First Edition of The Conquest of Everest; Inscribed by Sir Edmund Hillary to Burl Ives; Also signed by Team Members Charles Evans and George Lowe
The Conquest of Everest.
Hunt, John; Edmund Hillary.
Item Number: 48004
New York: E.P. Dutton, 1954.
First edition of this classic account of the first ascent of Mount Everest. Octavo, original half cloth, illustrated with 8 pages of photographs in full color, and 48 pages in black and white, maps, sketches and drawings. Foreword by Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. Presentation copy, inscribed by Edmund Hillary on the half-title page, “To Burl Ives In memory of many pleasant melodies E.P. Hillary.” Additionally signed by two other members of the climbing party, Charles Evans and George Lowe. Ives and Hillary were both honored at the New York Public Library Books and Authors Luncheon, held on February 10, 1954, when this book was signed. Burl Ives appeared in Irving Berlin’s This Is the Army, and then became a major star of CBS radio. A popular film actor through the late 1940s and 1950s, Ives’s best-known roles in that medium included parts in So Dear to My Heart and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, as well as Rufus Hannassey in The Big Country, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also starred in the 1964 Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, as the voice of “Sam the Snowman”, the special’s host and narrator. Charles Evans was John Hunt’s deputy leader on the 1953 British Mount Everest Expedition. With Tom Bourdillon, he made the first ascent of the South Summit, coming within three hundred feet of the main summit of Everest on 26 May 1953, but was forced to turn back. George Lowe helped prepare the route up the Lhotse Face towards the South Col at close to 8,000m altitude. On 28 May Lowe, Alfred Gregory and Sherpa Ang Nyima, all carrying heavy loads, set out with Hillary and Tenzing as the support party for their summit attempt. Camp IX was established at 8,500m, then Lowe, Gregory and Ang Nyima descended to the South Col. The following day, 29 May, Hillary and Tenzing successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest. Lowe went on to direct a documentary film during the expedition, entitled The Conquest of Everest that was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Fine in a near fine dust jacket. A unique example.
The 1953 British Expedition to Mount Everest was the eighth in 30 years to attempt Everest. On May 29th, 1953 Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay at last stood at the summit; it was a culminating moment in mountaineering history, and one of the great achievements of human stamina and will. The Ascent of Everest was written by Sir John Hunt, the leader of the expedition, in one month to satisfy the great demand around the world for the story of the British team’s success. Chapter 16 is Sir Edmund Hillary’s stirring account of the final part of the climb, and the appendices are by members of the expedition.