VERY SCARCE PRESENTATION FIRST EDITION OF SHERWOOD’S PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING DRAMA, THERE SHALL BE NO NIGHT, INSCRIBED AT LENGTH BY SHERWOOD, CALLING THIS, “PROBABLY THE BEST OF MY PLAYS… A FACTOR IN BRINGING ABOUT MY CLOSE FRIENDSHIP AND ASSOCIATION WITH PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT LATER IN 1940”
(ROOSEVELT, FRANKLIN D.) SHERWOOD, Robert E. There Shall Be No Night. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1940. Octavo, original burgundy cloth, original dust jacket. $2500.
First edition of Sherwood’s powerful WWII drama, awarded the 1941 Pulitzer Prize, an exceptional presentation copy inscribed on the half title by him, reading in part: “For J—- M—- —Dear Mr. M—-, This is probably the best of my plays… Incidentally, this play was a factor in bringing about my close friendship and association with President Roosevelt later in 1940. With best regards, Robert E. Sherwood, March 1952.”
This important presentation first edition of Sherwood’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama contains a lengthy inscription him that reads: “For J—- M—-— Dear Mr. M—-, This is probably the best of my plays. It certainly had the greatest impact when first produced early in 1940 when the Red Army was invading Finland, when the ‘Phony War’ was on in the West, and when the U.S. was crippled with isolationism, despite the leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Incidentally, this play was a factor in bringing about my close friendship and association with President Roosevelt later in 1940. With best regards, Robert E. Sherwood, March 1952.”
A highly talented critic and author, Sherwood achieved perhaps his greatest “success as a playwright, scripting such audience favorites as Idiot’s Delight (1936), Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1938), and There Shall Be No Night (1940), for which he won Pulitzer Prizes.” As he indicates in this copy’s inscription, There Shall Be No Night was fundamental in encouraging his “close friendship with the president—campaigning for him, writing speeches, and then, in a most unusual role for a show business personality at that time, becoming involved in foreign policy. During WWII Sherwood served as director of the Overseas Branch of the Office of War Information… where he created the Voice of America radio network” (Alonso, Robert E. Sherwood, 3-4). There Shall Be No Night, which had its Broadway premiere in April 1940, “brought the horror of the war in Europe to Broadway… Sherwood donated most of his royalties from the play to aid Finland and Britain” (ANB). He was also a highly regarded screenwriter whose screenplay for The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) won an Academy Award. In addition, as a historian, Sherwood’s “perceptive, detailed study” of Roosevelt and WPA head Harry S. Hopkins, Roosevelt and Hopkins (1948), earned him his fourth Pulitzer Prize, this time in history. First edition with Scribner’s “A” on copyright page. Containing Sherwood’s preface. Bookseller ticket.
Book fine; slight edge-wear, closed tear to front seam of extremely good price-clipped dust jacket. A scarce presentation copy with very memorable inscription.