A Recipe from Count Dracula
“If there was a revolution tomorrow, how would the mob know which one were the nobles?”
Nancy Mitford, Highland Fling
A Quiz: Lineal Descent
The couple depicted in the photograph to the left and the elder of the identical twins depicted in the photograph to the right share a common descendant, a great grandson. This person has been world famous since 1982. Who is he?
HINT: The man in the photograph to left bears a striking resemblance to both his son and great grandson.
The answer is after the JUMP.
Cecil Beaton: A Fashionable Savage
“I’m fashionable. If you’re not respectable, you have to be fashionable.”
Cecil Beaton, It Gives Me Great Pleasure
Image Credit: History of Men's Fashion
A QuiZ: Jackie "Oh, You Again"
To whom did Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis exclaim, “Oh … it’s you again. I thought you were in jail.”
HINT: Greta Garbo once asked this same person, “Why do you bother me? I have done nothing wrong.”
The answer is after the JUMP.
With Diana, Words Soared
“I never remember anything unpleasant … remember that!”
Diana Vreeland, via Stephen Jamail, Immoderate Style
The above quip is nowhere to be found in Diana Vreeland’s memoir D.V. Instead, it is but one of many off-the-cuff remarks Vreeland made in the company of Stephen Jamail, her devoted right hand man at the Costume Institute. Jamail recalled that Vreeland's nonstop aphorisms, spoken in a voice that “was a cross between a New York cabby and an English duchess,” often left him “scrambling for a scrap of paper to” in a desperate attempt to record them for posterity.
In this case, the quip might not have been exactly lost, just more difficult to uncover. It is also buried in a 2009 issue of Vogue Australia. The periodical’s former editor Sheila Scotter disclosed that she was present when the comment was made and revealed the context. It was Vreeland’s demurral "when asked what was the worst fashion show she had ever attended.”
Back in 1982, when Vreeland was very much alive, Stephen Jamail cooperated with a New York Magazine cover story on his Costume Institute boss, which is available in its entirety via Google Books.
Image Credit: Immoderate Style
CSI: Lauren Bacall
"The Internet has not only turned the used-book business inside out; it has flipped it on its head and spun it around once or twice."
Keith Waters, via the New York Times
Ask any rare book dealer. The Internet has had an extraordinary impact on the occupation. There are certainly negatives, but there is also an upside. It has made it possible to decipher the meaning of otherwise inscrutable inscriptions in books.
Consider this copy of By Myself that is signed by its author, the actress Lauren Bacall. The inscription is on the flyleaf and reads, "For Georgann--Much love in 'health'--Betty, St. Pete's Beach." Who was Betty? Who was Georgann? Why did Betty reference Georgann's health? Is St. Pete's Beach a clue?
To the uninformed, it is not even clear that this is an authorial inscription. Many authors sign books on the title page and cross through their typed names to indicate a signed copy. The flyleaf, by contrast, is typically a location in which one might find a third party gift inscription by someone unrelated to production of the book. To conclude this copy might be signed by Bacall, one is required to know that her familiar name was "Betty." [See "Elizabeth and Her Court."]
Then it was necessary to confirm the authenticity of the signature. That meant comparing the inscription to other examples of Bacall's handwriting. Nick Harvill Libraries maintains an archive with scans of authorial signatures that pass through our store. The inscription matched. [Even if there had not been an example in the NHL archive, there are many online.]
The next step was to determine the meaning of the inscription and the identity of the recipient. This required less than ten minutes. Georgann is an uncommon name, particularly that spelling variation. An Internet search of "Lauren Bacall" and "Georgann" revealed that there is an actress named Georgann Johnson. Johnson was one of the players in the Robert Altman ensemble film HealtH in which Bacall starred. The movie was made in 1979, the same year By Myself was released. Moreover, it was filmed entirely on location at the Don CeSar Hotel, located in St. Petersburg Beach, the same city Bacall references in her inscription.
Bacall's words then became clear. The word "health" in quotations is obviously a reference to the movie they were filming together, HealtH.
Mystery solved. Next case, please.
The image of Lauren Bacall with her husband Jason Robards and their son Sam Robards is from By Myself.
A Quiz: Identical Cousins
Tsuguharu Foujita was a Japanese-French artist. He achieved renown by applying Japanese ink techniques to Western art. He was the printmaker behind the illustrations for Michael Joseph's 1930 work A Book of Cats (a copy of which fetched $77,500 at a 2014 Bonhams Los Angeles sale).
Foujita's distinctive look bore a resemblance to another noted 20th Century personality employed in the arts? Name this person.
HINT: She gave good costume.
The answer is after the JUMP.
Vintage editions on the paranormal make great hostess gifts for Halloween. Enter HALLOWEEN at checkout for a 20% discount on Halloween-related books. Check on them out on the Nick Harvill Libraries store's homepage, or click on the links below.
The Horror Omnibus, Containing Two Complete Novels: Dracula and Frankenstein. Circa 1930s. $120.00.
The Witches by Roald Dahl. First American Edition. 1983. $75.00.
Cavalcade of Ghosts. First Edition. 1956. $60.00.
The Werewolf by Montague Summers. First Edition. 1965. $75.00.
Elizabeth and Her Court
“If you ever hear anybody refer to Elizabeth Taylor as Liz Taylor, you can be pretty sure that person doesn't know her.”
Image Credit: The Sixties, A Decade in Vogue
Shipping and Returns