Rediscovered: Edwin Baird Inscription

It’s Autograph Hound Saturday again, and we all know the biggest Autograph Hound making paw prints on These Mean Streets is none other than Brian Leno. Given this opportunity to display a few of the John Hancocks in his trove, Brian thought about it for a second or two, and then said:

What collector doesn’t want to talk about what he’s accumulated during his lifetime?

Since we’ve been dealing with Frank Belknap Long, Farnsworth Wright and Alfred Galpin, I thought of the first editor of Weird Tales — Edwin Baird’s signature would fit right in. 

It’s an inscription from Baird’s novel The Heart of Virginia Keep (1918). I don’t know how tough Baird’s autograph is to get but this is the only example I ever saw that was at a price affordable for me. Eight bucks.

Obviously the seller just thought it was some old book signed by some forgotten writer. My morals perhaps need work; I didn’t think it was my job to educate him.

The inscription is interesting. T. C. O’Donnell is the author of The Ladder of Rickety Rungs and The Family Food, both of which are basically unknown to me. I did read somewhere that The Ladder of Rickety Rungs was a book meant to be read to young children, helping them to fall asleep.

There was a Weird Tales writer, Elliott O’Donnell — the ghost hunter — but I don’t believe he was related to T. C., although I can’t be positive. The Heart of Virginia Keep was originally published in Argosy in 1915, and was made into a movie of the same title in 1916. Edward Arnold appeared in the silent film, and he’s of course remembered for many movies, perhaps most notably The Devil and Daniel Webster, where he portrayed Daniel Webster, and for mystery fans, Meet Nero Wolfe as Nero Wolfe.

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