HEMINGWAY, Ernest (1899-1961). Three Stories & Ten Poems. [Paris:] Robert McAlmon at the Contact Publishing Co., 1923. 8° (179 x 117mm). (Lacks free blank following colophon ie 47). Original blue/gray wrappers with printing identical to the title page, the lower wrapper advertising in our time, uncut (spine a little discoloured, very slight erosion to head and foot). FIRST EDITION OF THE AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK. ONE OF 300 COPIES. Provenance: addresses '9 rue Falguière, Studio 33', '35 rue de Fleurus, c/o Madame Hutchins' [with another illegible name, perhaps beginning 'Florence'] (written in different hands, and with different pens, on the initial blank); Powys Mathers; Sidney Keyes; Michael Meyer (a note in Meyer's hand on the initial blank: 'Michael Meyer, 1945 ex libris Sidney Keyes ex libris Powys Mathers').
FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE ICONIC BOOKS OF PARIS'S 'AMERICAN DECADE', AND HEMINGWAY'S FIRST BOOK, BEARING THE HANDWRITTEN ADDRESS OF ITS DEDICATEE, HADLEY HEMINGWAY. Hemingway's slim collection was originally intended for William Bird's Three Mountains Press but, following a meeting with Robert McAlmon (1896-1956) in Rapallo, Hemingway agreed for it to appear under the imprint of McAlmon's Contract Publishing Co. As recorded on the colophon, the book was printed by Maurice Darantière of Dijon, who the year before had printed the first edition of Joyce's Ulysses for Sylvia Beach. As a replacement, Hemingway offered Bird a selection of prose vignettes bearing the collective title in our time, and this collection is advertised on the lower wrapper of Three Stories & Ten Poems, but in the event it did not appear until the following year.
This copy contains the handwritten address of the BOOK'S DEDICATEE, Elizabeth Hadley Richardson (1891-1979), whom Hemingway married in 1921 and divorced in 1927 following his affair with fashion journalist Pauline Pfeiffer. Bernice Kert's The Hemingway Women (1983) records that Hadley settled at 35 rue de Fleurus after the separation, and the Ernest Hemingway Archive at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston owns a Hemingway typescript on which there is a draft letter by Hadley bearing this address.
The book subsequently passed into the possession of three remarkable Englishmen: Powys Mathers (1892-1939), poet, translator and -- as 'Torquemada' -- devisor of fiendish crosswords for The Observer from 1926 until his death; the poet, Sidney Keyes (1922-43), who died on active service in North Africa and whose productive Oxford years included editorship of the student newspaper, Cherwell, and Eight Oxford Poets, a duty shared with: Michael Meyer (1921-2000), bon viveur, cricket enthusiast, and leading English authority on Ibsen and Strindberg whose translations of both playwrights are considered standard: 'Meyer's skill as a translator lay in his sensitivity to the original text and his ability to convert its nuances of meaning and atmosphere into a richly evocative English.' (DNB)
Hanneman A1A: "The acknowledgement, on p.[xi], states: 'Five of these poems were printed in Poetry A Magazine of Verse.' This is incorrect. Six of the poems were printed, under the general heading 'Wanderings,' in Poetry, XXI (Jan. 1923) ... This is the first appearance of 'Oklahoma', 'Captives', 'Montparnasse', 'Along With Youth,' and the three stories."