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BEEBE, Lucius.

The Stork Club Bar Book.

Published: New York & Toronto: Rinehart & Company, Inc., 1946

Stock code: 112400

Price: £325

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First edition, first printing, of Lucius Beebe’s witty cocktail recipe book celebration of a “Day in the Life Of” Sherman Billinglsey’s Stork Club, which held court on East 53rd Street, New York, from the time of the speakeasy through to the 1960s, and tended to the alcoholism of America’s great and not-so-good. Amusingly, though Beebe (the “orchidaceous oracle of café society” writing while the club’s popularity was running high) opens the book with a bold corruption of Voltaire claiming that, “If there had never been a Stork Club, mankind in his vast and urgent necessity would have invented one”, the club would eventually find its necessity drastically disintegrated when in 1951 the Club made the mistake of refusing service to Josephine Baker. Grace Kelley famously raced over, took her arm, and stormed out with a large party vowing never to return. The two women became close friends after the incident and Baker sued Billingsley and the Stork Club on the grounds of racism. After seeing that her actions had caused the club’s ultimate demise, Baker withdrew her lawsuit in 1955, satisfactorily vindicated.

Octavo. Original red cloth, titles to spine in black and white, illustration of a top-hatted stork to front board in black, white and green, yellow endpapers and topstain. With the illustrated jacket. Book designed by Paul Rand. Ends of spine bumped in the price clipped dust jacket with chips to ends of spine, tape to verso of top end of spine, toning to spine and rear panel. A good copy.

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