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    Beatrix Potter. Original Holograph Manuscript draft for Wag-by-Wall with Archive Relating to the Evolution of Wag-by-Wall. [London, circa 1940s]. Containing an original holograph manuscript draft of the complete text of Wag-by-Wall, eleven autograph letters signed with her married name with one unsigned, a first UK edition, and including the first appearance in print of Wag-by-Wall in The Horn Book Magazine. Beatrix Potter. Original Holograph Manuscript draft for Wag-by-Wall. [Sawrey, England, circa 1943]. [4] pages on one lined sheet. (8 x 13 inches; 203 x 330 mm). Generally clean and bright, ink generally strong and dark, occasionally faded in some places with scattered, minor foxing. Old folds now flattened, not affecting legibility. Each page with small ink corrections in Beatrix's hand. Near fine.

    [Together with:] Beatrix Potter Collection of Autograph Letters, Eleven Signed and One Unsigned, to Bertha Mahony Miller. Castle Cottage, Sawrey, Ambleside. Includes both published and unpublished correspondence, 1941 -1943. Eleven letters, signed in her married name, with the exception of one unsigned letter and another partial letter, which is initialed "H.B.H" (Helen Beatrix Heelis, née Potter). Two letters contain drawings by Beatrix of a Wag-by-Wall clock. Ranging in sizes from 6 x 8 inches through 10 x 8 inches. Handwritten and signed in black ink; one letter has corrections made in red ink. Faint creases to letters from mailing; very minor staining that does not affect text; one letter has separated at the mailing crease and been repaired with tape. Very Good. Details of each letter can be found in the online catalog.

    These letters were sent to Bertha Mahony Miller by Beatrix Potter Heelis over a period of two years. Letters include a range of subjects, from professional to personal, and contain many publishing references and topics. While most of the professional topics revolve around the revisions to The Solitary Mouse and Wag-by-Wall manuscripts, she does mention other titles on occasion, such as Tailor of Gloucester, The Fairy Caravan, and Peter Rabbit, along with copyright issues she encountered after publication. In one instance she says, "The first Peter was not copyrighted, and it was extensively pirated...I believe my attitude of mind towards my own successful publications has been not common comical?; at one time I almost loathed Peter Rabbit, I was so sick of him, I still cannot understand his perennial success..."

    Beatrix also discusses news pertaining to World War II extensively throughout the letters and her own personal reflections upon wartime events. Writing to Bertha about rationing and the Allied invasion of Europe, she says, "I never knew we had such a taste for sweeties - such as peppermints and chocolates until missing these. ^ soap is going to be very scarce... Personally I am not downhearted. The Russian success counts for so much. I know they are disappointed that we did not invade Europe. We have had too many fiascoes and we have too much to lose." In 1942 she writes to her American friend again, saying, "One thing is certain, your nation will have to beat Japan - same as we have to beat Germany if we want to ever live in peace and security."

    [And:] Beatrix Potter. Wag-by-Wall. London: Frederick Warne & Co., Ltd., 1944. First UK edition. Limited edition, numbered twenty-two out of one hundred. Bertha Mahony Miller's personal copy with her book plate to front free endpaper, recto; Bertha is the recipient of the group of letters listed in this lot as well as the founder and editor of The Horn Book Magazine. 12 mo. (4.125 x 5.5 inches; 104 x 139 mm). [24] pages. Publisher's green cloth with gilt-lettered spine and gilt-lettered and ruled front board. Moderate discoloration to front board on right side, heavy discoloration to rear board, partly sprung. Some foxing and discoloration along hinges. Some gutters overextended. Dust jacket no price listed; minor chipping to head and foot of spine panel and corners, minor edgewear, small closed tear to front panel, some staining to verso. Internally generally clean and bright. Very good.

    [And:] The Horn Book Magazine: Twentieth Anniversary Number 1924-1944. Boston: The Horn Book, Inc. 1944. Volume XX, Number 3. Octavo. (6 x 9 inches; 152 x 228 mm). Consecutively numbered from previous issues, 130-248 pages. Illustrated paper wrappers. Slight wear to spine with minor rubbing, library stamp on bottom front wrapper; interior has a few pencil markings. Very good.

    [And:] Eulalie Steinmetz Ross. The Spirited Life. Bertha Mahony Miller and Children's Books. Boston: The Horn Book, Inc., 1973. First American edition. Octavo. (6.12 x 9.25; 155 x 234 mm). 274 pages. Portrait frontispiece; sixteen printed photographs throughout. Publisher's blue cloth with gilt-stamped spine. Dust jacket unclipped ($12.00). Fine book with fine dust jacket.


    More Information: November 24, 1941. [censored]. (5 x 8 inches; 127 x 203 mm). "Beatrix Heelis." Six pages on three sheets, handwritten letter, on unlined paper. Flattened mail folds, minor staining, text not affected.

    February 17, 1942. (6.8 x 8 inches; 172 x 203 mm). "Beatrix Heelis." Two pages on one sheet, handwritten letter, on unlined paper. Flattened mail folds, minor Staining, text not affected.

    [February 17, 1942]. (8.3 x 8.5 inches; 210 x 215 mm). "H.B.H." Two pages on one sheet, handwritten, partial letter with no salutation in black ink, on unlined paper. Contains revisions to The Solitary Mouse story with revisions made in red ink. Undated, but pencil annotation in bottom right corner on recto lists "17. II. 42 – cont." Annotation is not in Beatrix's hand. Two small holes, obscuring the "s" in "shortening" on recto and one indistinguishable word on verso. Flattened mail folds.

    February 18, 1942. (10.5 x 8.25 inches; 266 x 209 mm). "Beatrix Heelis." Four pages on two sheets, handwritten letter, on unlined paper in black ink. Some corrections made in red ink. Very minor staining.

    March 12, 1942. (6.5 x 8 inches; 165 x 203 mm). "Beatrix Heelis." Two pages on one sheet, handwritten letter, on lined paper. Minor staining, text not affected.

    March 23, 1942. (7.375 x 10 inches; 187 x 254 mm). "Beatrix Heelis." Two pages on one sheet, handwritten letter, on unlined paper. Tear away on bottom left corner measuring 1/2-inch, tear on top right corner that has been repaired with tape. Very minor staining, text not affected.

    April 6, 1942. (7.5 x 10 inches; 190 x 254 mm). "Beatrix Heelis." Two pages on one sheet, handwritten letter with drawing of Wag-by-Wall clock, on unlined paper. Detached at fold line but repaired with tape; very minor staining, slight chipped edges.

    April 27, 1942. (4.375 x 6.75 inches; 111 x 171 mm). "Beatrix Heelis." One-page on one sheet, handwritten letter, on unlined paper. Minor stain in top and bottom right corner, flattened mail fold.

    July 13, 1942. (6.75 x 8.875 inches; 171 x 225 mm). "Beatrix Heelis." Two pages on one sheet, handwritten letter, on unlined paper. Flattened mail fold.

    [November 20, 1942]. November, 1930. (8 x 10.25 inches; 203 x 260 mm). Unsigned. Two pages on one sheet, handwritten letter, originally misdated, on unlined paper. Flatted mail folds. Written on the verso of a previously sent letter dated December 20, 1939, signed L. Vickers, W.H. Heelis Esq.

    August 23, 1943. (9.625 x 7.625 inches; 244 x 193 mm). "Beatrix Heelis." Three pages on two sheets, handwritten letter with two drawings detailing a Wag-by-Wall clock, on ledger paper. Small sticker numbered "18" in top right corner, flatted mail folds with minor ink bleed through, text not affected.

    November 5, 1943. (5.5 x 8 inches; 139 x 203 mm). "Beatrix Heelis." Two pages on one sheet, handwritten letter, on lined paper. Minor stain and slight toning on edges, text not affected.




    Auction Info

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    December, 2020
    16th Wednesday
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