The Charlie Chaplin Book

I’m starting a new feature today, a kind of experiment. Regularly (maybe a couple of times a week), I’ll highlight a recent acquisition, one that is interesting or unusual in some respect. For awhile now, I’ve been meaning to shine a light on some of the more fascinating books that cross my desk, but have just never really gotten around to it. I’ll be offering these featured items exclusively on this blog and at special, discounted prices.

First up is this charming Little Tramp book:


Published in 1916, this is widely considered the first book published on Charlie Chaplin (there was a possibly earlier unauthorized biography, but it was suppressed and most copies destroyed – it is now quite rare) and is certainly the first one devoted to his Little Tramp persona, one of the most enduring icons of popular film culture. Chaplin debuted the character in 1914 and by 1916 Chaplin had become the highest paid artist in Hollywood with near-complete control over his films. The book captures the star at the height of his Littlest Tramp fame and power. The 12pp. text is comprised of 22 4-line stanzas in rhyming couplets, each accompanied by a B&W image of Chaplin as The Tramp:


It’s unclear who the intended audience for the book was. It strikes me as a children’s book, but could just as easily have been a promotional item of some kind. In either case, I love the chromo-litho covers and Chaplin’s poses are perfect, even is the verse is doggerel.

[CHAPLIN, Charlie]. THE CHARLIE CHAPLIN BOOK. New York, Sam’l Gabriel Sons and Co.: 1916. First edition. Tall, narrow 4to. Chromolithographic wraps. Creasing and rubbing overall, some splitting to top and bottom of spine. Hinges tender but intact. Good or better example of a fragile and increasingly uncommon production. (FYI: There was a modern 1983 reprint which is often mistaken for the original.)


[Email to purchase or reserve: books-at-briancassidy-dot-net. Check, MO, credit cards, Paypal all fine].