July 2011 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Sumner & Stillman

Catalogue Review: Sumner & Stillman, No. 146

I love nineteenth-century fiction, and I love decorated publishers' bindings -- put them together and that makes me a bibliophile who loves Sumner & Stillman, ABAA member located in Yarmouth, Maine. When I attend book fairs, I always stop by their booth. This particular catalogue is author-specific, offering the John Davies collection of first editions of Mark Twain.

Some the items highlighted by S&S are a first edition of Twain's first book, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, with a card signed by Twain tipped it ($19,500); a rare Canadian copy of The Prince and the Pauper in its original wrapper from a Toronto bookseller ($13,500); and an inscribed copy of The Innocents Abroad ($8,750).

Who knew Tom Sawyer was first published in the UK?! The true first edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published six months before the American edition ($37,500). Says the catalogue, "This has become one of the tough cornerstones of a Mark Twain collection..." So here's your chance!

For Twain collectors (either beginning or nearing completion), this catalogue's well-written text and solid photo insert will surely guide you toward interesting finds. Zane Grey's copy of Twain's controversial Christian Science ($575) is one such gem. Or Editorial Wild Oats in original red decorated cloth with dust jacket ($1,750). One of two Library of Congress deposit copies of Twain's Is Shakespeare Dead? is also here. Perhaps the LOC wants it back for $4,950?

So if you're in Maine and you like Twain, you know what to do. For other nineteenth-century authors, illustrators, and editions, saunter around the S&S website.