More on Uncle Henry . . .

Some of the Uncle Henry articles (discussed in an earlier post not so long ago) were collected into a book published in 1922.  I’m not sure, but I think the portrait by Frank Godwin of Uncle Henry that appeared on the cover of Collier’s in that previous post may have been created for use in connection with the book. The title of the book is stated as Uncle Henry, and the title page does not state any author. Rather, it says ANONYMOUS. The publisher was Reynolds Publishing Company, Inc.

I have two copies of the book in dust jackets. I don’t remember ever seeing any copies in the DJ, other than the ones in my collection. I don’t think the book (without DJ) could be considered scarce, though.

Below is an image showing my two copies in DJs. Now one might assume that the two copies are identical. This however, would be an error. The main differences between the two is that the flaps on the DJ are blank in the copy on the left, and not blank in the copy on the right. The front flap quotes from the introduction by Irvin Cobb, and the back flap quotes Uncle Henry.

 

uncle-henry

Based on a superficial analysis, I suspect that the book on the left was issued earlier than the other, for two reasons. First, the coloration is a bit more nuanced in the copy on the left (the one on the right is kind of contrasty). Second, I feel that the publisher probably added the printed matter to the flaps after they thought about it a little (and they just might have been in a bit of a rush initially). It would seem, under the circumstances, logical to add text to the flaps, and there would seem to be no reason to omit the material that appears in the copy on the right.

I suspect that the lettering shown (for the title) was created by Godwin. My principal reason for saying this is that I have a copy of Maurice Switzer’s 1921 Trying It on the Dog in a dust jacket, and the lettering of the author’s name is in a very similar style. That book was illustrated by Godwin. The DJ on that one has an unsigned illustration (obviously by Godwin). I don’t think that illustration is repeated within the book. It was published by a different publisher (The Bobbs-Merrill Company). That style is kind of cool, informal, and non-modern, and fits in well with the material in the book.

The DJ on the left is protected by a mylar cover (rather reflective), and the white at the upper left is white paper.

If you look carefully at the base of the spine in the copy on the left, you will notice a water stain. Many years ago, I bought three or four certain books illustrated by Godwin, in DJs, from multiple dealers, maybe three or four different dealers.  (Sorry to be so hazy about the details.) If I were to line them up next to each other on a shelf, the stains could be made to line up quite nicely.  To me it is obvious that the books were all (slightly) damaged in the same incident!

—Tom Sawyer

January 2, 2017 (taken down right after posting)

Revised February 9, 2017

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