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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

William Godrich

Recently seen on ebay:

GODRICH, W. J. [William John, 1926-2000]. TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL: AN INDEX, by A.E.R.M. Stevens and W.J. Godrich (unpublished), plus a substantial archive of correspondence concerning the collecting of Weird and Supernatural Fiction, plus miscellaneous notes, dealers catalogues, etc., etc.

William “John” Godrich lived in Swansea, Wales. He was a collector of rare books and records, specializing in weird and supernatural fiction, illustrated books, and American blues recordings. H was co-author (with Robert M.W. Dixon) of BLUES AND GOSPEL RECORDS (1964), still in print and considered the ‘bible’ of collecting early blues recordings, as well as RECORDING THE BLUES, (1970), also with Dixon. He spent many years working on a bibliography of Supernatural fiction, based on his own collection and that of his friends and correspondents. Initially, this was co-authored with Anthony Stevens; later he worked with Richard Dalby. The bibliography, tentatively titled TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL: AN INDEX, was never published. Godrich died in 2000. His book collection was sold off before his death and has long ago been dispersed. Anthony Stevens’s collection went to Sothebys in 1996 ( Sale LN6731, 17 December 1996, Lots 372-641, “The A.E.R.M. Stevens Collection Of Detective Fiction, Ghost Stories, Gothic Novels, Science Fiction And Fantasy And Victorian Fiction”).

We offer here Godrich’s original unpublished typescript for the bibliography, plus his notes and subsequent drafts, plus his correspondence with other collectors and dealers over a multi-year period concerning the identification and acquisition of books of supernatural fiction, including a substantial archive of letters with important bibliographical information. Over 200 pages of original typescript and letters are included, forming an in-depth look at researching, collecting and cataloguing supernatural fiction in these formative years.

TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL: AN INDEX. (Preliminary checklist. 2nd draft. March 1975) by A.E.R.M Stevens and W.J. Godrich. 23 pp., carbon-copy typescript on rectos only, with numerous manuscript additions and notes. “Items owned or inspected by us are designated by either one or two asterisk following book titles. Complete details of other listed titles urgently needed….” Thanks are given to Richard Dalby, Bob Yates, John Melville and George Locke. Approx 1200 titles are listed. Unbound.

TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL (Third draft) April 1976 (by John Godrich and Richard Dalby). Unfinished. 4 pages, original typescript on rectos only, carbon copies included.Covers authors from A.P. Barker - E.F. Benson. A more proper bibliography, with author, title, publisher, date and a plot synopsis. Also included are three pages on Herbert Russell Wakefield: A biography (photocopy of typescript) and 2 pages of bibliography (original typescript, carbons included). Also included is one extra sheet of stories from the pulps, random, with plot outlines; plus short checklists of magazine appearances of stories by Philip Jose Farmer, Otis Adelbert Kline, Laurence Manning, C.L. Moore, Eric Frank Russell, Jack Vance, Roger Zelazny, Leigh Brackett, George Allen England, Ray Cumings, J. Rousseau, C.B. Stilson, Tod Robbins, Frances Stevens, Philip M. Fisher, Perley Sheehan, W.C. Morrow, Ralph Milne Farley, Jack Mann (E. Charles Vivian), John Taine, E. Hoffman Price and others.

Biographies of Algernon Blackwood, Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune and Edith Nesbit, 2 leaves, typescript, first leaf printed on recto and verso, 2nd leaf printed on recto only. Penned by Godrich, these are amateur but original biographical sketches, with some first hand knowledge, i.e.: …”Frieda Harris, who thought Crowley the most wonderful man she had ever met and after his death wore his huge jade ring, once told me that he felt an overwhelming pity for women thus afflicted (with alcoholism)” .

18 pages of typescript (9 pages printed on rectos and versos) by Godrich, reprinting stories from the pulps: THE MALIGNANT INVADER by Frank Belknap Long (Weird Tales Jan 1932); THOSE WHO SEEK by August Derleth (Weird Tales Jan 1932); THE KELPIE by Manley Wade Wellman (Weird Tales July 1936); THE NECRONOMICON by Lin Carter (from The Shuttered Room, Arkham House, 1959); Extracts from THE BOOK OF THE DEAD: FARNSWORTH WRIGHT by E. Hoffmann Price (from W. Paul Cook’s “The Ghost”; reprinted in Anubis. No. 3. 1968); and THE SEALED CASKET by Richard Seawright (Weird Tales March 1935).


ANDREW STEVENS. To John Godrich. 8 Autograph Letters Signed, dated 12th January 1975 ­ 24th April 1977. 21 pages on 11 leaves. Mostly dealing with bibliographical matters, books traded or sold between them, etc.

RICHARD DALBY. To John Godrich. 67 Typed Letters Signed and 1 Autograph Letter Signed, total 68 letters 1972-1977: 5 dated 1972, 13 dated 1973 (one is 3-pages); 14 dated 1974; 17 dated 1975; 15 dated 1976; 3 dated 1977. All concern weird fiction: the contents of books (and proposed books) edited by Dalby, extensive lists of titles sold by Dalby to Godrich (and vice-versa); who has what books (Covent Garden Bookshop had Christopher Blayre’s THE CHEETAH-GIRL, one of 20 copies, at £12.50), prices charged by dealers, great finds (Dalby recounts purchasing Timlin’s THE SHIP THAT SAILED TO MARS for £2 in a country bookshop; mentions purchasing a 1st edition of William Hope Hodgson’s MEN OF THE DEEP WATERS, 1914, in d/w), book illustrators, much on collecting M.R. James, H.R. Wakefield, Mervyn Peake, Austin Osman Spare, etc, etc; and, later on, collaborating together on TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL. Also included is a one-page typescript of the Table of Contents for the proposed work THE SPECTRE SPIDER AND OTHER GHOST STORIES, edited by Dalby (never published as such).

JIM PITTS [ILLUSTRATOR]. To John Godrich. 1 Autograph Letter Signed and one Typed Letter Signed, both dated 1976. The ALS is on Pitts’ illustrated letterhead, with Cthulhu and other weird figures. Concerning the purchase of magazines and publications available.

HUGH LAMB. To John Godrich. 4 Typed Letters Signed & 1 Autograph Letter Signed, all dated 1976. Concerning Lamb’s anthologies, and suggestions for contributions to them (Godrich suggested the story “Finless Death” by R.E. Vernede, it was later included in Lamb’s anthology THE MAN-WOLF AND OTHER HORRORS (1978).

BRIAN STABLEFORD. To John Godrich. Undated. 1 short TLS, mentioning a letter in Science Fantasy No. 78 as well as admitting to the short story BEYOND TIME’S AEGIS by “Brian Craig” in that issue, written by him in collaboration with a school-friend named Craig. Signed simply “Brian”.

EDWARD P. BERGLUND. To John Godrich. 12 Typed Letters Signed. Dated 1972-1977. First 4 are on air mail paper, remainder on 8.5 x 11. Printed rectos only. Discusses Fanzines, supernatural tales, an HP Lovecraft bibliography titled BIBLIOTHECA: HPL and anthologies edited by Berglund, Robert Weinberg’s READER’S GUIDE TO THE CTHULHU MYTHOS (co-edited by Berglund), stories by Brian Lumley and Lin Carter, FROM BEYOND THE DARK GATEWAY (edited by Berglund); work on the proposed HYBORIAN AGE CHRONOLOGY, Cthulhu Mythos tales in the SUPERNATURAL STORIES paperbacks, his anthology DISCIPLES OF CTHULHU, etc, etc.

W. PAUL GANLEY. To John Godrich. 2 Typed Letters Signed. Dated 1975 & 1976. Concerning WEIRDBOOK, and offers for magazines and books.

WAGNER, Karl Edward. To John Godrich. 2 Typed Letters Signed, dated 1975 & 1976, on Carcosa Press letterhead. The first confirms an order for E. Hoffman Price’s FAR LANDS, OTHER DAYS, with some commentary (plus enclosed invoice); the second concerns the return of said book as being mis-bound, and notes the upcoming publication of MURGUNSTRUMM & OTHERS. Quite chatty.

Plus, BRIAN MOODY, 2 long letters; JOHN M. HARVEY, 5 letters, MARTIN STONE, 1 letter, WAYNE WARFIELD, 1 letter, NIGEL SMITH (BFS) 5 letters, EDDY C. BERTIN 2 letters, CHRISTOPHER LOWDER 2 letters (mentioning Dermot Chesson Spence’s LITTLE RED SHOES), VERNON LAY 2 letters, DAVE FLETCHER 2 letters, M.F. CRAWFORD 1 letter (on WITCHCRAFT & SORCERY letterhead)

Approx 15 pages of quotes and book offers from various and sundry;

Approx 10 book catalogues & lists from G. Ken Chapman, Ferret Fantasy, Robert Madle, Loompanics, Phantasmagoria, etc. All from the 1970’s.

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