Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2011 Issue

A Whale of a Book, A Whale of A Sale

Renjilian

John Renjilian and the first person whaling account 1833-6

Thirty-nine months at sea is a long time, and Percival expresses his homesickness more than once.  By December, 1835, he was counting the months: “we shall get home in the course of 12 months.”  There is a three-year break in the journal, and then Percival began an account of another voyage, again under Captain Pitman, this time on the ship Congress.
  

The Congress had its own connections to Melville’s great novel.  The book Herman Melville’s Whaling Years states that on April 1, 1841, a whale towed a boat from the Congress far out of sight.  After cruising in search of the boat for two days, Captain Pitman decided the boat had been sunk, and continued his voyage.  However, the boat managed to make a 1,500 mile voyage to the Marquesas Islands, where the crew were rescued some months later, shortly before Melville was at the Islands and undoubtedly heard the story.  The same book also locates Melville’s Acushnet and the Congress together with other ships at the Galapagos Islands in 1842, where they would certainly have spoken and perhaps visited with each other.

Percival inexplicably stopped writing in his journal, with his last daily entry made on January 28, 1840. We do know the fate of the second ship, however: as reported in the New York Times for October 4th, 1867, the Congress was frozen in the ice and crushed in the Anadir Sea on May 19th; her cargo of oil and whalebone was transferred to the bark Nautilus, and was apparently saved.

You can find this whaling journal as well as other books of interest in the Rare and Collectibles Room at the Booth Book Sale, such all six volumes of the signed collector’s limited edition of Astronaut Library by astronauts Lovell, Aldrin, Carpenter, Glenn, Borman,  Shepard, Schirra.  All Easton Press, each signed by the authors and with Certificates of Authenticity; and  Marlborough .His Life and Times. By Winston Churchill, NY: Scribner, 1933. Six volumes. Red half leather.  Additionally there attractively priced collectibles such as For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway, First edition; Primitive Physic: or, an Easy and Natural Method of Curing Most Diseases by John Wesley (1772) and an extensive collection of pristine Easton Press publications, some still in original cellophane wraps, many limited editions and autographed works donated by the estate of a private collector. There is also an extensive selection of very good condition adult and children’s books signed by author and/or illustrator:  Drawn from New England. Tasha Tudor by Bethany Tudor (New York: Collins, 1979), likely 1st edition, signed by Tasha Tudor and inscribed by Bethany Tudor, her daughter and David the Dreamer. His Book of Dreams by Ralph Bergengren, illustrated by Tom Freud (1922), first edition with illustrations by Sigmund Freud’s niece, Tom Freud, who used a male pseudonym, and was known for her eccentricities, and a wide selection of fine and very good condition comic books in protective sleeves.

The sale will be held July 9 through July 13, at the Reed Intermediate School, 3 Trades Lane, in Newtown, CT.  A $5.00 admission is charged on Saturday only, with other days being free; numbered admission tickets will be on sale beginning at 7.00 AM on Saturday.  Hours for the sale are 9.00-5.00 Saturday and Sunday, 9.00-7.00 Monday (half price day) and Tuesday ($5.00 per bag day), and 9.00-noon on Wednesday (free day).  Further information can be found at www.boothbooksale.org, by emailing boothbooksale@yahoo.com, or by calling 203-426-4533.

Proceeds go to the general library fund.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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