"A SPECIAL BOOK FOR A SPECIAL FRIEND": FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY, OF IN GRANDPA'S HOUSE, INSCRIBED BY MAURICE SENDAK TO A CLOSE FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR
(SENDAK, Maurice) SENDAK, Philip. In Grandpa's House. New York: Harper & Row, (1985). Octavo, original taupe cloth, original dust jacket. $750.
First edition, presentation copy, of an autobiography and children's story by Maurice Sendak's father, translated and adapted by Seymour Barofsky and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, inscribed in the year of publication to Sendak's close friend and neighbor: "For Elizabeth, a special book for a special friend. Maurice Dec. '85."
"There is a sweetness of soul that illuminates Maurice Sendak's most frightening works, and that quality permeates his father Philip Sendak's posthumously published In Grandpa's House. Much of the book is a dreamlike set of legends—located in a Polish-Jewish shtetl—that Philip Sendak told his children when they were young. Then, when Philip was a lonely widower of 75, his son insisted that he commit them to paper. In that respect, the book is an inspiring act of filial love… When you read father's and son's work together, you feel privileged to watch two very special men who have transcended the abyss of geography and time to engage in an intimate, loving dialogue with one another—and with us" (New York Times). Hanrahan A125. The former owner of this inscribed 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). In inscriptions, Betty is often referred to as "Elizabeth"; Sendak felt that her name was "common" and didn't suit her. The many inscribed drawings, along with first editions, signed books, limited edition books, and other valuable items grew into one of the country's premier Sendak collections.
Book fine, corner-clipped dust jacket very nearly so. A lovely inscribed copy.