“A MILESTONE IN SENDAK’S CAREER”: FIRST EDITION OF DEAR MILI, SIGNED BY SENDAK
SENDAK, Maurice. GRIMM, Wilhelm. Dear Mili. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, (1988). Oblong octavo, original gray cloth, original dust jacket. $1200.
First edition of this Grimm fairy tale adaptation, signed on the half title by Maurice Sendak.
Of this recently discovered fairy-tale, The New York Times reported, "After more than 150 years, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, and Cinderella will be joined by another Grimm fairy-tale character," Mili, a little girl sent into the forest for thirty years to protect her from a terrible war. The magnificent illustrations by "the preeminent children's book illustrator of his time [are] a milestone in Sendak's career, the work of a master at the height of his powers." Hanrahan A130. The former owner of this signed book was Maurice Sendak's neighbor, Andrew, from Ridgefield, Connecticut. Sendak bought a home and studio in Ridgefield in 1972 with his longtime partner, Eugene Glynn, and lived there until his death. Andrew first encountered Sendak in 1975 during one of his daily dog walks. (Sendak owned many dogs throughout his life, and they often starred in his books.) Andrew was immediately taken with Sendak, who reminded him of his recently deceased father. One day, Andrew called Sendak at home and asked if he could join him on his walks. Andrew and Sendak thus embarked on a 37-year friendship that also included the Andrew's mother, Betty, as well as Andrew's brother. Sendak went on long walks and hikes with Andrew and his family regularly, discussing general life events, opera, and books. He also invited them into his studio to show off works in progress. Andrew's mother, Betty, was an avid reader and collector and she and Sendak would talk late into the night about books. Sendak offered Betty advice about how to find and authenticate rare children's books, which she used to build her collection. Additionally, he frequently bartered for autographs (i.e. a cake for an inscribed drawing). The many inscribed drawings, along with first editions, signed books, and other valuable items grew into one of the country's premier Sendak collections.
Book fine, dust jacket very nearly fine. A desirable signed copy.