Rombauer.   Irma Starkloff     Rare 1936 1st Trade' edition, with Irma's signature.
The Joy of Cooking
By IRMA S. ROMBAUER. A Compilation of Reliable Recipes with a Casual Culinary Chat - Illustrations. Marion Rombauer Becker. THE BOBS-MERRILL COMPANY. Publishers. INDIANAPOLIS NEW YORK.
FIRST TRADE EDITION -- 1ST ISSUE. 1936. 240 x 170mm. 1fep. Title page. [1] 1p Dedication to Rombauer's friend and secretary Mary Josephine White. Verso 1p Forward. 4p Contents. Half title. [1] 1-628. 2fep. Original blue and cream/light brown multi lined checked cloth boards with black square on the front cover with the book title. Original spine very nicely relaid on blue leather with original book title laid down. Covers very slight fading and browning. Internally very slight age browning, as expected. Overall a very nice solid copy of the very scarce 1936 edition, first issue. NB: Some bibliographers state the first edition - first issue comes only in a yellow checked cover. This is not true. This copy in blue checked cover is the second one seen as well as one with a yellow cover, both true 1st editions, 1st issues with no further issued printing information. ITEM # 2. ENCLOSED: 290 x 195mm 1 sheet (2 pages) from the guest book kept by Rose Oller Harbaugh. She was the long-time popular manager of the book department of the large department store 'Marshall Fields' in Chicago. She often sponsored book signings and other literary events, keeping a guest book of visiting authors. This is one such page from the guest book, dated June to October 1945, featuring some of that year's best-selling authors, including Irma S. Rombauer. Her signed Autograph note states: "With many thanks to a fine woman/Mrs. Harbaugh. Fondly/Irma S. Rombauer".
- This edition is generally known as the 'First Trade Edition’ of 1936. Irma Rombauer, recently widowed, (her husband committed suicide) sunk half of her inheritance of $6000.oo into a self-published run of 3000 copies of the 1931 ‘family edition’ of the Joy of Cooking and gave them out to family, friends and acquaintances. Published by A.C. Clayton of St Louis (a company which had never published a book before but printed labels for fancy St Louis shoe companies and for Listerine). Eventually all 3000 copies were given away or sold. Encouraged by the response, Irma Rombauer, on May 1st, 1936, published the first ‘trade edition’ of the Joy of Cooking with Bobbs-Merrill Company - Indianapolis and New York. The larger 1936 edition contained 628 pages and copies published were: 1st printing - 10,000 of which a respectable 6,838 copies sold in the first 6 months. 2nd printing of 1938 – 10,000. 3rd printing of 1939 – 10,000. 4th printing of 1940 – 10,000. 5th printing of 1941 – 10,000. 6th printing of 1941 – 10,000. Between 1936 and the end of 1942 -- 52,151 copies of the first trade edition were sold. The 2nd edition of June 7th 1943 had an increased 884 pages and 167,261 copies were sold. The first trade edition pioneered a new recipe format: first a chronological listing of ingredients and then instruction for preparation, what we now know as 'action format'. Unfortunately, Irma signed a contract which assigned the copyright of both the 1931 and 1936 editions to Bobbs-Merrill, a situation that would in the years to come, badly strain both parties. Anne Mendelson author of 'Stand Facing the Stove' informs; The editions that mark genuine stages of the book's developement are eight in number: the original privately published 'Joy of Cooking' [1931], this Bobbs-Merrill edition [1936] the best-selling wartime edition [1943], the first postwar edition [1946], (actually printed from the 1943 plates with a very few changes), the first Rombauer-Becker edition [1951], the unauthorised edition [1962], the first authorised edition prepared by Irma's daughter, Marion (Rombauer) Becker [1963], and Marion's last revision [1975]. ITEM # 2. ENCLOSED: Including Rombauer's, there are in all 8 signatures. 2 unidentified signers on the front and verso of the one page. The other authors who expressed very nice sentiments to Rose Harbaugh are: A. Whitney (1903-2008) wrote over 76 books. more than 50 million copies in print in paperback alone. Ruth Hunter, a supporting actress in Broadway plays, portrayed Ellie Mae in the stage premier of Tobacco Road (1933). In 1945 she published a memoir, 'Come Back on Tuesday'. Russel A. Byrd a long haul bus driver for Greyhound, wrote about his experiences in 'Russ's Bus: Adventures of an American Bus Driver'. While this was a humorous book, Byrd also wrote about highway safety in 'Highway Killers and Driving to Live'. He was a leader of the National Drivers Association for the Prevention of Traffic Accidents. Aleksander Janta (1908-1974) was a Polish poet who published his first verses at age 20. He escaped from a German POW camp. After World War II, he emigrated to the US as a journalist, author, and cultural force in the Polish-American community. Harry J. Owen published a modern version of the ancient fable in 1945, 'The Scandalous Adventures of Reynard J. Fox', a story first published in Middle English by William Caxton, England's first printer. This is a very scarce copy of the 1st trade edition, made rare with the inclusion of the very unusually formatted page with rare signature of Irma Rombauer.

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Modern category
ref number: 10937