Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: E. B. White
By Tom Congalton
White produced rare and collectible books in a number of fields - his early books of humor with a decidedly New Yorker flavor - The Lady is Cold (1929, poetry, as "E.B.W.") and Is Sex Necessary? (1930, with James Thurber). His serious essays, written for The New Yorker and Harper's, such as One Man's Meat (1942, and a scarce title in fine condition because of its wartime vintage), and his children's books, particularly Charlotte's Web (1952) and Stuart Little (1945, the jacket for this title was apparently unchanged except for the price over the first few printings, so unprice-clipped jackets command a premium, and should). One to watch out for was his first separate publication, a small promotional booklet for The New Yorker entitled Less Than Nothing (1927, as Sterling Finny), a slim little volume with an applied label on the front board, and issued without dustwrapper. They must have used weak glue on the label, and it is often (if you can use the word for a book that is rarely seen) missing.
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