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Wright, Dare, her copies)

Seven items: Little Rivers; Kenneth; Nursery Rhymes of London Town; No Other Man; Essays for Discussion; Cicero; Lona.


From the Library of Dare Wright
A collection of 7 books:
  • Jane Abbott: Keineth, with ephemera and drawings by Wright;
  • Henry van Dyke: Little Rivers, with ephemera;
  • Cicero: Selected Orations, annotated by Wright;
  • Anita P. Forbes, ed. Essays for Discussion, Wright's signed and annotated schoolbook;
  • Alfred Noyes: No Other Man, inscribed to Dare by her mother;
  • Dare Wright: Lona: A Fairy Tale, inscribed.
This archive offers a unique opportunity to understand the sources of inspiration behind Wright's life and work. Childhood copies of books that fed her imagination, some of these contain mementoes of her youth. Others, gifted to Wright, provided her with the models to follow. Through others she navigated her familial world. Most importantly, they gave her temporary refuge from a childhood marked by the trauma of divorce, a painful separation with her father and brother, and a relationship with her mother at once claustrophobic and remote. Collected assiduously by Wright's biographer, these books provide an unparalleled research opportunity. It constitutes the only know collection of Wrightiana of its kind.  
Wright's biography is a complex and psychologically charged tale of dysfunction. Wright began her career as an actress and model and then turned to fashion photography before stumbling upon her role as bestselling author. In 1957, her first children's book, The Lonely Doll, was published. With its pink-and-white-checked cover and photographs featuring a wide-eyed doll, it captured the imaginations of young girls and made Wright a household name. But the dark side to Wright involved a brother lost in childhood, ill-fated marriage plans, and a complicated, controlling mother, who absorbed Wright into a suffocating fantasy world.  Wright was unable to sustain a romantic relationship at any point in her life, partly as a result of the stiflingly close relationship she had with her mother, portrait painter Edith Stevenson Wright.  Edie treated Dare as a doll, dressing her up for numerous portraits and photos; later Wright returned the favor by naming the doll used in her books, Edith.  Even while Wright was an adult with a thriving career, and a social success in a sophisticated milieu, her life revolved around her mother.  As adults, the two often shared a bed. Engagements were broken off, and suitors scared away by Wright's unwillingness to go beyond playful friendship.  Eventually she found a creative way of restaging her primal traumas and adult anxieties in children's books that remain equal parts sweet and sinister.  Wright remained under her mother's spell until Edith's death in 1975, after which she became increasingly reclusive.  Wright lived out her final years in a decrepit New York City public hospital, isolated and forgotten by the social circle of which she was once a prominent figure.
For details on individual volumes, look up each title in this catalogue.

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