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“With Respect And Great Pleasure, John Steinbeck”: First

Edition Of

The Grapes Of Wrath,

Inscribed By Steinbeck To His

Close Friend Dr. Thaddeus Martin, With An Autograph Letter

Signed By Steinbeck On His Embossed Letterhead

75. STEINBECK, John.

The Grapes of Wrath

. New York, 1939. Octavo,

original pictorial beige cloth, dust jacket.


First edition, first issue, of Steinbeck’s most important novel, his searing

masterpiece of moral outrage and “intense humanity,” winner of the 1940

Pulitzer Prize, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper to a

close friend, “For again Dr. St. Martin with respect and great pleasure,

John Steinbeck.” Accompanied by an autograph letter signed by Steinbeck

to Dr. Martin and his wife, penned on Steinbeck’s embossed letterhead


Banned in the year of publication for depicting Kern County

as being unkind to migrants, The Grapes of Wrath encountered subse-

quent friction as far away as Ireland and Turkey due to its anti-corporate


The Grapes of Wrath

is the kind of art that’s poured out of a crucible

in which are mingled pity and indignation… Its power and impor-

tance do not lie in its political insight but in its intense humanity”

(Clifton Fadiman). Recipients Louisiana doctor Thaddeus Martin and

his wife Gladys were good friends with Steinbeck and his second wife

Gwyndolyn Conger. Dr. St. Martin was a world-renowned radiologist

who studied the growth rates in unborn children in the 1920s and 30s.

In 1936, he published the novel

Mme. Toussaint’s Wedding Day,

to which

Steinbeck refers in the accompanying letter. Steinbeck wrote about St.

Martin in

Travels with Charley:

“There lives my old friend Doctor St.

Martin, a gentle, learned man, a Cajun who has lifted babies and cured

colic among the shell-heap Cajuns for miles around… He makes the

best and most subtle martini in the world by a process approximating

magic.” The accompanying 1943 autograph letter reads, in part: “Dear

Thad & Glad[ys]: The book came this morning and I shall get it off

immediately. I’m sending it to Nunnally Johnson. I hope he will do

something about it…Gwyn will write as soon as she gets her equilibri-

um. Meanwhile thanks again for the book and love to you both. John.”

Nunnally Johnson was an American filmmaker who worked as a writer

and producer on the film versions of

Grapes of Wrath

(1940) and


Moon Is Down

(1943). Book about-fine, bright dust jacket with resto-

ration to edges. A lovely copy with a fantastic association and letter on

Steinbeck’s embossed letterhead.



offensive & immoral