Seven Years in Tibet.
Translated by Richard Graves. [Together with:] an autograph letter signed, and related ephemera.New York: E.P. Dutton and Company, Inc., 1954 Stock Code: 146477
First US edition, first printing, presentation copy inscribed twice on the frontispiece recto "To Mr. Edwards with my very best wishes, from H. Harrer two lines of Tibetan script Washington, Oct. 1954" and "March 1955. In the meantime I have the pleasure and privilige sic to call above 'Mr.' my friend 'Toppy' Heinrich". This is a great association copy.
The recipient, Walter Meayers "Toppy" Edwards (1908-1994), was a British-born picture editor, photographer, and writer for the National Geographic Society, who won the National Press Photographers Picture of the Year Award in 1969 and 1972. Edwards was a member of the Explorer's Club in New York City. He was author and photographer for seven National Geographic magazine articles and was the photographer for 11 others, on subjects that included Micronesia, Canada, and a canoe trip down the Potomac River. During the late 1920s he worked in the Paris bureau of the New York Times-Wide World Photos and for the Topical Press Agency in London. In 1930, he came to the United States and settled in Washington, where he worked for Harris & Ewing photographers before joining National Geographic. In 1937, he married Mary Woodward Worrall, the year after becoming a naturalised American citizen.
In the enclosed letter, addressed to to Mary Edwards and dated 29 January 1998, Harrer writes, "I'm sorry to hear that Toppy passed away, he was always a friend and very helpful." He also reflects on the 1997 film adaptation of his Seven Years in Tibet starring Brad Pitt: "the movie has not much to do with my character - but it is very helpful for the Tibetan cause."
The related ephemera includes:
- a silver gelatin photograph of Harrer with Sir John Hunt and Fred Rössuer at an international race in 1956, inscribed to "Toppy" Edwards, captioned, and signed "Heinrich," (99 x 143 mm)
- a blank postcard from the Heinrich Harrer Museum,
- a 14-page typescript entitled "Delight in Big Adventure: Heinrich Harrer, man and explorer," stamped "translated by Mrs Kinney, August 18, 1972"
- a leaf from The Explorers Newsletter of April-June 1992,
- a 3-page press cutting of a review of the film,
- and a small note from Mary Edwards with a reference to My Life in Forbidden Lhasa, by Harrer.
"This is the action-packed story of a young adventurer's escape from a British internment camp in India during World War II and his dramatic trek through rugged Himalayan passes to sanctuary in the Forbidden City of Lhasa" (jacket blurb). Harrer (1912-2006) was a distinguished Austrian mountaineer, part of the four-man team who made the first successful ascent of the north face of the Eiger in 1938. Seven Years in Tibet, published the preceding year in the UK and in German in 1952, was a runaway best-seller and translated into 53 languages. It gives a glimpse of the old Tibet before the Chinese invasion of 1950.
Octavo. Original red quarter cloth, gilt-lettered spine, black cloth boards with gilt stamp of Lhasa to front cover. With dust jacket.
Double-page monochrome pictorial title page, 45 illustrations from photographs, and double-page regional map.
Corners a little rubbed, the binding otherwise sharp, internally crisp. A near-fine copy in the good only jacket, crude tape repairs to extremities, spine sunned.
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