25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy
It was printed in 1954 by Seymour Berlin with Charles Lisanby credited as the author, as he suggested the title, yet there is no text in the book. The calligraphy for the book was done by Julia Warhola, Warhol's mother.
The lithographs were produced on Arches brand watermarked paper using Warhol's blotted line technique. The original edition was limited to 190 numbered copies (although there may have been under 150 produced). Each original was hand colored, using Dr. Martin's ink washes. Most of them were given by Warhol as gifts to clients and friends.
Warhol's mother left the letter "d" off of the word "Name" in the title and Warhol kept the error in, as he liked the random imperfections which appeared in his creations resulting from the techniques he used. Both Warhol and his mother had a passion for cats and they were all named Sam except for one called Hester. They had so many cats that friends remember them always giving away kittens.
25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy actually only contains 16 cats named Sam followed by one cat in blue titled One Blue Pussy.
- Copy #4, inscribed "Jerry" on the front cover, was given to Geraldine Stutz, who at the time was with I. Miller Shoes. She later became president of Henri Bendel and later while head of Panache Press, an imprint of Random House, used this copy for a facsimile edition printing in 1987. Her estate consigned the original limited edition to Doyle New York where it sold in May 2006 for US $35,000.
- Copy #18, inscribed "Misters de evia, denning" was given to Edgar de Evia and Robert Denning on one of Warhol's visits to their home in the Rhinelander Mansion. De Evia was at this time an established photographer and Denning would go on to become an interior designer and partner in Denning & Fourcade. Warhol whimsically put an "x" through the copy number and wrote "69" above for his gay hosts.
- Copy #41 has just been located
Some of the copies were given as Christmas "keepsake" books. These were in the peak of popularity in the 1950s and a number of prominent American families would have a book privately printed to give to their friends. Some families known to follow this practice were the Vanderbilts, Harrimans, Copleys, Altschuls and others.
Three other self-published books by Warhol followed this first title:
- Gold Book
- Wild Rasberries
- Holy Cats - illustrations Warhola, Julia