Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2004 Issue

Voyages and Travels from<br>The William Reese Company

Reesecover

Voyages and Travels from William Reese Co.


By Michael Stillman

The William Reese Company has issued its catalogue number 229, “Voyages and Travels.” Offered are 174 rare books, manuscripts, and illustrations pertaining to the early voyages and travels which “discovered” the world. The earliest dates to the 15th century, the latest to the 20th. There is no particular regional focus. You will find items here covering voyages to the south seas, the Americas, the northern passages, and more.

Attempts to locate a Northwest Passage over Canada were frequent, particularly in the 19th century, but earlier, attempts were made to locate a Northeast Passage north of Russia. In both cases, the costs in human life and suffering far outweighed the number of successes. Three times, Dutch explorer William Barents (or Barentsz) led expeditions east by north. In the first voyage of 1594, they reached the western coast of the islands of Novaya Zemlya (Nova Zembla) but were turned back by ice. The second voyage of 1595 was even less successful as a result of an early winter. However, the third voyage of 1596 managed to circle over the northern edge of Novaya Zemlya before the ship was trapped in ice. The crew had no choice but to winter on the desolate, frigid islands. They built a house to protect themselves from hungry polar bears and trapped for food. No trees grow in this bitter cold region, but many from the Siberian mainland do wash up on shore, providing lumber. The following June, using two sloops, the men returned west. Unfortunately, Barents died along the way.

Almost three centuries later, their house was rediscovered and many of the artifacts were returned to the Netherlands. Part of their ship was found in 1980. Novaya Zemlya went on to be the primary nuclear test site of the old Soviet Union. More recently, it has been considered as a nuclear waste repository. And, it wasn’t until 1878-1879 that Swedish explorer Nils Nordenskjold finally succeeded in making it all the way through the Northeast Passage to the other side.

One of those who traveled with Barents was Gerrit de Veer, and he retells the story of these voyages in Vraye Description de Trois Voyages de Mer… This is the first French edition, translated from and published in the same year as the original Dutch, 1598. De Veer is also noted for describing the “Novaya Zemlya Effect” where refraction of light makes a distorted, rectangular-appearing sun visible even after it has set. De Veer’s work is item 164 in this catalogue and is priced at $22,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…
  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions