Item #15242 MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY. By S.S. McClure. Willa Sibert Cather.


With Many Illustrations. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, [1915]. Original maroon cloth lettered in gilt with pictorial panel on the front cover, with dust jacket.

First Edition, second printing (the first to have a dust jacket) -- of the autobiography of the Irish-American investigative publisher Samuel Sidney McClure -- ghost-written by his managing editor, Willa Cather.

McClure (1857-1949) emigrated with his widowed mother from County Antrim to a farm in Indiana when he was nine; after attending Valparaiso schools, between 1874 and 1882 he gradually worked his way through Knox College in Galesburg Illinois. In 1897 McClure teamed up with F.N. Doubleday to create Doubleday & McClure publishers, and upon its dissolution in 1900, McClure created McClure, Phillips & Co. (which in turn would sell its assets back to Doubleday in 1908). When in 1905 McClure's cousin brought to his attention the writings of one Willa Cather, MP&Co published her first work of fiction, THE TROLL GARDEN. A year later most of the McClure's Magazine editorial staff (including Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens) resigned, at which time McClure hired Cather as an editor; she later became managing editor. By 1912-1913 he lost control of the magazine that still bore his name, and Cather resigned; it was during this time that he engaged her to write his autobiography.

In his brief introduction, McClure states "I am indebted to the coöperation of Miss Willa Sibert Cather for the very existence of this book." (One might say that her work was a lot more than coöperation!)

This copy is from the second printing of the first edition -- with "May, 1914" on the title verso, which is a typo as it was actually issued in May 1915 (the first printing correctly reads "September, 1914"). In this second printing, the corrected leaf 239/240 is integral.

This volume is in fine condition. Included is the scarce, but curious, dust jacket. Crane did not see, and questions the existence of, a dust jacket for the 1914 first printing; for the second printing, she saw only this exact example. What is curious is that the three books advertised (on the front flap, rear flap, and rear panel) were first published in 1914, in 1915 and in 1919! "It is possible that this is the first jacket, printed and supplied to the books in 1919, and that earlier copies were issued without dust jackets -- at least, no example has been seen or reported." The jacket is very good-plus, with edge-wear that is minor except for one chip at the lower rear corner of the spine, affecting one word on the rear panel and the "S" of "STOKES" at the foot of the spine. Crane A7.a.i. Item #15242

Price: $1,150.00

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