"WE OWE THIS ASSISTANCE FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOOD NAME OF AMERICA AND ABOVE ALL FOR THE SAKE OF HUMANITY": EXTRAORDINARY AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT INTRODUCTION WRITTEN AND SIGNED BY TEDDY ROOSEVELT, WITH BOTH THE DELUXE LIMITED FIRST EDITION QUARTO EDITION AND THE FIRST TRADE EDITION OF EDITH WHARTON'S THE BOOK OF THE HOMELESS, 1916, WHERE ROOSEVELT'S INTRODUCTION APPEARED, ILLUSTRATED BY BAKST, MONET, RENOIR, RODIN, AND OTHERS, FEATURING WRITINGS BY RUPERT BROOKE, JEAN COCTEAU, JOSEPH CONRAD, THOMAS HARDY, HENRY JAMES, W.B. YEATS AND WHARTON HERSELF
(ROOSEVELT, Theodore) WHARTON, Edith, editor. Autograph manuscript signed ("Theodore Roosevelt"). WITH: The Book of the Homeless (Le Livre des Sans-foyer), both octavo edition and quarto edition. Oyster Bay, Long Island, October 1, 1915 and New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916. Three items. Two leaves of stationery, each measuring 8-1/2 by 10 inches; pp. 2. WITH: Octavo, original half gilt-stamped red cloth. WITH: Quarto, original gilt-stamped half tan cloth, partially uncut. Housed together in a custom half morocco three-part slipcase. $27,500.
Exceptional autograph manuscript of the introduction to The Book of the Homeless written and signed by Theodore Roosevelt, accompanied by both the regular first edition (octavo) and the deluxe large-paper first edition (quarto), one of only 125 copies on Van Gelder Paper printed and signed by Daniel B. Updike at the Merrymount Press (out of a total deluxe edition of 175 copies), of this war-relief anthology edited by Wharton, each with an introduction by Theodore Roosevelt, four facsimiles of manuscripts, and 22 illustrations by prominent artists (eight in color).
The Book of the Homeless was sold for the benefit of the American Hostels for Refugees (with the Foyer Franco-Belge) and of the Children of Flanders Rescue Committee. Wharton founded the Children of Flanders Rescue Committee in 1914; she was later made a chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur for her relief work in France during WWI. Poems, short stories and sheet music were contributed by Sarah Bernhardt, Paul Bourget, Rupert Brooke, Paul Claudel, Jean Cocteau, Joseph Conrad, Eleonora Duse, John Galsworthy, Thomas Hardy, William Dean Howells, Henry James, George Santayana, Igor Stravinsky, Wharton herself, W.B. Yeats and others. Artists providing illustrations include Bakst, Beerbohm, Gibson, Monet, Renoir, Rodin and Sargent. Aimed at an English-speaking audience, the French selections also appear in English translation. "Wharton also translated all the French contributions except for those whose translators are identified in the text" (Garrison).
Theodore Roosevelt wrote the powerful introduction to Wharton's work. In it, Roosevelt notes that "It is not merely a pleasure but a duty to write the introduction which Mrs. Wharton asks for 'The Book of the Homeless.' At the outset of this war I said that, hideous tho the atrocities had been and dreadful tho the suffering was, we must not believe that these atrocities and this suffering paralleled the dreadful conditions that had obtained in European warfare during, for example, the seventeenth century. It is lamentable to have to confess that I was probably in error. The fate that has befallen Belgium is as terrible as any that befell the countries of Middle Europe during the Thirty Years' War and the wars of the following half century." He concludes with an "appeal to the American people to picture to themselves the plight of all these poor creatures and to endeavor in practical fashion to secure their safety from further avoidable suffering..all that can be done surely should be done to ease their suffering. The part that America has played in this world tragedy has not been an exalted part… We owe to Mrs. Wharton all the assistance we can give. We owe this assistance for the sake of the good name of America and above all for the sake of humanity."
The signed autograph manuscript of that introduction—included here—contains many differences from the published version present in both the octavo edition and quarto edition. The differences between the autograph manuscript and the published version run the gamut, from small, minor changes to larger changes affecting meaning and tone. Many of the changes are small, such as the addition and deletion of punctuation and the correction of verb tense. Words are sometimes changed (such as "merely" to "only") or deleted entirely ("all" and "wholly"). Some sentences have been changed by revision or moving clauses. The most substantial change is the deletion of the following underlined words: "… even if the neutral nations, and especially the United States, should at last wake up to the [the performance of the] duty they have so shamefully failed to perform and should insist upon Belgium being restored to her own people…." The removal of those clauses removed the nationalistic sentiment and rendered the overall tone calmer and more measured. An English edition, published in London by Macmillan, appeared simultaneously. Rumors of a French first edition are largely believed to be unfounded. Overall, these American first editions (a regular edition and two deluxe editions were printed simultaneously) are considered more desirable than the English edition. Without separate additional portfolio of illustrations as usual (of those copies examined by Wharton's bibliographer only one was still accompanied by the separate prints). The limited deluxe edition here is an out of series copy. On the colophon, "copy number" has been crossed out and the following note has been added by hand by D.B. Updike of the Merrymount Press: "Unnumbered copy for designer of decoration, R.R. [signed] D.B. Updike." Garrison D1.1.a and b. Booklabel.
In beautiful, about-fine condition.