On this date in 1971 Donald Sidney-Fryer, Last of the Courtly Poets, inscribed the earliest copy of his “Little Booke” Songs & Sonnets Atlantean that I have dug up.
Fifty years ago.
The last title from Arkham House released under the personal aegis of August Derleth, who died on July 4, 1971.
Jeez, just gander the image at the top — S&SA has been around so long they’re actually making facsimile copies of the dustjacket over at Facsimile Dustjackets LLC!
As I’ve mentioned in articles for Firsts: The Book Collectors Magazine, S&SA was the first Arkham I personally ever bought, after meeting the poet during one of his cross-country swings through college campuses, doing readings from the likes of Edmund Spenser, Clark Ashton Smith, and others.
Very soon after I moved to San Francisco I had DSF inscribe that copy on “15th February 1974.”
And I don’t know how I had the presence of mind to keep on top of it, but I had him once more inscribe that same copy: “Twenty years after, on the occasion of my 60th birthday. . . 10th September 1994.”
And in a super-heroic act of keeping track of dates on my part, inscribe it again: “Yet another 20 years have passed, and it is now the occasion of my 80th birthday party. . . 6 September 2014.”
I’m thinking that it is unlikely that either DSF or I will be around in 2034 to record the following 20 year-mark. But we’ll see.
In any case, we both made it to the fiftieth anniversary of first publication. Not bad.