Collection of first editions


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Item#: 104904 price:$5,000.00

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WELLS, H.G. Collection of first editions. London: various publishers, 1910-45. Twenty volumes. Various formats, each volume in its original binding, some with original dust jacket. $5000.

A wonderful collection of presentation first editions, given by H.G. Wells to Sir Richard Arman Gregory, his longtime close friend and frequent scientific advisor for his books, with three of the novels inscribed by Wells to Gregory.

Spanning across 35 years, this collection attests to the enduring friendship between H.G. Wells and his childhood friend 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). "Wells valued Gregory's opinions on his books, and never forgot to send him a copy of each as it appeared" (Armytage, 51). This collection includes 17 Wells first editions from the library of Sir Gregory, three of which were inscribed by Wells to Gregory, many of which have publisher's presentation slips, and all of which were doubtless presented by Wells to Gregory. It includes three inscribed novels:

The Dream. London, 1924. Inscribed by Wells, "Rags. From HG with love."

The Holy Terror. London, 1939. In dust jacket. Inscribed by Wells, "RAGs from H.G."

You Can't Be Too Careful. A Sample of Life 1901-1951. London, 1941. In dust jacket. Inscribed by Wells, "To RAGs. As ever bless him from H.G. Xmas 1941."

There are also 14 other Wells first editions, most of which are nonfiction and many of which contain publisher's presentation slips:

The History of Mr. Polly. London, 1910.

Bealby. London, 1915.

The Story of a Great Schoolmaster. London, 1924. With a typed note from the publisher laid in stating "With Mr. Wells's Compliments."

Meanwhile. The Picture of a Lady. London, 1927.

Imperialism and the Open Conspiracy. London, 1929. Original paper wrappers. Hammond F30.

What Are We To Do With Our Lives? London, 1931.

The Camford Visitation. London, 1937. In dust jacket.

World Brain. London, 1938. With a publisher's printed "author's compliments" slip laid in.

Guide to the New World: A Handbook of Constructive World Revolution. London, 1941. In dust jacket. With a publisher's compliments label paste to the front pastedown, stating that the volume is "sent at Mr. Wells' request and with his compliments."

The Conquest of Time. London, 1942. With a publisher's compliments card tipped to the front pastedown, presenting the book and stating that "Mr. Wells is at present unable to inscribe his books."

A Thesis in the Quality of Illusion in the Continuity of the Individual Life in the Higher Metazoa, With a Particular Reference to the Species Homo Sapiens. London, 1942. Original paper wrappers. With Gregory's owner signature to the front wrapper. Stapled to page 29 is an original typescript with replacement text for paragraph 88, which has been crossed out in red pencil.

Science and the World Mind. London, 1942. Original paper wrappers.

Phoenix:A Summary of the Inescapable Conditions of World Reorganisation. London, 1942. In dust jacket. With a printed "author's compliments" slip pasted to the front pastedown, with a typed note on it stating "Mr. Wells is at present unable to inscribe his books."

The Happy Turning. London, 1945. In dust jacket.

Finally, there are three volumes about either Wells or Gregory:

LEONARD, George H. Some Memories of John Gregory. May 1922. Privately printed, 1922. Original wrappers, pp.13.

NICHOLSON, Norman. H.G. Wells. London, 1950.

WEST, Geoffrey. H.G. Wells: A Sketch for a Portrait. London, 1930. Inscribed by the author to Sir Richard Gregory.

ARMYTAGE, W.H.G. Sir Richard Gregory. His Life and Work. London, 1957. In dust jacket.

An impressive collection with wonderful provenance.

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