david a. yount
davidyount at capecod.net
Thu Jul 11 11:46:03 EDT 2002
on 7/10/02 12:38 AM, david medsker at dsmedsker at hotmail.com wrote:
>> TO ALL MODLIBBERS
>> 1 Tell us who you are and a brief bio.
>> WHO; david medsker, husband, father of seven, detailer of cars, latter day
>> saint, president of the john brown elementary PTO.
>> 2 Tell us your general collecting interests
>> COLLECTS; not much of a collector, i've always felt the burden of
>> stewardship and try to live light. love my antique german grandfather
>> clock, though.
>> 3 What is your specific interest in ML.
>> ML; I'm super fond of great literature, and don't have the bucks for the
>> Easton Press offerings. Old leatherettes have more history and are more
>> collectible in my opinion, anyway.
>> 4 Tell us what spurred you into collecting this facet of ML and what
>> goals you are aspiring to for your collection.
>> WHY; well, a complete collection would be terrific, especially since
>> completeness might never be a finite thing. look at all the discoveries
>> posted on this bbs, for instance. it might never be possible to be done,
>> and isn't that fascinating? What if there turned out to be a small, private
>> run of alice in wonderland leatherettes? or if i ran into a great gatsby in
>> a neighbor's garage sale?
>> 5 What one ML book best represents your collection
> Henry's book, of course! (I would emote, but I am punctuationally
> challenged, so picture a winking smile here somewhere!)
> Thanks for the motivation, Jack!
> Send and receive Hotmail on your mobile device: http://mobile.msn.com
Other modlibbers, I will respond to your request because I feel a little
guilty sitting here reading/ listening into your conversations and concerns
without taking any responsibility at all, and because there is something
bothering me about our access to information about our collections.
First, I am David Adams Yount, a retired college professor living now on
Cape Cod, but having spent my academic years at Mercersburg Academy, The
Bolles School, and Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, N.C., four year,
liberal arts, Presbyterian Church related. I taught History and Bible at the
college for 18 years. Am happy to be on Cape Cod for lots of reasons.
I collect modern first editions, am at a point where I would like to sell
some of my collection. I have moved from interest to interest and need to
divest myself of some books.
I inherited a collection of Modern Library books, probably 75, from Lettie
(Hamlett) Rogers, author of "Birthright", "South of Heaven" and several
other novels in the Forties and Fifties, who used her royalties to buy as
many Modern Library titles as she could, most often" used" at 60 cents a
copy, took the djs off, and displayed those beautifully colored tomes on a
central bookshelf in her home in Greensboro, NC, where she taught at UNC,
and at her parent's home in Morganton, NC, where I saw them in all their
glory. She died in 1963 at age 39 of brain tumor. She was a free spirit,
iconoclastic of mind and in her writing, and I am sorry I did not have that
rich mind and delightful personality but for so short a time. I did inherit
throgh my wife's family, the Spainhours, these books.
She wanted them for their rich literary veins, not just their beautiful
boards, and they influenced greatly her writing. I enjoy them for the same
reasons though I have written nothing. I am sitting here, having plucked
"The Way Of All Flesh" by Butler from the stacks, with a B & L leatherette
cover, #13, with the nude men wrestling the large M and L letters into place
on the endpapers, feeling humbled by great literature and grateful that her
contagion is operative in my life. I love books, holding them, smelling
them, having them, repairing and refurbishing them, recasing and rebinding
them even though I have just begun this new interest.
Modern Library collectors are fortunate that we can still find at modest
prices copies like this one at estate sales, library sales, even garage
What we don't have--or what I don't have--is an adequate text providing me
understandable ways of appreciating and noting what I do have, and would
like to accumulate in the future. The Toledano book is like an impregnable
ancient fortress--I can't find any way to approach it. As a college
professor, if I had given that to students as a text, I would never have
blamed a single one for failure to grasp it. It defies me though I read
around the edges and I am still trying. One critic called it "obtuse" and
unreliable for pricing since the author is in the business of selling Modern
Library copies in a large way. The critic hinted that a clear and fairer
guide might be in the works with publication in two years.
I will continue to collect Modern Library but only the early or notable
books because they contain that literary substance I referred to earlier and
evoke that wonderful feeling I referred to earlier, common to book
I appreciate being included on the List and look forward to your
communiques. David Adams Yount
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