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The Graphs of Wrath by John Steinbeck, First Edition, Unique Binding by Jamie Kamph



The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

First Edition, First Printing

Published by The Viking Press, New York in 1939

Unique Onlaid Leather Binding by Jamie Kamph

Exceptional Condition

Binding Details:  Jamie Kamph has created a stunning unique binding for The Grapes of Wrath which is bound in full crimson Harmatan goatskin leather with elaborate onlaid leather and gold tooled images that capture the underlying themes of Steinbeck’s masterpiece. There are Spanish marbled endpapers and handsewn silk headbands. The book is housed in a custom made woven fabric solander box lined in Roma paper with a cluster of green leather grapes on the front cover and a gold tooled leather title label.  Jamie Kamph’s Stonehouse Bindery gold gilted stamp appears on the bottom edge of the inside back cover.

In her artist statement, Jamie Kamph commenting on her design concept for The Grapes of Wrath wrote, “The upside-down flag motif suggests an America that is misfunctioning. The various objects depicted against the flag are part of the search for a better way of life. Flat tire, coffee pot, fry-pan meals, talk of Communism sustained the migrant population from orchard to field as they sought a sustainable life, the sunset in the Western Hills.”

The book measures approximately 8.25” x 5.5” x 1.5” with 619 pages. Both the book and the clamshell box are in FINE condition.

Included with the book is a signed artist statement by Jaime Kamph that contains information about the book and binding

Book Details:  This is the true First Edition, First Impression (Printing) of John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” published by the Viking Press in 1939 that contains the first edition point of "First Published in April 1939" on the copyright page. Considered to be one of the great novels of the twentieth century, it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 and was cited as one of the main reasons for Steinbeck receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

Robert McCrum in his article in The Guardian on it being one of the 100 greatest novels of the twentieth century wrote, “This is the “American book” Steinbeck always longed to write, a realist tour de force which exemplifies the quite primitive instincts that originally governed the Anglo-American novel, a cry of rage – mixing blue-collar bitterness, prairie folk wisdom and regular left-wing politics – from a best-selling writer inspired to pick up his pen by a deep sense of social injustice, in this case the dreadful conditions of immigrant farmhands in the American south-west. Steinbeck’s exposé of the social and economic horrors of farming life in the American dust bowl was a campaigning document by a writer with a conscience who had, as it happened, been born on a farm. The starkness of his narrative, and his sense of injustice, echoed the haunting photos of Dorothea Lange. Like her, he was not afraid to devote his art to the scandal of the Okies (Oklahoma migrants) who trekked to the fruit fields of the Golden State (California) in search of a better life, and suffered horribly in their search for a promised land … The Grapes of Wrath features on many “100 best” lists, including TIME, the Modern Library, Le Monde, and the BBC’s Big Read of 2003. Informal estimates suggest that it has sold about 15 million copies in the 75 years since its publication. There’s an American classic for you.”

About the Artist:  Jamie Kamph is an author, educator, book conservator, and artist widely recognized as one of most knowledgeable and accomplished bookbinders in the world. She began her career working with Hope G. Weil before opening her own studio, The Stonehouse Bindery, in 1973. Her writings on bookbinding have been widely published in magazines and she is the author of “A Collectors Guide to Bookbinding, published by in 1982 by the Bird and Bull Press and “Tricks of the Trade: Confessions of a Bookbinder”, published by the Oak Knoll Press in 2015. Her design bindings are housed in private collections and institutions worldwide including Princeton University, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Pierpont Morgan Library, the New York Public Library, and the Bridwell Library at the University of Texas. Many of her other bindings have been widely exhibited in such places as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Grolier Club, Yale University, and the Aspen Art Institute. In 2003, she was awarded the Helen Ward DeGolyer Award for American Bookbinding. 

Condition Report:  Both the book and the clamshell box are in FINE condition. Internally, the book is in exceptional condition with no flaws.

Photographs of the binding, clamshell box, and Jamie Kamph’s artist statement appear in the photo section of the listing.