Debs and the Poets [Two Copies, Inscribed by Eugene Debs and Ruth Le Prade to Helen L. Gardner]. RADICAL, PROLETARIAN LITERATURE, Ruth LE PRADE, Upton SINCLAIR, introduction.

Debs and the Poets [Two Copies, Inscribed by Eugene Debs and Ruth Le Prade to Helen L. Gardner]

Pasadena: Upton Sinclair, 1920. Two octavo volumes (18.75cm); maroon cloth, with titles stamped in gilt on spine and front cover; [ii],99,[11]pp. The first copy is inscribed by Eugene Debs to American film actress, screenwriter, and editor Helen Louise Gardner on the front endpaper: "To Helen L. Gardner / With love and greetings, and with deep appreciation for her beautiful character, her lofty spirit, her rare vision, courage, understanding, and her high ideals and noble aspirations - Eugene V. Debs / Terre Haute, Indiana / December, 1924." Gentle sunning to spine, oxidation to gilt, with moderate, scattered soil to covers, light wear to extremities, and heavier wear with resulting board exposure to upper right corner of front cover; mild offset to endpapers from binders glue; Good. Housed in a clamshell case.

The second copy is inscribed to Gardner by Ruth Le Prade, opposite the title page: "To Helen Gardner - with cordial greetings / Ruth Le Prade." Spine-sunned, cloth edge-worn and lightly soiled, with oxidation to gilt, a few small stains to front cover, some erosion to cloth toward lower spine, and mild offset to endpapers from binders glue; Good.


Poems honoring socialist leader Eugene Debs by a variety of radical 20th century poets including Witter Bynner, Max Eastman, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Carl Sandburg, Siegfried Sassoon, Horace Traubel, and Israel Zangwill, many others. Sinclair contributed the foreword, along with letters from H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw (who states: "Clearly the White House is the only safe place for an honest man like Debs"). An interesting pair of copies inscribed to Gardner (1884-1968), acclaimed stage actress and the first actress to form her own production company.

Moved by his circumstances and deeply influenced by his speeches, she visited him in prison in 1920, bringing him an autographed photo and beginning a correspondence that would last through the mid-1920's. In a December 21, 1920 letter, she writes: "Let me tell you that I was surprised to find my emotional self somewhat unaffected while I listened to you talk. I know the reason now. It is the same with you as it was with Epictetus, prison walls cannot confine the spirit -- the mind is ever free. So, in a way, I did not feel your plight as keenly as I would that of another who had little vision, little intelligence, little understanding about his body being so small a part of the real him that his confinement was of the physical order only." While the "special edition" of 500, with signed bookplate by Debs, appears with some frequency, inscribed copies of Debs and the Poets are genuinely uncommon.

Price: $3,500.00

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