THE FIFTH STRING, by John Philip Sousa; Howard C. Christy (ills) - 1902 [Signed 1st ed]

$450.00
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The Fifth String

by John Philip Sousa
with illustrations by Howard Chandler Christy

Includes frontispiece and six b/w illustrations by Howard Chandler Christy. Christy was the most popular illustrator of the Jazz Age whose portraits include six sitting or future presidents and other notable such as Amelia Earhart. 125 pages. 5.5" by 7.75". 

In his 1902 novel The Fifth String, a young violinist made a deal with the Devil for a magic violin with five strings. The strings can excite the emotions of Pity, Hope, Love and Joy – the fifth string was of Death.

Signed and dated by the "American March King" himself on the front endpaper. 

Signed binding by J. Alden Pierson. 

Very scarce SIGNED FIRST EDITION published by Bowen Merrill. Indianapolis, IN. 1902. 

Hardback is overall in VERY GOOD condition.

  • Green cloth covers are mostly clean with gilt lettering and illustration. 
  • Boards show slight fading to gilt and light nicks and indentations to the perimeter with white flecks to the rear. 
  • Corners are bumped and lightly worn. 
  • Spine has gilt lettering and design detail with worn softened ends.
  • Binding is secure, with a little play. Some gutters exhibit slight gaps or light cracking.
  • The front pastedown features a large, beautifully detailed bookplate that covers part of a newspaper clipping on Sousa. 
  • Lightly offset and aged endpaper bears Sousa's signature and date in ink. Please see photos. 
  • Frontispiece is lightly toned and intact with accompanying tissue guard. 
  • Title page bears owner's name and date in ink. 
  • The page that shows a facsimile of an Academy of Music program for Diotti is slightly pulled away from binding. Please see photos. 
  • Interior is gently age-toned. 
  • The plates, along with accompanying tissue guards, are clean and intact though some gutters appear to be lightly cracked. Please see photos. 
  • Inside pages are free of writing and intentional marks.
  • Text block features gilt to top edge. 
  • Book may exhibit additional minor signs of age or wear.
  • JS20170904


John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era, known primarily for American military and patriotic marches. Because of his mastery of march composition, he is known as "The March King", or the "American March King" due to his British counterpart Kenneth J. Alford also being known by the former nickname. Among his best-known marches are "The Stars and Stripes Forever" (National March of the United States of America), "Semper Fidelis" (Official March of the United States Marine Corps)... [Wikipedia]  He is also responsible for creating a large brass instrument similar to the tuba, known as a sousaphone.


Howard Chandler Christy (1872-1952) was an American artist and illustrator...who became the most popular portrait painter of the Jazz Age era. Christy painted such luminaries as Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, and Presidents Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover Hoover, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Harry Truman... From the 1920s until the 1940s, Christy was well known for capturing the likenesses of congressmen, senators, industrialists, movies stars, and socialites. [Wikipedia]

AS IS! Please see photos. More photos available upon request.

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Domestic orders over $250 include a handling charge to cover signature confirmation.


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Binding: Hardcover
Original/Facsimile: Original
Special Attributes: 1st Edition
Region: North America
Language: English
Country/Region of Manufacture: United States
Subject: Literature & Fiction
Topic: Music
Publisher: Bowen Merrill
Place of Publication: Indianapolis IN
Year Printed: 1902
Author: John Philip Sousa
Illustrator: Howard Chandler Christy
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