London: George Routledge and Sons, [circa 1895].
Hardcover. Revised and enlarged edition. Octavo. 720pp. Red cloth. Gilt lettering dulled but readable, modest wear to the spine ends, a tight, very good copy. Irving Berlin's copy with his bookplate on the front pastedown. Housed in a custom quarter leather and marbled papercovered clamshell case. Accompanied by 20 slips of paper, originally laid into the book, with holograph notes by Berlin. Of these, seven contain working manuscript notes for a rhyming song. The transitory and fragmentary nature of the notes are obviously inconclusive, but it appears this song is unpublished. Also in the book is a letter to Mrs. Berlin from a Las Vegas correspondent, and some other material. Further provenance on request. A chance to remake musical history: in an interview in his 90s (he lived to be 101), Berlin claimed never to use a rhyming dictionary (Davis, *The Craft of Lyric Writing*, p. 212). A fascinating artifact, a compositional tool from one of the greatest songwriters of all time, and, among them, one of the few to write his own lyrics as well as music. Berlin wrote approximately 1500 songs during his long career, many of them recognizable American standards such as "Alexander's Ragtime Band" (his first hit, in 1911), "Puttin' on the Ritz," "God Bless America," "Easter Parade," and "White Christmas." In addition he wrote the scores for 19 Broadway shows and 18 Hollywood films. By virtue of the endurance of his individual compositions, his lasting influence on other musicians, and the sheer length and breadth of his career, Berlin occupies a singular position in the history of popular music.