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10.  Helen of the Old House 


Helen of the Old House, by Harold Bell Wright, dust jacket Helen of the Old House, by Harold Bell Wright

First Edition

Appleton, 1921, red cloth cover with black lettering, illustrated dust jacket.  First printing has (1) on last page of story.

Total sales: 446,503

List of editions

Value Guide


Background

The first Harold Bell Wright book published by Appleton. This is the story of a labor conflict in a mid-western industrial town, but I do not know if it describes any particular location or situation. A friend of mine who visits Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania often says Pittsburg obviously fits the description: a steel mill in a city built next to a river at the foot of (and partly on the slopes of) mountains. There are steep inclines around Pittsburgh that would fit Wright's description of a mansion and the Seer's house on top of a hill overlooking the city. Obviously this would not fit Gary, Indiana or Chicago, both of which are flat. Of course, the book does not actually say it was a steel mill, and I know of no evidence that Wright ever visited Pittsburgh, but my friend's guess does point out some of the characteristics of the city Wright describes in this book.

Review of Helen of  the Old House in New York Times

Collecting

This title is not nearly as common as the most popular Book Supply titles, but it is not rare either. All American first editions are by Appleton. On this, and all Appletons, the printing number is indicated by a small number in parenthesis on the last page of the story. The majority of copies have a (1) in the back. Compared with the Book Supply Company's dark red covers, all copies of Helen look faded until you get used to them. Of course some really are faded. Reprints were published by A.L. Burt, Ryerson, Hodder and Stoughton, and Thall & Carlsson. 

Total sales: 446,503

Review of Book by Dr. Joyce Kinkead  Copyright 1979 by Joyce Kinkead.  Used by Permission.

           Three of Wrights novels--Helen of the Old House, The Eyes of the World, and The Devil's Highway--qualify more as tracts of social criticism than as works of fiction.  Helen of the Old House focuses on the labor unrest and socialist agitation immediately following World War I, while The Eyes of the World centers around the plight of writers and artists who become untrue to art in order to gain immediate fame.  Wright's 1932 novel, The Devil's Highway, written in collaboration with his son, Gilbert, concentrates on the possible evils of science when science is devoid of idealism.  Continue >>>

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This Harold Bell Wright web site is written and produced by Gerry Chudleigh with the help of many friends.
Copyright 2000-May, 2011 by Gerry Chudleigh
Last updated 05/26/11