Saturday, May 8, 2010
My Adelaide Crapsey collection consisted of, up until this week, the standard essential books: Smith's Complete Poem's and Collected Letters and Alkalay-Gut's Alone in the Dawn. This week I have had the pleasure of adding three items to my collection.
The first, a copy of Crapsey's Verse published by Manas Press. This is the first edition from 1915. It is probably the one single book I have always wanted, at least since first reading Crapsey's work. Want to know the exciting part? It is in great shape, and I only paid $10 plus $4 shipping! Considering I never see it listed for less than $45, I consider this to be a great find!
The second, a copy of Century magazine from November 1914 that I purchased on ebay. This magazine contains the only professional publication Crapsey had within her lifetime, just prior to her death. It contains the poem 'The Witch'. Along with a first edition of Verse, I consider this to be one of the most important Crapsey collectibles. This copy is in pretty good shape, the cover has some tearing and chipping, but otherwise not too bad. The price tag? Only $15.97, plus $4.95 shipping. Again, I feel a good price.
The third has me particularly excited, Woman's Home Companion magazine from March 1928. Why so excited? I have never seen this reprint of Adelaide's work listed in any bibliography or publication list for her. I purchased it from the same ebay seller as Century. The listing contained a table of contents with the mysterious line:
POEMS / LIMERICKS (Title/Author/Illustrator)
Unknown title / Adelaide Crapsey / photo
I quickly clicked the 'buy it now' button and sat back to wait and see what I got. It arrived the same day as Verse. I tore open the package and carefully flipped the pages. I found a page containing a photo of a slanted tree, and below it the poem 'On Seeing Weather-Beaten Trees', however it was untitled. It is credited to Crapsey from Verse, courtesy of Alred Knopf. This over-sized magazine is in very good shape, and it set me back only $23.97 plus $4.95 shipping. Again, to the best of my knowledge this is an unknown reprint of Crapsey's work. If anyone else has heard of this reprint before, please let me know, and where you heard of it, if possible. As a matter of fact, if anyone knows of any comprehensive bibliography of Crapsey's work/reprints, besides Alkalay-Gut's most excellent website, please share the info!
So, now my Crapsey collection has gotten a great jumpstart. What are my future collecting plans? I'm glad you asked! I plan on finding copies of the second and third editions of Verse put out by Knopf in 1922 and 1934, possibly the extra printings of these editions as well (put out 1925 and 1929 for 2nd, and 1939 for 3rd). I am also considering picking up some of the modern reprints as well. I know, I know, a bit obsessive, but she only has one book of poetry, so it stands to reason collecting various editions adds to the thrill. I also plan on picking up a first edition of her A Study of English Metrics, Knopf 1918. I will pursue any reprints of her poetry I can track down, like A Book of Vassar Verse and other anthologies. I would like to pick up the books by Osborn and Butscher, as well as Bragdon's' books that reference Crapsey. Eventually, I will probably pick up Sandburg and Ridge's books containing their poetic tributes to Crapsey. For someone like Adelaide with such a short life and low poetic output, there surely is quite a bit for the collector to chase.
I would love to hear stories of other people's Crapsey collections, items, and finds, and if anyone has any of the titles I mentioned and are looking to part with them, or any other Crapsey collectibles, I would love to hear from you!