Rediscovered: More Starrett and a Williamson — Plus a Margo

Awhile back I was chatting with Brian Leno about the great Chicago bookman Vincent Starrett, and mentioned that my preferred state for his Books About Books would be to have a copy (in jacket, nice condition, and so on) inscribed to some collector that also contains a holograph postcard from Starrett to the same person. Without looking, I suppose I have five or six such items.

I thought Leno responded by telling me that he had two postcards inserted in his copy of the 1965 Starrett autobio Born in a Bookshop, which I took to mean that he had two messages inserted into a copy inscribed to that same individual.


His Bookshop is unsigned and he just keeps his two Starrett cards from 1945 in it for convenience — I wonder where his newly acquired third card to horror writer J.N. Williamson will be archived?

The text side of the two postcards may be seen above — I’ll let you do your own transcribing. Starrett had a pretty clear hand, at least to my eye.

In the same shot Brian stuck in a Williamson signature already in his possession, from one of the signed deluxe hardcover states of the magazine Whispers.

And Margo Skinner sneaks in with her auto just below JNW’s. Margo was part of the San Francisco scene for years, companion to Fritz Leiber. I knew her well — one of the most irritating people I ever met. Nonetheless, I liked Margo, and she shows up in that one issue of Whispers because I took it on myself to act as an agent for her story “Space Trip” and make the sale to Stu Schiff.

Thus, Margo’s John Hancock assumes its place in with the hundreds (who knows, maybe thousands) of siggies in The Leno Collection.

Brian also has a JNW in the boxed and signed first edition state of Reign of Fear, a litcrit collection on Stephen King I edited for Underwood-Miller. I have that one as well, and just now the thought impinged on the old brainpan that I might very well have more autograph materials from JNW and other essayists from that book. I just took the stuff and threw it in a box as I prepped that title.

I probably ought to dig around in the files, if only to satisfy Leno’s no doubt piqued curiosity.

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