Blanding (1930) Vagabond’s House – Hawaii Poetry Inscribed


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Blanding, Don. Vagabond’s House. (Dodd, Mead & Co.: New York, 1930) Seventh printing. Illustration by the author.

Duodecimo (12mo). 114 pages. DJ. Hardcover with blue cloth-covered boards printed in black stamped in silver with large palm tree on front board.  Illustrated. Inscribed by the Author.

Condition: VG/poor, binding is tight with slight lean to pine. Hinges solid, no cracking. DJ is heavily chipped, but it is there. Photos show the DJ, white spaces are missing parts of the DJ.  DJ is covered with a Brodart to protect it from further damage.

“Donald Benson Blanding was born in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. He later grew up alongside Lucille “Billie” Cassin (later known as Joan Crawford), later assisting her after she cut her foot on a broken milk bottle. Blanding would later make this incident the focus of a poem he wrote when the two met years later.[1] He trained between 1913 and 1915 at the Art Institute of Chicago….

“Blanding became fascinated by Hawaii and moved there in 1915, staying until his enlistment in the U.S. Army in December, 1917. Entering as an infantry private, he underwent officer training and was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant before being discharged in December, 1918, soon after the Armistice.

“Blanding pursued further art studies in 1920, in Paris and London, traveled in Central America and the Yucatan, and returned to Honolulu in 1921….

“For his fifth book in 1928, he no longer used a local or West Coast publisher, but the New York publisher Dodd, Mead & Company. The result, Vagabond’s House, was reviewed promptly by The New York Times, and was a great commercial success. By 1948 it went through nearly fifty printings in several editions that together sold over 150,000 copies….

Vagabond’s House

“He published his long poem “Vagabond’s House” several times. (It was in the first, private, printing of Leaves from a Grass-House in 1923; the commercially published edition of the same book, later that year, included it with the title changed to “Aloha House”. In 1928 he restored the original “Vagabond’s House” title, making it the title poem of another collection.) Its detailed fantasy begins

When I have a house – as I sometime may –
I’ll suit my fancy in every way.

“then describes a home filled with the mostly exotic mementos its poet collected in years of wandering the world’s seaports – or at least might have collected if his travels had not interfered – and closes by admitting

“It’s just a dream house anyway.” – Wikipedia