Collecting Journals: Volume XIII, 1910-1919
In Volume XIII of her collecting journals, Lillian continues her careful tracking of first editions while enhancing her entries with stories, amusing observations, and historical background. Her entry for The “Goldfish,” for instance, records a neat story about discovering the author: “Written by Arthur Train. The author a mystery until after the fifth printing. The book was an immense success. Everyone was guessing who wrote it. I charged him with it—a pure guess; and he said, ‘I knew you and Bob would know, but don’t tell.’ I asked why he didn’t acknowledge it. He answered, ‘I wished my name on the fifth edition, but my publishers refused.’” In Volume XVII, Lillian mentions a letter in which Train indicates that her husband Bob was a model for one of his protagonists in a later novel.
A moment of pure silliness appears in Lillian’s comment on James Branch Cabell’s The Rivit in Grandfather’s Neck: “The first three printings are without the apostrophe in ‘Grandfather’s’ on the spine. Gracious Grandfather is in a bad way—a rivit in his neck, and no apostrophe on his spine!! How glad he must be to be resting in our library.” Lighthearted remarks such as these are balanced by interesting historical insights that Lillian includes in her many of her entries. For example, in her notes on Susan Lennox, by David Graham Phillips, Lillian writes, “The Anti-Vice Society stepped in, forcing cuts that shortened the book by 50 pages. […] Some day I am going to read, and see what the Anti-Vice So. had removed. I am sure it will be mild to some of the present day books (1940).” This comment is doubly interesting, both for the information about the Anti-Vice Society and for Lillian’s judgments of past and contemporary literature.