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The Spring of Joy. First American Edition. Inscribed to Frederick B. Adams, Jr. from H. Bradley Martin.

  1. 00020889_0001
  2. 00020889_0002

Mary Webb.  The Spring of Joy. A Little Book of Healing. London and Toronto: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1917. First edition. Stamped at the base of the spine “E. P. Dutton and Co.” (The volume is otherwise the same as the first English edition [cat. 10 above]), in the original publisher’s tissue jacket. Inscribed on front free endpaper: “To F. B. Adams Jr. / from / H. Bradley Martin,” and with Adams’s bookplate pasted below the inscription. Frederick Baldwin Adams, Jr. (1910–2001) was director of the Pierpont Morgan Library from 1948–1969 and served as president of the Grolier Club from 1947 to 1951. H. Bradley Martin (1906–1988) was grandson of Henry Phillips (a partner of Andrew Carnegie) and a pre-eminent book collector. Adams and Martin (also a Grolier member) both admired Webb’s work and competed for important editions and manuscripts. On the front pastedown is a long (and amusing) penciled note in Adams’s hand, telling how he had lost the book at auction to Martin, and how Martin had subsequently sold the book to him at cost. Adams says: “I asked him [Martin] to inscribe the book to me, as a permanent token of the generosity of one collector to another.” A. Edward Newton, in End Papers: Literary Recreations (1933), writes: “From a book-collector’s point of view, Mary Webb in first editions is difficult, almost impossible. Her books were published at a bad time; everything was bad—printing, paper, cloth, binding, everything. The editions were small and the books fell to pieces in the reading.” Hence, we understand Adams’s recognition of the chivalry of his rival Martin in allowing him to secure the scarce first edition of this slim volume of prose, Mary Webb’s third book.