James Branch Cabell : An Illustrated Bibliography

THE SILVER STALLION: A Comedy of Redemption

Hall Code
Description
*SS-A1b
First Printing, Presentation Binding 1926

IMAGES:

Guy Holt's Copy:

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Harold Mason's copy:

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COMPILATION

Full Title:

Title page recto: The Silver Stallion | [in italic] A Comedy of Redemption | by | JAMES BRANCH CABELL | [Kalki device] | [in italic] "Now. the redemption which we as yet |
await (continued Imlac), will be that of | Kalki, who will come as a Silver Stallion: | all evils and every sort of folly will perish at | the coming of this Kalki: true righteousness | will be restored, and the minds of men will | be made clear as crystal."
| [in a script typeface] Robert M. McBride & Company | NEW YORK MCMXXVI (see image above).

Title page verso: COPYRIGHT, 1926, BY JAMES BRANCH CABELL | FIRST PUBLISHED, 1926 | [in italic] First Edition | PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. BY | QUINN & BODEN COMPANY, INC. | RAHWAY, N. J. (see image above).

Publication:

Robert M. McBride & Co.; New York; 1926.

Collation:

Crown octavo [ 19.3 cm. (7 9/16 in.) x 12.4 cm. (4⅞ in.)]; one blank leaf; pp. xiv+360; (i) Half-title; (ii) Books by Mr. Cabell; (iii) title page; (iv) publication data; (v) dedication; (vi) Note as to the text of The Silver Stallion; vii-viii The Lords that Poictesme had in Dom Manuel's Time; ix-xii Contents; (xiii) introductory note (verso blank); (1)-354 text; 355-358 Compendium of Leading Historical Events; last leaf blank; pp. (1), (25), (59), (95), (131). (169), (205), (245), (281), and (315) are fly-titles; pp. (24), 26), (60), (94), (96), (132), (168), (170), (206), 244), (246), 282) and (316) are blank.

Binding:

Japanese hand-made paper boards, brown leather spine label lettered and decorated in gilt, front cover blank; top trimmed, others untrimmed. Spine: [decorative rule] | THE | SILVER | STALLION | [rule] | CABELL | [decorative rule] (see image above).

Dedication:

TO | CARL VAN DOREN | 12-line acrostic poem in three 4-line stanzas] (see image above).

Endpapers:

Silver Japanese paper (see image above).

Dust jacket:

It's not known if these copies were presented in dust jacket. If so, then the jackets used were those of the First Trade Issue, SS-A1. The Holt copy shown above was purchased in this jacket, but the sun damage on the spine suggests it was not issued that way.

Notes:

Shown here are both of the copies of the first trade edition of The Silver Stallion, bound by The McBride Company in Japanese handmade paper with Japanese silver paper endpapers. Guy Holt had these two copies specially bound for himself and Harold T. Mason, proprietor of the Centaur Bookshop, who published Holt's 1924 bibliography of James Branch Cabell, Hall F2 (A9). When The Silver Stallion first came on-line, we knew of only one surviving copy, the one presented to Harold Mason. We couldn't help but echo the question Steve Leventhal posed in his 1974 catalogue entry for that example, "Where is Guy Holt's copy?"

We now know the answer. It is shown above, and resides, safe and sound, on the bookshelves of Cabell and Machen collector Jeff Katz. As he tells it:

I saw your note on the presentation first-edition of SS, and can answer the question posed at the bottom of the page. The other copy (I know now that it was Holt's) is in my Cabell bookcase. I bought it by accident many years ago at a store known as the Book Barn - how it got there, I'll never know. The Barn itself closed some time ago. I picked it up because it had a McBride dustwrap, and when I saw how prettily it had been decorated I decided to buy it. It was $20, a little dear for a cheap Kalki edition, but I thought why not? 

The second example shown here is Mason's copy. This is also the copy Hall describes as the "Haunted Bookshop copy". One of the present compilers (Thorne) purchased it from Steve Leventhal of the Haunted Bookshop in the 1980's, through the good offices of legendary California bookman Roy Squires. The last row of photos above shows the documentation establishing this copy's provenance, which Mr. Leventhal provided with it. This includes two letters dated 1972, from Mason to Leventhal, that discuss the book and its origin, and offer it for sale (for $5!). The final document is a Haunted Bookshop catalogue of 1974, offering the book for sale at $1,500.

In his bibliography, p. 12, James Hall states "[b]ecause of the circumstances of its binding, this is not really to be considered a separate state of the first edition". It's unclear how he arrives at this conclusion. These are not rebindings; the copies were bound by the original publisher from new, at the direction of the editor. Certainly Hall has accepted similar bindings of other titles as legitimate: the cloth-bound edition of The Judging of Jurgen, JoJ-A1b, for example. In any case, we have chosen to disagree, and to assign it as *SS-A1b. We freely admit that the fact that one of the present bibliographers owns one of these copies disbars The Silver Stallion as a disinterested party, but we stand by our opinion.