University of Virginia Library


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Extracts from "The Living Room: A Memoir"


In the weeks preceding and following my seventy-fifth birthday in January 2009, I wrote a memoir in the form of a tour guide to my living room, with descriptions of the objects it contains and the associations they have for me. I am delighted that the Council of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia has agreed to publish this memoir in due course, along with some of my other autobiographical essays and pieces on book collecting, as a separate volume. I am also pleased that the editor of Studies in Bibliography, who has long shown an interest in biographical studies of bibliographers, wishes to print a few excerpts from the memoir here. I have selected eleven sections out of forty-five—those numbered 1, 5, 7–10, 13, 17, 18, 22, and 36, which are some of the ones most directly related to the world of books and bibliography.


Every room in the place where each of us lives could be called a "living room" because we have spent a portion of our intimate (or nonpublic) lives there and because it fills us with memories of what has occurred within it. But the room specifically designated "the living room" serves especially well, by virtue of its name, to symbolize the role that physical surroundings and tangible possessions play in our daily lives. At least I can say that my own living room constantly brings me in touch with my past because it contains furniture, paintings, porcelain, crystal, books, and other objects that recall people and episodes from many parts of my life. Some of these items would be valuable (in historical or monetary terms) to anyone; others are valuable only to me. The rest of my rooms overflow with such objects as well, but the living room provides a selective index to my experiences. So if I now give the reader a tour of my living room (and the foyer leading to it), I can perhaps convey not only the pleasure I derive from my possessions but also some indication of how one's life story can be partially epitomized in one's accumulation of things.


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To take this approach to memoir-writing is particularly appropriate for me because I have spent much of my life thinking about the significance of artifacts—objects made by human beings in the past and, through their survival, bringing into the present a sense of their origins and of the previous lives they touched. Many of my writings, either directly or indirectly, reflect an appreciation of how artifacts enrich our lives, both through their intrinsic evidence of human activity in the past and through the associations that have gathered around them over time. When I write about book collecting and book preservation, these points about artifacts are obviously basic, since the emphasis is naturally on books as physical objects. But this focus is of course equally fundamental to my writings about analytical and descriptive bibliography, fields that engage in a special kind of reading—a reading of books' physical details. And my writings about scholarly editing take for granted that the original books and manuscripts conveying verbal texts—and not photographs or digitizations of them—are the essential source materials for studying and assessing the makeup of texts (indeed, that analytical and descriptive bibliography are tools of the process).

I make no distinction between my approach to books when I am writing and my thoughts about artifacts of all kinds during those far longer periods of time when I am not writing. Whether I am looking at a first printing of Moby-Dick or a vase from my grandmother's house, I observe an object that was seen and handled by many people before me, one that brings a part of the past into the present. Whether I am examining books in the rare-book room of a research library or looking at the objects around me wherever I happen to be, I am reading physical evidence. The connections between the inanimate and the human are always part of these thoughts. Thus when I look at what surrounds me in my living room, I think of the creative efforts of the individuals who brought the objects into existence; and because these pieces have become part of my life, they also reconnect me to the friends with whom I associate them. Their personal meanings for me form the latest stage in the history of the responses they have evoked.


The chest of drawers on which the Gump bowl sits is a late nineteenth-or early twentieth-century piece of mahogany or dark cherry, about a foot and a half wide and three and a half feet high, with six small drawers, inset fluted-column corners, and club feet. It had belonged to Gordon Ray's parents in Indiana and was in his New York apartment (25 Sutton Place South, five blocks from where I live) at the time of his death on December 15, 1986, three months after his seventy-first birthday. (It


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served as the telephone stand in the room where he sat to read books and to go over dealers' catalogues.) Gordon was one of the great twentieth-century book collectors and a leading scholar of Victorian literature (author of the standard biography of Thackeray); and as president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation from 1963 to 1985, as well as a ubiquitous member of boards of nonprofit institutions, he was a respected force in the cultural world. He had a major impact on my life by telephoning me on December 6, 1977, to offer me the vice presidency of the Foundation. That moment is naturally one that I will not forget: I was standing at the telephone in the front hall of my parents' house in Lebanon, Indiana. (I was on leave from the University of Wisconsin, on a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was there between trips.) I knew that I would ultimately accept his offer, though I did not do so on the phone (nor did he expect me to). It was indicative of Gordon's self-assurance and decisiveness that he would simply offer me the job rather than ask me to come for an interview. He would not have done so, of course, if we had not already known each other: I had met him at the Grolier Club in the 1960s but did not know him well until I received a Guggenheim Fellowship in the spring of 1969. From then on, I generally saw him on my visits to New York.

Shortly after his phone call, I went (on December 20th) to New York to "interview" the Foundation (rather than the other way round), and I accepted the position by phone on the 29th. When I was back in New York for "Bibliography Week" in late January, I had another conversation with Gordon to settle some of the details and began searching for an apartment; Gordon's formal letter of appointment was dated January 30th. The job began on the first of August 1978, and I never regretted my decision. Although I had not been unhappy in Madison, I knew that Manhattan was where I wanted to be—and especially when I had the opportunity to be there as part of an illustrious institution that I admired. In addition, Gordon's presence at the Foundation established it in my mind as a place with a scholarly atmosphere that I would find appealing. Working with Gordon was indeed a pleasure for me, as I knew it would be, since we had much in common—such as a Midwestern background, a love of book collecting, good restaurants, and scholarly bibliography (possibly in that descending order), and an impatience (not to say anger) when confronted with pettiness. To some, he appeared stern and austere, with his physical weight making him seem even more formidable; but, bemused by human foibles, he possessed a fine sense of humor and had a genius for social conversation, which was always incisive and laced with literary allusions (for he seemingly never forgot a detail from the many Victorian novels he had read). His combination of geniality and assertiveness was on display at the many lunches and dinners I had with him (not


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to mention Foundation meetings, theater evenings, and baseball games), and my memory of him in action remains vivid and satisfying.

He named me his literary executor and the co-executor of his estate, and that is how I came to have this chest of drawers—which now contains, along with other things, part of my collection of his published writings. (That collection includes "The Count's" Adventures, the 1945 hardcover "offprint" from the first volume of his edition of Thackeray's letters; the prospectus for his 1947 facsimile edition of Thackeray's The Rose and the Ring; an offprint of his 1953 article "The Bentley Papers" inscribed to John Gordan; his annotated copy of his famous 1965 essay "The Changing World of Rare Books," with sources of the quotations identified; and his 1968 Christmas card, printed at the Spiral Press, reproducing a Thackeray drawing with commentary.) The Pierpont Morgan Library, his beneficiary, had no use for the furnishings of his apartment, and I saw to it that his oriental rugs went to the Grolier Club, where they still line the fifth-floor hallway. Another of the pieces that came to me was a canterbury, now standing beside a chair near the kitchen door, filled with the Times Literary Supplement (which I have subscribed to for over fifty years and cannot imagine being without) and the New York Review of Books (which I have read faithfully since its inception in 1963, during the New York printers' strike). (The four Hogarth prints that Gordon had given to me are hanging in my bedroom, not the living room, but I mention them to illustrate the evocative significance of every detail of physical objects: the labels on the backs show that the framing was done by the H. Lieber Company of Indianapolis, perhaps during Gordon's undergraduate years at Indiana University; and his name with a Harvard address, 16 Conant Hall, shows that he took the prints with him to graduate school. The Lieber firm is a name I know from my childhood, because our family often went there for cameras and film, as well as framing.)

My debt to Gordon for his momentous telephone call could not be adequately repaid. But I made an attempt to do so after his death by writing an account of his life and by editing two volumes of his writings: a gathering of his essays on book collecting, and his Lyell Lectures on the Art Deco book in France. My favorite passage in his work comes from the title essay of the former volume, "Books as a Way of Life." I have quoted it in print several times before, and here it is again:

book-educated people of the sort I have been describing are rarely dogmatic. They tend instead to regard the world from what George Eliot in Daniel Deronda whimsically calls "a liberal-menagerie point of view." This state of mind infuriates the fierce partisan, but it enlivens social intercourse, and it holds out hope for the glorious day when mankind will cure itself of the plague of politics. The "literature of power" is above politics, having understanding as its aim rather than victory, and the books that embody it are thus a potentially unifying force in a divided world.


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There is no better way than reading this paragraph to get a sense of what Gordon was like.


When you look to the left of the east-wall closet door in the foyer, you see three framed advertisements from the late 1890s for the Ault & Wiborg Printing Ink Company of Cincinnati, two of them between the closet door and the north wall and the other on the north wall just east of the front door of the apartment. A fourth stands on the floor in the dining alcove. These small posters (about eleven by eight and a half inches), intended to display different colors of printing ink, were designed by Will Bradley, who has received considerable attention as a designer and printer of the American fin de siècle. I have not tried to collect him comprehensively, but I have his periodical Bradley His Book (1896–97) and a few of the small books he printed at his Wayside Press in Springfield, Massachusetts, as well as the books with his binding designs that were brought out by the publishers I do collect, such as Stone & Kimball of Chicago (for whom he did the celebrated binding for Edmund Gosse's In Russet and Silver, 1894). Although he is usually thought of in connection with the 1890s, the geometrically stylized figures of dancers in his work for Ault & Wiborg look forward to Art Deco.

The one on the north wall, showing the colors "Bronze Brown" and "Green Lake," and the one in the dining area, showing (more simply) "Blue" and "Brown," were bought unframed in July 1975 at the Old Book Shop on Sutter Street in San Francisco (a shop that always rewarded my visits), and I had them framed, with large colored mats, by Limbert's, my home-town framer (responsible for the framing of most of my turn-of-the-century publishers' posters). The other two Bradley items, one displaying "Bronze Blue" and "Brilliant Lake [red]" and the other "Brown" and "Olive" (this one has the same design as the blue and brown one) were already framed (with colored mats to complement the colors in the posters) when I found them at the Inscribulus Bookshop in Baltimore in September 1983.

I stopped in at this shop (along with others in Baltimore) several times during the years when Bill and Nina Matheson lived there, in a large fifth-floor walk-up apartment at 529 North Charles Street, one block south of Mount Vernon Place. (They always needed spacious quarters to house all their books, wines, and phonograph records and still allow for open, uncluttered, serene areas punctuated with vases of cut flowers.) Bill, whose death on June 17, 2004, came far too early, had been Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress; Nina, whom I still see on her visits to New York for the opera, was the director


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of the Welch Medical Library at Johns Hopkins. I first met Bill at meetings of the Bibliographical Society of America in the 1960s and became well acquainted with him in the early 1970s, after he had moved to the Library of Congress in 1971 and I was doing research there. Bill was a shy and gentle man, and we hit it off at once, as Nina and I also did when I later met her. I had frequent lunches with Bill whenever I was in Washington, and the three of us had dinner at their house (then in Washington, at 338 M Street, SW), where I was treated to Nina's wonderful cooking and some of the wines from their fine cellar. Many dinners in restaurants also occurred over the years, not only in Washington (where they of course knew the restaurant scene thoroughly) but also in New York and once (as I recall) in San Francisco. Bill's generous interest in supporting my work is epitomized by the afternoon he spent taking me to the suburban warehouse that held the copyright deposits not retained for cataloguing by the Library of Congress, so that we could look for the 1909 pamphlet Sherwood Anderson wrote for his family's paint company in Elyria, Ohio (An Idea to Establish a Commercial Democracy). I had discovered an entry for this unknown publication in the copyright records; and although we were not able to find the piece, I remain grateful to Bill for the opportunity to search for it.

Both Bill and Nina had an extraordinary knowledge of twentieth-century books and amassed remarkable collections, which (along with their large assemblage of books about books) became the stock for the book business they conducted in retirement. We went on many book-hunting expeditions together, and among their bookseller-friends whom I met was the novelist Larry McMurtry. Although I did not really get to know him, I found his shop, Booked Up, the most exciting one in Washington. In his recent memoir, Books (2008), McMurtry calls Bill "a consummate bookman." (McMurtry's memoir, by the way, will delight anyone who, like me, made the rounds of bookshops all over the country in the 1960s and 1970s. I also applaud his statement that he regards the formation of his own library as one of his "most notable achievements," for a point I have insisted on myself is that building a collection is an activity of creative research, just as writing a scholarly book is.)

An essay of Bill's called "What Book Collecting Is All About" perfectly reflects the depth of understanding of bibliographical and bibliophilic pursuits that he had (and that Nina also has). I have always been pleased to believe that I may have played some role in bringing that essay about. When in 1976–77 I was trying to help Jean Peters form the table of contents of her admirable anthology Book Collecting: A Modern Guide, we both knew that Bill's inclusion was essential; and as the volume finally shaped up, his piece was the opening one and formed the ideal introduction. My own contribution came last, and I think of our book-end positions


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as symbolizing our conversations, which encapsulated the book world. He was one of only four or five people with whom I have felt a complete convergence of opinions on bookish matters. Although I have warm recollections of several of the authors in Jean's book, Bill is the person I think of whenever I see that book on my shelves.


Along the north wall of the foyer, below the "Bronze Brown" and "Green Lake" Bradley poster and running most of the three feet from the apartment door to the northeast corner, is a three-shelf oak bookcase, with a leaded-glass door on each shelf. These three separate, stackable, shelves, with a top and a base, are examples of the sectional "barrister" bookcases from the early years of the twentieth century. (The major brand was Globe-Wernicke, but I also have examples from three other companies.) I have written in an earlier autobiographical essay about how important this wonderful style of bookcase, handsome and well-made, is to my earliest recollections of the house I grew up in. Two of the three shelves in this stack in my foyer are from the family house, and the third (the only other with leaded glass that I have encountered) comes from one of the later batches that I purchased. Altogether I acquired over a hundred of these shelves. A few came from some estate sales in my Indiana home town and from my aunt Mary, who located them in Danville, Illinois; but my two largest acquisitions came from Chicago and from Madison, Wisconsin.

The source of the first was Owen Davies, a bookseller on La Salle Street in Chicago, specializing in transportation literature. His shop was not far from the Newberry Library, where I spent a great deal of time in the late 1960s and early 1970s working on the Northwestern-Newberry Edition of Melville in the spacious room that opened off the west side of the lobby. Once when I was in his shop, he told me about an apartment full of books that he was clearing out. When he mentioned sectional bookcases, I asked to see them, and we went to an apartment that was filled, almost floor to ceiling, with stacks of newspapers and unopened packages of books, leaving only narrow pathways to move through. Obviously the former resident was an obsessive accumulator, for whom bringing home bundles of books was the goal, since he never looked at them again. The bookcases were partly visible behind the bundles, and they were the kind I wanted, so we reached a deal. As a result, I went around Chicago for days in a station wagon filled with rattling bookshelves, until I had time to drive them south to the family house, two and a half hours away. The other large group of shelves came in the early 1970s from Grace Hughes, the widow of Merritt Y. Hughes, the famous University of Wisconsin


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Miltonist (whose intensely learned performances at oral examinations furnish my most distinct recollections of him). Some of Merritt's shelves were of a brand I had not seen before: they could be disassembled completely, rather than each shelf being an intact unit. When assembled, they are perhaps even more handsome than the others, and they now fill the east wall of my living room.

When I lived in Madison, I had only a small number of the sectional bookcases with me. Most were in the Indiana house (a large house, fortunately), where the bulk of my growing collections filled walls in many of the rooms. But in New York I have been able to accommodate a larger part of the collections (though by no means all), and I have eighty-five of the shelves in my apartment: besides the three inside the front door and the twenty on the east wall of the living room, there are seven on the west wall of the foyer, twelve on the west wall of the dining alcove, twelve on the north wall of the living room, three on the east wall next to the door into the hall leading to the bedrooms, two under the Hepburn table, and one next to the sofa—as well as twenty-five in one of the bedrooms. My partner also has eighteen in her house. The only ones remaining in the Indiana house are the sixteen black mahogany ones on the north wall of the living room, where they have stood for as long as I can remember.


On top of the three-shelf bookcase in the foyer are four brass pieces. Two of them, a small bowl and a basket with a large handle, came from the family house. The other two are eighteenth-century French candlesticks—or so I was told by Joe Tucker, who gave them to me. Joseph Eagon Tucker, a professor of French at the University of Wisconsin, was one of my first acquaintances after I moved to Wisconsin in September of 1960. I met him one evening at dinner in the Wisconsin Union, and I saw him regularly from then on. He was exuberant, gregarious, and mildly sarcastic. He gave me the candlesticks (eight and a half inches tall, with knob-and-slot candle-ejectors) to help furnish my room at the University Club, along with three watercolors by Nicolas Krycevsky (two of Paris dated 1947 – 48 and measuring ten by fifteen inches and twelve by nine and a half, and one of Venice dated 1949 and measuring fourteen by twelve). Krycevsky, whose illustrations for Gogol's Taras Bulba were published in 1945, was being talked about in Paris during Joe's postwar visits, and Joe was attracted to his work. These lovely watercolors now hang on the west wall of my living room; they and the candlesticks have therefore been in my sight constantly for nearly fifty years, in my two Madison locations and my one in New York. In the summer of 1961, on


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a trip to the South in his Volkswagen, Joe stopped off to have lunch with me and my parents in Indiana, and he appeared to be in good health. But in December he went into the hospital for tests, and in January and February he returned twice more for extended stays. It turned out that he had leukemia, and he died on March 12, 1962.

A year earlier, he had undertaken to prepare a section of the nineteenth-century volume of A Critical Bibliography of French Literature (which, under the general editorship of David C. Cabeen, had begun publication in 1947). Possibly sensing as early as September 1961 that he did not have the strength to complete the task, he asked me at that time to collaborate with him. After his death, I did complete it, writing critical comments on over three hundred articles and books dealing with the English influence on nineteenth-century French literature (culled from two thousand items that Joe and I had earlier identified). I still remember how much time I spent climbing up and down the stairs in the Wisconsin library stacks seeking out the material. My comments on each item were duly typed (by my mother) on the required half-sheets of paper, and the whole was shipped to Albert J. George, the volume editor, at the beginning of November 1962. But that volume of the Bibliography, as it was then planned, never appeared, owing in part to Cabeen's and George's deaths. (The nineteenth century was eventually covered with a different set of contributors in 1994.) I am sorry that Joe's work and his name have no place in this standard reference.

Joe was fond of his cousin, the historical novelist Dorothy James Roberts, and I had therefore heard a good deal about her before she came to Madison for Joe's funeral. She was a great letter-writer; and although I was not, we exchanged letters regularly from then until her death in February 1990. My large file of her letters includes her annual mimeographed Christmas letters—normally a dreary genre, but hers were far above average because they dealt with intellectual matters and were written in couplets with Ogden Nash-style rhymes. When I met her, she was about sixty and shared an apartment at 910 Stuart Avenue in Mamaroneck with Kathleen (Kay) Smallzried, a journalist who had written a noteworthy autobiography, Press Pass, in 1940. On one of my trips to New York in the mid-1960s, I visited them for dinner, and the main thing I remember from our conversation is her account of her working routine. She depended on her income from her novels, which at times was considerable, when her books were book-club choices. From 1943 through 1963 she often published books in consecutive years, and rarely did more than three years go by without another book. To keep up this pace, she had a rigorous schedule in which she tried to finish a book within a year, spending half the year reading widely in what had been published on the subject she had chosen and the other half-year writing. Because she was very heavy


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and could not get around easily, her method of acquiring her source material was to ask a used-book dealer—one of the Gilmans of Crompond, New York—to bring a large batch of relevant books to her apartment, and she bought many of them. At the time I was there, I believe the last such session had taken place, for her last book, Kinsmen of the Grail, came out in 1963. I knew who the Gilmans were because, in addition to their Crompond warehouse, they had a New York shop, which I always visited when I was in the city, along with all the other dealers in that wonderful (and now vanished) congregation of Fourth Avenue stores.

I saw her only one other time, in the 1970s after she had moved to Palo Alto with her friend Elizabeth Paschal (who had worked for the Ford Foundation and its Fund for the Advancement of Education). Their pleasant house at 569 Patricia Lane offered enjoyments not available in her Mamaroneck apartment: a yard full of flowers and fruit trees, which delighted her. She had her library there and continued to read and write. One of her projects (since she no longer felt the need to produce novels) was to reread Shakespeare and to write an essay on each play. She sent many of these essays to me, and I found them extremely perceptive and readable. Though she was not able to get them published, I still think they would make a good introduction to Shakespeare for the general reader. Because she had gone to college in Wisconsin, I arranged for her papers to become part of the Newberry Library's Midwestern Manuscripts Collection, and I hope someone in the future will discover her Shakespeare essays there.


The books inside the three-shelf bookcase, below Joe's candlesticks, are part of my comprehensive collection of the writings of Fredson Bowers (which includes, besides pamphlets and offprints, dust-jacketed copies of the amazingly numerous books he wrote and edited). Bowers dominated the fields of bibliographical scholarship and textual criticism in the English-speaking world during the second half of the twentieth century; and through his presence at the University of Virginia and his founding of Studies in Bibliography there, Virginia came in some ways to be regarded as the center of the bibliographical world. (His influence on Virginia went beyond bibliography, for as English department chairman and dean he recruited many leading scholars; there is a section headed "The Bowers Era" in Susan Tyler Hitchcock's The University of Virginia: A Pictorial History, 1999.) Some people, it seems, assume that I was a student of his, given the nature of my work, my long association with Studies in Bibliography, and my presidency since 1992 of the bibliographical society that he helped found at Virginia in 1947. The truth is that my schooling was


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at Yale and Northwestern, and I never took a course in bibliography or editing (I do not believe there was one to be had, in any case).

My first contact with him was in 1962, when I sent him a short article on an unrecorded early appearance of Poe's "The Raven." This piece originated in my book acquisitiveness. In April 1961 the Lebanon (Indiana) Public Library (three blocks from our family house) decided to discard its holdings of bound volumes of nineteenth-century periodicals; I could not bear to see them simply thrown away, so I rescued them (several hundred volumes), placing them on the ledges along the outer walls of our basement (where they remain to this day). The lot included one volume of the New York Weekly News, dated January 25, 1845, through January 24, 1846; the number for February 8, 1845, contained a printing of "The Raven"—one that, after research, I found to be tied for fourth place among the early printings. I knew that Studies in Bibliography had previously published articles on Poe, who was one of Virginia's most famous former students, and Fredson accepted it.

The next year I sent him a more substantial article, which also grew out of my book collecting. One of the early twentieth-century American publishers that I collect—and perhaps the one I admire the most—is B. W. Huebsch, whose publications included (besides works of Joyce, Lawrence, Anderson, and Veblen) a weekly journal called The Freeman (1920–24). When I discovered that the Newberry Library possessed the set of this journal that had belonged to Helen Swift Neilson (who financed it), with the authors of most of the unsigned pieces identified, I decided to publish a record of these identifications, which included many well-known writers of the time. Huebsch was then still alive, aged 86, and when I got in touch with him to ask about certain pieces not marked in the Newberry set, he replied that he had a fully annotated set in his apartment and invited me to look at it. The next time I was in New York, therefore, in June of 1962, I went to his Central Park West apartment, where the doorman made sure I knew how to pronounce Huebsch's name ("Hibsh"). I found Huebsch to be charming and considerate, and we had many things to talk about, since I knew his early publications thoroughly and since there was a Wisconsin thread running through them. He had published the poetry of William Ellery Leonard (once a Wisconsin professor, who had lived across the street from where I then lived), as well as Zona Gale's The Neighbors, a book on theater by Thomas H. Dickinson of the Wisconsin Dramatic Society, two volumes of Wisconsin Plays, and several books with introductions by Robert M. LaFollette. Before Huebsch departed for his office (at the Viking Press, with which his firm merged in 1925) and left me to take notes on his Freeman volumes, he told me that his maid would serve me lunch—the gentrification of Columbus Avenue was far in the future, and he thought I should not venture there.


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For my third contribution to Studies, I wrote a broader article, on the materials for the history of American publishing, with advice on how to use contemporary sources for constructing lists of the output of individual firms (using the experience I had gained in doing the same thing for the publishers I was collecting). From then on, I have published an essay in every volume of Studies, amounting by this time to more than forty essays. My acquaintance with Fredson came mainly through our extensive correspondence. He was known for his long letters (which arrived in envelopes plastered with old stamps of small denominations, which were to be returned to him); and though the letters were largely on bibliographical matters, they contained a remarkable amount of personal information and reflection—as is shown by my use of them in my biography of him. We spoke on the telephone no more than two dozen times, I would guess, and my meetings with him almost certainly numbered fewer than two dozen. Many of them occurred at scholarly conferences, which I have always disliked and have attended (I believe) only on the rare occasions when I was a speaker or was chairing a session. (Indeed, I hate for professional matters to intrude on private times: the last thing I want to do in Christmas week is to attend a convention of the Modern Language Association.)

Nevertheless, our paths did cross—in Bloomington, Indiana, for example, in April 1976 (where he gave a remarkable extemporaneous talk at the Howells edition headquarters during a historic meeting between five American and five Russian scholarly editors), and in Lawrence, Kansas, in September 1978 (during an equally historic gathering that brought together editors from the fields of literature and history). Another event, the April 1981 conference of the Society for Textual Scholarship in New York, was the occasion for Fredson's only visit to my living room. And a conference I was delighted to participate in was the one held in Charlottesville in April 1985 to honor Fredson on his eightieth birthday. One of my longest conversations with him took place in the Howard Johnson restaurant that used to be on the edge of the University of Virginia grounds; he was a connoisseur of beer as well as wine, but we sat there drinking undistinguished beer for several hours. Fredson's general graciousness and affability made him a pleasant conversationalist. My reason for being in Charlottesville on that occasion was to examine the manuscript of one of his Stephen Crane editions on behalf of the Center for Editions of American Authors, but our talk ranged far beyond his editing. Another conversation accompanied by copious beer occurred at the pub Fredson favored across the street from the British Museum, during the only time when he and I found ourselves in London together.

Although I was not his student, he was a considerable influence on my life, both through his writings and through his hospitality to my work


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in the pages of Studies. I have criticized a few of his positions, but my disagreements with him are small in comparison to our areas of convergence, beginning with his view of bibliography as history. He was unquestionably a great scholar. His last paper, "Why Apparatus?", was written for a conference of the Society for Textual Scholarship in New York in 1991. When he did not feel up to attending, he asked me to read his paper for him. On April 11, the day of the paper, at about the time I was delivering it in New York, he died in Charlottesville.

Among the books by Fredson in the three-shelf bookcase is a perfect copy in dust-jacket of his first book, The Dog Owner's Handbook (1936), now quite a rare item, as well as a copy of the scarce 1940 reprint. (The breeding and judging of Irish wolfhounds was one of his early nonbibliographical sidelines, as stamp collecting and the reviewing of musical records were later on.) Another elusive book is the 1934 volume of the Harvard Summaries of Theses, which includes Fredson's abstract of his dissertation on Elizabethan revenge tragedy. I have J. S. G. Simmons's copy of the first paperback printing (1961) of Textual and Literary Criticism and James G. McManaway's copy of the 1970 printing of the first volume of Fredson's Dekker edition. My copy of his Bibliography and Textual Criticism (1964) is inscribed to the great Charlottesville collector of American literature, C. Waller Barrett ("For Waller—and I hope for his pleasure"). Among the many inscriptions to me, I especially like what he wrote in his 1989 Hamlet as Minister and Scourge ("For my good friend Tom") and in the pamphlet I edited to mark his eightieth birthday: "For Tom, with my warmest appreciation for his being the 'onelie begetter' of these publications." (I also have the copy of this pamphlet that he gave to John Simmons, on which he wrote "Time passes!")

The shelves also contain most of my collection of the writings of Fredson's wife, the novelist and short-story writer Nancy Hale (of the old and distinguished New England Hale family), whose work I admire and whose conversation delighted me on the few occasions when I saw her or was entertained by the Bowerses at their Charlottesville house, Woodburn. There is even a connection between her and my collection of Boni & Liveright imprints: the second of her two previous husbands was Charles Wertenbaker, whose novel Boojum! was brought out in 1928 by that firm. Besides inscribed copies of her fiction, her memoirs, and her life of Mary Cassatt, I have (thanks to David Vander Meulen) the booklets she wrote for the Learning Center in Charlottesville in 1985, including copy number 2 (of 38 copies) of a special edition of Birds in the House, printed and bound by Mary Louise Kemp at Quaternion in Charlottesville. My favorite of her books is The Life in the Studio (1969), an account of the memories stirred by the Rockport (Massachusetts) house where she and Fredson went in the summers—the house built at 358 Granite Street in


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1911 by her aunt Ellen Day Hale and then given in 1931 to her mother, Lilian Westcott Hale. Both were painters, and indeed (along with her father, Philip Leslie Hale) were among the leaders of the Boston artistic community of their time. The Bowers connection was my introduction to these painters, and I have become particularly interested in the Cape Ann artists of this period. I am especially fond of Lilian Westcott Hale's work, and on the many drives my partner and I have made to down-east Maine we have often visited the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, where one of her best paintings, Daffy-Down-Dilly (1908), hangs. (It was included in the 2008 exhibition marking the sixtieth anniversary of the museum.) And her fine portrait of Fredson in his World War II naval uniform dominates my recollections of the living room at Woodburn.


The remainder of the west side of the foyer is occupied by a sectional bookcase seven shelves high, reaching almost to the ceiling. It contains part of my collection of artistically avant-garde and politically radical American publishers between 1890 and 1930, though its contents will soon change, for I am now (late 2008) in the process of giving that collection to the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale. Because the whole collection amounts to over ten thousand volumes, I have never been able to house all of it in my apartment—especially since I wanted to devote most of the space to my other large collection (books illustrating the history of bibliography, book collecting, and textual criticism), which is the one I need to have at hand to refer to. In the five years since I began my donations to Yale, most of the books have come from the Indiana house, where the bulk of the publisher-imprint collection has been stored in the basement and the upstairs room that had been my aunt Audra's. The small part that I shelved in New York consists of the publishers of the 1890s and a group of New York (especially Greenwich Village) publishers of the 1910s and 1920s whose output was small. This latter group is what is presently housed in the tall foyer bookcase.

There are the publications of Frank Shay, for example, who brought out several pamphlets of plays that had been performed by the Provincetown Players and the Washington Square Players, including early work by Eugene O'Neill, Susan Glaspell, and Edna St. Vincent Millay. A less well-known series, on the same shelf, is the "Flying Stag Plays for the Little Theater," published by Egmont Arens in attractive pamphlet editions with cover illustrations by notable artists. Harry Kemp's The Prodigal Son (1918), for instance, bears a front-cover drawing by William Gropper, one of the Masses-Liberator artists. (A piece of his later hung by my desk at


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the Guggenheim Foundation, for he had held a Fellowship in 1937.) The books published by Nicholas L. Brown and by Lieber & Lewis featured English translations of European (especially Russian and French) writers. The Sunwise Turn was a bookshop that published a few titles, most famously Pins for Wings (1920), the second of Witter Bynner's spoofs of imagism and other poetic movements.

Among Laurence Gomme's publications, distinctive for their use of Frederic Goudy's Kennerley type, are two 1917 books, Eight Harvard Poets, which includes E. E. Cummings and John Dos Passos, and The Newark Anniversary Poems, which includes Ezra Pound. (Mitchell Kennerley, for whom the type was designed, is another of the publishers I collect and was the founder in 1907 of the Little Bookshop Around the Corner, on 29th Street just east of Fifth Avenue, which Gomme managed for a while and then owned.) Gomme was later the first president of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (founded in 1949) and was a member of the Grolier Club for over a quarter-century. I went to visit him at his Scarsdale home in October 1964 and took with me one of his books— Clement Wood's Glad of Earth (1917)—for him to sign; he obliged by writing "To / Thomas Tanselle / who flatters the publisher / by liking this volume." He also gave me several of the later, scarcer items that he published or designed. At that time I did not yet know Mary Hyde well and was not aware of another of Gomme's roles: he was the cataloguer in 1945 of the R. B. Adam collection ofJohnsoniana, which (through his efforts as agent) was purchased by the Hydes three years later.

One subset of these small New York publishers comprises those primarily known for their publication of "little" magazines. I have a shelf of Emma Goldman's anarchist periodical Mother Earth, plus some of the separate pamphlets and hard-cover books she brought out with the Mother Earth Publishing Association imprint, such as Petr Kropotkin's Modern Science and Anarchism (1908) and Mikhail Bakunin's God and the State (1916). Guido Bruno is represented by several serials, including Bruno's Weekly (1915–16) and the Chap Books (famous for the illustrations of Clara Tice and for the November 1915 pamphlet, Djuna Barnes's The Book of Repulsive Women). There are also runs of Margaret Anderson's The Little Review(1914—29), Bobby Edwards's The Quill (1922—24), and Samuel Roth's Two Worlds and Two Worlds Monthly (1925—27). My long runs of the most illustrious of the radical magazines, The Masses (1911–17) and The Liberator(1918–24), are housed elsewhere because of their size and are represented in this bookcase only by some of the very scarce "Liberator Pamphlets," such as John Reed's The Sisson Documents (1918) and Max Eastman's Address to the Jury in the Second Masses Trial (1918). Some equally scarce pamphlets in "Pearson's 25,¢ Library," from the Frank Harris period of


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Pearson's Magazine, are here (such as Harris's Stories of Jesus the Christ of 1919, with a contribution by Bernard Shaw), along with books from the Pagan Publishing Company, publisher of The Pagan (1916–17).

I have not named here every one of the small publishers in the bookcase, but perhaps enough to suggest why I regard these seven shelves as a distillation of the collection as a whole, since the interests manifested by these publishers are largely those of the other publishers I collect. I see these books many times every day, as I pass through the foyer, and I am thus constantly reminded of what I have put together—and, indeed, of the process of assembling it, for I can remember where I found many of the books. I can see myself buying Mary Carolyn Davies's The Slave with Two Faces (Arens, 1918) at Max Hunley's shop in Beverly Hills; Albert Adès and Albert Josipovici's Goha the Fool (Lieber & Lewis, 1923) at Maggie DuPriest's shop in Coral Gables; Ernest Dowson's Dilemmas (Gomme, 1914) at the Reifsneiders' Park Book Shop in Washington; a presentation copy of John Jay Chapman's Cupid & Psyche (Gomme, 1916) at Dauber & Pine on lower Fifth Avenue; and Selected Works of Voltairine de Cleyre (Mother Earth, 1914) at the Safari Bookshop in San Diego. When the books in this bookcase go to Yale, they will be replaced by parts of my books-about-books collection now stored on closet shelves and floors. Scenes of buying books will continue to enter my mind when I am in the foyer, but they will be different scenes.


The next framed item, to the left of the Cummings self-portrait, is an original signed ink drawing (seventeen and a quarter by eleven and a half inches) by Art Young, a prominent cartoonist in the early twentieth century, who first came to my attention in 1958 when I was reading through all the issues of The Masses and The Liberator in connection with my work on Floyd Dell. Young contributed numerous cartoons to both magazines, expressing his (and the magazines') radical views with sarcastic humor, and I was delighted with them. One of my favorites among the books in my Boni & Liveright collection is Young's Trees at Night (1927), which brings together a series of his drawings that depict trees in animal and human shapes (most of which originally appeared in The Saturday Evening Post). The next year Horace Liveright brought out Young's appealing autobiography, On My Way.

Over the years, I picked up various other publications of his, such as his 1904 portfolio of five so-called "gravuretype" reproductions, entitled The Arthur Young Cartoons and published by the "Patriotic Art Co." I was therefore pleased to discover about 1990 that the Argosy Book Store on 59th Street had material from Young's estate, and I bought not only the


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drawing now on my bookcase but also a 1928 letter from Liveright to Young concerning Trees at Night. The drawing, in conformity with Young's criticism of a capitalist ethos, depicts tall office buildings as dehumanizing machines: each has a big lever on the side controlling a large door at ground level; the picture shows the moment when the doors are opened and masses of human beings come tumbling out.

This Young drawing takes me back to my graduate-school days at the Newberry Library, since that is where the Dell papers are located and where my discovery of Young and the other Masses-Liberator artists took place. For many weeks in 1958–59, I worked in the Special Collections department on a daily basis, at a time when the novelist Josephine Herbst (a contemporary of Dell's) was also using the manuscript holdings in connection with a book she was planning on the 1920s. I was given a desk in the stacks, next to the one used by the cataloguer of manuscripts, Amy Wood Nyholm (wife of Jens Nyholm, the head of Northwestern University Library). She was a sweet woman, but with an occasional wild laugh and a glint in her eyes, and she had firm opinions on many subjects. Her mothering instincts took over, and she gave me copious advice about the conduct of my life, interlarded with favorite quotations (especially from William Sheldon's The Varieties of Temperament and Vilfredo Pareto's fascist writings), which she had ready to hand on note cards in her top desk-drawer. One day in my bookshop browsing I bought a copy of a small volume of her husband's Danish poetry, Portal til Amerika (1953). When I mentioned it to her, she seemed surprised and said she would love to see it. I gave the book to her but was left to wonder what kind of relationship she and Jens had. Two decades later, at the time of my appointment to the Guggenheim Foundation, she (then retired in Santa Barbara) wrote to Gordon Ray, congratulating him on choosing me. She compared me with her cousin, who "went forth" from Oxford to "represent the Empire" to the Raj. "Now," she said of me, "he has met a Raj and the Raj has recognized him." Gordon's reply thanked her for her "interesting" letter.


Another concentrated period of Newberry work began a few years after the first, in the summer of 1965, when the Northwestern-Newberry Melville Edition got under way; and my memories of that time are released by the object standing in front of the Young drawing: a small Japanese-made clock set into the flat side of a five-inch semicircular column of black Kilkenny marble. This clock had belonged to Rick Johnson, a Newberry staff member who was officially the liaison between the library and the edition and who became a close friend of mine. Rick bought the clock on one of the trips he later took to Ireland with his companion Dick


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Seidel, and Dick gave it to me after Rick's death from lung cancer in October 1998, at the age of fifty-nine. Visits to Ireland had a special meaning for Rick because his mother was descended from the Colleses (Rick's full name was Richard Colles Johnson), a distinguished Irish Protestant family that over four centuries and in three countries (Ireland, England, and America) made significant contributions to publishing, medicine, cartography, copyright law, and musicology. William Colles, for example, was a publisher whose name appeared on the Dublin editions of many major writers in the last third of the eighteenth century; and Christopher Colles was the author of the first American road atlas (1789). Rick assembled portraits, books, and manuscripts that documented the Colles history, and after his death Dick prepared the collection for the Newberry.

I spent extended periods at the Newberry in the summers of 1965 and 1966 and in the spring and summer of 1967 (generally staying at the Pearson Hotel, later razed to make way for Water Tower Place). Rick was an ideal colleague, for he fully understood the bibliographical requirements of an edition like the Melville and was ready to purchase for the library the multiple copies that we needed of Melville's nineteenth-century editions. Indeed, he was one of that small group of people I mentioned earlier whose views on all bibliographical matters I completely agreed with. Another link between us was that we were both Yale graduates (six years apart) who knew the Yale library thoroughly—though I did not at that time know that my collection would go to the Yale Collection of American Literature, where he had held a job as an undergraduate (assisting Donald Gallup) and had developed his interest in working with books. After our day's work at the Newberry, we often spent the evenings together in the bars and restaurants (ranging all the way from Biggs to Papa Milano) of the Near North Side. (We also had many lunches with members of the Newberry and Melville staffs, and I have fond memories— probably shared by few others-of Rickett's, a family-run restaurant on Clark Street a few steps north of the Newberry, where one of the seasonal specialties was stewed rhubarb, prepared exactly as my mother had done with our back-yard rhubarb.)

During this period I was picking up large quantities of Little Blue Books, the widely distributed five-by-three-and-a-half-inch pamphlets (published by Emanuel Haldeman-Julius) that brought good literature, as well as radical and freethinking works, to a vast audience for some forty years (1910s to 1950s). Rick became interested, and he and I catalogued and analyzed my collection together, usually working at the kitchen table in his apartment near the Newberry at 27 East Bellevue Place (a building now demolished for so-called luxury apartments because of its proximity to the Lake Michigan Gold Coast). Both our names were on the long article that resulted, published in the First Quarter 1970 number of the


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Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. (This article was recently—in 2005—reprinted in the journal of the Haldeman-Julius Collectors Club, the existence of which shows how much more interest in the Little Blue Books there is today than there was when we worked on the article forty years ago.)

Even after these concentrated periods at the Newberry in the 1960s, I drove down to Chicago from Madison frequently, spending weekends (beginning on Thursdays) at the Newberry for work on Melville and other projects. Rick and I continued to spend many evenings together—joined by Dick, after Rick moved to Dick's Briar Place apartment, about three miles north of the library. But Rick's role in my life was not entirely social, as our Haldeman-Julius work indicates. Rick kept my various research interests in mind, and he continually directed me to relevant sources; whenever, to the end of his life, he came across something he thought would be useful to me, he sent me notes about it. And he came across a great deal, for he constantly read dealers' catalogues and many journals, and he followed up on questions raised by them, or other staff members, or scholars' inquiries. Slips of paper with his handwriting still come to the surface as I use my files. In writing a tribute to him for the Spring 1999 number of The Book Collector, I pointed out that he had "the intellectual curiosity and indefatigable persistence characteristic of first-rate scholars." Since he published little, his scholarship manifested itself largely in his enrichment of the Newberry's collections and in "the innumerable details in many scholarly works (notably the Melville edition) that bear silent testimony to his insight" (as I put it in 1999). My own writings are a prime example: they contain hundreds of references and connections that came from him.


What comes next is one of my favorite pieces of my aunt Audra's, which I remember seeing on top of a bookcase in her Bridgeport living room during all my Yale years. It is a colorful ceramic inkwell (early 1930s) bearing the "Anzac" pattern (a classic Art Deco design) from the old C. T. Maling firm of Newcastle-on-Tyne. The central ink compartment, with its lid, and the saucer-like ledge surrounding it are covered with a bright yellow, interrupted by jagged V-shaped multicolored bands. Another stack of books to the right of it is surmounted by a rectangular glass paperweight, four by two and a half inches, of the kind frequently used for advertising in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The bottom surface, visible by looking through the glass from the top, bears an advertisement (in black printing on a white background) for the Babcock Printing Press Manufacturing Company of New London, Con-


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necticut; it shows a picture of the "Optimus" press and gives the address of the company's New York office as the Tribune Building. The paperweight was made (as indicated on the bottom) by the Barnes & Abrams Company of Syracuse, which patented it in September 1889.

I must pause over this paperweight, for it was given to me by Harrison Hayford, the great Melville scholar who was one of the most influential people in my life. When he died in December 2001, I had enjoyed a close relationship with him for forty-six years, beginning with the first seminar I took in graduate school. He was thirty-nine at the time of that seminar, a tall large-boned man, already balding. I associate the smell of smoke with the class, for professors (including him) and students smoked during class in those days (even within the Northwestern University Library, where the seminar was held). Although I learned a lot about Melville and close reading that term, what most impressed me about him was the combination of his openness to all kinds of ideas and the logical rigor with which he analyzed them. I witnessed that logic in action repeatedly over the decades that followed, and I can say that he surpassed anyone else I have known in the instant sharpness of his cutting through any illogical statement, whether in a scholarly discussion or in casual conversation. One moment that sticks in my mind is the time when I was telling him about a congratulatory letter Fredson Bowers had sent me on my move to the Guggenheim. Fredson regretted, he said, that he had already held his "statutory" two Fellowships now that he had a "friend in court." Harry immediately retorted, "Obviously he didn't need a friend in court." Even his jokes and anecdotes—and he was a good story-teller--often played with logic, as did his reiterated comment, "That job took me longer than I expected, but I expected it to."

His sense of humor manifested itself in many ways; one of them was his friendship with Walter B. Scott, a Northwestern professor of theater who was as amusing in conversation as in his published parodies. Harry and Walter and a circle of friends met regularly for lunch at Michellini's, a few blocks west of campus on Foster Street, and I was glad to be an attendee at a number of these gatherings in the 1960s and 1970s. A sense of what took place can be gleaned from one of the books in the stack under Harry's paperweight: Scott's Parodies, Etcetera & So Forth (Gerald Graff's 1985 edition of Scott's collected parodies and line drawings, originally published in 1978 as Chicago Letter and Other Parodies). This delightful book contains many references to "Professor Mosher" (to whom the 1949 "Academic Letter of Recommendation" is addressed) or "Bernard Mosher" (who turns up in "Chicago Letter" of 1949 and in "A 'Bob' Brown Sampler" of 1973); once you know that Harry's middle name was "Mosher," the inspiration is clear. (Harry himself cited his invented character "Bernard Mosher" in occasional footnotes.) When Hershel Parker


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collected Harry's essays in Melville's Prisoners (2003), he used as a frontispiece Walter's drawing of Harry standing behind a classroom desk holding a small whale—which had originally appeared at the end of Walter's "Fulbright Report."

My paper for that first seminar became my first published article: it was based on a trip I made to Galena, Illinois, to find out what might be learned from the local newspapers about Melville's time there in the summer of 1840 to visit his uncle Thomas, and it was illustrated with a photograph I took of the uncle's house. I did not at that time, however, intend to become a Melville scholar; and when I wrote my dissertation a few years later, I chose Harry as my adviser even though my subject was Floyd Dell, not Melville. (I decided on Dell in order to have the experience of working with an author's papers, and in this case of being the first person to go through the archive, recently arrived at the Newberry.) It is possible that I might not have seen much more of Harry after that if he had not telephoned me one evening in August 1964. I was visiting my parents, and I took the call at the same phone on the front-hall desk where I later received Gordon Ray's invitation to join the Guggenheim Foundation.

Harry's call (like Gordon's) was for the purpose of issuing an invitation: he asked me to join a project he was organizing, with the goal of producing a full-scale fifteen-volume edition of Melville's writing, to be funded in large part by Northwestern University and the Newberry Library. I was to be one of three primary co-editors (along with him and Hershel Parker, another of his former students, who was to become the leading Melville scholar), with particular responsibility for bibliographical and textual matters (though all three of us would jointly decide on textual emendations). Harry thought of me because of the bibliographical writing I had done by that time, and I was delighted to embark on such an undertaking with him. (The timing was good, since I had just finished writing my critical biography of Royall Tyler.) Work began in earnest the following summer, and for the next thirteen years I saw a great deal of Harry, when I went down from Wisconsin for long weekends (and sometimes, as I mentioned earlier, whole summers and semesters) at the Newberry. After my move to New York, I saw him less often, and our discussions about the edition took place largely by telephone and mail, though I made a point of going to Chicago for a few days every summer, and he visited me in New York several times.

Throughout, from 1965 onward, he and I went to used-book stores together whenever we had the chance (usually in Chicago, but sometimes in Boston and New York). He had been a book collector before the Melville project began but had generally limited himself to books by and about Melville and other major figures in American literature. After the project got started, he turned his Melville holdings over to the Newberry, where


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they became the nucleus for the great collection that was built up over the next decade. Harry then needed other collecting goals to satisfy his acquisitiveness, and he began forming impressive assemblages of American poetry, fiction, and humor, and books by American women and blacks. Before long the four floors of his house and the garage were filled, and he became a quasi-dealer, selling several large collections and allowing certain people to buy individual items. His house, at 1010 Elmwood in Evanston, was in some respects the best bookshop in the Chicago area, and I certainly acquired many titles from him. (He always saved for me anything he thought I would be interested in and had a stack of books waiting whenever I showed up.) It was because of his bibliophilic activities that I published my obituary tribute to him in The Book Collector as well as in Leviathan (the Melville Society's journal).

Harry and his wife were gregarious: they had many parties in their house and always welcomed graduate students there. So I was familiar with the house even before the Melville Edition began, but it was after that time when I was there much more often and got to know Harry's wife, Jo, well. She was a cultured, cosmopolitan, elegant woman, the daughter of Charles F. Wishart, a former president of the College of Wooster in Ohio. Her knowledge of art history was extensive, and she taught the subject (drawing on her and Harry's many long stays in Europe) at Kendall College in Evanston. (She was known by many Northwestern undergraduates as a result of being a tutor for members of the basketball and football teams.) When Harry and I had spent an afternoon in the Chicago book shops, we sometimes ate in a restaurant, but often he phoned Jo to say that we would be at the house for dinner. She had obviously become accustomed to providing dinners on short notice.

Harry was genial and compassionate, but he could also be impatient and had an easily provoked temper. He once gave me his own analysis of his self-assurance: he did not, he said, feel the need to prove himself, as so many academic strivers did, because he had grown up as a member of one of the leading families of his home town. The family had prospered in business, construction, and dairy farming (he had a farmer's physique himself); and I have several times visited Belfast, Maine, and seen the evidence, in the form of a four-story building at a prominent intersection on Main Street, a few blocks up the hill from the waterfront, with "Hayford Block. 1866." cut into the stone at the top. This building, also called "Hayford Hall," originally had a ballroom and theater on the second floor and was for many years the center of social life in Belfast. And there is a Hayford Corner three miles west of Belfast on Route 3, at the junction with Jesse Robbins Road. (Walter Scott's 1949 parody of Sherwood Anderson, "The Book," tells of a book-loving young farmer from Maine named "Harry.") I believe I taught Harry some things about the


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collecting of books, but he taught me more important lessons about how to think and how to deal with daily life.


And then, in these east-wall bookcases, there is John Carter. Two and a half shelves are devoted to him, and the equivalent of at least two or three more are represented by stacks of books elsewhere. My collection includes nearly all the printings, English and American, of the eight editions of his ABC for Book-Collectors (1952), the last three editions of which were revised by Nicolas Barker. I also have, besides all the printings of his other books, a number of books from his library (with his Reynolds Stone bookplates and often with his annotations and laid-in clippings and typescripts), as well as many pamphlet items and other so-called ephemera. Among the rarer items are John Sparrow's copy of the page proofs for Carter's 1932 edition of Thomas Browne's Urne Buriall and The Garden of Cyrus (a book regularly regarded as one of the greatest pieces of twentieth-century bookmaking), with Carter's marginal corrections; the order form for An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Nineteenth-Century Pamphlets (1934), his and Graham Pollard's exposé of the Wise-Forman forgeries and a true bibliographical classic; the hardcover, interleaved issue of his More Binding Variants (1938); the proofs of his Taste and Technique in Book-Collecting (1948), with the title-page date "194" (before the year was certain); part 2 of the Mill House Press Catullus, which he and Edward Gathorne-Hardy edited in 1953; all six of the delightful Halcyon Booklets (1964–66), which he edited under the imprint of the Halcyon-Commonwealth Foundation (at 1 Beekman Place, a great apartment house around the corner from my own and the home of Mary Jean Kempner Thorne, who financed the booklets); and the leaflet he had privately printed, when he was president of the Bibliographical Society, containing the texts of his citations of Graham Pollard and Fredson Bowers on the occasion of their being awarded the Society's Gold Medal in 1969.

I had heard of Carter at least by 1953, when my parents gave me as a Christmas present a copy of the second American edition of the ABC (which bears my first bookplate, consisting of my entwined initials in lower case, designed by Betty Sullenberger, the art teacher at my aunt Mary's high school, who created the posters for her plays). Given Carter's prominence in the mid-twentieth-century Anglo-American book world (first at Scribner's and then at Sotheby's) and his authorship of several classic books, I would certainly have collected him even if there had been no personal association. But I knew him for the last ten years of his life and will always be grateful to him for the kindness he showed me. I first met him in August 1966 when I made a trip to London on behalf of the


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Melville Edition. Jim Wells of the Newberry, who knew everyone in the book world (and still does), had written a letter to Carter in June asking if he would assist me in gaining entry to the archives of the publisher John Murray, which contained the records relating to the English publication of Melville's first two books. Jim enclosed a letter from me to Carter explaining what I needed, and Carter turned it over to Murray, who wrote me to say that the ledgers would be available to me. I reported this to Carter in a letter on the first of August, telling him that I would be in London to work with the material two weeks later, and his prompt reply asked me to meet him for lunch on the 16th.

I showed up at Sotheby's at 12:30 on the appointed day, and he took me to lunch at the Westbury Hotel, a few steps down St. George Street from the back door of Sotheby's. His charm and elegance were well-known, and I was not surprised by them (or by his monocle); but I also found him to be extremely kind and considerate. He even offered to come to Murray's and help me carry the ledgers up the street to get them photocopied. I told him that I was going to have a photographer come in to Murray's, so that the ledgers did not have to leave the premises. But I was very touched by his offer. A few days later he came to Murray's to see how things were going, and we had a drink in a small sidewalk cafe a few doors north along Albemarle Street. I recall that our conversation covered—among many other subjects—Noël Coward and the beauty of Savannah, Georgia (which I had recently visited and where John's wife came from). In subsequent years, whenever I have passed by that cafe, I have thought back to the time when John and I chatted there.

I told him that I was working on an article about the description of the colors of nineteenth-century publishers' bindings, a subject he (as one of the pioneer students of those bindings, along with Michael Sadleir) had long been interested in. The article was published a few months later, in the 1967 volume of Studies in Bibliography, prompting some letters from him in the spring of 1967, including one stating that the "learned reviewer" of that volume for the Times Literary Supplement was "sufficiently conscientious to want to see" the color chart and dictionary that I had recommended. He was asking on behalf of Philip Gaskell (in those days of anonymous TLS reviews), but his request also reflected his own lifelong effort to keep abreast of bibliographical advances.

My next flurry of correspondence with him occurred about fifteen months later, when he not only agreed to write a letter of reference to support my application for a Guggenheim Fellowship but also invited me to read a paper before the Bibliographical Society in London, of which he was then president, during the 1969–70 season. I readily accepted his offer and proposed as my topic the history of book-jackets, a choice he heartily approved, for he had written on the subject himself many


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years earlier. After learning that I had received the Guggenheim for the 1969–70 year, I was able to set the dates of a visit to London, and we agreed on March 17, 1970 (the date of the last meeting of the Society that season), as the day of my talk. I arrived a week ahead and immediately sent him a copy of my paper, and he quickly responded (on the Thursday preceding the Tuesday talk), with a note to my hotel expressing his admiration for the piece. No doubt he was relieved that it was acceptable, for he reported that "there were a few sniffs among the stuffier characters [of the Society's council] when your topic was announced (by me, with enthusiasm), as if such things as dust-jackets were a trifle frivolous—and this should blow them out of the water."

During my stay in London, we had another Martini-accompanied lunch at the Westbury, and he invited me to a dinner of the "Biblio Boys" at the Garrick Club. (The "Biblio Boys" were an informal monthly dining group that has an honorable place in the history of twentieth-century bibliography, its regular members having included Michael Sadleir, John Hayward, Percy Muir, Simon Nowell-Smith, and Graham Pollard, among others.) The special guest on this occasion was Sir Robert Birley, former master of Eton (the school in John's home town, which he had attended and to which he remained loyal). I had not previously been to the Garrick Club, though I have been there many times since (as a member of the Century Association in New York, which has a reciprocal relationship with the Garrick); but no visit there will ever mean more to me than the one John was responsible for.

He and I continued to correspond after I returned home, and in August 1971 he asked if I had suggestions for revisions to be made in the new edition of the ABC that he was working on. In two letters, at the beginning of September and of October, I sent him many suggestions. When the fifth edition came out in the summer of 1972, he sent me an inscribed copy ("for Tom Tanselle / gratefully / from John Carter") and acknowledged my help in his preface. (I have since done the same thing for Nicolas Barker, during his preparation of the eighth edition.) When I was in London in May of 1974, John and I had another (and, as it turned out, final) lunch at the Westbury. Since I had seen him last, he had suffered two small strokes (in 1973), and it was distressing to find him no longer capable of the witty repartee he had always excelled at. I prefer to remember our earlier conversations—such as his reply to my question about how the revision of the Enquiry was going: "At what is known as Pollard's Pace." No doubt this was a well-rehearsed comment, but the intonation and pauses with which he delivered it remain in my mind as the embodiment of his cocktail-party conversation.

I did not get to know his wife, Ernestine, until after his death (on March 18, 1975, seven weeks short of his seventieth birthday). For the


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next five years she and I exchanged a considerable number of letters; the ones in 1977 related to Jean Peters's and my proposal that Jean's anthology Book Collecting: A Modern Guide be dedicated to John. She was delighted, and when the book was published in early November 1977 Jean and I sent her a copy inscribed by each of us. My inscription read as follows: "For Ernestine Carter—with satisfaction in contributing to a book dedicated to Jake, one in which chapter after chapter acknowledges the great debt all book collectors and bibliographers owe to him. I hope the book is one that he would have approved of. With all good wishes from Tom (of Chapter 12) 4th Nov. 1977." (John was known to his friends as "Jake.") The reason I can quote this inscription is that in 1998, five years after Ernestine's death, Maggs had this copy for sale, and I could not resist the idea of reclaiming it.

The shelf where it now resides contains copies of the books that Ernestine herself published, such as her autobiography With Tongue in Chic (1974)—the title reflecting her career as fashion editor of The Sunday Times, where she was a powerful force in the London fashion world. (Before she married John in 1936, she had been at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, first as secretary to Philip Johnson and then as Curator of Architecture and Industrial Art; during that time she lived on 50th Street near the East River, a fact that adds to the pleasant associations my neighborhood has for me.) When I had lunch with her at the Park Lane Hotel in May of 1978 (while my parents, whom I had taken to Europe for their first and only trip, were on a bus tour), one of the things we talked about was my plan to write a biography of John and an assessment of his work, accompanied by a list of his voluminous writings. (He was a great stylist, and nearly everything he wrote, even brief letters to editors, is a delight to read.) I have a substantial mass of material and am sorry I did not complete the task before Ernestine died. I still have not completed it (as of this writing, in early 2009), but I have not given up the idea of paying homage to him in this way.

The Carter study is only one of several long-planned and extensively researched projects that I have not yet finished, given the nonscholarly activities that I have preferred to spend time on. But I did finish my memoir, at least within the strict limits I set myself, focusing on the objects in a single room. Even in its entirety (of which the present excerpts amount to about one-fourth), it does not of course cover my life thoroughly; but no memoir ever tells the whole story of a person's life and thoughts. What I hope it does is to suggest how much can be learned by following the associations inspired by a group of objects that one has lived with.