James Branch Cabell : An Illustrated Bibliography


Hall Code
Clothbound Edition 1920


bindinghalf titlerectoverso














Full Title:

Title page recto: The Judging of Jurgen | By | James Branch Cabell | [device of the dolphin and anchor emblem of Aldus Manutius] | CHICAGO | THE BOOKFELLOWS | 1920 (see image above).

Title page verso: The Judging of Jurgen, by James Branch Cabell, BOOKFELLOW | No. 513, is reprinted by permission from the NEW YORK | TRIBUNE. Acknowledgement is also made to Vincent Starrett, | BOOKFELLOW No. 8. | [in italic] This is the Bookly Joy for October, 1920 (see image above).


Chicago: The Bookfellows, October 1920.


Thin demy octavo, [21.5 cm. (8 ½ in.) x 14.5 cm. (5 ¾ in.)]; 16 pp.; (1) half title (verso blank); (iii) title page; (iv) publication data; (v) sonnet by Vincent Starrett (verso blank); 4 line author's note by James Branch Cabell, reproduced in his hand and dated 29 May 1920 (verso blank); text 9-13; (14) reprint of the dedication of Jurgen in acrostic verse, preceded by a 3 line introduction; last leaf blank.


Quarter bound. Brown cloth spine with figured brown paper boards. Spine blank, white paper label on front cover. All untrimmed. Front cover: The Judging of Jurgen | By James Branch Cabell (see image above).

It seems odd that Hall labeled this state as "clothbound," when his description makes it clear that it is in fact quarter bound in paper boards with a cloth spine. We have, however, followed his lead in using that label.

Sonnet by Vincent Starrett: In Gratitude

JBC: In Gratitude - In place of the usual dedication, there is a sonnet by Vincent Starrett, thanking Mr. Cabell for his creation of Jurgen (see image above).

Author's Note:

In a facsimile of Mr. Cabell's hand:

In this, as in every other fable | I have written about Jurgen, I have | endeavored to write that wherein | each man will find what his nature | enables him to see. | James Branch Cabell | 29 May 1920

In this copy, Mr. Cabell added both an autograph superscript ("To Vincent Starrett:") and subscript (the last three lines) to his printed note (see image above).



Followed by the dedicatory verse from Jurgen, a 12-line acrostic poem in three stanzas, the initial letters reading "BURT ONRA SCOE" (see image above).

Dust jacket:

Not seen.


The first of Mr. Cabell's previous bibliographers to mention this issue was Matthew Bruccioli, in his James Branch Cabell: A Bibliography, Part II: Notes on the Cabell Collections at the University of Virginia (Hall F5, 1957). On page 70 he described the copy in the C. Waller Barrett Collection as bound in buff boards with brown cloth spine.

Guy Holt (F2, 1924), I. R. Brussel (F3, 1932), and Frances Brewer (F4, 1957) all discussed the large paper copies but did not mention small paper copies bound in boards. Merle Johnson (Hall F1, 1921) described a copy quarter bound with a brown cloth spine and brown paper boards, but his dimensions make it clear that he was talking about a large paper copy. To date, however, all of the large paper copies we have examined have had red cloth spines.

Based on his examination of the Barrett copy, Hall added this binding as a third state of the first printing. As supporting evidence, he quotes a letter from Flora Warren Seymour to Ben Abrams, dated 5 August 1927, where she wrote I bound 3 or 4 of the small paper copies for special friends. Hall did, however, raise a concern about the validity of the Barrett copy, asking if it might be a rebinding. The present writer has examined both the copy shown here and the two copies of the large paper issue (JoJ-A1a) in the James Branch Cabell Library at VCU, and feels certain that all three were hand bound by the same binder.

As additional information, we have here presented scans of the inscribed half-title and Vincent Starrett's bookplate. We don't usually reproduce inscriptions, but in this case we feel these additional details add special value (and interest). This was Vincent Starrett's copy: he was a personal friend of Mrs. Seymour, as well as a fellow Chicagoan and Bookfellow No. 8, and he also wrote the prefatory verse to Mr. Cabell. He certainly qualifies as the sort of "special friend" to whom Mrs. Seymour would have presented one of her specially bound copies. Mr. Cabell also inscribed this copy to him on the half title

Taking all of this into account, we feel that the emergence of this second small paper copy in boards is convincing evidence that Hall was correct in accepting this binding state as genuine.