in a series of 37 typed letters, signed by Stackpole, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Edwards, in Chicago, Illinois, 30 April 1951-1 April 1953. 4to. 53 pages, single-spaced on Stackpole letterhead, approximately 10,000 words. Accompanied by 46 retained carbon-copies of Edwards's replies and prompts to Stackpole's letters (4to, 78 pages, single-spaced, approximately 20,000 words); seven typed letters to Edwards from Charles K. Fox who edited the Colt book for Stackpole; ten typed letters from other Stackpole employees concerning the book; three letters discussing copyright concerns at the Connecticut Historical Society; 13 typed and autograph letters to Edwards from friends expressing congratulations on the publication of the book, including one from John E. Parsons, author of several books on American firearms; and several other related items. A number of Stackpole's letters with notes and drawings by Edwards on versos. Some staining and soiling to a few letters, but a very good lot of more than 100 pieces of correspondence relating to the publication of an important American firearms book, perhaps the basis for another book or paper, exploring the creation of the first. (2931). Item #56544
A revealing correspondence between publisher and author, discussing in minute detail the evolution of a book, from an initial manuscript rejected out of hand, through negotiation over content, design, and other details, to the editing and publishing of an important title covering a seminal aspect of the American arms industry.
Edwards (9 March 1952): "Colt has been a forgotten man in American history. Professor Morse has been published a dozen times, while Polk, Zach Taylor, Old Hickory, Sam Houston, Whistler, and all the dozens of men that moulded mid-nineteenth century America from the dry dust of the West and the blood-wet mud of Manassas, have found their chroniclers often. It is in an effort to show in some measure just where Samuel Colt fits in this scene, this burnt-oil hum of the late Industrial Revolution and the real West, more wild than any movie, that I [am doing] this work. To place him in context, among the guns that were his life-work, and to give him again a spirit of reality that once he had as alive, is my purpose and design."
Stackpole (18 March 1852): "We believe that the technical and detailed part of the Colt Revolver should be accented, with the biographical material secondary. We should like to see the details and particulars of the many early Colt revolvers, to settle in the minds of collectors just what is what, and why. We feel that this sort of technical work would also sell to the average shooter, who of course greatly exceed collectors in numbers."
The ensuing letters chronicle the debate between author and publisher, author and editor, and author and publisher's employees, as they refined each others needs, discussing in detail every facet of the book's content, design, production, and marketing, eventually producing a work of lasting value, still regarded as the best book on the subject.