H.G. WELLS' TRIBUTE TO HIS WIFE, INSCRIBED BY HIM TO HIS CLOSE FRIEND AND SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR RICHARD GREGORY
WELLS, H.G. The Book of Catherine Wells. With an Introduction by her Husband H.G. Wells. London: Chatto & Windus, 1928. Octavo, contemporary full green morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut. $1850.
First edition of H.G. Wells' "deeply moving" tribute to his wife, inscribed by him on the half title to his close friend and advisor Richard Arman Gregory, "RAGs. Old friend from H.G." Handsomely bound by Zaehnsdorf.
"'Jane' Wells (Amy Catherine Robbins) died in 1927, and this deeply moving work, containing a number of her own notes and jottings, is Wells's tribute in her memory. 'Gentle, faithful, wise and self-forgetful, she was the maker of a kind and free and hospitable home…' A seven-page booklet, In Memory of Amy Catherine Wells (Jane Wells), was printed privately in 1927 and consists of the funeral address 'read for Mr. Wells by Dr. T.E. Page'" (H.G. Wells Society 104). That pamphlet is laid into this copy. With four tipped-in photographic plates. Hammond K28. Not in Currey. Inscribed to noted British scientist and Wells' lifelong friend Sir Richard Arman Gregory. In Wells' first work of fiction, he dedicated the work to Gregory as his "dearest friend." The two met while students at the Normal School of Science in South Kensington. They jointly authored a textbook, Honours Physiography, in 1891. Reportedly, Gregory was the one person with whom Wells never quarreled. A professor of astronomy, Gregory also possessed expertise in physics, chemistry and other disciplines; he wrote several textbooks and eventually assumed the editorship of the journal Nature, to which Wells frequently contributed. The author often turned to Gregory, and to the experts Gregory contacted on Wells' behalf, for insight and encouragement when writing his famous "scientific romances." After Wells' death, Gregory worked to establish the H.G. Wells Memorial to preserve public attention to his friend's body of work. Throughout his life Gregory was a passionate advocate for science—"It is necessary to believe in the holiness of scientific work," he once declared—and "an optimist about man's future" (Horrabin, in New Scientist, April 11, 1957).
Interior fine, toning to spine of morocco-gilt binding. A near-fine inscribed copy.