University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

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Hugh M Morris Library
University of Delaware Libraries
April 27 - August 6, 1993

"First Books" is an exhibition of the first published books by more than one hundred authors. The exhibition includes first editions, pamphlets, and manuscripts of first books by authors from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. All items in "First Books" are drawn from the Special Collections of the University of Delaware Library.

First books represent an important and often intriguing area of collecting. The earliest literary efforts of authors have a certain fascination to them. Work written in extreme youth is often simply juvenilia, but on occasion it offers a foreshadowing of greater work to come. William Cullen Bryant's initial book was published when he was only fourteen, Edward Bulwer Lytton's at seventeen, and the remarkable American prodigy, Nathalia Crane's, when she was only eleven. On the other hand, there are major authors who were well into mid-career before their first books were published into print. Included in this latter category are such authors as Wallace Stevens and William Bronk. In the most extreme case, Gerard Manley Hopkins's first book was not published until nearly thirty years after his death!

First books often represent curious anomalies, works that seemingly bear little or no relationship to an author's primary body of work. Brian Moore and James M. Barrie both launched their careers with thrillers. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's first book was a translation of a French grammar text book, Sinclair Lewis's a boy's adventure book, John Steinbeck's a tale of Henry Morgan the pirate, and Wallace Thurman's first book was published in the Haldeman- Julius series of Little Blue Books. For some authors a first book became something to live down and later disavow. Nathaniel Hawthorne, John Hawkes, Alfred Tennyson and Malcolm Cowley all regarded their initial efforts with some embarrassment.

First books also run the gamut from total failure to tremendous success. Henry David Thoreau, George Bernard Shaw, John Keats, Jack Kerouac, and Carl Sandburg all saw their first books greeted with little or no attention. On the other hand, the first efforts by Mary Shelley, Thomas de Quincey, and Truman Capote achieved extraordinary success and helped establish them immediately as significant authors. First books may also mark the beginning of a long, successful career or represent an author's sole published work. Isaac Asimov's first book was merely the first of more than three hundred to be published; on the other hand, Phillis Wheatley's was her first and only published book.

The diversity demonstrated in the examples noted above--all of which are included in the exhibition--is reflected in the definition of just what constitutes a first book. Does the phrase refer solely to an author's first actual book, in the most traditional sense, i.e. a gathering of printed sheets of paper, fastened together and bound into covers? If so, does the book have to be written entirely by one author; or can it include work by others? If we choose to follow the "separately- written" criterion, then do we need to look at such seemingly "non-book" publications as broadsides, ephemeral pamphlets and chapbooks, mimeographed publications, and other separately-published works? For many authors, such publications are the scarcest and sometimes even the most important items in their bibliographies. And what about translations, anonymous and pseudonymous works, juvenilia, privately printed and vanity press publications, and a host of other genres and formats? Rather than adhering to any single definition, the University of Delaware Library's "First Books" exhibition includes examples of all these interpretations as a way of showing a broad range of first books by a variety of authors.

Among the more than one hundred authors whose first books are included in the exhibition are Chinua Achebe, Louisa May Alcott, Djuna Barnes, James M. Barrie, Robert Montgomery Bird, Paul Bowles, Ray Bradbury, William Cullen Bryant, Edgar Rice Burroughs, William S. Burroughs, James Fenimore Cooper, Thomas de Quincey, Theodore Dreiser, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Frost, Kate Greenaway, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Seamus Heaney, Ernest Hemingway, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Langston Hughes, Washington Irving, Henry James, Jack Kerouac, John Lennon, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Herman Melville, Marianne Moore, Sylvia Plath, Howard Pyle, Thomas Pynchon, Ishmael Reed, George Bernard Shaw, Mary Shelley, W. D. Snodgrass, Gary Snyder, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, Alfred Tennyson, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Phillis Wheatley, and Virginia Woolf.



Chinua Achebe (1930- ). Things Fall Apart. London: Heinemann [1958].
This first novel by the Nobel prize-winning African author is set among the Ibo tribe in Nigeria at the end of the nineteenth century.

Hannah Adams (1755-1831). An Alphabetical Compendium of the Various Sects, Which Have Appeared in the World from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Present Day. Boston: Printed by B. Edes & Sons, no. 42 Cornhill, 1784.
Hannah Adams is often regarded as the first American woman to make writing her profession. Adams's first book is an attempt to present an accurate and unbiased view of the history of world religion.
Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888). Flower Fables. Boston: Briggs, 1855.
Louisa May Alcott, who achieved fame and financial security with the publication of Little Women in 1868, wrote in a wide variety of genres from the time she was an adolescent. Her writing helped support her family which was led by her father, the transcendentalist Bronson Alcott.

A. R. Ammons (1926- ). Ommateum: with Doxology. Philadelphia: Dorrance & Co., 1955.
The American poet A. R. Ammons's collection Ommateum: with Doxology is one of the scarcest first books of the twentieth century. The title refers to the vision insects have with compound eye structure. Nearly the entire printing, reportedly 300 copies, of the book was destroyed.
Albert N. Raub Fund

David Antin (1932- ). Definitions. [New York]: Caterpillar Press, 1967.
This American poet's first book was published in this mock student notebook format designed by his wife, the artist Eleanor Antin.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992). Pebble in the Sky. Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1950.
Author's autograph presentation copy. The University of Delaware Library's Special Collections house an extensive science fiction collection which includes the first books of a number of prominent authors.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992). I, Robot. New York: Gnome Press, 1950.
Appropriately, we include two "first books," both published in the same year, from this prolific author who authored more than 470 books in his lifetime.

W. H. Auden (1907-1973). Poems. London: Faber & Faber, 1930.
Signed by the author on the title page.

Imamu Amiri Baraka (1934- ). Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note. New York: Totem Press in association with Corinth Books, 1961.
Cover illustration by Basil King.

George Barker (1913- ). Thirty Preliminary Poems. [London]: Parton Press, 1933.
Scarce first book by this prolific British poet.

Djuna Barnes (1892-1982). The Book of Repulsive Women: 8 Rhythms and 5 Drawings. New York: G. Bruno, 1915.
The first book from this important American novelist was published in a chapbook series by the legendary Greenwich Village publisher Guido Bruno.

J. M. (James Matthew) Barrie (1860-1937). Better Dead. London: S. Sonnenschein, Lowrey, & Co., 1888.
Although remembered primarily today as the author of Peter Pan, this Scottish author worked in a wide variety of genres and his first book was a pulp fiction thriller.

John Barth (1930- ). The Floating Opera. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts [1956].

Donald Barthelme (1931-1989). Come Back, Dr. Caligari. Boston: Little, Brown, 1964.
The author's first book is displayed with Two Stories from Come Back Dr. Caligari which was issued by the publisher as an advance promotional piece.

Donald Barthelme (1931-1989). Two Stories from Come Back Dr. Caligari.
Photoduplicated typescript, [1964], 36 leaves, accompanied by a letter from the publisher and the case in which it was issued.

Samuel Beckett (1906- ). Whoroscope. Paris: Hours Press, 1930.
This copy is number 79 of an edition of 100 copies signed by Samuel Beckett. With the publisher's wrap-around band which explains Beckett's motivation for producing the book. According to legend, Beckett did not even decide to enter the contest until its final day and hastily composed Whoroscope and submitted it at the last minute.

Brendan Behan (1923-1964). The Quare Fellow: a Comedy-drama. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1956.
The Irish author's first book is this play based upon his experiences in a British prison for Irish Republican activities.

Bill Berkson (1939- ). Saturday Night: Poems 1960-61. New York: Tibor de Nagy Editions, 1961.
Printed in Italy by Stamperia di Venezia.

Robert Montgomery Bird (1806-1854). Calavar, or, The Knight of the Conquest: a Romance of Mexico. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1834. 2 volumes.
Matthew Newkirk Memorial Fund

Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979). North and South. Typescript and carbon typescript, undated, 30 pp.
Contains autograph corrections by the author and a note by John Malcolm Brinnin. This manuscript of the first book by the poet Elizabeth Bishop forms a part of the John Malcolm Brinnin Papers housed in Special Collections. As an editor and longtime director of the YMHA Poetry Center in New York, John Malcolm Brinnin championed the early work of numerous authors. His papers, contain correspondence and manuscripts from many of these authors.

Paul Blackburn (1926-1971). The Dissolving Fabric. Palma de Mallorca: Divers Press, 1955.
This American poet's first book was published by the legendary Mallorca press run in the early 1950s by the poet Robert Creeley. The cover is a silkscreen reproduction by the artist Arthur Okamura of an original work by the artist Dan Rice.

Jane Bowles (1917-1973). Two Serious Ladies. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1943.
This copy of Jane Bowles's first book bears her signed presentation inscription.
Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates

Paul Bowles (1910- ). Two Poems. New York: Modern Editions Press [1933?].
Paul Bowles's first book is this scarce pamphlet issued as No. 5 in the short-lived Poetry Series published by Modern Editions Press.
Lammot du Pont Fund

Kay Boyle (1902-1992). Short Stories. Paris: The Black Sun Press: Editions Narcisse, 1929.
This American expatriate's first book was published in a limited edition at the legendary Paris press of Caresse and Harry Crosby. This copy is Number 106 of 150 numbered copies.

Ray Bradbury (1920- ) Dark Carnival. Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House, 1947.
This copy contains a presentation inscription from Ray Bradbury.

David Bradley (1950- ). South Street. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1975.
This novel set in Philadelphia is the first book by this important contemporary African-American author.

John Malcolm Brinnin (1916- ). The Garden is Political. New York: Macmillan, 1942.
Author's presentation copy, signed "John, Cambridge, April 18, 1942," the day of publication. As an editor and longtime director of the YMHA Poetry Center in New York, John Malcolm Brinnin championed the early work of numerous authors. His papers, which are housed in Special Collections, contain correspondence and manuscripts from many of these authors.

William Bronk (1918- ). Light and Dark. Ashland, Mass.: Origin Press, 1956. (Matera: G. Liantonio).
William Bronk's first book was also published at the poet Cid Corman's Origin Press. This fragile book, printed in Italy, is seldom found in this condition.

Anne Bronte (1820-1849),
Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855),
Emily Bronte (1818-1848).
Poems, by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1846.
The Bronte sisters are perhaps the most celebrated literary trio in British literature. Although the Brontes are remembered today for their novels, the earliest published book for each of them is this collection of poetry, to which each contributed, which was published pseudonymously.

Heywood Broun (1888-1939). Seeing Things at Night. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1921.
The first book from this important American humorist--who sadly is best remembered today as the father of television journalist Heywood Hale Broun--contains his presentation inscription: "Honest, I didn't mean to steal this book."

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878). The Embargo, or, Sketches of the Times: a Satire. Boston: Printed for the author by E.G. House, 1809.
This scarce first book by the most prominent American poet of his time was originally written and published when the author was only fourteen. The copy displayed is a revised and expanded edition of the original publication published a year later.

John Buchan (1875-1940). Sir Quixote of the Moors: Being Some Account of an Episode in the Life of the Sieur de Rohaine. London: T. F. Unwin, 1895.
The first book from this popular Scottish novelist, who is best-remembered today as the author of the thriller The Thirty-nine Steps (1915), which Alfred Hitchcock made into an even more memorable film, was published while he was still a student at Oxford.
Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates

Charles Bukowski (1920- ). Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail. [Eureka, Calif.]: Hearse Press, 1959.

Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950). Tarzan of the Apes. Chicago: A. C. McClurg, 1914.
Burroughs's first book was also the first in a lengthy series devoted to one of the most famous characters in fiction. Special Collections houses an extensive collection of work by and about Edgar Rice Burroughs.

John Burroughs (1837-1921). Notes on Walt Whitman: as Poet and Person. New York: American News, 1867.
The great American nature writer's first book is this appreciation of his friend, the poet Walt Whitman.

William S. Burroughs (1914- ). Junkie. New York: Ace Books, 1953.
One of the most famous of all twentieth century first books, Junkie was issued under the pseudonym "William Lee" as an "Ace double book" and bound with another lurid novel--Narcotic Agent, a "gripping true adventure of a T-Man's war against the dope menace," by Maurice Helbrant.

Truman Capote (1924-1984). Other Voices, Other Rooms. New York: Random House [1948].
With the publication of his first book, Truman Capote established his reputation as an important new member of the New York literary scene. Almost as famous as the novel itself is the photograph of Capote which graced the rear of the dust jacket.
Melva B. Guthrie Fund

Willa Cather (1873-1947). April Twilights: Poems. Boston: R.G. Badger, 1903 (Boston: Gorham Press).
Although Willa Cather is best-remembered as a novelist, her first book is this collection of poems.

William Ellery Channing (1780-1842). The Duties of Children: a Sermon, Delivered on Lord's Day, April 12, 1807, to the Religious Society in Federal-street, Boston. Boston: Printed by Manning & Loring, June, 1807.
This rather traditional sermon is the first separate publication by the important New England clergyman who is often called the "apostle of Unitarianism."
Matthew Newkirk Memorial Fund

Brian Coffey (1905- ).
Special Collections houses the papers of the Irish author Brian Coffey who emerged as a poet of note in Paris during the 1930s. Among Coffey's friends and colleagues, all of whom are represented in Coffey's papers, were his fellow Irish authors Samuel Beckett, Denis Devlin, and Thomas MacGreevey. Their first books were all published during the same period.

Brian Coffey (1905- ). Poems: Image at the Cinema [1935], Autograph manuscript, 61 pp.
Accompanying Three Poems is the manuscript for a collection of poems Coffey gathered together shortly after his first book was published. Coffey has pasted copies of the printed texts to the poems from Three Poems as part of the manuscript.

Brian Coffey (1905- ).
Denis Devlin (1908-1959).
Poems. Dublin: Printed for the authors by Alex Thom & Co., 1930. Signed by the authors on the title page.
This small collection precedes Coffey's First Poems as well as Devlin's first separately-published book, Intercessions (1937).

Brian Coffey (1905- ). Three Poems. Paris: Librairie Jeannette Monnier, 1933 (Paris: Imprimerie F. Paillart).

Emily Holmes Coleman (1899-1974). The Shutter of Snow. London: Routledge, 1930.
The first book from this expatriate American author whose papers are housed in Special Collections. Displayed with the book is the original manuscript of The Shutter of Snow.

Emily Holmes Coleman (1899-1974). Shutter of Snow. Typescript, undated, 153 pp.
Emily Coleman's papers contain several heavily- revised, and very different drafts of her first book. She has identified this draft as the "original manuscript."

James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851). Precaution, a Novel in Two Volumes. New York: A. T. Goodrich & Co., 1820.
James Fenimore Cooper's first book was written following a challenge from his wife to his claim that he could write a better novel than the work--according to legend a novel by Jane Austen--he had just completed reading.

Robert Coover (1932- ). The Origin of the Brunists. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1966.

Gregory Corso (1930- ). The Vestal Lady on Brattle, and Other Poems. Cambridge, Mass.: R. Brukenfeld, 1955.
Displayed is another scarce first book from the Beat era.

Malcolm Cowley (1898- ). Racine. Paris: Impr. Union, 1923.
This scarce first book by the American expatriate author contains his modest presentation inscription: "You liked this stilted piece of writing. I hope to be able to send you, soon, an essay more significant."

Nathalia Crane (1913- ). The Janitor's Boy: and Other Poems. New York: T. Seltzer, 1924.
Nathalia Crane was a curious prodigy whose first book was written and published when she was eleven. This copy is number seventy of a specially-bound edition of five hundred copies all signed by the author. Displayed with the book is a letter from Crane, written when she was twelve, to the poet Louis Untermeyer which forms part of his papers housed in Special Collections.
Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates

Nathalia Crane (1913- ). Typed letter signed, [1925: September 22], 1 p.

Stephen Crane (1871-1900). Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (A Story of New York). [New York: Privately printed, 1893].
Stephen Crane's first book is one of his best-known novels. Stephen Crane wrote Maggie: A Girl of the Streets during a period when he was struggling as an author and working primarily as a journalist. Crane borrowed money to print the book and issued it under the pseudonym Johnston Smith. It received very little attention and it was only after the publication of Crane's masterpiece, The Red Badge of Courage (1895), that Maggie began to draw attention.

Robert Creeley (1926- ). Le Fou: Poems. Columbus: Golden Goose Press, 1952.
The first book from this important contemporary American poet was published by the poet Frederick Eckman in his Golden Goose chapbook series.

Countee Cullen (1903-1946). Color. New York ; London: Harper & brothers [1925].
The first book from this important figure of the Harlem Renaissance.

E. E. (Edward Estlin) Cummings (1894-1962). The Enormous Room. New York: Boni and Liveright [1922].
This copy of E. E. Cummings's narrative of his experiences during the first World War, including a stay in a German prison camp, bears his signature on the front free endpaper of the book.

H. D. (1886-1961). Choruses from Iphigeneia in Aulis, by Euripides. Translated by H. D. [London: The Egoist, 1916].
The first book from this important Modernist author and most accomplished member of the Imagist school of poetry is this translation from Euripides.

Edward Dahlberg (1900-1977). Bottom Dogs. Introduction by D. H. Lawrence. London: Putnam's, 1929.
Number 410 of an edition limited to 529 copies for sale by private subscription. Printed at the Chiswick Press in London.

Floyd Dell (1887-1969). Women as World Builders. Chicago: Forbes, 1913.
This copy of the first book from this important American author, who edited The Masses and The Liberator, contains his presentation inscription, dated 1937: "To Paul S. Seybolt my maiden publication--and I am still enough of a Feminist . . . to like it."

Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859). Confessions of an English Opium-eater. London: Printed for Taylor and Hessey, 1822.
The publication of De Quincey's account of his own opium addiction conferred instant literary fame for the author.
Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates

Lester Del Rey (1915- ). "...And Some Were Human": A Dozen. Philadelphia: Prime Press, 1948.
With drawings by Sol Levin.

Denis Devlin (1908-1959). Intercessions. London: Europa Press [1937].
Printed in an edition of 300 copies.

Diane Di Prima (1934- ). This Kind of Bird Flies Backward. Introduction by L. Ferlinghetti. New York: Totem Press, 1958.
Signed by the poet on the title page.

J. P. Donleavy (1926- ). The Ginger Man. Paris: Olympia Press, 1955.
The first book by this American author who has resided in Ireland since the late-1940s brought him international acclaim as well as notoriety.

Edward Dorn (1929- ). What I See in the Maximus Poems. [Ventura, Calif.: Migrant] 1960.
This important American poet's first book is an essay devoted to the work of his mentor, the poet Charles Olson.

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906). Oak and Ivy. Dayton, Ohio: Press of the United Brethren Pub. House, 1893.
Paul Laurence Dunbar paid for the publication of his collection of poetry with his own funds and issued it under the auspices of the Moravian Church.

Alice Dunbar-Nelson (1875-1935). Violets and Other Tales. [Boston]: Monthly Review, 1895.
This very scarce and extremely fragile first book is from the author's library. Violets and Other Tales was published under Dunbar-Nelson's birth name, Alice Ruth Moore. The papers of Alice Dunbar-Nelson are held in Special Collections.

Robert Edward Duncan (1919-1988). Heavenly City, Earthly City. [Berkeley, Calif.: Bern Porter, 1947].
With drawings by Mary Fabilli.

George Eliot (1819-1880).
George Eliot is the famous pseudonym of the British novelist Mary Ann (Marian) Evans. Her first published book was a translation of The Life of Jesus, by David Friedrich Strauss, which appeared without her name in 1846. Her first book of fiction was a series of three tales published in two volumes under the title Scenes of Clerical Life.

George Eliot (1819-1880). The Life of Jesus Critically Examined, by Dr. David Friedrich Strauss. London: Chapman Brothers, 1846. Three volumes.

George Eliot (1819-1880). Scenes of Clerical Life. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1858. Two volumes.

Richard Fari¤a (1936-1966). Been Down So Long it Looks Like Up to Me. New York: Random House, 1966.
This legendary novel of college life, derived from the author's experiences as a student at Cornell, where his classmates included Thomas Pynchon (who contributes a dust jacket blurb for the book), was published to great acclaim. Farina, however, did not live long enough to enjoy it; he was killed in a motocycle accident shortly after the book's publication.

William Faulkner (1897-1962). The Marble Faun. Boston: The Four Seas Company, 1924.
William Faulkner's first book is this slim collection of poems which remains his scarcest title.

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940). Fie! Fie! Fie! A Musical Comedy in Two Acts. Presented by the Princeton Triangle Club. Music by D.D. Griffin, A.L. Booth, and P.B. Dickey, Plot and Lyrics by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Cincinnati, Ohio: John Church Co., 1914.
Fitzgerald's first commercially-published book was the well-received This Side of Paradise (1920); however, it was preceded by several scarce musical scores which Fitzgerald wrote when he was a student at Princeton. Displayed is a copy of the first of these efforts.

Timothy Flint (1780-1840). Sermon, May 11, 1808, at the ordination of Ebenezer Hubbard, over the Second church in Newbury. Newburyport [Mass.]: E. W. Allen, 1808.
This Massachusetts cleric served as a missionary in the Mississippi Valley, but went on to become a celebrated novelist and literary figure. His first book, however, is this sermon.

Robert Frost (1874-1963). A Boy's Will. London: David Nutt, 1913.
Robert Frost's lived in England from 1912-1915 and it was during his residence there that his first book was published.

Ernest J. Gaines (1933- ). Catherine Carmier. New York: Atheneum, 1964.
First book by this important African-American novelist.

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810-1865). Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life. London: Chapman and Hall, 1848.
Elizabeth Gaskell's first book, a novel about the grim living conditions of Manchester factory workers, brought her immediate recognition as an innovative new author. Her work was an important influence upon George Eliot and the Bronte sisters.

Oliver St. John Gogarty (1878-1957). Blight: the Tragedy of Dublin: an Exposition in 3 Acts. By Alpha and Omega. Dublin: Talbot Press, 1917.
Author's inscribed presentation copy of this pseudonymously-written first book by the Irish author and compatriot of James Joyce. Gogarty served as Joyce's model for "stately, plump Buck Mulligan" in Ulysses.

Kate Greenaway (1846-1901). Under the Window: Pictures & Rhymes for Children. Engraved and printed by Edmund Evans. London: George Routledge & Sons, [1878].
This popular children's author and illustrator's first book is seldom found in such excellent condition.
Gift of Samuel Stark

Mark Harris (1922- ). Trumpet to the World. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1946.
This well-known American novelist's first book, a novel of racial injustice in America, is accompanied by the author's original manuscript for the novel, which forms part of his papers housed in Special Collections.

Mark Harris (1922- ). Trumpet to the World. Typescript, undated, 254 pp.

Marsden Hartley (1877-1943). Twenty-five Poems. [Paris: Contact Pub. Co., 1923].
The expatriate American author Robert McAlmon published early work by numerous emerging writers in his Paris-based Contact Editions. Displayed in this exhibition are first books by the American artist and poet Marsden Hartley and the authors Ernest Hemingway and Nathaniel West published by McAlmon's Contact Press.

John Hawkes (1925- ). Fiasco Hall. Cambridge, Mass.: Privately printed, 1943.
This important novelist's first book is this scarce collection of poetry which Hawkes had privately printed while he was a student at Harvard University. He has since disavowed Fiasco Hall.

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864). Fanshawe: a Tale. Boston: Marsh & Capen, 1828.
Nathaniel Hawthorne published his first book anonymously, just three years after he graduated from Bowdoin College. He subsequently withdrew the book from circulation, destroyed as many copies as possible, and did not include it among his acknowledged works.

Seamus Heaney (1939- ). Eleven Poems. Belfast: Queen's University of Belfast [1965].
This small collection of poems, one of the most elusive of contemporary first books, was actually issued in three separate editions, each of which is fairly scarce. Displayed is the first issue which contains a presentation inscription from Heaney to his teacher at Queen's, Laurence Lerner. Lerner's autograph textual annotations are present throughout the text.
Patrick Campbell Fund

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988). Rocket Ship Galileo. New York: Scribner [1947].
Robert A. Heinlein's first book is this adventure story for young adults which chronicles the tale of three youths who accompany a scientist on the first piloted rocket flight to the moon.

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961). Three Stories & Ten Poems. [Paris:] Contact Publishing Co., 1923.
Printed in an edition of three hundred copies, this copy has been inscribed by Hemingway to his first bibliographer Louis Henry Cohn, whose papers and Hemingway collection are housed in Special Collections. This copy contains Ernest Hemingway's extensive autograph corrections to the first story in the collection, "Up in Michigan."

John Clellon Holmes (1926-1988). Go. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1952.
This first book is the quintessential novel of the "Beat era." Holmes was a classmate of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg at Columbia, and this roman a cl‚f features them, as well as William S. Burroughs and other Beat figures.

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894). Poems. Boston: Otis, Broaders, 1836.
The first book by this prominent nineteenth century American author and physician is this collection of poetry.

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889). Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Now First Published, edited with notes by Robert Bridges. London: Humphrey Milford [1918].
Gerard Manley Hopkins began writing poetry as a schoolboy, but his poems were seldom published during his lifetime. As a Jesuit priest, Hopkins felt that he could not publish unless encouraged by his superiors and that was not forthcoming. Following Hopkins's death in 1889, his papers and manuscripts were given to the poet Robert Bridges, but it was not until 1918, nearly thirty years after Hopkins's death, that Bridges had the poet's first book published.

A. E. (Alfred Edward) Housman (1859-1936). A Shropshire Lad. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, and Co., 1896.

Langston Hughes (1902-1967). The Weary Blues. With an introduction by Carl Van Vechten. New York: Knopf, 1926.
This copy of the Langston Hughes's first book bears a presentation inscription from the American poet and collector Carl Van Vechten who wrote the introduction. This copy is also from the library of the prominent American collector H. Bradley Martin.
Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963). The Burning Wheel. Oxford: B. H. Blackwell, 1916.
Although best-remembered today as a prose author, particularly for such novels as Brave New World (1932) and Eyeless in Gaza (1936), Huxley's career as a writer began as a poet. His first book is this collection in the publisher's series of "Young Poets Unknown to Fame;" Huxley was one of the few poets published in the series to gain a measure of fame.

William Inge (1913-1973). Come Back, Little Sheba. New York: Random House, 1950.
Come Back Little Sheba was William Inge's first dramatic success, as well as his first published book. Displayed is a review copy of the book with the publisher's publicity slip laid in.

Washington Irving (1783-1859). A History of New York, from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty. New York: Inskeep & Bradford, 1809. 2 volumes.
Washington Irving's comic history of New York under Dutch rule, which he wrote under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker, was preceded by another satirical effort, Salmagundi (1807-1808), a series of twenty pamphlets which Irving wrote with his brother William and the author James Kirk Paulding.
Gift of C. Porter Schutt

Henry James (1843-1916). A Passionate Pilgrim: and Other Tales. Boston: Osgood, 1875.
This copy of Henry James's first book contains his "Author's compliments card" tipped in.

Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962). Flagons and Apples. Los Angeles: Grafton, 1912.

Elizabeth Jennings (1926- ). Poems. Swinford, Eynsham, Oxon: Fantasy Press, 1953.
Author's autograph presentation copy.

Charles Johnson (1948- ). Black Humour (Chicago: Johnson Publishing Company, 1970.
This important African-American novelist's first book is a collection of cartoons which he published himself. Johnson was an award-winning cartoonist in high school and he continued drawing in college for the student newspaper at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, as well as for the Carbondale daily newspaper, The Southern Illinoisian, and the Chicago Tribune.

James Joyce (1882-1941).
The early published work of the great Irish author James Joyce epitomizes the diversity of bibliographic interpretations of the term "first book." If one defines the term to mean an author's first separately-published book in a very traditional sense, then Chamber Music would be Joyce's first book. If one chose first appearance in a book, then Joyce's contribution to Two Essays would be his initial book. If, however, one chose the broader interpretation of first separate publication, then the broadside printing of The Holy Office would have to be considered Joyce's "first book." But maybe not! It is known that at the age of nine Joyce wrote a poem titled "Et Tu, Healy," a precocious commentary on the fall from power of Charles Parnell, which his father had published. No copies of this publication have survived, yet it too might be regarded as James Joyce's "first book." Displayed are Special Collections holdings of the "extant" examples of these publications, accompanied by a manuscript draft of one of the poems collected in Chamber Music.

Chamber Music. London: Elkin Matthews [1907].
James Joyce's first published collection of poetry, accompanied by the original manuscript of one of the poems.

"In the dark pine-wood." Autograph manuscript, 1903, 1 p. Signed and dated "JAJ, Dublin 1903."
Joyce extensively revised this first draft to the point where only the initial line was retained in the version printed in Chamber Music. This is the only known manuscript of the original text.

The Holy Office. [Pola, Yugoslavia]: Privately printed [ca. 1904].
This broadside poem contains Joyce's attack on most of his Irish literary contemporaries.

Two Essays. Dublin: Printed by Gerrard Brothers [1901].
Joyce's contribution to this pamphlet is written in a vein similar to The Holy Office. His friend Francis Skeffington, who would later die in the uprising of 1916, contributes a thoughtful essay on the place of women in the Irish university system.

Donald Rodney Justice (1925- ). The Old Bachelor: and other poems. Miami, Fla.: Pandanus Press, 1951.
Displayed is Donald Justice's personal copy of the book which bears his signature on the title page and contains his extensive pencilled textual corrections.

Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967). Ploughman: and Other Poems. London: Macmillan and Co., 1936.
Although this first book attracted fairly little notice, Kavanagh would become, within the space of a few more years, the most important Irish poet of his time.
Patrick Campbell Fund

John Keats (1795-1821). Poems. London: C. & J. Ollier, 1817.
Although Keats had begun to receive some critical attention through his poems published in literary journals, his first book received very little attention and sales were meager.

Jack Kerouac (1922-1969). The Town & the City. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1950.
Jack Kerouac's first book, a novel written in the manner of Thomas Wolfe, was published under his birth name John. His next book, the pioneering novel On the Road (1957), would not be published for seven more years.

James Laughlin (1914- ). The River. Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1938.
Autograph presentation copy of the first book by this American poet who founded New Directions, the most important independent American literary publisher of the twentieth century.

John Lennon (1940-1980). In His Own Write. London: J. Cape [1965].
John Lennon produced several published volumes of poems, stories, and sketches during his lifetime. This first printing of In His Own Write is difficult to obtain in good condition because the book was so widely read.

Denise Levertov (1923- ). The Double Image. London: The Cresset Press, 1946.
The first book by this British-born American poet is the only one to be published with the original spelling of her surname.

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951). Hike and the Aeroplane, by Tom Graham. With illustrations in two colors by Arthur Hutchins. New York: Frederick A. Stokes [1912].
Sinclair Lewis's first book is this pseudonymously written adventure tale for boys.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882). Elements of French Grammar, by C. F. Lhomond. Translated from the French, with notes, and such illustrations as were thought necessary for the American pupil; for the use of schools; by an instructer [sic]. Portland, [Me.]: Samuel Colman; Brunswick, Griffin's Press, 1830.
This first book from one of the most celebrated American authors of the nineteenth century is a translation which Longfellow completed while he held the position of Professor and Librarian at Bowdoin College.

Audre Lorde. The First Cities. New York: Poets Press, 1968.
With an introduction by Diane di Prima.

Edward Bulwer Lytton (1803-1873). Ismael; an Oriental Tale. With Other Poems. London: Printed for J. Hatchard and Son, 1820.
The first book from this prolific author, who produced numerous novels, plays, and essays during his lifetime, is this verse tale written in the manner of Byron when the author was seventeen.

Thomas MacGreevy (1893-1967). Introduction to the Method of Leonardo da Vinci, by Paul Valery, translated from the French by Thomas McGreevy [sic]. London: John Rodker, 1929.
Thomas MacGreevy's enduring reputation as a writer has been as a translator and as a critic of art and literature. He was Director of the National Gallery in Dublin from 1950-1964.

Louis MacNeice (1907-1963). Blind Fireworks. London: V. Gollancz, 1929.
Louis MacNeice's first book is one of the scarcest works of twentieth century Irish poetry.

Derek Mahon (1941- ). Twelve Poems. Belfast: Festival Publications, Queen's University of Belfast, 1967.

Michael McClure (1932- ). Passage. Big Sur [Calif.]: Jonathan Williams, 1956.
Jonathan Williams's Jargon series published the work of numerous emerging young writers during the 1950s and 1960s. This copy of Michael McClure's scarce first book bears his signature on the title page.

Carson McCullers (1917-1967). The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1940.

Herman Melville (1819-1891). Typee: a Peep at Polynesian Life. During a Four Months' Residence in a Valley of the Marquesas. New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1846. 2 parts in 1 volume.
Displayed is the first American edition of Herman Melville's first book.
Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates

Brian Moore (1921- ). Sailor's Leave: (Wreath for a Redhead). New York: Pyramid Books, 1953.
The important Irish novelist Brian Moore launched his writing career with a series of hard-boiled paperback thrillers, often written under pseudonym. Displayed is the first American edition of Moore's first book which was originally published in Winnipeg as Wreath for a Redhead.

George Moore (1852-1933). Flowers of Passion. London: Provost, 1878.
George Moore achieved fame as a novelist; however, his first book is this book of poems written during his residence in Paris.

Marianne Moore (1887-1972). Poems. London: Egoist Press, 1921.
Marianne Moore has signed this copy of her extremely scarce and fragile first book.

Flann O'Brien (1911-1966). At Swim-Two-Birds. London ; New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1939.
At Swim-Two-Birds is the first major literary effort from Brian O'Nolan, the Irish author who wrote in English and Irish and is better known by his pseudonyms Flann O'Brien and Myles na gCopaleen.

Frank O'Connor (1903-1966). Guests of the Nation. London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1931.
Frank O'Connor's first book is this collection of stories which relate primarily to the Civil War in Ireland. O'Connor himself fought on the side of the Republicans and was imprisoned for his activities.

Sean O'Faolain (1900- ). Midsummer Night Madness: and Other Stories. With an introduction by Edward Garnett. London: J. Cape, 1932.
This first book by the great Irish novelist and short story writer bears his presentation inscription to the Wilmington, Delaware, jurist Paul Leahy.
Gift of Paul Leahy

Liam O'Flaherty (1896-1984).
Thy Neighbour's Wife. London: J. Cape, 1923.
O'Flaherty characterized his first book as "an attempt to write a book about life in the Aran Islands from the point of view of a native." This copy bears his autograph presentation inscription.

Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953). Thirst and Other One Act Plays. Boston: The Gorham Press [1914].
This collection contains O'Neill's earliest dramatic work, including the first play he wrote, The Web.

George Oppen (1908-1984). Discrete Series. With a preface by Ezra Pound. New York: Objectivist Press, 1934.
Review copy this American poet's scarce first book. It represents an important early work by a member of the Objectivist school of poetry.
Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates

Jayne Anne Phillips (1952- ). Sweethearts. Carrboro, N.C.: Truck Press, 1976.
This contemporary novelist's scarce first book, a collection of short prose sketches, was published in this small press edition limited to four hundred copies.

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963). A Winter Ship. Edinburgh: Tragara Press, 1960.
Sylvia Plath's first trade book, The Colossus (1960), was preceded by this scarce pamphlet printing of her poem "A Winter Ship."

Howard Pyle (1853-1911). The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown, in Nottinghamshire. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1883. Written and Illustrated by Howard Pyle.
The first book from this Wilmington, Delaware, native who became one of the best-known illustrators of his time.
Gift of C. Porter Schutt

Thomas Pynchon (1937- ). V.: a Novel. Philadelphia: Lippincott [1963].
Thomas Pynchon's first book is one of the scarcest, and most sought after books published in the last thirty years.

Ishmael Reed (1938- ).
Special Collections houses the papers of this important African-American author. Accompanying Reed's first book is the original manuscript of The Free-Lance Pallbearers.

Ishmael Reed (1938- ). The Free-lance Pallbearers. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1967.

Ishmael Reed (1938- ). The Free-lance Pallbearers. Typescript, [ca. January 1967], 164 pp.
Displayed is one of several heavily-revised drafts of Ishmael Reed's manuscript.

Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982). In What Hour. New York: Macmillan Company, 1940.
Special Collections houses a strong collection of the published work of this important American poet.

Alice Caldwell Hegan Rice (1870-1942) Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch. New York: Century, 1901.
This copy of the popular children's book bears a presentation inscription from the author.

James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916). "The Old Swimmin'-hole", and 'leven More Poems, by Benj. F. Johnson, of Boone. (James Whitcomb Riley.) Indianapolis: Hitt, 1883.
Riley's dialect poems published in the Indianapolis Journal made him a popular local figure. This first collection of these poems helped bring him to national prominence.

George William Russell (1867-1935). Homeward; Songs by the Way. Dublin: Whaley, 1894.
The Irish poet, who wrote under the pseudonym A. E., has signed this copy on the half-title page.

Saki (1870-1916). The Westminster Alice. By Hector H. Munro ("Saki"). Illustrated by F. Carruthers Gould. [London]: Westminster Gazette Office [1902].
Hector Hugh Munro published one earlier volume; however, this political satire was the first book to appear under the authorship of his famous pseudonym "Saki."

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967). In Reckless Ecstacy. Galesburg, Ill.: Asgard Press, 1904.
Sandburg's first book was published in 1904; however it would be ten more years before he received any critical or popular acclaim as a poet. This copy contains an autograph note concerning the book's publication written by the printer's daughter.

Gil Scott-Heron (1949- ). Small Talk at 125th and Lenox; a Collection of Black poems. Photographs by Steve Wilson. Cleveland, Ohio: World, 1970.
Although Gil Scott-Heron is known primarily as a musician, he has produced several volumes of poetry and fiction. Small Talk at 125th and Lenox is his first published book.

Anne Sexton (1928-1974). To Bedlam and Part Way Back. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1960.
Anne Sexton's first book was well received by critics and her fellow poets, such as Robert Lowell whose assessment of her work is printed on the dust wrapper of To Bedlam and Part Way Back.

Ntozake Shange (1948- ). For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide, When the Rainbow Is Enuf. [San Lorenzo, Calif.: Shameless Hussy Press, 1975].
Drawings by Wopo Holup. This copy contains the author's presentation inscription.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950). Cashel Byron's Profession: a Novel. [London]: Modern Press, 1886.
Although George Bernard Shaw produced several pamphlets prior to the publication of Cashel Byron's Profession, the novel is generally regarded as his first book.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851). Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus. London: Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, 1818. 3 volumes.
First edition of one of the most famous first books in English literature.

Charles Simic (1938- ). What the Grass Says: Poems. San Francisco: Kayak, a Magazine of Modern Poetry [1967.]
This important contemporary American poet's first book was published in an edition of one thousand copies by Kayak magazines.

W. D. Snodgrass (1926- ). Heart's Needle. New York: Knopf, 1959.
The first book by W. D. Snodgrass, Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing and Poetry at the University of Delaware, was published in an edition of 1500 copies.

Gary Snyder (1930- ). Riprap. [Ashland, Mass.]: Origin Press, 1959.
This first book from another of the important Beat writers was published by the poet Cid Corman at his Origin Press. This copy bears the signature of Gary Snyder on the title page.

Gilbert Sorrentino (1929- ). The Darkness Surrounds Us. Highlands, N.C.: J. Williams, 1960.
The first book from this contemporary poet and novelist whose papers are housed in Special Collections. Displayed with Gilbert Sorrentino's first book is the original manuscript of The Darkness Surrounds Us.

Gilbert Sorrentino (1929- ). The Darkness Surrounds Us. Carbon typescript, undated, 41 pp., signed by the author.

Robert Southey (1774-1843). Poems by Robert Southey. Boston: Printed by Manning & Loring for Joseph Nancrede, 1799.
Displayed is a scarce first American edition of this British poet's first book.

Gertrude Stein (1874-1946). Three Lives: Stories of the Good Anna, Melanctha, and the Gentle Lena. New York: Grafton Press, 1909.

John Steinbeck (1902-1968). Cup of Gold: a Life of Henry Morgan, Buccaneer, with Occasional Reference to History, by John Steinbeck. New York: Robert M. McBride & Company, 1929.
Steinbeck's first book is this romantic novel based on the life of the pirate Henry Morgan.

Wallace Stevens (1879-1955). Harmonium. New York: A. A. Knopf, 1923.
Displayed is a scarce copy of the first edition in first issue binding of one of the most important first books of the Modernist period; Stevens was forty-four when Harmonium was published.

J. M. (John Millington) Synge (1871-1909). In the Shadow of the Glen: a Play in One Act. New York: J. Quinn, 1904.
One of fifty copies published by the American lawyer and literary patron John Quinn for copyright purposes.

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933). Sonnets to Duse, and other poems. Boston: The Poet Lore Company, 1907.
Inscribed by the author in the year of publication.

Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892). Poems, by Two Brothers. London: W. Simpkin, 1827.
This first book by Alfred Tennyson, which actually prints poems by two of his brothers, Charles and Frederick, is from the library of the British poet and dramatist John Drinkwater and bears his signature.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862). A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. Boston: J. Munroe and Co., 1849.
Thoreau wrote his first book largely during his residence at Walden Pond from 1845-1847.

Wallace Thurman (1902-1934). Negro Life in New York's Harlem: a Lively Picture of a Popular and Interesting Section. Girard, Kansas: Haldeman-Julius Publications [1924].
The first book by this important member of the Harlem Renaissance group of writers was published as one of the famous "Little Blue Books" by Emmanuel Haldeman-Julius.

Mark Twain (1835-1910). The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County: and other sketches. Edited by John Paul. New York: C.H. Webb, 1867.
Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates

Kurt Vonnegut (1922- ). Player Piano. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1952.
Although Vonnegut graduated into the fictional mainstream, his early work was published in science fiction magazines and his first novels expanded the limits of that formulaic genre. Player Piano is set in the future, "ten years after the Second Industrial Revolution when the Electronic Age was in full swing."
Gift of Asa Pieratt

Diane Wakoski (1937- ). Coins & Coffins. [New York] : Hawk's Well Press [1962].
Inscribed by the author.

Nathanael West (1903-1940). The Dream Life of Balso Snell. Paris and New York: Contact editions [1931].
This is number two in a edition limited to five hundred numbered copies.

Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784). Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral; by Phillis Wheatley, Negro servant to Mr. John Wheatley, of Boston, in New England. London: Printed for A. Bell, bookseller, Aldgate; and sold by Messrs. Cox and Berry, King-street, Boston, 1773.
This first and only book by Phillis Wheatley, an American slave, is also the first published book by an African-American author.
Matthew Newkirk Memorial Fund

Walt Whitman (1819-1892). Franklin Evans; or, the Inebriate. A Tale of the Times. New York: The New World, J. Winchester, publisher, 1842.
The first book by the great American poet is this temperance tract written during a period when Whitman was writing poetry, fiction, and journalism for numerous New York newspapers.

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892). Legends of New England. Hartford: Hanmer and Phelps, 1831.
The poet John Greenleaf Whittier's first book is this scarce collection of prose sketches and poems relating to his native New England.

John Edgar Wideman (1941- ). A Glance Away. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1967.
The first book by this prominent African-American novelist bears his lengthy presentation inscription to the author Kurt Vonnegut with whom Wideman studied at the University of Iowa.

John A. Williams (1925- ). The Angry Ones. New York: Ace Books, 1960.
This prominent African-American novelist's first book was published in this original paperback edition.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941). The Voyage Out. New York: G. H. Doran Co., 1920.
Revised first American edition of Virgina Woolf's first book.


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