Typed Letter Signed to "My dear Gleeson White," with two "Goops" drawn by hand. Gelett Burgess.

Typed Letter Signed to "My dear Gleeson White," with two "Goops" drawn by hand.

Two separate pages, with the typed heading "#1 Margaret Street | Cavendish Square, W." and dated June 2nd, 1898.

This letter is from Gelett Burgess (1866-1951), who after graduating from MIT became an artist and humorist of the 1890s San Francisco literary renaissance -- and who is today best known for his poem "The Purple Cow," for his books featuring "Goops," for his iconoclastic little magazine The Lark, and even for coining the word "blurb" (to promote one of his books, he portrayed a "Miss Belinda Blurb ... in the act of blurbing" i.e. shouting out praise for his book). The letter is to (Joseph) Gleeson White (1851-1898 -- he died four months after this letter), who was a British art critic and the editor of The Studio, a "Magazine of Fine and Applied Art" founded in 1893.

The typed text of this letter reads:

I shall be very glad to attend your smoker on Sunday night next, and delighted to have the opportunity of meeting some of the younger "black-and-white-men", who ought, from this description, to be interesting in appearance, as well as in character.

I have been wondering, in all modesty, whether you would be interested in seeing some of my "Goops", and I have thought of offering you a set of drawings (?) with a little serio-comic paper, (somewhat in the way of being a parody on the many "Histories of Art",) which the Goops illustrate, -- for the Studio. They are quite out of the ordinary and your readers might find them amusing.

The paper is an Appendix to my forthcoming "Child's History of Goopland," and is called "the Goop in Art," -- it is illustrated by many (ad lib.) of the best examples of early Liverbone Art, almost all the figures being taken from the celebrated "Frieze of the Hundred Goops" in the colossal tomb of Sir Edwin Mulchivers Dorash, an eminent general of the Liverbone Goops, (Rales III.) and the conqueror of the terrible Malachite general Vlanwol.

I trust, in any case, you will not accuse me of mixing social and business affairs in mentioning this. Possibly, too, you may regard the drawings as too silly to be amusing. But I have only just had the idea of offering them, and I am convinced that they might lighten up the discreet chastity of the "Studio" in a very Larkish way.

But in any case, I'll be glad to smoke with you. Yours very sincerely, [signed, with his symbol and two "Goops"] Gelett Burgess.

After introducing Goops in his magazine The Lark, Burgess would soon (1900) publish the original Goops book, GOOPS AND HOW TO BE THEM (soon to be followed by MORE GOOPS AND HOW NOT TO BE THEM and five others). The Goops came to be seen as the quintessential series for teaching small children manners and polite behavior; in the 1920s Burgess went on to create a syndicated comic strip "Goops!".

Here are two of Burgess's Goops, drawn by himself, before they became famous... The letter is in fine condition. Provenance: from the renowned three-generation Dodge Family Autograph Collection. Item #14492

Price: $625.00

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