O'HARA, John (1905-1970). Appointment in Samarra. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1934.
8o. Original black cloth (spine slightly cocked with some minor rubbing); brilliant pictorial dust jacket (apparently from another copy). Provenance: Franklin Pierce Adams, member of the Algonquin Round Table, supportor of O'Hara (presenatation inscription); Matthew J. Bruccoli, biographer and bibliographer of Fitzgerald, Lardner, and O'Hara.
FIRST EDITION. THE DEDICATION COPY OF O'HARA'S FIRST NOVEL, INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR on the front free endaper: "To Frank turn over four pages from John O'Hara October 9, 1935." The printed dedication, to which he refers, four pages later reades "To F.P.A." Appointment in Samarra, which examines the petty social climbing tactics of the country club set of the fictional town of Gibbsville, Pennsylvania, established O'Hara's reputation as a master of social commentary; Malcolm Bradbury called him "the best modern case of the writer as social historian." O'Hara's Pal Joey stories in the New Yorker were made into the 1940 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, for which he wroted the libretto. O'Hara won the National Book Award for his 1955 novel, Ten North Frederick, and by 1970, the year of his death, he had published over 200 stories in the New Yorker, more than any other author (Twentieth Century American Literature, ed. Harold Bloom, New York, 1987, vol. 5, p. 2910).
Franklin Adams was a charter member, along with Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley and Alexander Woolcott, of the Algonquin Round Table in New York in the late 1920s. Shortly after his arrival in New York in 1929, O'Hara jointed the circle. Adams earned his living writing "The Conning Tower," a syndicated gossip column; he was the first to print any of O'Hara's work, and an appearance in 'The Tower' in the 1920 could make a career. Groucho Marx said in 1970: "In those days we all tried to get a piece into his column. When I finally got a little piece in, just a little one, not more than an inch, I thought I was Shakespeare" (quoted by Sally Ashley in F.P.A., New York, 1986, p. 117). Not only did Adams help promote the work of O'Hara, James Thurber, George S. Kaufman, Ira Gershwin, E.B. White, and Edna St. Vincent Millay; he also influenced to a great degree the format and "impatience with superciliousness" of the New Yorker (Ashley, p. 13). IN AN EXTREMELY FINE DUST JACKET. Bruccoli A2.1.a.