Marked up by Maurice: Unique Copies of Sendak’s Works in Cotsen

The passing of Maurice Sendak this week prompted a review of Cotsen’s holdings for a few special things to share with his many admirers.

LittleBear

The artist at work. Else Holmelund Minarik. A Kiss for Little Bear. Pictures by Maurice Sendak. New York: Harper & Row, 1968. (An I Can Read Book).

NightKitchen

The half title of the Cotsen copy of the In the Night Kitchen Coloring Book (New York: Harper & Row, 1970) has a jolly drawing of the baker staring up at Mickey.

LittleBear-Inscription

This pencil drawing of Jenny, Sendak’s beloved dog, guarantees the anxious book collector that this copy of Higgeldy Piggeldy Pop! (New York: Harper & Row, 1967) is the true first edition.

TenRabbits-Inscription

Here’s a tiny counting book, Ten Little Rabbits, that was published by the Rosenbach Foundation in 1970. Sendak inscribed this copy to Mr. Cotsen’s brood of four children.

InTheDumps

A sketch of the ragamuffin Jack personalizes this copy of We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy (New York: Michael di Capua Books, Harper Collins, 1993).

Outside over there
I saw Esau
In the Night Kitchen
Eating chicken soup with rice!

***

What do you say, dear?
I DON’T CARE!
There must be more to life
Where the Wild Things are…
That’s just right.
Let’s read.

No FightingNoFighting2

Else Holmelund Minarik. No Fighting, No Biting! Pictures by Maurice Sendak. (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958).

LittleBear3

Maurice Sendak. Higgeldy Piggeldy Pop! Or There Must Be More to Life. (New York: Harper & Row, 1967).

Rude Britannia: Marks Naughty Children Draw in Their Books

Moseley's frontispiece of the future George III.

Moseley’s frontispiece of the future George III.

An eighteenth-century writer could try to realize some cash by dedicating a work to an important person, who might return the favor with some remuneration.  Perhaps the anonymous author of the innovative speller, The Child’s New Play-Thing (London: T. Cooper, 1742), was angling for a teaching appointment when he dedicated it to little George, the son of Frederick, Prince of Wales (1709-1751).

A portrait engraved by Charles Moseley of the future George III (1738-1820) in a jaunty tricorne faced the third edition’s title page.  Holding a rose, an emblem of the youth’s brevity, the stolid boy is the picture of solemn innocence.  At the time around four years of age, little George was still wearing skirts and would not be breeched for another  two or three years, as was usual in the days before the invention of the washing machine or of disposable diapers (the reasons don’t need to be detailed here).

George as reimagined as a bearded lady by a child-artist?

George as reimagined as a bearded lady by a child-artist?

Being in skirts hardly granted immunity from the slings and arrows of disgruntled subjects if one happened to be second in line of succession to the British throne,  as was the little prince.   Long before George was crowned, plagued by his unruly brood of sons, and finally incapacitated by porphyria, he was disrespected by the unruly pen of a peer.

In the Cotsen copy of the 3rd edition of The Child’s New Play-Thing (1745), a previous owner traced the prince’s image in reverse on the frontispiece’s recto, adding scraggly whiskers and body parts (which look suspiciously female) the bodice is supposed to cover.  The amateurish quality of the drawing suggests a child’s hand and perhaps that of a child from a family that hoped for the triumph of the Young Pretender, Prince Charles Edward Stuart in the 1745 Jacobite rebellion (the year the 3rd edition of The Child’s New Play-Thing was published) that was eventually quelled by George II’s son, William, Duke of Cumberland.

Hogarth's homage to children's  "art" on The Analysis of Beauty

Hogarth’s homage to children’s “art” on The Analysis of Beauty

But of course the defacement of the little prince’s portrait may not be a youthful expression of disloyalty against the Hanovers (as tempting as it is to jump to conclusions).  It may be nothing more profound than the tell-tale sign of the childish urge to doodle on any flat surface whether on paper or walls–an urge that William Hogarth must have known very well as a boy himself, having immortalized it in the lower right hand corner of the frontispiece to The Analysis of Beauty or in the foreground of “The First Stage of Cruelty.”