This extremely rare set of books is from the personal library of the late Charles Eugene Banks (1852-1932), an American newspaper editor, journalist, author, novelist, poet, playwright, historian, and orator. Born in Iowa, Banks was the founder, owner and editor of a newspaper in Davenport. While there he mentored several young writers knows as the Davenport Group, which later included a screenwriter and a Pulitzer Prize winner. He later moved to Seattle where he worked as a dramatic editor for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
This book set is part of a formidable collection, once owned by Charles Banks, that has been in the careful custody of the same family since the early 1930s. Shortly after Banks passed away, a member of his family offered several books to a family friend who had an interest in them.
- A Girdle Round the Earth, published in 1894, written by D.N. Richardson. Subtitled “Home Letters from Foreign Lands,” this 449 page book documents the author’s 400-day trip around the world. “Library of Charles Eugene Banks” is stamped on the inside cover. Inscribed in ink on the title page is “Compliments of the author. June 3, 1897 - D.N. Richardson.” It is believed the author and Banks were connected in Iowa. The book is in full olive cloth-covered boards with titling in gilt on the spine
- John Dorn Promotor, published in 1906, historical novel written by Charles Eugene Banks. This first edition contains 361 pages. Three of painter August Abelmann’s illustration pages are missing and two are loose. The book is in its original burnt orange cloth, decoratively stamped in yellowish green, black and gilt.
- Little Pilgrimages Among Bavarian Inns, published in 1906, written by Frank Roy Fraprie. This first impression of a detailed treatise on the author’s travels and meanderings as student is well indexed with two maps and 30 photographs. Prominently handwritten in ink on an early blank page is the signature of Charles’ wife, “Carrie Wyatt Banks - Chicago.” The 337 page book includes two uncut pages at the end of the index. The cover is vividly colored and beautifully embossed.
- The Pilgrims Progress, published in 1889, written by John Bunyan. This 422 page Caxton Edition features an elaborately embossed, gilt decorated cloth with gilt lettering and page edges. Inside the front cover is stamped “Library of Charles Eugene Banks” and on the following blank page is handwritten “Chas Eugene Banks, Wheatland, Iowa.”
- Saga of the Oak, published in 1904, written by William Henry Venable. This 150 page book of over 60 of Venable’s poems, includes some uncut pages. An early blank page is inscribed in ink “To Mr. Charles Eugene Banks.... W.H. Venable, Cincinnati, July 16, 1905.” The inscription includes a four-line quote from the author’s poem on page 47. Also included is the calling card of Emerson Venable (1875-1965), son of the author. Like his father, Emerson was known as a teacher of language and theater in the Cincinnati area.
- In Forest Land, published in 1906, written by Douglas Malloch. Signed by the author, this 192 page book with some uncut pages, contains over 110 poems and includes photographic illustrations by Sidney Vernon Streator. The boards are dark green with gilt lettering. The inside front cover is inscribed with a note from the author to Banks: “To Charles Eugene Banks, a great poet and beloved comrade... (signed) Douglas Malloch, Chicago, October 18, 1907.”
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