Rubáiyát.Portland, ME: Privately Printed by Thomas B. Mosher & Emilié Grigsby, May 1899 Stock Code: 127254
First edition thus, number 6 of 10 copies printed on vellum by Mosher and Grigsby, this copy additionally inscribed on the second blank, "To John Law, in friendship, Emilié Grigsby, May 23rd 1901". Mosher had produced small format editions of the Rubaiyat before, but this is the first large format Rubaiyat he achieved, and the first printed on pure vellum. He executed another run of 10 copies on vellum in 1902, but this 1899 vellum edition is the first. The last auction record for this vellum issue was in the 1948 Parke Bernet sale of Mosher's own library.
Between 1898 and 1913, Mosher in fact printed more titles on vellum than any other publisher in America (46 in all), but this Rubaiyat stands at a very early stage in this campaign. Only two titles precede it: The Germ: Thoughts toward Nature in Poetry, Literature and Art (4 copies), and In Praise of Omar; an Address before the Omar Khayyam Club, by the Hon. John Hay (4 copies), both in 1898.
Though we have not been able to identify John Law, this book has a compelling early provenance: the front pastedown has the ex-libris of Crosby Gaige (1882-1949), a New York based publisher and theatrical impresario who pioneered in the late 1920s the production of fine press collections for living authors (which he described as "flowers for the living" as opposed to "garlands for the dead") such as Woolf (Orlando), Joyce (Anna Livia Plurabelle), Sassoon, and Hardy. Gaige was also a great epicure and frequenter of New York's finest supper clubs and cocktail lounges, and wrote several books on cookery and cocktails.
Quarto. Original limp vellum, titles gilt to spine, gold silk ties, the whole text printed on vellum. With the original patterned-paper decorated card slipcase.
Vellum covers somewhat spotted, otherwise excellent condition, with the slipcase somewhat worn and lacking a portion of top and bottom edge, but nonetheless an attractive survival and intact.
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