Sunday, February 26, 2012

N is for Newsletter

One of the more difficult to obtain Edward Gorey collectibles is N is for Newsletter, a privately published newsletter "about alphabet books and alphabet memorabilia for collectors and dealers". Published in New York from June 1993 through December 1993 (the final issue was not sent out until April 1994), this short lived newsletter contains three original alphabets by Edward Gorey, two of which have not been published anywhere else. The first issue has an interview with Mr. Gorey by co-publisher Gretchen Adkins on the front page. Including the interview, Mr. Gorey appears in four of the six issues. The newsletter has advertising from several well known book dealers, but was not widely circulated.

When contacted by Ms. Adkins, Mr. Gorey was gracious and generous, offering two previously unpublished (and unillustrated) alphabets for publication: The Yellow Thingummy(in issue #4), The Uncaught Window: A scrambled alphabet in a single sentence (in issue #5). A third, previously published alphabet, The Arsenical Bun appears in issue #6, which is the final issue of the newletter. Illustrating this alphabet are three tiny skeletons by Mr. Gorey.

The Arsenical Bun was first published in Murder Ink: Revived, Revised, Still Unrepentant Perpetrated by Dylis Winn (1984 Workman Publishing, 2nd paperback edition), but does not appear in the 1977 first hardcover edition. This alphabet also was performed/sung as the closing number of Tinned Lettuce: or, The New Musical in April 1985 at NYU. It was not included in the program when the show was revived as Amphigorey in 1992/1994.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Edward Gorey!

Edward Gorey was born on February 22, 1925. Celebrate his birthday by pulling out your favorite Gorey volume and reading it aloud while enjoying a Gin & Tonic (a favorite drink of Mr. Gorey). I know Mr. Gorey does not like the Birthday Crown, but I am making him wear it again this year!
If you are in the San Francisco area, you can celebrate the day by attending a free Edward Gorey birthday event at the Cartoon Art Museum this evening. For event details, go to

Monday, February 20, 2012

2012 Gorey Exhibitions

Columbia University is mounting a new Edward Gorey exhibition entitled Gorey Preserved. Drawing from the extensive archive donated in 2010 by Andrew Alpern, the exhibition will open in the University's Rare Book and Manuscript Library on March 5th and runs through July 27th. An opening reception will be held on Wednesday March 7th at 6m in the Butler Library. The opening will feature a panel discussion including Mr. Alpern, Andreas Brown and Karen Wilkin.

The Butler Library is located in New York City at 535 West 114th Street. For more information on the exhibition, go to -

This is the second major exhibition of Edward Gorey material to be mounted by a university in as many years. Following last year's extensive Looking For Edward Gorey at the University of Hawaii Art Gallery, Gorey Preserved should be more accessible to fans of Mr. Gorey's works. With the Edward Gorey House opening its 2012 season on April 15th, and the Elegant Enigmas show touching down from June 8th through September 2 at the Norton Museum in Palm Beach, Florida, it looks like the East Coast is the place to go to this spring/summer to get your Gorey fix.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cautionary Tales

Edward Gorey left many unfinished projects at the time of his death in April 2000. There were stories and snippets of poetry he had written but had not had yet illustrated, works with the illustrations partially completed, and unfinished drawings. Some of these projects had been abandoned years earlier when he ran out of interest while working on them.

Once such project was Cautionary Tales for Children by Hilaire Belloc (French/British 1896 - 1953). Originally published in 1907, the first printing includes eleven tales. Mr. Gorey completed illustrations for seven of the tales before letting the project languish. After his death, the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust decided to publish the completed portions of the work, omitting the unfinished sections. Since the tales are short stories, it was easy to put together a complete book of tales. Almost all the writing in the book is typeset rather than hand lettered.
Cautionary Tales for Children was published in 2004 by Harcourt, Inc. as a hardcover with an illustrated dust wrapper. The trade edition contains six of the original eleven tales. In addition to the trade edition, a limited edition of 100 numbered and 26 lettered copies was produced. The limited edition is slipcased and comes with a portfolio which houses an unbound seventh tale, titled Lord Lundy: Who was too Freely Moved to Tears, and thereby ruined his Political Career. The colophon page is included in the portfolio, and the books are numbered/lettered in ink on the front free flyleaf. I am showing copy #100/100, and lettered copy Z (of 26 A to Z).