Signed first trade edition of Irma S. Rombauer’s cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, in the publisher’s first state dust jacket.
Octavo, 628pp. Plaid patterned yellow cloth, title in brown and yellow on spine and front cover. Stated “Copyright 1931, 1936” on copyright page, no additional printings listed. Solid text block, a few faint stains and marks along edges, internally fine. In the publisher’s near fine dust jacket, light wear and a few short closed tears along top edge. The first state, with retail price of $2.75 listed on front flap, later changed to $2.50. Scarce seen in such impressive condition. (Mendelson 154)
Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper “To Mrs. Jonas – with all good wishes and thanks for the encouragement she has given me. Cordially, Irma S. Rombauer.”
Irma S. Rombauer (1877-1962) wrote The Joy of Cooking as a way to earn a living and cope with the sudden loss of her husband, Edgar. Rombauer collected recipes from members of her hometown, St. Louis, and found a local printer to produce 3,000 copies. After a few years of steady sales, Rombauer looked to publish the book on a broader scale. Working without the help of an agent or legal counsel, she signed a contract with Bobbs-Merrill assigning the copyright of both her 1931 original and the new 1936 edition to the firm. This copy, the first Bobbs-Merrill edition, altered the format of the recipes to introduce ingredients as they were used, to match the conversational tone of Rombauer’s writing. The first printing by Bobbs-Merrill totaled to 10,000 copies released on May 1, 1936. (Mendelson 151-161) The Joy of Cooking remains in print today, with more than 18 million copies sold from updated editions continuously edited by Rombauer’s extended family.