Including two letters from Ian Fleming
Correspondence between Fleming and noted bibliophile Percy Muir [James Bond] N/A
A series of letters between Ian Fleming, Percy Muir and a Canadian reader of ‘The Book Collector’ journal regarding a potential rare book. Five letters, two of which are written and signed by Fleming: (1) an enquiry from the reader describing her book addressed ‘Dear Mr Fleming’ - 2 pages handwritten (2) The retained carbon reply by Ian Fleming advising the reader her enquiry has been passed to book expert Percy Muir. Typed letter, hole- punched at margin. (3) Brief typed letter to Percy Muir, apologising for enclosing the ‘daft letter’ of enquiry. On Mitre Court heading (Fleet Street), signed ‘Ian’. (4) The retained carbon appraisal of the book from Percy Muir to the enquirer. Typed letter, hole-punched at margin. (5) Longer typed letter to Percy Muir mentioning the Book Collector, John [Hayward] (the third member of the editorial board of the Book Collector), and a trip to Jamaica [Fleming owned a property ‘Goldeneye’ on Jamaica’s North Shore]. Mitre Court heading (Fleet Street), signed ‘affectionately Ian’. A superb correspondence between the James Bond creator Ian Fleming and his close friend and colleague Percy Muir - Muir was a respected bibliophile who assembled Fleming’s own important scientific library, and both men, along with John Hayward, sat on the editorial board of ‘The Book Collector’ journal which was published by Fleming’s Queen Anne Press. Born in London on December 17, 1894, Percy Muir began his career as a bookseller in 1920. He joined the London antiquarian booksellers Elkin Mathews in 1930, and would remain with that firm until his death in Norfolk on November 24, 1979. Muir was an influential figure among booksellers and book collectors around the world. As president of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association in Britain from 1945-1947, Muir chaired the first conference of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) in 1947. He then served as president of the ILAB from 1950 until 1952. At the end of his term in this office, he was elected Life President of Honour. Muir's publications include several bibliographies and contributions to bibliographical journals such as The Library. He composed numerous letters, essays, and addresses on book collecting, including the immensely popular Book Collecting as a Hobby: Letters to Everyman (1944) and its sequel in 1949. Muir was a founding member of the Editorial Board of Book Collector, and wrote many reviews for this journal. His Minding My Own Business (1956) was both a history of the firm Elkin Mathews and an autobiographical account of Muir's career from the early 1920s to World War II. Fleming was godfather to Muir’s daughter Helen. In the James Bond novel ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (published just before the date of this correspondence), a character is named in Percy’s honour; the British Agent ‘Alexander Muir’, Head of Station Z (Zurich), fittingly appears with a signal room hidden behind a book-lined wall. The longer letter written by Fleming on New Year’s Eve of 1963 and promising to see Muir ‘in the coming year’, feels somewhat haunting, given Fleming’s death in August eight months later.