We just acquired a new set of books with an interesting provenance. These are the first Italian editions of Winston Churchill’s A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, titled Storia in Italian. The set is signed in Volume II by Churchill. The books were owned by Emery Reves, the literary agent and close friend to Churchill. Reves contributed greatly to the success of the work in a wider, international audience.
Emery Reves (1904-1981) established an independent press service called the Cooperation Press Service and Publishing Company, known for its strong anti-Nazi stance. In 1937, Reves became Winston Churchill’s literary agent, using his press company to place Churchill’s articles on current world events in major newspapers across Europe. What began as a profitable business partnership between the two grew over time into an enduring and close friendship.Recognizing an opportunity for international success, Reves purchased the rights to publish Churchill's war memoirs and his four-volume History of the English-Speaking Peoples outside Britain. Reves used his intimate knowledge of foreign markets to help adapt Churchill’s work for wider audiences, which made Churchill one of the highest-paid authors of nonfiction in the 20th century. Churchill wrote of how “[Reves] has had lengthy telephonings with French, German, Italian and Scandinavian publishers, showing what they want for their edition.” Thus, this Italian edition set is a direct result of Reves’ hard work, and makes an impressive collector’s item to say the least.
The Beautiful and the Damned, published in 1922 by F. Scott Fitzgerald, presents the reader with a fictionalized telling of the perpetually problematic relationship between Zelda and Frances Scott Key Fitzgerald. The novel is not only a landmark in the career of F. Scott Fitzgerald, but a glimpse into past high-societies wrapped up in a rebound cover of blue leather and hand-worked gilding.