"LET US TRY OUR BEST TO PRESERVE THOSE GOOD THINGS WHICH CAME INTO BEING DURING THE AGE OF NULLIFICATION": MANHATTAN OASES, WITH 36 WONDERFUL PORTRAITS OF BARTENDERS IN THEIR SPEAKEASIES BY HIRSCHFELD
HIRSCHFELD, Al, illustrator. KAHN, Gordon. Manhattan Oases. New York's 1932 Speak-easies. With a Gentleman's Guide to Bars and Beverages by Gordon Kahn. New York: E.P. Dutton, (1932). Quarto, original blue cloth, paper spine and cover labels. $850.
First edition of this wonderful collection of Hirschfeld's portraits of bartenders and patrons in the speakeasies of Jazz Age Manhattan, with 36 full-page plates accompanied by descriptions of each as well as signature cocktail recipes.
Each plate depicts, in Hirschfeld's characteristic style, the bartender and maybe a few patrons of a given locale, with an essay on the facing page describing the establishment, along with a recipe for the barkeep's signature drink. Some of the names are still familiar, such as Jack & Charlie's (21 Club) and the Stonewall (Christopher Street). Published just one year before the repeal of Prohibition—Broun's Introduction notes "Recent events may inspire many right thinking citizens with the fear that Al Hirschfeld's Manhattan Oases will stand as a memorial volume… But I refuse to share the pessimism of these defeatists. We have cause to hope that repeal will never be enforced." Broun's semi-facetious Introduction points out that one of the good things that came about during Prohibition was the inclusion of women, who had been excluded from the saloon when drinking establishments were legal: "It was not Prohibition but Feminism which demolished the traditional bar of the gay nineties." Introduction by Heywood Broun. Without scarce original dust jacket.
Interior generally fine, some toning to extremities, faint dampstains at base of spine and on rear board. A very good copy.