Handwritten Letters from Stephen Crane to Elbert Hubbard and Related Ephemera
This is a unique collection of paper ephemera regarding an 1895 celebratory dinner honoring Stephen Crane, whose The Red Badge of Courage was at the time a modest success in its second printing. The event was hosted by Elbert Hubbard, the influential publisher, editor, and founder of the Roycroft arts and crafts community. These items belonged to Edith Maclure Love, a friend of both Stephen Crane and Elbert Hubbard. The following items are included in this sale:
-Two handwritten letters from Stephen Crane to Elbert Hubbard, both signed
-Program and menu from an event by The Society of the Philistines honoring Mr. Crane, December 19, 1895
-First issue of Roycroft Quarterly magazine featuring a medley of Crane's works, a souvenir of the dinner
The two brief letters are written from Hartwood, N.Y. and dated Dec. 5th and Jan. 28. The year is not stated but 1895/96 is very likely. The first letter references Mr. Crane traveling to Buffalo for the upcoming dinner in his honor on Dec. 19, 1895. It is written on a leaf of hand-pressed paper and signed "Yours sincerely, Stephen Crane." The second letter, written several weeks after the dinner, references a work which Mr. Crane states is "the only one of my productions which I ecstatically admire." This likely refers to Hubbard's essay "As to the Man" (see below). This letter is written on a leaf of ruled paper and signed "Yours, C."
The dinner program is a folded, string-bound 8 pp. pamphlet titled "The Society of the Philistines / Thursday Evening / December Nineteenth, 1895 / In Honor of Mr. Stephen Crane." The front page is a menu for the evening's meal, and on the verso is the text from Mr. Crane's poem ‚ÄúI have heard the sunset song of the birches," which was as yet unpublished at the time. The following page features a large woodcut illustration with a Lewis Carroll quote, which is the same illustration on the cover of the Roycroft Quarterly included here. The remainder of the program features diver quips praising Crane from eminent people of arts and letters who were invited to the event but could not attend, including Richard Harding Davis, Edward Bok, Ambrose Bierce, and many others. The program is in good condition, though the string binding is tender and is beginning to tear through the pages. The pages were once folded along the horizontal axis, and they have a prominent crease across the center and a 1" closed tear at fore edge where the paper was folded. This item is quite uncommon in the trade. (BAL 4072)
The Roycroft Quarterly is the first (and evidently only) published issue, "being a goodly collection of literary curiosites obtained from sources not easily accessible to the average book-lover." The issue's full title is "A Souvenir and a Medley: Seven Poems and a Sketch by Stephen Crane. With Divers and Sundry Communications from Certain Eminent Wits." According to Hubbard's (tongue-in-cheek) foreward, the Philistine's dinner celebrating Crane (see the program description) was likely what catapulted the young author to success. This magazine reprints the diver quotes and includes new material, including a long essay by Hubbard titled "As to the Man."
The publication is a 48 pp. 12mo in publisher's staple-bound wraps with the same woodblock illustration on front cover as was previously featured in the dinner program, and is in good condition overall. The rear wrapper is missing, and there are several closed tears around the wrapper edges. Mrs. Maclure, the previous owner, has signed the top of the front wrapper. A different hand has written "pages 16 + 17" on the front wrapper (we have some documents with Elbert Hubbard's handwriting, and this seems to be his writing, but it is not confirmed). Pp. 16 and 17 features the beginning of the "As to the Man" essay and have a red, curved mark on them. It seems likely that this is the production which Mr. Crane ecstacitally admires (referenced in his letter) -- based on the notations and the fact that the letter was inserted between these pages when we received them -- but again, that is speculation. The journal is otherwise tight and clean. The rear endpaper features an ad for The Philistine, another Roycroft publication, which hosted the dinner. (BAL 4074). Item #1938