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Dust Jacket Collector

Signed Books & their inscriptions

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Dust Jacket Collector

This post is really aimed at that dwindling group of us who still search out original copies of rare books (I think we are down to less than 10 at my last count!). It's never easy to explain to others why we should be prepared to pay considerable sums for books that can be downloaded for free from an e-book site. But there is one area in which the printed book can be unique and that is when it's been signed by the author. What I have in mind here is to find those particular copies where the author has inscribed the book to another significant figure. Such books briefly see the light of day when they appear in a catalogue or auction and then vanish from sight. They often throw up unexpected connections between authors or between one soldier and another. One of the reasons I search for such things stems from my failure, some 20 years ago, to buy a copy of Sassoon's 'Old Huntsman' simply inscribed 'to RG from SS' (I suppose one inscribed 'to Wilfred from SS' might be better!). I'm not going to list all the ones I have here in case no one else replies. So, hopefully, to get the ball rolling here are a few I've found over the last 30 or more years.

A proof copy of Carroll Carstairs 'A Generation Missing' inscribed by the author to Sir William Orpen who painted the picture of Carstairs used on the jacket.

A proof of Wilfrid Ewart's 'Way of Revelation' inscribed by him to the American poet Vachell Lindsay with a letter from Ewart mentioning their mutual acquaintance, Stephen Graham ('A Private in the Guards').

General Wauchope's 'History of the Black Watch' inscribed to General Wavell.

Two copies of Drinkwater's 'Olton Pools' inscribed to Augustus John & Laurence Binyon.

'Nothing of Importance' inscribed by Adams sister in which she has copied out a letter from Sassoon praising her brother.

OK that's enough of me peacocking around - what else is out there?

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Coldstreamer

Most of my books on the Coldstream Guards are original copies - I have the odd reprint but I like the old books - especially so when so one has made their own notes and amendments against the men in them

And I MUCH prefer a real paper medal catalogue to looking at one on a computer

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Seadog

One of mine

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Norman

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trajan

Just out of curiosity, how do you (and your band of 10 [or so!]) define a 'rare book'?

Trajan

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barkalotloudly

I have very nice copy in a dustwrapper of the "Weary Road" signed but much more interestingly with numerous annotations by the author

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Dust Jacket Collector

Just out of curiosity, how do you (and your band of 10 [or so!]) define a 'rare book'?

Trajan

There's a whole thread, Rarest Book, which has spent not a little time discussing this very point. Lets just say it's one that a determined collector has only come across on a very few occassions. Perhaps I shouldn't have said 'rare' in my initial post. What matters here is the significance of the inscription, however common the book is.

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barkalotloudly

Rare Book ? one that is particularly hard to find? privately printed just for the family? etc Samuel Underhill or Bradford and his Brothers {these is just one copy available at a "considerable price" and book dos`nt always have to be old to be rare? "Leaving all that was dear" was printed during the 1990`s but can be very hard to locate as is "Six to a loaf" a diary of the Liverpool regiment, most memorial volumes are very scarce,that`s why when one appears you generally have to bite the bullet and buy it! i paid a lot for the "Diary of Wilfred Saxby Barham" i would suggest too much but when will you see another copy?

If i sell books on e*** it does tend to be the same people who buy them I do feel the number of collectors who are interested in rare/originals appears to be dwindling as the number of cheaper reprints increases

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trajan

There's a whole thread, Rarest Book, which has spent not a little time discussing this very point. ...

Thanks DJ

... I do feel the number of collectors who are interested in rare/originals appears to be dwindling as the number of cheaper reprints increases ...

Ye-e-e-s, up to a point. I have a small collection of specialist books, and so works that were not published in quantity. Several are originals, some are reprints, one is even a photocopy provided by the person with the publishing rights of a hard-to-get original, and yet I will happily pay a (reasonable) price to have even a dog-eared original, knowing that it is an original and that it was used by somebody with the same interest - and it is always a very pleasant surprise to get an inscribed and autographed one! My favourite in many way is an original work published in small numbers that was owned by one of the greats in my areas of interest, and which has a series of corrections in it in his own hand! Naturally, I tend to use the reprint more often that not, but to have the master's own copy, well...!

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Dust Jacket Collector

I have very nice copy in a dustwrapper of the "Weary Road" signed but much more interestingly with numerous annotations by the author

Nice find. I suspect Douie was a bit of a serial signer. I have several of his books, one inscribed to his brother & a 'Weary Road' fondly inscribed to the historian, Sir Arthur Bryant.

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MartH

Oh dear where do we start without trying to be bumptious, big daddy of the them all Collingwoods copy of Signals and Fighting Instructions 1799 annotated by Nelson used at Trafalgar, with the Secret Rendevous list. Signed set of Wellingtons Dispatches, Signed Mahn's, Roskil's etcl, signed Becke's. Proof copy of Regiments of The British Army annotated by the author White, Signed Jellicos' Grand Fleet to Brownrigg with letters starting the debate that led to the Official History opt out. Cabinet copies of Official Histories and loads more. Must dash off to an airshow to see the Lancaters'

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trajan

Oh dear where do we start without trying to be bumptious, big daddy of the them all Collingwoods copy of Signals and Fighting Instructions 1799 annotated by Nelson used at Trafalgar, with the Secret Rendevous list. Signed set of Wellingtons Dispatches, Signed Mahn's, Roskil's etcl, signed Becke's. Proof copy of Regiments of The British Army annotated by the author White, Signed Jellicos' Grand Fleet to Brownrigg with letters starting the debate that led to the Official History opt out. Cabinet copies of Official Histories and loads more. Must dash off to an airshow to see the Lancaters'

:w00t: You get to see the Lancaster's as well! :thumbsup:

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Dust Jacket Collector

Oh dear where do we start without trying to be bumptious, big daddy of the them all Collingwoods copy of Signals and Fighting Instructions 1799 annotated by Nelson used at Trafalgar, with the Secret Rendevous list. Signed set of Wellingtons Dispatches, Signed Mahn's, Roskil's etcl, signed Becke's. Proof copy of Regiments of The British Army annotated by the author White, Signed Jellicos' Grand Fleet to Brownrigg with letters starting the debate that led to the Official History opt out. Cabinet copies of Official Histories and loads more. Must dash off to an airshow to see the Lancaters'

That's a seriously impressive list, Martin, particularly the Collingwood. I think some of the War leaders might have benefited from reading that. I can beat you on the Lancasters though - they flew over my house the other day on the way to an Airshow.

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other ranker

I recently purchased, 'Reminiscences of a Grenadier' by E R M Fryer inscribed to Marjorie Fryer from Barkalotloudly I believe. I also have 'The Fifth Army' signed by Hubert Gough and 'Illusion 1915' signed by Tomlinson. I will keep looking, thanks for your inspiration!

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Dust Jacket Collector

I recently purchased, 'Reminiscences of a Grenadier' by E R M Fryer inscribed to Marjorie Fryer from Barkalotloudly I believe. I also have 'The Fifth Army' signed by Hubert Gough and 'Illusion 1915' signed by Tomlinson. I will keep looking, thanks for your inspiration!

The Fryer is a scarce one & nice to get a signed copy.

One thing that can be very satisfying is when a book is sold without any mention of an inscription & then you discover something special when it arrives. A few years ago I bought a copy of Blunden's 'The Bonadventure' to replace my jacketless copy. On looking inside there was a nice inscription in Latin from Blunden to Edward Marsh, Churchill's secretary & patron of several War poets. It was sent as a thank you to Marsh who had presented Blunden with the Hawthornden Prize for Literature a couple of weeks previously.

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trenchtrotter

I have a 2nd edition copy of "A Subaltern On The Somme" by Mark Seven ( pseudo name). In the cover is the following "from a platoon officer to his company commander, with memories of the mud in front of Le Transloy and others, Laffies". SC"

There is a letter inside to Dear Stewart ( the company commander) and details about the book, why sent and notes on the Somme in Oct 1916. Signed Stanley Cursiter an artist who illustrated Sidney Rogersons book "Twelve Days" of which I have a first edition.

TT

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trenchtrotter

PS Cursiter served with the 1st Cameronians. The inscription is dated 16.2.28

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trenchtrotter

Further I have several div and battalion histories signed by old comrades obviously at re unions and my copy of the US 4th Div history is signed by Mark Hersey who commanded the 4th from Oct 31st previously commanding the 155th Brigade, 78th Div.

TT

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simonharley

Oh dear where do we start without trying to be bumptious, big daddy of the them all Collingwoods copy of Signals and Fighting Instructions 1799 annotated by Nelson used at Trafalgar, with the Secret Rendevous list. Signed set of Wellingtons Dispatches, Signed Mahn's, Roskil's etcl, signed Becke's. Proof copy of Regiments of The British Army annotated by the author White, Signed Jellicos' Grand Fleet to Brownrigg with letters starting the debate that led to the Official History opt out. Cabinet copies of Official Histories and loads more. Must dash off to an airshow to see the Lancaters'

Which Brownrigg? Douglas, I presume? Or slightly possibly his son Henry? Dare I say it you might want to lodge copies of the correspondence with the British Library or the National Maritime Museum for historians to look at.

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kevinrowlinson

Almost afraid to post given some of the books that have been listed, but I have a rather poor copy of "450 miles to freedom". Written on inside page is "P. Clifton from Capt. J H Harris 18/8/1919." I didn't think anything of it when I bought the book but then realised he was the first named officer of the six escapees on the photo printed a couple of pages later.

Kevin

Edit. Or even 8 escapees in photo

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Knotty

I have a first edition Bullets and Billets by Bruce Bairnsfather with the inscription "Dear Father, with best wishes for 1917 may it bring peace. I think it will"

If only I could find out who the writer and the intended recipient was.

John

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MartH

Which Brownrigg? Douglas, I presume? Or slightly possibly his son Henry? Dare I say it you might want to lodge copies of the correspondence with the British Library or the National Maritime Museum for historians to look at.

I will think about it, I also might want to use them myself in a book. My several experiences with the National Maritime Museum over Collingwoods' Signals and Fighting Instructions 1799 is they can take a running jump.

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Spud Trevor

I've bought a few second hand ww1 books not because they were rare but because they were cheaper than new. A couple are signed by the authors with thanks to soldiers mentioned in the text which helps bring the book alive. The last was The Soldiers' Strikes of 1919 by Andrew Rothstein inscribed to a soldiers who's diary is quoted in the book.

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Dust Jacket Collector

A couple of interesting soldier author books of note.

Capt. F. C. Hitchcock's ('Stand To'), advance copy of R. A. Lloyd's Lifeguards memoir 'A Trooper in the Tins' which has a letter to Hitchcock from Lloyd thanking him for his review & telling him that he chose the publishers, Hurst & Blackett, after reading his book. Hitchcock's notes for his review are written inside the back cover.

A copy of Raymond Smith's privately printed 'A Soldier's Diary' inscribed by him to Thomas Hope Floyd ('At Ypres with Best Dunkley') in which Floyd has made copious notes. For example, alongside a discription of Third Ypres he's written 'I was wounded there on July 31st, 1917, the first day of the push'. It's that sort of thing that makes it worthwhile searching out these books.

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seaJane

I will think about it, I also might want to use them myself in a book. My several experiences with the National Maritime Museum over Collingwoods' Signals and Fighting Instructions 1799 is they can take a running jump.

NMM is a strange beast... I dare say you are feeling once bitten twice shy, but I think the National Museum of the Royal Navy ((Portsmouth) would have reacted differently.

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Dust Jacket Collector

Here's an interesting inscription in a copy of the poetry anthology 'The Muse in Arms' edited by E.B.Osborn.

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