SASSOON, Siegfried (1886-1967). Autograph 'Library catalogue', 1902-1907, comprising 36 pages of c. 566 entries in purple, black or red ink or pencil, with details of title, number of volumes, size, date, binding description, library number and price, a few entries crossed out; in a stationer's pocket book (W.J.& S, London), red morocco, (112 x 91mm) upper cover titled 'Library Catalogue' and inscribed 'SLS' in gilt, title page with 'S.L.Sassoon' stamp in purple ink, flyleaf inscribed 'SSassoon. Weirleigh. Paddock Wood. Kent. 1902.' in purple ink, with 'SS' monogram and bookplate. Provenance: sold Sotheby's, 19 August 1994, lot 213.
THE TEENAGED SASSOON'S MANUSCRIPT CATALOGUE OF HIS LIBRARY AT WEIRLEIGH. Sassoon began forming his library when forced to remain home from Marlborough due to ill health: 'I had a bright idea and became a bookworm. Until then I had only collected modern books with coloured illustrations. I now set to work to amass a real library -- the sort of library in which one went up a ladder and pulled out a dusty volume, to discover with delight that it was a first edition of somebody like Bunyan.' (The Old Century, p.221). Since his capital amounted to a pound, Sassoon began by exchanging books from this father's library with two Birmingham booksellers, Brownish Bros and W. Jiggle, 'what I aimed at was a large cosy accumulation of leather-bound tomes ... thereafter I accumulated volumes and arranged them affectionately on my shelves'. The catalogue contains detailed binding descriptions, reflecting the importance Sassoon placed on them over content, 'although I found serene satisfaction in gazing upon their serried backs (especially by firelight when the wind was rumbling in the chimney) I cannot say that the insides of my antiquated acquisitions made much impression on my mind'. However, his personal library catalogue does reveal his literary interests, with works ranging in date from 1603 to 1907, with a separate list of private presses under 'Special Type', and a copy of The Baskerville Virgil 'the 1st edition: beautifully printed on vellum like paper: perfectly clean copy'. The gold used to embellish the monogram and titlepage was presumably that used by Sassoon on his bindings, 'I also wrote to the Army and Navy Stores for some burnishable gold, with which I brightened up the tooling and added lustre to the lettering of the labels' (The Old Century, p.225).