[ Grafton & Co. (Frank Hamel), London publishers and booksellers. ] Archive of material relating to the firm's dealings with V. M. Arnold, including invoices, quotations, and autograph copies of his letters and orders.
This small archive provides an interesting insight into the world of mid-twentieth century antiquarian bookselling. In excess of one hundred items, the collection being in good condition, lightly aged and worn, including 61 typed letters, invoices and quotations by the firm, all on its letterhead, and around 30 drafts of the letters to the firm from a somewhat difficult customer, with an interesting range of interests, his purchases dating between the seventeenth and the twentieth century, on such subjects as Russian antiquities, bookplates, the classics, Rossica and Oscar Wilde. Hamel's obituary in her periodical The Library World characterizes her as 'the remarkable woman, who for about fifty years has owned and edited The Library World, and described herself as author, publisher and antiquarian bookseller'. Three addresses are given for the customer Arnold, who appears to have been a chemist of Russian extraction: first, c/o International Chemical Co., Pierpoint Road, Worcester; second, 20 Norfolk Square, London, W2; third, 66 Wellesley Road, Ilford, Essex. Comprising: ONE: 4 typed letters signed on behalf of the firm, 1942-1944. Letter of 10 October 1942 deals with Arnold's 'regret […] about the Comeyras and Schleusing' (disposed of elsewhere). Letter of 10 February 1944 informs Arnold: 'With reference to your further suggestion of a purchase of old Latin and Greek works at a discount of 50% we regret that we cannot possibly accept this. The price of books is rapidly increasing and we should be more inclined to double our prices than to accept half, as you suggest. The prices in Catalogue 220 are very low compared with the prices books are fetching to-day.' TWO: 38 typed statements of account by the firm, 1942-1945. All 1p., 33 of them in 4to and the rest in 12mo. Listing individual titles and prices. A few annotated at head in Russian. THREE: 19 typed quotations of works by the firm, 1942-1944. FOUR: Around 30 autograph drafts of letters by Arnold to the firm, 1942-1945, describing his wants and making orders. Many with counterfoils and certificates of postage attached. In the first letter, addressed to the firm as 'Well-known Antiquarian Booksellers', Arnold writes: 'When I had the pleasure of last visiting you, you showed me 3 vs. of an Italian bibliography concerning Rossica […] Would you care to note that I am interested in; - A. Rossica. | B. Oscar Wilde. | & C. Book-plates (literature, not the plates themselves)'. On 9 October 1942 he complains that 'This largest deal with you has been definitely unsatisfactory'. FIVE: Around two dozen loose counterfoils and certificates of postage.