The First Arkham House Book, with an Open Letter to All Fans of Lovecraft, Issued by Wandrei and Derleth

    H. P. Lovecraft. The Outsider and Others. Collected by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei. Sauk City: Arkham House, 1939. First edition, one of only 1,200 copies. With a mimeographed open letter to fans of Lovecraft, entitled: "TO ALL FRIENDS AND FANS OF THE LATE HOWARD PHILLIPS LOVECRAFT". Approximately 11 x 8.5 inches. On plain white paper. Octavo. xiv, 553 pages. Publisher's black cloth with gilt spine titles. Original pictorial dust jacket designed by Virgil Finlay. Jacket is chipped at spine and corners, there are some marginal tears and tears at the creases, general edgewear, there is some rubbing and soiling to the binding, the first and last gutter are cracked, and there is a previous owner's name in blue ink on the front free endpaper. The letter is folded twice, and has a short tear at the crease near the bottom margin. A good copy and an interesting letter, possibly one of the most interesting (and brutally honest) subscription letters we've ever seen.

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    This letter, written by Wandrei and Derleth (whose printed names appear at the bottom), is an appeal to fans of Lovecraft asking them to send money in advance of the publication of The Outsider, in order to allow publication to go forward. Pre-publication price was $3.50, and publication price was $5.00. It is interesting to note that this letter does not mention Arkham House by name, and that is also states that "there is little chance of net profit." Although The Outsider was published in an edition of 1,200 copies, this letter states the planned publication was to be 1,000 copies, with more if needed.

    Barron, Horror Literature, 3-132. Bleiler. The Guide to Supernatural Fiction, 1040.


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