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Life: The Seventeenth Grove Play of the Bohemian Club. SIGNED. Wilson, Harry Leon; Domenico Brescia; [Sergei Rachmaninoff] [George Sterling]

$1,500.00

San Francisco: The Bohemian Club, 1919. First edition. Wraps. Very Good. 8vo, printed stapled wrappers, pp. 60, [3]. Signed on the front flyleaf by Harry Leon Wilson, Domenico Brescia, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Warren S. Palmer. Signed at the rear of the book by William H. Smith, Joseph S. Thompson, Xavier Martinez, James Hopper, Sam Hume, Antoine de Vally, George Sterling, Ulderico Marcelli, Edwin Henry Lemare, and two others we have been unable to identify. Wraps tanned and creased, two short tears at the spine, about very good. / In the summer of 1919 Sergei Rachmaninoff was invited by his friend Sir Henry Heyman to accompany him to the Bohemian Grove in Monte Rio, California, and to attend the closing festivities of the Bohemian Club’s encampment there. The weekend was marked by a Friday night “entertainment,” directed by William H. Smith, and on Saturday, the final night of the season, the more formal Grove Play, “Life,” written by Harry Leon Wilson and with music by Domenico Brescia (featuring what might well be the first time a set of chromatic cowbells was used as a symphony instrument). To commemorate the event, the playscript and musical notes were printed privately for members, with a complete cast list for both the Grove Play and for the “Cremation of Care,” the pageant that had opened the season several weeks earlier. (The “Cremation of Care” would ultimately become standardized, but in 1919 it was written by Charles Caldwell Dobie and featured music by Edwin H. Lemare). / The signatories include novelist and playwright Wilson (he would go on to popularize the term “flapper” in his novel BUNKER BEAN), the author of the play; — Brescia, the composer, best known in posterity for his chamber music compositions, who would return to the Grove with a second production in 1926; — Rachmaninoff, distinguished guest; — Palmer, President of the Bohemian Club and General Manager of the Northwest Pacific Railroad; — Smith, long-time member and frequent director of Bohemian Grove productions; — Thompson, president of the Pacific Electric Manufacturing Corporation, who would write the 24th Grove Play (“Wings”), produced in 1925; — Martínez, a Mexican-born artist and bohemian who would be named to represent California in the Hall of Fame at the World’s Fair of 1940; — Hopper, a French-born writer, novelist, and college football coach (he led Nevada to its first-ever win over Stanford, in 1900), who was also a close friend of Jack London’s, famously contributing his football jersey for use as a flag on the Snark for one notable voyage out of San Francisco Bay; — Hume, a theater technician who had been the organizer of the first exhibition of stagecraft in the United States; — de Vally, Belgian-born San Francisco voice teacher and recording artist, director of the San Francisco Grand Opera Company, and president of the SF Musicians’ Club; — Sterling, celebrated in Northern California as one of the greatest American poets (his poem “The Wine of Wizardry” has been called “the greatest poem ever written by an American author”), a significant figure in bohemian literary and artistic circles, and in the development of the artists’ colony at Carmel (like Hopper, he was also friendly with Jack London; he was additionally mentored by Ambrose Bierce, and would himself later mentor Robinson Jeffers); — Marcelli, Ecuadorean-born composer and conductor, founder of the Rico Marcelli Symphony Orchestra, who wrote six Grove Plays, the first in 1920, the last in 1961, and who, as a conductor, made his mark leading the orchestras in silent film houses for Tivoli and Grauman throughout the teens and 20s; — and Lemare, British-born organist and composer (he composed the Friday night event), called “the most highly regarded and highly paid organist of his generation” as well as “one of the most important composers of the late Romantic English-American Organ School.” A scarce and attractive piece of ephemera commemorating a highlight from the early days of the Club.

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Product Description

Life: The Seventeenth Grove Play of the Bohemian Club. SIGNED. . Wilson, Harry Leon; Domenico Brescia; [Sergei Rachmaninoff] [George Sterling]

San Francisco: The Bohemian Club, 1919. First edition. Wraps. Very Good. 8vo, printed stapled wrappers, pp. 60, [3]. Signed on the front flyleaf by Harry Leon Wilson, Domenico Brescia, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Warren S. Palmer. Signed at the rear of the book by William H. Smith, Joseph S. Thompson, Xavier Martinez, James Hopper, Sam Hume, Antoine de Vally, George Sterling, Ulderico Marcelli, Edwin Henry Lemare, and two others we have been unable to identify. Wraps tanned and creased, two short tears at the spine, about very good. / In the summer of 1919 Sergei Rachmaninoff was invited by his friend Sir Henry Heyman to accompany him to the Bohemian Grove in Monte Rio, California, and to attend the closing festivities of the Bohemian Club’s encampment there. The weekend was marked by a Friday night “entertainment,” directed by William H. Smith, and on Saturday, the final night of the season, the more formal Grove Play, “Life,” written by Harry Leon Wilson and with music by Domenico Brescia (featuring what might well be the first time a set of chromatic cowbells was used as a symphony instrument). To commemorate the event, the playscript and musical notes were printed privately for members, with a complete cast list for both the Grove Play and for the “Cremation of Care,” the pageant that had opened the season several weeks earlier. (The “Cremation of Care” would ultimately become standardized, but in 1919 it was written by Charles Caldwell Dobie and featured music by Edwin H. Lemare). / The signatories include novelist and playwright Wilson (he would go on to popularize the term “flapper” in his novel BUNKER BEAN), the author of the play; — Brescia, the composer, best known in posterity for his chamber music compositions, who would return to the Grove with a second production in 1926; — Rachmaninoff, distinguished guest; — Palmer, President of the Bohemian Club and General Manager of the Northwest Pacific Railroad; — Smith, long-time member and frequent director of Bohemian Grove productions; — Thompson, president of the Pacific Electric Manufacturing Corporation, who would write the 24th Grove Play (“Wings”), produced in 1925; — Martínez, a Mexican-born artist and bohemian who would be named to represent California in the Hall of Fame at the World’s Fair of 1940; — Hopper, a French-born writer, novelist, and college football coach (he led Nevada to its first-ever win over Stanford, in 1900), who was also a close friend of Jack London’s, famously contributing his football jersey for use as a flag on the Snark for one notable voyage out of San Francisco Bay; — Hume, a theater technician who had been the organizer of the first exhibition of stagecraft in the United States; — de Vally, Belgian-born San Francisco voice teacher and recording artist, director of the San Francisco Grand Opera Company, and president of the SF Musicians’ Club; — Sterling, celebrated in Northern California as one of the greatest American poets (his poem “The Wine of Wizardry” has been called “the greatest poem ever written by an American author”), a significant figure in bohemian literary and artistic circles, and in the development of the artists’ colony at Carmel (like Hopper, he was also friendly with Jack London; he was additionally mentored by Ambrose Bierce, and would himself later mentor Robinson Jeffers); — Marcelli, Ecuadorean-born composer and conductor, founder of the Rico Marcelli Symphony Orchestra, who wrote six Grove Plays, the first in 1920, the last in 1961, and who, as a conductor, made his mark leading the orchestras in silent film houses for Tivoli and Grauman throughout the teens and 20s; — and Lemare, British-born organist and composer (he composed the Friday night event), called “the most highly regarded and highly paid organist of his generation” as well as “one of the most important composers of the late Romantic English-American Organ School.” A scarce and attractive piece of ephemera commemorating a highlight from the early days of the Club. 1500.00

Additional Information

Condition

Very Good

Date Published

1919

Publisher

The Bohemian Club

Place Published

San Francisco

Edition

First edition

Keywords

rachmaninov californiana San Francisco Russian Hill

Binding

Wraps