New York: Viking Press, 1966. First Edition. Octavo (23.5cm). Gray paper-covered boards backed in blue cloth, lettered in silver; dustjacket; 57pp. Signed by Marianne Moore on half-title. A Christmas gift from advertising executive Ben Sackheim, with a charming typed card signed by him laid in. Fine copy in very lightly edge-rubbed jacket, Near Fine. From the library of Ben & Bernarda Bryson Shahn, with estate label tipped onto front pastedown.
Ben Sackheim, a Madison Avenue legend of the "Mad-Men" era, was an avid bibliophile (he in fact had a second career as a bookseller in Tucson, Arizona) and art collector whose association with Shahn probably stemmed from one of Shahn's numerous commercial art projects of the 1960s. It was Sackheim's practice for many years to send a signed book to friends and clients as a Yuletide greeting; these were usually accompanied by a warm and witty letter. The current example is one of the best of these--an extended riff on Marianne Moore's abject failure in 1955 to come up with a suitable name for Ford's new automobile, a failure which Sackheim said provided "full redress" to those "mass communications practitioners" who had previously been able only to stand in awe of Ms. Moore's ability to "alchemize original, evocative conceptions into flawlessly faceted diamonds...charity overcoming envy, we chose as courier of our good wishes to you for the holidays and '67, Miss Moore's newest work..."