Pulps Between Boards: Arkham House and Other Specialty Publishers
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A thread for all those specialty publishers who put the best of the pulps in hardcover.  The publishers kept classic pulp stories alive long after most copies of the disposable pulps had been lost.

Publishers like:

  • Arkham House
  • Gnome Press
  • Fantasy Press
  • Shasta Publishers
  • Fantasy Publishing (FPCI)
  • Prime Press
  • and more!

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You have to start a thread like this one with the book that started it all, The Outsider and Others by H.P. Lovecraft.

After Lovecraft's death in March 1937, his friends and fellow writers August Derleth and Donald Wandrei grew concerned that Lovecraft's stories would be forgotten unless they were published in book form.  They tried to convince several publishers, without success, and eventually decided to publish the book themselves. Arkham House was born.

Arkham House's first volume, The Outsider and Others, was a sort of "best of" omnibus of Lovecraft's work, containing 36 stories and one essay.  The importance of this volume cannot be understated as it was the beginning of specialty publishing of fantastic fiction.

The Outsider and Others
Arkham House, 1939
1,268 copies

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Edited by RedFury

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29 minutes ago, RedFury said:

You have to start a thread like this one with the book that started it all, The Outsider and Others by H.P. Lovecraft.

After Lovecraft's death in March 1937, his friends and fellow writers August Derleth and Donald Wandrei grew concerned that Lovecraft's stories would be forgotten unless they were published in book form.  They tried to convince several publishers, without success, and eventually decided to publish the book themselves. Arkham House was born.

Arkham House's first volume, The Outsider and Others, was a sort of "best of" omnibus of Lovecraft's work, containing 36 stories and one essay.  The importance of this volume cannot be understated as it was the beginning of specialty publishing of fantastic fiction.

The Outsider and Others
Arkham House, 1939
1,268 copies

tyZEGD7h.jpg

 

One thing that needs to be mentioned about this, and in fact most of Arkham House's books:  Despite the enormous demand, it has never been reprinted.  Other than the introduction by Derleth and Wandrei, the contents all have, over and over and over.  But, other than the uniform Lovecraft collections they started doing in the 60's, Arkham doesn't reprint their books.  There may be a few other exceptions, and they do let other publishers do editions of some of their stuff. 

A beautiful copy of a legendary book!

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Arkham House had a subsidiary imprint for weird detective stories, Mycroft & Moran, from the 40's to the 80's.  Most of its output was Solar Pons collections, August Derleth's Sherlock Holmes pastiche.  I've always had mixed feelings at best about Derleth's efforts to do Lovecraftian stories, but I think he was on much more solid ground with Solar Pons.  Their first volume under this imprint, from 1945,  was "In Re: Sherlock Holmes", subtitled "The Adventures of Solar Pons".  Apparently the title displeased the Doyle estate; reprints of the book from other publishers emphasize the subtitle.  The print run on this one was apparently 3,604 copies; although it's stated as 3000 in the back of the book.  This is the biggest discrepancy I've seen on an Arkham House publication between the stated in book and the actual number; although they almost never line up exactly:

Solar_Pons_01.jpg

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The M. P. Shiel is the last new book released by Arkham House under the Mycroft and Moran imprint.  Print run 4000 stated, 4036 actual.  They later released a Complete Solar Pons Omnibus.  The imprint was later leased to the Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, which has used it for a trio of books by Derleth, including The Final Adventures of Solar Pons.  Unlike the Arkham House books under the imprint, this has been reprinted.

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And, fresh in today, a slightly out of date reference book on Arkham House published by Arkham House themselves.  I gather there is now an updated 80 years edition, but not from Arkham House themselves:

60 Years of Arkham House.jpg

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I find the Sixty Years of Arkham House very useful, and refer to it almost weekly.  It's complete up to about 2000, so there's not much missing.

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And let's not forget the original pulp hardback publisher -- Chelsea House.  These books appeared in the 1920s, and it is likely Chelsea House was a division of Street & Smith, since all of its authors published in pulps such as Western Story and Detective Story.  It published a lot of volumes, including writers such as Johnston McCulley and Carroll John Daly.

 

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Very cool, Tim.  I don't know anything about these.  Is there a list anywhere of what they published?

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35 minutes ago, RedFury said:

Very cool, Tim.  I don't know anything about these.  Is there a list anywhere of what they published?

It's very difficult to track down much of any information about this publisher.  Most books, especially in jacket, are pretty scarce.  Here's the back-cover listing of titles (from "Sucker Money", 1927)... but no idea how many titles were printed overall.

 

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Also... not everything may be a reprint, but if not, it seems like the author still went through Street & Smith.  A couple of my volumes claim "first time published", but I'm pretty sure the "White Rook" title is likely a compilation of two White Rook stories that appeared in Detective Story in 1918.

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Also -- a lot of the books are pseudonymous.  "David Manning" is actually Max Brand (F. Faust).  "Harrington Strong" is Johnston McCulley.  And "Joseph Montague" is J. Allan Dunn.

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Where would one find "The Outsider and Others" and what would a nice, solid, but not perfect copy cost ? GOD BLESS....

-jimbo(a friend of jesus)(thumbsu

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6 minutes ago, jimjum12 said:

Where would one find "The Outsider and Others" and what would a nice, solid, but not perfect copy cost ? GOD BLESS....

-jimbo(a friend of jesus)(thumbsu

ABE dealers are asking $5000 - $10,000.  Since they are still in stock, one assumes it might be had for a bit less.

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2 minutes ago, Bookery said:

ABE dealers are asking $5000 - $10,000.  Since they are still in stock, one assumes it might be had for a bit less.

And Ebay has 7 copies between $4500 and $7500, which is about the right range for a mid-grade copy.

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The Eye and the Finger
by Donald Wandrei
Arkham House, 1944
1,617 copies

The Eye and the Finger was the 5th book published by Arkham House and collected 18 stories and 3 poems by co-founder Donald Wandrei.  The variety of sources for the stories is quite interesting:

  • 5 from Weird Tales
  • 5 from Astounding
  • 3 from Esquire
  • 2 from Minnesota Quarterly (a literary magazine from the University of Minnesota.  3 listed as being from MQ, but 1 is a mistake)
  • 2 from Argosy
  • 1 from Thrilling Wonder Stories

2 other pieces not listed had been previously published by Robert H. Barlow in his 1937 fanzine Leaves.
1 of the pieces attributed to Minnesota Quarterly was actually published in the 1927 fanzine The Recluse by W. Paul Cook.

The cover illustration is by Donald Wandrei's brother, Howard Wandrei.

This is Donald Wandrei's personal copy from his library, inscribed by him:

Donald Wandrei
Service Co 259th Inf
Camp Shelly, Miss
28 July 1944

According to Wikipedia:
"Wandrei served almost four years with the U.S. Army in World War II, and as a technical sergeant, Third Battalion, 259th Infantry, 65th Division, a unit of General Patton's famous Third Army, took part in the final drive across Germany into Austria – the Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns."

Here is a photo of Sgt. Wandrei in uniform in 1943 (from Marginalia)
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This is a fairly scarce Arkham due to its small print run and the fact that it was out-of-print by 1946 and never reprinted.  Also, the dust-jacket notoriously fades from its original green to grey.  They copy is a really nice example of a mostly un-faded dust-jacket.

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The three titles on the back cover were the next three published by AH, all in 1944.

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Edited by RedFury

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29 minutes ago, RedFury said:

The three titles on the back cover were the next three published by AH, all in 1944.

8q1U6AFl.jpg

 

What an amazing copy of that particular book to own!

Since you posted the back cover ad, I figure I might as well jump in with this one advertising your book:

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This is from Marginalia, the last book advertised on The Eye and the Finger.  Arkham's 8th book, although it looks like all four books from 1944 came out around the same time going by the ads.  This is the third Lovecraft collection from Arkham. with 2035 copies printed.

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It is, as the ad suggests, a bit of a "loose ends" book.  The cover is by Virgil Finlay, taken from the illustration for "The Shunned House" in the October 1937 issue of Weird Tales.  It features the first appearance of the story "The Transition of Juan Romero", as well as some fragments that had only been published in fanzines or amateur magazines previously.  It also has a number of essays by or about Lovecraft, marking in many ways the beginning of  scholarship about Lovecraft.  My copy is price clipped but I still got a crazy good deal on the book:

Marginalia_fdj.jpg

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Edited by OtherEric

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Nice!  Have you read it yet?  I'm actually in the middle of reading Marginalia right now, and I have to say it's slow going.  It's aptly named and therefore I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but somehow I was expecting more.  lol   There is a LOT of material in this collection, but it consists of the leftovers that didn't fit in the first two collections.  Still, it is a good sampling of Lovecraft's revision and ghost-writing work, essays, juvenilia, and story fragments.  I haven't yet read the tributes and appreciations by friends and followers, and I hope those will be good.

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14 minutes ago, RedFury said:

Nice!  Have you read it yet?  I'm actually in the middle of reading Marginalia right now, and I have to say it's slow going.  It's aptly named and therefore I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but somehow I was expecting more.  lol   There is a LOT of material in this collection, but it consists of the leftovers that didn't fit in the first two collections.  Still, it is a good sampling of Lovecraft's revision and ghost-writing work, essays, juvenilia, and story fragments.  I haven't yet read the tributes and appreciations by friends and followers, and I hope those will be good.

I'm actually reading it right now; but just little bits mixed in with other stuff, like some Woolrich stories in ARGOSY and the Taschen EC history.  I'm trying to go through it cover-to-cover; but I've read the first four stories before so maybe I should just jump ahead to the essays.  Medusa's Coil is of at least slight interest because even in 1944 Derleth found the ending too racist and edited it.

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9 minutes ago, OtherEric said:

I'm actually reading it right now; but just little bits mixed in with other stuff, like some Woolrich stories in ARGOSY and the Taschen EC history.  I'm trying to go through it cover-to-cover; but I've read the first four stories before so maybe I should just jump ahead to the essays.  Medusa's Coil is of at least slight interest because even in 1944 Derleth found the ending too racist and edited it.

The first two essays about writing fiction I found interesting.  The Dunsany one smacked too much of adoration to me, but was still informative.  The others were of little interest to me and I just skimmed them. lol

I've seen that edit to the ending of "Medusa's Coil" attributed to Derleth elsewhere, but I don't think it's true.  I think he was either unaware of it or simply maintained it.  The edit appears when Weird Tales first published the story in Jan 1939, so I think it was probably Farnsworth Wright who made the change.

Mx2rEEWl.jpg

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