Writer Luke Epplin pointed to some material I had not seen before, some of which is right up the alley here at Peanuts book central. It’s correspondence from 1954 between Schulz and the great Walt Kelly. Schulz had this to say about collections of his own work:
My book is filled with so much bad work, that I would consider it presumptuous on my part to send you one. After the first book came out, I wished that they would put out another so that my more recent work would show up. Now that the second book is out, I am just so much ashamed. Where does it all end?
The books in question would be Peanuts (published in 1952) and More Peanuts (published in 1954.) Schulz’s attitude toward his own early work presumably has much to do with why the material in the first book was not moved into the various other book series that came along, until The Complete Peanuts.
If you ever look at your work and feel that it is too crappy to be seen, remember that if Charles Schulz could be wrong about that, you may be as well.
You can read the full correspondence here. (And if you find yourself wondering why Kelly refers to Schulz’s book costing half a buck more than his own dollar book, when the Rinehart paperbacks were just a buck: Rinehart put out a hardcover of More Peanuts, priced at $1.50.)