The Headless Bust, a Melancholy Meditation on the False Millennium by Edward Gorey was published in 1999 by Hardcourt Brace, New York. This title was published as a hardcover with illustrated boards and a matching dust wrapper. The Headless Bust was Mr. Gorey's final "A" collection book published during his lifetime.
The Headless Bust is a sequel to Mr. Gorey's 1997 publication, The Haunted Tea Cozy. The main characters once again are the Bahhumbug and Edmund Gravel. In this outing, the Whatsit - a flying bug-like creature - takes them on journeys near and far to witness "shame and disgrace".
In addition to the standard printing, The Headless Bust was published as a slipcased, limited edition volume with 750 numbered and 26 lettered (A to Z) copies. Each of the limited edition books is hand signed by Edward Gorey. I am showing copies #95/750 and #M/26. I also have an Uncorrected Proof of this title, which was issued by Hardcourt in grey wrappers (see photo at the top of the post). The printing quality on the proof is significantly less well executed than in the final books.
Each limited edition copy of The Headless Bust was issued with a custom made beanbag Bahhumbug doll. These delightful dolls are stuffed with poly beads (no worries about bugs or critters eating a rice filling), have six arms/legs, are printed front and back, and can be posed in many positions. The photo to the left shows one of my dolls sitting on a high book shelf.
While each of the 776 limited edition books was issued with a doll, there was a small number of extras created - I believe there were about 25 or so single dolls produced, which would make sense if the total order for dolls was 800. The extra dolls were sold individually by Gotham Book Mart. It is also interesting to note that some Bahhumbug dolls were printed looking right, while others were reversed and look to the left. Whether this was intentional, or a mistake on the part of the manufacturer, I do not know.