29 June 2005
WILDER, Thornton. The Merchant of Yonkers. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1939.
8o. Original tan cloth (some minor soiling, some light wear at spine ends); pictorial dust jacket (some wear with a few tears); quarter morocco folding case. Provenance: Wilson Lehr (presentation inscription).
FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY WILDER TO HIS FRIEND WILSON LEHR on the half-title: "For Wilson Lehr with all the best wishes of Thorton Wilder Cohasset July 1939." The Merchant of Yonkers, which ran a mere 39 performances in New York, was a dismal failure for Wilder. He reworked the play in 1955 and retitled it The Matchmaker, and in 1964, it was adapted into the musical Hello Dolly. A marvellous Broadway hit starring Carol Channing, the musical won ten Tony Awards and was made into a film with Barbra Streisand playing the matchmaker Dolly Levi.
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