LIBER SCRIPTORUM, SIGNED BY MARK TWAIN, THEODORE ROOSEVELT, ANDREW CARNEGIE AND NUMEROUS OTHER AUTHORS, A STUNNING COPY
(TWAIN, Mark, ROOSEVELT, Theodore, et al.). Liber Scriptorum. The First Book of the Authors Club. New York: The Authors Club, 1893. Thick folio, publisher's full dark brown morocco, ornately blind- and gilt-tooled spines and boards, top edge gilt, uncut.
First edition, number 4 of only 251 numbered copies signed by each of the 109 contributors, the most prominent being Mark Twain (“The Californian’s Tale,” page 161—the first appearance of this story), Theodore Roosevelt (“A Shot at a Bull Elk,” page 487) and Andrew Carnegie (“Genius Illustrated from Burns,” page 99). An altogether impressive collection of the works and signatures of leading late-19th century literary figures, in original publisher’s morocco-gilt binding.
"The Authors Club of New York, organized in 1882, was a social club for like-minded men and a support group for younger writers. In 1891, club members conceived Liber Scriptorum as a means to raise money for a suitable permanent home. Each member contributed an original essay, story or poem that would never be published elsewhere. Each author signed 251 copies of his entry, and the books were then bound. The book, published and printed by club member Theodore Low De Vinne, sold for $100—almost $2000 in 2002 dollars. De Vinne donated the work at cost, and the club enjoyed a profit of $10,500. By the time the book was finished and the profit realized, Andrew Carnegie had given the club a suite of rooms in his building at 57th and Seventh Avenue, and the publication proceeds were used to furnish the rooms" (Carnegie Mellon University). Liber Scriptorum marks the first appearance in print of Twain's tale about an unfortunate man's undying devotion to his wife; contrary to the club's original plans, this story was later included in The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories (1906). Other contributors include De Vinne, William Dean Howells, Henry Van Dyke and Frank R. Stockton. Though "there are presumed to be 251 copies of the book; actually, over 30 of these were not bound but were sold as separate articles" (Johnson, 128). BAL 3438. With original prospectus and publisher's invoice laid in. Portrait of De Vinne laid in at his contribution (facing page 198).
Book in fine condition, prospectus with some wear to wrappers. An exceptional copy of a scarce and desirable volume.