read german but with a little help from google translate it seems that last one was not really for the book but instead had all the pages individually framed. So yeah… who knows how many are still in one piece, but there seem to be more than three copies floating around. And needless to say i don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spare, so this thing is not going to happen anytime soon.

It’s a little more tricky to find information on Holy Cats, but the general facts are pretty much the same. This was also privately printed and published but i’m not really sure if this was also handed out to friends and family but i would guess that was the case. This article on Julia Warhola claims the book was published in 1957 as does the “official” or whatever Warhola family site thing. I’ve also seen a lot of “circa 1950’s” but i see no reason to not go with 1957. I’m also not sure about how many were printed, i’ve seen the mention of anywhere between 50 and 100 on a couple of sites but yeah, who knows… Between the covers are (if i counted correctly) 19 drawings of cats and angels and each drawings also has a short little sentence following the same pattern of “some do this or that… some don’t” Or something else that some don’t do… I quite like these texts and think they are pretty witty. Here is a pretty good site with images of all the drawings. Up until recently i actually thought this was also illustrated by Warhol, which considering the title makes me feel a bit stupid. But i’ve now learned that the work is generally attributed to Julia Warhola without any involvment from Andy. I guess that’s of the reason why this book is actually not THAT rare and won’t cost you a fortune. Naturally it’s not something you see on every shelf in every store but for example there are four copies on Amazon right now. Besides being on Amazon the book has also been sold at some “fancier” auction sites, here and here are two old listings from Christie’s and here is another auction from some Phillips site which also included the book A is an Alphapet. I’ve also seen just the cover for the book up for auction at a swedish site here, i was the only bidder at $50 and with an estimate of $400 or so of course my bid didn’t meet the reserve, but i won’t go after that with guns blazing if it comes back up. But it’s always fun and interesting to see Warhol related stuff on swedish sites, especially something as rare and obscure as this.

So… with both of these having the price tags that they do you have to settle for the next best thing. And the next best thing is usually a reissue or reproduction. Luckily there is a facsimile with both of these books included in a little box thing. I’ve seen the set on Amazon and Abebooks for a while and prices usually start at around $100 so in common fashion i’ve been waiting for something to turn up at a bargain price. I don’t keep track of Warhol items on this swedish site Tradera, the only thing i get from there are usually old NES games. Anyways, at the start of the summer i happened to see this box with a starting bid of just $10 or so, and i ended up being the only bidder so i can’t complain. Not a fantastic or thrilling find or item by any means but i do love these pre-pop drawings and i’ve wanted to get the box eventually. So all in all a great deal for a great set of books!

There seem to be two editions of this box, the first being published in 1987 by Random House and then another one published a year later in 1988 by Chatto & Windus which is an imprint of Random House. I have no idea if there are any small differences between the two editions but i would guess they are exactly allike and i got the one by Chatto & Winus, like many other books and editions i think it’s as simple as one US and one UK edition. This seller claims that his copy is numbered and that the facsimile edition, like the original, should be limited to 190 copies. I’ve not seen any mention of this anywhere else and my copy is not numbered so i don’t know if i believe his claims, and who cares anyway… Whatever the case i think both books are pretty cool and i’m happy to add them to the pile!

Ps. I just got word from Frank Edwards that the $9 ticket price for a chance in The Adventure of Maud Noakes lottery paid off and that i was the lucky winner!

Sunday, monday, happy days!

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The Strange Case of Lucile Cléry – Joseph Shearing (Doubleday/Dolphin Mystery, 1963)

I’m going to try and set the mood for this. And i realize that since the title of the book is also the title of this post it’s perhaps not the easiest thing to try and build suspense and anticipation… But let’s try. In lack of a better song and even though it’s pretty overused or whatever go set this tune on repeat and then continue reading.

This is a pretty big deal for me. Why? Well, this will most likely be the closest i will ever get to post something “new” and previously unknown. It’s not entirely unknown though, but i’m pretty sure that to most people interested in this stuff (which seems to be an entire handful of people) it will be news in one way or another. This book is not mentioned anywhere in any of the articles and stuff which feature this area of Warhol’s work. It’s also not mentioned in the catalogue for the exhibition Reading Andy Warhol. It is however on display at the current show Warhol by the Book so to those that have been to see that great show i guess it’s not really news. My dream of finding something totally new will have to live on though because sadly this wasn’t my discovery. And i believe in giving credit where credit is due and as with a lot of other things i have to thank Guy Minnebach for giving me the heads up. As i recall he found it on ebay where it was listed together with the words “warhol cover” and eventually got it for chump change. At the time i was pretty amazed that i had missed it considering all the saved searches i keep but i guess one can’t keep track of everything all the time. Anyways, i was going through some old emails and oddly enough it’s pretty much exactly one year ago that i found out this book existed. I got an email from Guy about his find on 6/5-2014 and even though i found it about a month ago it wasn’t until a couple of days ago that i finally got to hold it in my hands. There are plenty of books that i have spent a lot of time looking for but nothing compares to the time spent on this one. I really have spent a HUUUUGE and almost unhealthy amount of time looking for it so to finally find it was almost a surreal experience and a pretty fantastic anniversary gift of sorts.

Where did i finally find it? Well… i wish there was a great and exiting story here but there really isn’t. One afternoon during one of my OCD checks of my wish list on Amazon it was just there… There are a couple of different editions of this book and as usual in these cases i thought that the seller has just incorrectly listed one of these other editions under the one i’ve been looking for. And even though it was listed under the Doubleday edition and had the correct cover image the image shown was an old one that i recognized all to well. This image was uploaded by some woman that i actually stalked and contacted more than six months ago only to find out that her copy had been sold as part of a big collection and that she had only uploaded the image for some reason. Anyways, after just a quick look and seeing as the description featured the word “Dolphin” it became obvious that this was actually the real deal and after a couple of skipped heartbeats followed by my usual fumbling and panacking with the phone i had placed the order. Since this has basically been my biggest unicorn to date i didn’t bother to waste time waiting for images and even though the description featured wording like “cover has bumping, scuffing and dust smudging… lightly tanned” and so on i pretty much had to take a chance and jump at the opportunity. I must say that a lot of sellers of these paperbacks are pretty conservative in their grading of the books. But i can’t complain, without a doubt this looks pretty damn good for a +50 year old paperback.

So… what do we have here? I guess this is pretty self-explanatory but the title of the book is The Strange Case of Lucile Cléry and it was written by Marjorie Bowen under the pseudonym Joseph Shearing. I did not know of this author before this but it seems she enjoyed writing quite a bit and also kept herself busy doing it considering her total output exceeds 150 volumes/titles or whatever… This was originally published as Forget-Me-Not in 1932 and as said there a couple of other editions among which the edition published by Pocketbooks in 1949 is the one that has pretty much always been the one i’ve been sent images of when asking sellers about copies listed without any mention of the edition or year and so on… Anyways, the edition that is of interest here was published in 1963 by Doubleday on the imprint/printer’s mark/colophon or whatever it’s called Dolphin/Dolphin Mystery. This will also not be the first time that i have to say that i don’t know anything about this design. But unlike a couple of other books where i’ve been able to piece things together i’ve not been able to find any information about this whatsoever, nor have i been able to find any similar style drawings by Andy Warhol so this is pretty cool. And once again i’ll also have to say that i would never ever not in a million years have looked at this book and thought that the drawing might have been done by Warhol.

I do know one thing though that is pretty interesting. And that thing is a guy named George Giusti and this might actually be worthy of a future and more detailed post but anyways… The credit on the back of this book states “Cover design by George Giusti, Cover drawing by Andy Warhol” which is exactly the same as on Manon Lescaut and The Red and the Black, both of which were also published by Doubleday/Dolphin. I haven’t found any good information on this George Giusti other than that he was inducted into the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 1979 and that if you image search him you will find a ton of stuff. I have no idea if there was any kind of business or creative relationship or whatever between Warhol and Giusti during this time but i would guess that Warhol was just asked to do a drawing for a cover and that Giusti was in charge of cover design at Doubleday at the time or something along those lines. It is pretty interesting though, and of course it’s far from a crazy thought that if there are three books, hey… there might be four. Or five. Or any number of others… For anyone getting the same thoughts i can save you a lot of time and effort by saying that i have already spent countless hours staring at images on Google. And i will most likely continue… Don’t take my word for it but there are no obvious others that i have found so far.

As always i need to say something about the condition and all things considered it’s pretty spectacular! There is some minor smudges and things like that but the binding is solid and not much else to mention. Naturally i would have settled for a copy in any kind of condition but to be fortunate enough to find one that’s in as great shape as this is pretty thrilling! And even though i’m still trying to do this thing on a tight budget i would have payed a lot for this book had it been necessary, so i’m almost embarrassed to say that it only cost me $11, poor seller… I don’t want to sound like more of a dork than i probably do but once i opened the package i held this in my hands like it was a newborn baby and just stared at it while my better half was doing an equal amount of staring at me asking what the hell it was that was such a big deal about a stupid book… But anyone into any kind of collecting can probably relate to the feeling of finally seeing that “holy grail item” sitting there on a shelf, and it’s a great feeling! But it also leaves you (or at least me) with a strange empty feeling. Even though i’ve not spent hours and hours straight looking for this i’ve still thought about this book every single day for almost a full year. And as with any race it’s of course extremely satisfying and a lot of fun to finally get to the finish line but at the same time it also leaves you with a feeling of “what now”? Luckily i do have two more books that i need to find. In a way i’m dreading the day when i have all of the dust jackets and might have start looking into starting collecting magazines… That will not be good for finances.

As said this is featured in the exhibition Warhol by the Book and Guy Minnebach had told me that it would be in the show before it opened and i saw this as both a good thing as well as a terribly bad thing. A good thing because it might raise awareness and finally make the book show up on various sites. And of course a terrible thing because this might also make prices rise to where i could not get a copy. The show has not been on for that long but so far it seems i was wrong about the awareness part but i’m really hoping that it helps raise interest in this area of Warhol’s work and that maybe more copies of this, and the other books as well, will become more available.

In conclusion – The unicorn has been caught! Now i just need to find the mermaid, dragon, phoenix or whatever i’ll decide to call the missing ones…

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Where lies the heart?

Well, actually the correct title is Here lies the heart but we’ll get to that… Without putting in an incredible amount of work i’ve been able to find more than a couple of drafts for dust jacket designs that ended up not being used. So i think it’s a pretty safe bet that there are others as well, finding these might be tricky though. But there is one more that i know about, well… at least i know that it exists but i have no idea what it looks like. In one of the letters in Mary Lois Timbes Adheads book Meet me at the butterfly tree Robert E. Bell mentions that he has five original drawings that Warhol did for the cover. So that would mean there are an additional four designs for that cover, god only knows where they ended up…

Anyways, that’s not what this was supposed to be about. This is supposed to be about a Warhol cover design that was completed but ended up not being used at all. At least i think it should be considered finished, it sure looks that way to me. The title of the book is Here lies the heart and was written by Mercedes De Acosta and published in 1960. I first came across this cover a while ago and at first i found it odd that i could not find the actual book with this cover anywhere, and there was also no mention of this among the articles and things that feature other dust jackets designs by Warhol. But as always Guy Minnebach set the record straight and informed me that the design was never used and that looking for it would of course be a complete waste of time. Anyways, as said the design looks finished to me considering that it looks pretty “clean” and has the title and authors name all ready to go… As with a lot of his other designs it shows Warhol’s fascination with hands and personally i quite like this cover. It looks a lot better than the boring “photo cover” that was eventually used on the actual book. There is also a somewhat different design in the catalogue for the exhibition Reading Andy Warhol that i’ve only been able to find a pretty bad image of online. Apart from some discepancies in the typography the major difference between the two i would say is of course the white heart in between the fingers and has the title in it. I think the catalogue has the date for this drawing down as circa 1959 and considering the book was published in 1960 it’s hard to argue with that.

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So, how did this cover come to be, and why was it not used? Well, sadly i have no good answer or information really… And the exhibition catalogue does not shed any light on this either, so my guess would be as good any anybody elses. Anyways, as always i at first knew nothing about the author. If you look at all the authors for which Warhol designed the jacket for one of their books i only recognized Leslie Charteris, and that is of course only because of The Saint. So… who was Mercedes De Acosta and how did she come to befriend Andy Warhol? Well, apparently she was and maybe still is quite well known in literary and film circles. She wrote a couple of plays, novels and some poetry but from what i’ve read it seems these might have brought her a little fame but certainly not the accompanying fortune. By most accounts she was professionally unsuccessful and instead she is best known for her many lesbian affairs or relationships with high profile celebrities at the time, the most famous of those being Greta Garbo. And she was also friends with Andy Warhol. Exactly how good friends they were seems to be up for debate with some saying not at all and others, like author Hugo Vickers who writes in his book Loving Garbo that they were apparently close enough to spend thanksgiving together. Vickers also writes that the three of them once met at a picnic where Warhol gave a drawing of a butterfly to Garbo which she eventually crumbled. After saving the drawing Warhol then allegedly had his mother write Crumpled butterfly by Greta Garbo on it, of course i have no idea if this story is true or not and i’ve looked for the drawing online without any luck. But it’s a nice story. Whatever the case i think it’s safe to say that they knew each other in one way or another, not only because Warhol did this design for her book but he also designed the invitations for the party of whatever to celebrate the release of the book. I have no idea how many of these invitations that might have survived but one was up for auction at Christie’s in 2001 and i was shocked to see that it sold for a very obtainable $800 or so. Too bad i wasn’t into this thing back then, had i been i might have tried and bid on it… And maybe the butterfly on the invitation is some “inside joke” in reference to what happened at the picnic, if it happened at all… And what about the book? Well, to my understanding De Acosta got seriously ill sometime in 1960 and in order to be able to pay for medical expenses she decided to write her memoirs which was well-received but it did spark a bit of controversy since she described or at least implied that several high profile people were homosexual and that she had been romantically involved with them. Apparently Garbo was the most pissed off…

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Time to wrap things up. I don’t know how things like this work and who has the most say when it comes to what cover design that will be used but if i have to make a guess i would say it’s mainly the publishers decision? Whatever the case i would assume Warhol wasn’t that upset since he did the invitations once the book was finished, or maybe they were already made up before the book was published… For some reason i’m intrigued by stories like this, too bad it’s basically impossible to find any real answers though. It’s a great looking drawing and a shame that it wasn’t used.

The Immortal – Walter Ross (Corgi Books, 1960)

At one point i think i’ve said someting along the lines that i won’t be looking for pocket/paperback books or include anything but hardcovers in my collection. This was early on and at that time i thought there actually might be quite a few pocket editions using the same design as the hardbacks, i know now that this is not the case. I think this one is the only title with different editions and publishers that use the same basic design, so how could i not have tried to find a copy?

There are a quite a few different editions of this book which i remember was a little frustrating when i was looking for the original edition by Simon & Schuster. Well, things hasn’t changed and it was equally frustrating this time around. Fortunately i didn’t have to put THAT much time into it. Ayways, this is ONE of the paperback editions published by Corgi Books. There are in fact two different editions of this Corgi pocket book and i think both were published in 1960, i’ve also been informed by Guy Minnebach that the second edition without Warhol’s design on the cover still has the text “The drawing on the cover of this book is by Andy Warhol” on the title page. The UK hardcover edition (to the right in the image below) was published the year before by Frederick Muller and just to get all the edition talk out ot the way there is also a US paperback (left below) that was published in 1959 by Cardinal. The cover design for all editions carry the same theme with the James Dean reference in one way or the other. Peronally i think he looks least cool in the Cardinal edition, or was playing bongos considered cool or what made you popular with the ladies in the late 50’s? Maybe, but i doubt it…

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I don’t intend to go on to long of a detour here but there is one pretty cool thing about the Frederick Muller edition. This is in no way Warhol related unless you want to take a looooong journey and finally getting into the whole Bowie+Warhol connection. I used to be quite into Bowie myself a long time ago, nowadays not so much. Anyways, i guess you don’t have to be a Bowie fan to recogDavid_Bowie_The_Immortalnize the cover for the Diamond Dogs album. The cover design was done by a Belgian artist named Guy Peellaert and featured Bowie as half-man, half-dog. It was apparently quite controversial at the time since it had the morphed creatures genitalia out and about on full display. Quickly pulled and airbrushed a few copies still hit the stores and are now super rare and of course MEGA expensive. The most recently sold i could find went for a crazy $5000. Anyways, i’m getting way of course here… but to get to the point, the basis for this painting by Guy Peellaert was a photoshot with Bowie by Terry O’Neil. Basically it featured Bowie and a dog and some images from the series you can see here. But what’s funny here is what’s by Bowie’s feet. So… recognize the book? Would have been cooler if it had been one of the editions with Warhol’s cover design, but still… This particular edition as well as the others with Warhol’s cover has also been mentioned on Bowie’s official site in some old and short posts here and here. Well, that was once again a whole lot of nothing…

So, to get this back on track. I became aware of this book pretty early on. One of the first copies of the original edition by Simon & Schuster i found was the one on Etsy, and that same seller also had a copy of the paperback. Due to the outragous asking prices it’s not surprising to see that both of them are still there now. Or maybe the price tags on these are actually resonable, it’s just that i’ve become obsessed with finding these at bargain prices. But not everyone has the time or interest to hold out and wait for it i guess. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time looking for the paperback, but sometimes when i’ve been bored i’ve spontaneously contacted some sellers on Amazon and Abebooks about copies where the edition wasn’t clearly stated. Almost all of these have been for the edition published by Frederick Muller. But then somewhere around new years this appeared on ebay… I’ve mentioned this many times before but ebay is certainly not the place for book hunting. So in one way it was a good thing that it happened to show up there, but on the other hand “Andy Warhol” was in the description which naturally could make it attract unwanted attention. Even though i hadn’t spent that much time trying to find it i was pretty set on making sure i got this copy seeing as it was basically the second copy i had ever seen. And even though there were more bidders (6) and interest than i thought no one besides me seemed to be overly interested and i ended up paying about $20 or so for it which i think was a pretty great deal! Shipping however seemed to have been done by horse and wagon to the docks followed by steamboat across the North Sea. It took about a month to arrive and i was starting to question if it would ever show up or if the boat had sank, but all is well that ends well.

I don’t know a whole lot about the design, or to be precise it’s more like i don’t know anything. I The_Immortal_Drawingshave seen some similar drawings which are obvously from the same series or whatever it’s called among the hundreds of early Warhol drawings discovered in 2013. And it is the exact same drawing that is used on both of the covers, but anyone can see that. And that’s about it. I have however tried to figure out if there is any connection between Simon & Schuster and Corgi Books in order to work out and understand the how’s and why’s regarding why they got to use the same deisgn for their edition. I haven’t been able to find anything though, and i don’t know how things like this work, so… i’ll leave it at that.

When it comes to the condition there is not much to be said. I’m pretty amazed that a paperback that’s 55 years old could have survived at all not to mention remain in such great shape. It basically looks unread, it still has it’s gloss as well as bright and clear colors. Though that might be expected since the design is black and white. I also suspect that this book has not changed hands that many times, if any. And it seems that the person who bought it in the first place really wanted to read it. While i was flipping through the pages a peice of paper fell out, at first i thought it was just a loose page but when i checked it out more closely it was actually a cut out review of the book from some old newspaper. It has some scribblings on it that i can’t make out apart from the year “1960”, so i take it someone read this review and found it interesting enough to promptly get a copy and keep the review as a bookmark. To bad it wasn’t signed “Warhol” though, that would have been a nice surprise. But i like the stories things like this tell in a way and it adds some nice patina to it all. And looking at the books side by side it’s hard to determine which one i prefer, but they do look pretty good together.

Since i don’t really see the Moderna Museet catalogue as part of my collection of dust jackets this will be put down as the first book of 2015 that i got my hands on. And i think it’s a pretty cool addition. More to come soon!

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