"FOR ELIZABETH, WHO LOVINGLY AND FAITHFULLY WATCHED IDA GROW…": LOVELY FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY, OF OUTSIDE OVER THERE, INSCRIBED BY MAURICE SENDAK TO A CLOSE FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR
SENDAK, Maurice. Outside Over There. [New York]: (Harper & Row, 1981). Oblong quarto, original red cloth, original dust jacket. $1600.
First edition, presentation copy, of Sendak's award-winning, "mysterious and richly allusive fantasy" (New York Times), inscribed in the year of publication to Sendak's close friend and neighbor: "For Elizabeth—who lovingly and faithfully watched Ida grow—with heartfelt thanks—Maurice May '81."
In this beautifully illustrated tale about a young girl's quest to save her baby sister from goblins, "Sendak is again dealing with the complex emotional life of children in the present, as they try to cope with the mysteries of feeling through their fantasies" (Silvey, 586). The New York Times praised the book, along with Sendak's classics In the Night Kitchen and Where the Wild Things Are, as one of "the great anchors of American experience." Among other accolades, Outside Over There was named a 1982 Caldecott Honor Book. Hanrahan A110. Connolly, 266. 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). Sendak often addressed Betty as "Elizabeth" in inscriptions, as he felt "Betty" was too common a name. 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 with light rubbing to extremities and rear panel. A near-fine inscribed presentation copy with wonderful provenance.