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Welcome to First Impressions - the Official

Newsletter of B & B Rare Books, Ltd.


(646) 652-6766

First Impressions will alert you to new B & B Rare Books catalogues, upcoming fairs, special sales, and book collecting news.

What's New  ~ July 2014

 Special Catalogue!10 Books by Virginia Woolf from the Library of Vanessa Bell

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) was extremely close with her only sister, Vanessa Bell, throughout her life. Denied the formal education enjoyed by their brothers, the two sisters stayed at home, Vanessa painting and Virginia reading aloud. Vanessa was Virginia’s confidante, artistic collaborator and dust jacket designer, and caretaker.

After Virginia took her own life in 1941, the Hogarth Press continued to publish her work. Edited by her husband Leonard and designed by Vanessa, Virginia’s posthumously published writings are an extremely important and special part of her body of work. As Virginia was not alive to present them (with the exception of The Waves), and with Leonard’s copies mostly held by institutions, these books represent the closest possible association for this material.


Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), then by descent to her daughter Angelica Garnett (1918-2012), thence to her two surviving daughters, Henrietta Couper and Frances Partridge.

After specializing in Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group for over 10 years, we are very excited and proud to present this catalogue.

For PDF, click here.

To request a copy in the mail, please email or call:, (646) 652-6766.


Virginia Woolf – Between the Acts (Vanessa Bell’s copy)

With ownership initials “V.B.” to front free endpaper.

First edition, first printing. One of 6,358 copies, 1941.


Virginia Woolf – A Haunted House and Other Short Stories (Vanessa Bell’s copy)

With ownership signature "Vanessa Bell" to front free endpaper, pencil correction to page 90; laid in is a photocopy of a broadside featuring Woolf's text from "The Mark on the Wall" with woodblocks by Bell.

First edition, first printing. One of 6,000 copies, 1943.


Virginia Woolf – The Moment and Other Essays (Angelica Garnett’s copy)

Personal copy of author's niece, Angelica Garnett, inscribed by Bell: "Angelica / from VB" to the front free endpaper, in dust jacket designed by Bell.

First edition, first printing. One of 10,000 copies, 1947.

Virginia Woolf & Lytton Strachey – Letters (Vanessa Bell’s copy)

With ownership inscription "Vanessa Bell / 1956" to front free endpaper, with front panel of dust jacket designed by Bell adhered to the front pastedown.

First edition. One of 4,000 copies, 1956.


Virginia Woolf – Hours in a Library (Vanessa Bell’s copy)

Inscribed from Leonard Woolf, author’s husband, to Vanessa Bell, author’s sister.

Limited edition, 1/1800 copies, in original glassine, 1957.

New Arrivals

Victor Alfieri - Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Victor Alfieri; Written by Himself

First English translation, two volumes in contemporary ¾ calf, 1810.

Translated from the Italian, this autobiography reads like a scientific self-examination.


Honoré de Balzac – Les lys dans la vallée

First edition thus, 1/3,000 copies on laid paper, with 10 color plates by Jean-Maurice Curutchet, 1945.

The Lilies of the Valley is a poetic novel set in early 19th century France.


Lord Byron – The Works of Lord Byron

Finely bound in contemporary calf, six volumes, 1825.

Early set of Byron’s works, published only a year after his death.


Jean Cocteau –Le mystère laïc

First printing, finely bound in ¼ morocco, with 5 plates after lithographs by Giorgio de Chirico, 1928.

The Secular Mystery is an “indirect criticism” of the art of Picasso & Chirico.


George Eliot – Felix Holt the Radical

First edition in Carter’s A binding with half-titles, three volumes, 1866.

A novel examining the social changes that occurred in the English countryside as a result of the Frist Reform Act of 1832.


Ernest Hemingway – Men Without Women

First printing in first issue dust jacket, a very bright copy, 1927.

His 2nd collection of short stories, influenced by his travels throughout Europe in the 1920s.

James Joyce – Exiles

First edition, first printing, 1918.

Joyce's only published play was drawn from his short story "The Dead" from his collection Dubliners (1914).


Ayn Rand – For the New Intellectual: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

First printing, signed by Rand, 1961.

A collection of speeches, espousing her philosophy of Objectivism.


Theodore Roosevelt – Typed Letter Signed

One page on White House letterhead, signed by Roosevelt in black ink, 1906.

Roosevelt requests "proper official courtesy" for Francis Clark of the United Society of Christian Endeavor during his visit to South America, evidence of Roosevelt's commitment to developing diplomatic relationships with Central and South American countries.



Evangeline Booth – Woman

First edition. Signed by the author, in decorative blue paper boards with Salvation Army logo, 1930.

Booth was first female commander-in-chief of the Salvation Army. In this essay, she addresses the independence of Western women in the public sphere.


Book Collecting News

The Bold Dust Jacket Art of Paul Bacon

Paul Bacon (1923- ) is a prolific American graphic artist who the American Institute for Graphic Art (AIGA) hailed as having “invented the bestseller book jacket, as we know it.”  Bacon began his design career by creating covers for jazz albums in the 1940s, but he is best known for his “Big Book Look” of the 1950s-1960s, which employed large prominent hand-lettered text accompanied by a small, conceptual design. This created a polished look that made a book stand out on the shelves. Bacon’s strikingly simple designs for Meyer Levin’s Compulsion (1957)and Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 (1961) are prime examples of this aesthetic. These iconic designs are described by AIGA as “bold, resolutely commercial, and genre-defining.” Other notable dust jackets include Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962), Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint (1967),and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter-House Five (1969). In total, Bacon has designed jackets for over 5,000 books and covers for over 200 record LPs.


Dust jackets designed by Paul Bacon:

Chrichton, Michael. The Andromeda Strain. (1969)

Dickey, James. Deliverance. (1970)
Doctorow, E.L. The Waterworks. (1994) [illustration not design]
Heller, Joseph. Catch-22. (1961).

Heller, Joseph. We Bombed in New Haven. (1968).
Kerouac, Jack. Visions of Cody. (1972).
Mailer, Norman. Armies of Night. (1968).

McMurtry, Moving On. (1970).
Styron, William. The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967).
Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughter-House Five (1967).


~Sunday & Josh

B & B Rare Books, Ltd.

(646) 652-6766

Members: ABAA, ILAB & PBFA (UK) 


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