Adam Andrusier Autographs Archives - inBiblio
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Adam Andrusier Autographs

Rare illustrated A.L.S.

Rare illustrated A.L.S., 1900, with Magic Content

Harry Houdini A rare and important autograph letter signed by Harry Houdini, "Houdini," one page, both sides, August 2nd, 1900. He writes to fellow magician Servais Le Roy, in part: ‘Opened here last night & made good. You ought to see the Handcuffs and irons used in Germany. Here cuffs are used and every station has different cuffs, in fact there are no two alike. I am going to bring some styles back with me and I’ll give you a fine pair. Here is the way they look [sketch of the handcuffs]. Has two spring lock & looks like the lilly iron, the leg irons look like this [sketch]. Did you know I patented the Hand cuff act in Europe. The drawings wont be published in 9 months. Robinson patented his catching gold fish in the air, and he stopped Hiam from making the trick and Maskeleyne from doing it. The opposition house hired a man from Berlin to expose Hand cuffs and he was closed after his first show. It seems strange people like to see the act exposed. But it does not pay to expose anything.’ In generally fine condition, with chipping along the right edge affecting one word of text. Houdini writes during the first year of his tour through Europe, where he would remain for four years. As alluded to in this letter, he challenged the local police departments of each city he visited to restrain him; Houdini, of course, inevitably escaped and he became famous throughout Europe as the King of Handcuff. In addition to discussing his own act here, Houdini touches upon the flourishing illusionist trade, mentioning William Robinson, who performed under the name Chung Ling Soo, and John Nevil Maskelyne, known for his levitation illusion. An early and truly remarkable Houdini letter boasting ideal magical content.
Autograph Letter Signed By Tolkien to Would-be LOTR Illustrator!

Autograph Letter Signed By Tolkien to Would-be LOTR Illustrator!

J.R.R. Tolkien An excellent two-page autograph letter signed, November 4th 1968, to Mary Fairburn, an artist who had sent him paintings of several scenes from Lord of the Rings. In part: ‘I have been much occupied in the reordering of my house (very slowly owing to my disability which is only v.gradual in improvement) and also in family affairs. (And also much grieved and affected in all my affairs by the death of my friend Stanley Unwin.) I have considered your suggestions. A major difficulty, for me, is my lack of wall-space (I have been obliged to get rid of some pictures already) and I cannot guarantee to keep or set apart for inclusion in a wall any pictures. I should be grateful, if you could at some time convenient return to me the picture of Galadriel at the Well in Lorien. If I may keep this as my own. It attracts me because it so very nearly corresponds to my own mental vision of the scene. (It also would be a v. good specimen to show to Mr. Rayner Unwin). but I do not, I promise, demand this, since my gift was a free one.’ He adds a postscript at the top, signed ‘J. R. R. T.’, in full: ‘I should, of course, allow the picture to be included in any collection of exhibition of your work, or used for reproduction in an illustrated edition, as long as the original was ultimately returned to me. I shall keep it, for the present time, unframed.’ In fine condition. After having seen various illustrated editions of The Hobbit produced – most not to his liking -Tolkien was understandably weary of would-be illustrators. Just one year before receiving Fairburn’s paintings, Tolkien wrote to his publisher Rayner Unwin, ‘As far as an English edition goes, I myself am not at all anxious for The Lord of the Rings to be illustrated by anybody whether a genius or not.’ There were a handful of artists whose Lord of the Rings–inspired work he did appreciate, but he made a clear distinction between what he liked on artistic merit versus what he believed was fit to accompany text. In the 1947 essay ‘On Fairy Stories’ mentioned here, Tolkien explains: ‘However good in themselves, illustrations do little good to fairy-stories. The radical distinction between all art (including drama) that offers a visible presentation and true literature is that literature works from mind to mind and is thus more progenitive. It is at once more universal and more poignantly particular.’ Based on all of Tolkien’s comments and correspondence, this was a strong conviction. However, he was so struck by Fairburn’s work that he did again begin discussions with his publisher about an illustrated edition, referenced here when he mentions showing a sample to Rayner Unwin. Although that never came to fruition, Fairburn’s illustrations finally saw publication as the basis of HarperCollins’s official Tolkien calendar for 2015.
An Angy Dickens letter on 'What the truth is

An Angy Dickens letter on ‘What the truth is, and what it is not’

Charles Dickens A fine three-page autograph letter signed by Charles Dickens, 11th March 1854. Dickens writes to the journalist Peter Cunningham, reacting angrily to an article in the London News of March 4th 1854 in which Cunningham suggested that the title of Hard Times, and in some respects the ‘turn of the story’ were based on the Preston Strike. Dickens opens, Being down at Dover yesterday, I happened to see the illustrated London News lying on the table, and there read a reference to my new book which I believe I am not mistaken in supposing to have been written by you. I don’t know where you may have found your information, but I can assure you that it is altogether wrong. The title was many weeks old, and chapters of the story were written, before I went to Preston or thought about the present strike. The mischief of such a statement is twofold. First, it encourages the public to believe in the impossibility that books are produced in that very sudden and cavalier manner (as poor Newton used to feign that he produced the elaborate drawings he made in his madness, by working at his table); and secondly in this instance it has this pernicious leaning: It localises (so far as your readers are concerned) a story which has a direct purpose in reference to the working people all over England, and it will cause, as I know by former experience, characters to be fitted onto individuals whom I never saw or heard of in my life.’ Dickens concludes ‘I do not suppose that you can do anything to set this mis-statement right; if you will, at any future time, ask me what the fact is before you state it, I will tell you as frankly and readily as it is possible for one friend to tell another, what the truth is and what it is not. Always faithfully yours, Charles Dickens.’