Rediscovered: Ed, Ed and Leigh

In re: the issue of full name vs. more personal first-name-only signatures, how about I pull up another item I sold from the E. Hoffmann Price Library? I’d run through several offerings from either Hamilton or Brackett — one with signatures by both — and saved this special associational book aside as the last one.

I wrote:

A final offering of fiction from the prolific pulp writer Edmond Hamilton pulled from the personal library of legendary pulp fictioneer E. Hoffmann Price! Price (1898-1988) was the only fellow writer to have met the “Big Three” of WEIRD TALES — H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith — and acted as co-author with Lovecraft on “Through the Gates of the Silver Key.” You may find his memoirs of these and other authors and editors of the pulp era — such as Edmond Hamilton and his wife Leigh Brackett (yet another legendary pulp writer) in BOOK OF THE DEAD, “Memories of the Pulp Fiction Era,” published posthumously by Arkham House in 2001.

As we’ve noted many times before with other books of fiction from Hamilton, Price wasn’t one to keep the books in his library in pristine condition, and they typically show signs of wear, casual staining, and occasional annotations. Since Price housed his library in the darkened living room of The Lamasery, his Oriental-carpeted eyrie in the hills above Redwood City, California, you can detect the very weak ghost of a musty smell if you bury your nose in the pages — always worth a warning for the super-sensitive.

THE BEST OF EDMOND HAMILTON was created as one in a series of such volumes, released in paperback by Del Rey/Ballantine — but here we have the first hardcover edition done by Doubleday for the Science Fiction Book Club in 1977. Hamilton (1904-1977) wrote the afterword in 1976 but didn’t live to see this collection appear. His wife, editor and introduction writer for this volume, would die in 1978, about a year after this book saw print.

For a book from the Price shelves, this item is not bad at all. Very minor age-toning to the paper of the text block. The cheap “boards” used by the book club show a slight dent at top of front panel, minor wear at extremities. The dustjacket remains intact, with slight chipping at points and tail of spine, larger chipping at head of spine. No major Peacock Sultan stains to report. One hand-correction on p317 — I believe this was done by Price and not by Brackett, but the determination can be made by the purchaser.

Warm personal inscription on half-title by Leigh Brackett, noting that her husband of many years is no longer alive to inscribe the book to Price himself, as he had done with so many previous titles. Brackett (1915-1978), of course, was a pulp and mystery and movie writer, among whose screen credits you will find THE BIG SLEEP, RIO BRAVO, HATARI!, and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

A deeply personal association copy.

Thus, the description. I think someone nabbed a really good deal on this one with a winning bid of only $93.00.

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