• <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> BROWNING, ELIZABETH BARRETT. Autograph Manuscript Initialed ("E.B.B."), being the working notebook for the poems contained in <i>The Seraphim and Other Poems</i>. $400,000 to 600,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> WILDE, OSCAR. Two leaves, pp 31-34, from the first appearance of <i>The Picture of Dorian Gray in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine for July, 1890</i>, with Wilde's autograph revisions. $40,000 to 60,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories and Tragedies; Published according to the true Originall Copies. Second Impression. [THE SECOND FOLIO.]</i> $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> KENNEDY, JOHN FITZGERALD. Photograph Signed ("John F. Kennedy") and Inscribed, 8 x 10 inch gelatin silver print, of Senator Kennedy and Miss Barelli, at the swearing of the secretarial oath for Miss Barelli. $1,200 to 1,800
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> COOPER, JAMES FENIMORE. Autograph Manuscript, being Chapter XXVII of <i>Afloat and Ashore</i>. $15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> IRVING, WASHINGTON. Autograph Manuscript, being Chapter 20 from Volume IV of <i>The Life of George Washington</i>. $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> VERNE, JULES. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Jules Verne"), being the complete short story "<i>Une fantaisie de docteur Ox</i>". $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> ALCHEMY. <i>[The Crowning of Nature, or Coronatio Naturae.]</i> Original alchemical manuscript on paper, ruled in red, with watermark of the arms of Schieland. $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> DE JODE, CORNELUS. 1568 - 1600. <i>Quivirae Regnu, Cum Alija Versus Borea</i>. [Antwerp: Arnoldum Coninx, 1593]. $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> HOOKER, JOSEPH DALTON. <i>The Rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya; Being an Account, Botanical and Geographical, of the Rhododendrons Recently Discovered in the Mountains of Eastern Himalaya</i>… $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> CATLIN, GEORGE. <i>North American Indian Portfolio. Hunting scenes and amusements of the Rocky Mountains and prairies of America. From drawings and notes of the author, made during eight years' travel.</i> $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. HESLER, ALEXANDER. Platinum print, 8 3/4 x 6 3/4 in, of a beardless Lincoln, 1860.<br>$2,000 to 3,000
  • <b>Now in press: 19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> <i>The First American Magna Carta. English Liberties.</i> Boston, 1721.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Babbage presentation to Peel, the man who killed the Difference Engine 1832
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> The Stamp Act. 1765
    <b>Now in press: 19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Central Park Photographs by Prevost 1862
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Salem Witch Trials. Wonders of the Invisible World 1693
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Mammoth print of Millie-Christine, "The Carolina Twins" c. 1868
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> Single leaf from a paper copy of the Gutenberg Bible, Mainz, 1455, in a copy of Newton's <i>A Noble Fragment</i>. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> Immanuel Kant, <i>Critik der reinen Vernunft</i>, first edition, Riga, 1781. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> Hans Holbein, <i>The Images of the Old Testament</i>, with 94 woodcut illustrations, first edition in English, Lyon, 1549. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> Samuel Johnson, <i>A Dictionary of the English Language</i>, first edition, London, 1755. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b><br>John Milton, <i>Paradise Lost</i>, first edition, London, 1668.<br>$6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> Antonio de Guevara, <i>The Dial of Princes</i>, London, 1568.<br>$3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> <i>Oraciones de los SS. Mysterios Gloriosos y Dolorosos</i>, manuscript in Spanish, Brussels, 1676.<br>$3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b><br>Jan Nieuhoff, et al., <i>An Embassy from the East-India Company... to the Grand Tartar Cham, Emperour of China, </i>London, 1671. 4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> Moses Maimonides, <i>Ha-Higayon... Logica</i>, first edition, Basel, 1527.<br>$800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> Petrus Berchorius, <i>Liber Bibliae moralis</i>, fourth edition of the first volume, Cologne, 1477.<br>$10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> Niccolò Machiavelli, <i>The Florentine Historie</i>, first edition in English, London, 1595. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b><br>Sir Philip Sidney, <i>The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia</i>, third edition, London, 1598. $3,000 to $5,000.
  • <b>Seth Kaller:</b> “America the Beautiful”
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington, Tongue-in-Cheek, Writes James McHenry About His Wife or Mistress—But Funding the Continental Army is the Real Topic
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Young’s Map of the United States
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> President Lincoln & His Most Profitable Client, the Illinois Central Railroad
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Thanks Former Pro-Slavery and Newly Republican Congressman for a Fiery Anti-Slavery Speech at a Philadelphia Campaign Rally
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> “A Visit From St. Nicholas” - great association copy inscribed by Clement C. Moore
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Einstein Agrees to Allow “a Short Book on the Hydrogen Bomb” to Use His Statement Made on Eleanor Roosevelt’s TV Show
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The Building Blocks of Albert Einstein’s Creative Mind
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> A Unique Manuscript Map of Block Island Sound Including Fisher’s and Gardiner’s Islands, the Hamptons, and Montauk Point
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> J.R.R. Tolkien Writes his Proofreader with a Lengthy Discussion of the Lord of the Rings, Including Criticism of Radio Broadcasts of his Work
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Six Benjamin Franklin Signed Receipts – Including his Earliest Obtainable Autograph — Acknowledging a Donation to the Famous Library Company He Founded, and Five Payments for His Pennsylvania Gazette
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Sherman Dishes on Lincoln & Thomas, Meade, Sheridan, Halleck & Grant

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - August - 2015 Issue

FEET OF CLAY: Harper Lee and/or Atticus Finch? "Go Set A Watchman" sells over a million copies its first week

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GO SET A WATCHMAN, a 2nd novel by Harper Lee, sold more than a million copies in July 2015 during its first week of issue.

Whoever said "There are no second acts in American literature," was not working for the marketing department of Harper Collins which released "Go Set a Watchman" on July 14. The publisher introduced it as a second novel by Harper Lee, whose first (and until last month only) book, "To Kill a Mockingbird," was published by Lippincott in 1960. Mockingbird went on to win a Pulitzer Prize and become an American classic: widely taught in the schools and selling millions of copies in dozens of languages over more than fifty years.

 

The newly issued second novel was touted as sort of prequel to Mockingbird. Said to have been written in the late 1950s when Lee, now almost 90, was a young unknown writer - it was supposedly her authentic voice unmediated by editing. Or so the story went.

 

It turns out that the two books share a few characters and a similar setting. Beyond that they have little in common. But you had to buy a copy to find that out and a lot of people wanted to know. By July 20 according to Publishers Weekly some 1.1 million copies had been sold, more than half of the first printing - estimated at 2 million copies, and Harper Collins had ordered a second printing of over a million more.

 

Though perhaps Mockingbird was not then and is not now great literature, it is one of the few novels of the last half century to have been fondly and consistently read, admired and discussed by readers in America and around the word. It's central characters are the young girl Scout and her father Atticus, a small town southern lawyer. The other characters both white and black are vividly drawn and tell a story that readers found dramatic and moving focusing on the controversial issues of race and justice. It is a novel that earned a warm place in the affections of millions of readers and was followed in 1962 by a well received film of the same name starring Gregory Peck.

 

According to most sources the manuscript for Mockingbird was rejected by ten publishers before Lippincott saw a glimmer in the prose and suggested recasting the original adult viewpoint to a story told through the eyes of a child and moving the time period from the 1950s to 1930s Depression era America. And the rest, as they say, is history.

 

There are multiple versions of how the manuscript for the second book Go Set a Watchman came to the attention of the publisher. One is that it languished in some bank vault as a work of juvenalia, until (Ta-dah!) some enterprising soul (wouldn’t you know it a lawyer) found it and Lee in her old age was then convinced that it was worthy of publication.

 

Not a good idea.

 

This is truly a dreadful book. It casts Atticus in a much darker light, warts out with racial biases that may have been hinted at before but were largely unexpected. But more importantly it’s slow moving, boring, stilted and as the Boston Globe put it “has more characters than a Russian novel.” It is so bad that one can not help but wonder if Harper Lee really wrote Mockingbird herself or if she had more than a little un-credited help from her editors and friends to tighten it up?

 

Harper Lee, known in her childhood as Nelle, was next door neighbors with Truman Capote. Capote was the model for the character Dill in TKMB, he is by most accounts a likely suspect, though others say that theory of Capote as the ghost was long ago discredited.

 

But it's not as if you need us at Rare Book Hub to tell you all this -- every reviewer and publication on the planet has weighed in on Watchman including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, Boston Globe, New Republic, New Yorker, Bloomberg's as well as a broad contingent from the scholarly and archival world. Haven't heard enough? Facebook feeds and the bookseller listservs were filled with the kind of buzz that points directly to the cash register.

 

At best this volume is a footnote to Lee's literary reputation and might have one day served as dissertation material for some worthy English major. But in the hands of Harper Collins it has become a monetary bonanza of rare and vast proportion and will likely remain so until the word filters out that it is not a very good read.

 

If you haven't read or don't admire Mockingbird you will absolutely put this novel down and leave it unread. In the end the reputation that suffers is not Atticus Finch; the reputation most likely to be damaged is Harper Lee.

 

Many have speculated that the reason Lee became so distant and withdrawn after the first book's initial success (and why there were no sequels or other books written) was she knew it was more of a collaborative effort than entirely her own work. If it really wasn't her own, it would make perfect sense that she became acutely reluctant to be in the spotlight. It is well known that she returned to Alabama where she kept a low profile for a very long time.

 

That said, a great many people (including your friend here at the Hub) couldn't wait to buy and read Watchman and breathlessly report back that it's a dud. I’d put the long term projected value of this second volume at about 99 cents, and the remainder tables will not be far behind.

 

Among those commenting on Watchman was Karla Nielsen, Curator of Literature at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University . She wrote to her colleagues on one of the academic listservs: "As many readers ... will have followed, Tonja Carter's statement 'How I Found the Harper Lee Manuscript' in the Wall Street Journal .... raising questions about the sequence of events that led to Harper Collins's decision to publish Go Set a Watchman. Over the last four months, many of the reporters following that story have come through the Columbia University Rare Book & Manuscript reading room to take a look at the papers of Annie Laurie Williams and Maurice Crain, Nelle Lee's literary agents in the 1950s and 1960s." (A link to the Columbia blog post appears at the end of this Rare Book Hub article. It summarizes some of the debates and includes images and an interpretation of some of the documents in question.)

 

One comment on a listserv populated mainly by book dealers was fairly typical of how older readers viewed the shift in point of view: "From the perspective of the narrative, one must remember that Mockingbird is told from the perspective of a child while Watchman recounts the thinking of an adult. I have had a similar experience. I idolized my parents for their stands on perspective issues of the 60s and 70s. Nevertheless, as an adult I began to learn of my mother's classist attitudes. She supported the civil rights and liberal political candidates. Nevertheless, she wanted a society ‘where people know their place in life.’ One could argue the same revelation came to Scout.”

 

Also on a listserv Henry Salerno, a New England book dealer, wrote: "Isn't the point of it all that - Go Set The Watchman - was a failure of a novel and that's why editor Tay Hohoff worked with Harper Lee so fervently to transform it into To Kill a Mockingbird? I can see the reasoning to publish it as a large literary footnote to elaborate on the back story of how a masterpiece came to be. Sort the recounting of the making a silk purse out of sow's ear. However, this could be a wonderful valuable lesson or not. I mean, does the knowledge of how sausage is made add to the enjoyment of eating sausage?”

 

As for Atticus, Nick Basbanes, himself a writer of some reputation wrote on his Facebook page, "The idea that this is the same Atticus Finch through another lens is absurd. He's not a real person, he's a work of the imagination, and he evolved through the creative process to what he became in TKAM. The book that's out there is a variant, plain and simple, should have gone to a research collection somewhere ..... The fact that it was rejected by 10 publishers speaks volumes. She went back to work, toiled tirelessly, and produced a masterpiece. This is shameful, really, what they have done to her. I think her book, however, will endure. "

 

No matter what happens to Watchman the future of Mockingbird, which comes in multiple incarnations and anniversary editions, special bindings and so forth seems much more secure in both the literary and financial sense.

 

Looking at the Rare Book Hub 100 most recent book auction records dating back to the year 2009 there is a high of over $18,000 for a 1960 first edition sold in 2009 to a low of $11.75 for a book club edition in 2013 -- and everything in between. As usual, factors such as inscription, signature and accompanying documentation also influence the prices realized. Reaching a little farther back an inscribed copy including a signed letter to editor William Targ brought $22,400 in 2004 while the highest price shown in the RBH records was for an inscribed copy which sold in 2005 for $45,600.

 

Points for Watchman

“First Edition” printed on copyright page

Year line 15 16 17 18 19 followed by number line 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

DJ price $27.99/ Canada $34.99

DJ flap date 0715

 

LINKS

Here are some interesting links to commentary on the recent publication of Go Set a Watchman

 

Watchman-Columbia University blog post link

blogs.cul.columbia.edu/rbml/2015/07/14/go-set-a-watchman-in-the-papers-of-harper-lees-literary-agents/

 

Lawyer for Harper Lee Describes the Discovery of Watchman manuscript

www.wsj.com/articles/lawyer-for-harper-lee-describes-discovery-of-watchman-manuscript-1436759855

 

New York Times hints at another book yet to come

www.nytimes.com/2015/07/14/business/media/a-new-account-of-watchmans-origin-and-hints-of-a-third-book.html

 

Our favorite review in Boston Globe-Watchman more characters than a Russian novel:

www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/south/2015/07/16/kill-masterpiece/dOxnpzrkz8Sxwp72HTAdvO/story.html

 

Mockingbird: Who helped Harper Lee, July 2010 - the 50th anniversary year in Newsweek

www.newsweek.com/who-helped-harper-lee-mockingbird-74261

 

High School student reviews Watchman - the doodles tell the story

grantland.com/hollywood-prospectus/a-high-school-book-report-on-harper-lees-go-set-a-watchman/

 

Monroe Freedman - Lawyer who thought Atticus Finch was racist as far back as 1990s

scholarlycommons.law.hofstra.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1223&context=faculty_scholarship

 

Similar link to Malcolm Gladwell's 2009 long essay in The New Yorker challenging Atticus' hero status

www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/08/10/the-courthouse-ring

 

We are all Atticus Finch

www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-chaltain/dear-white-people-we-are_b_7785574.html

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b><br>SAXTON, Christopher. <i>The Travellers Guide being the best Mapp of the Kingdom of England and Principality of Wales</i>. London, [1583, but c.1716].
    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b><br>VISSCHER, Claes Jansz. <i>Novissima et Accuratissima Leonis Belgici</i>. Amsterdam, Claes Jansz Visscher, [1611-1621 or later].
    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b> PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius. <i>Decima Asie Tabula</i>. Ulm, Lienhart Holle, 16 July 1482.
    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b><br>WIT, Frederick de, and Gerard VALK. <i>Orbis Terrarum Nova et Accurata Tabula</i>. Amsterdam, Gerard Valk, [c.1690-1700].
    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b><br>APIANUS, Petrus. <i>Astronomicum Caesareum</i>. Ingolstadt, Peter Apian, 1540.
    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b><br>CASSINI, Jean-Dominique. <i>Carte de la Lune</i>. Paris, Jean-Dominique Cassini, 1787.
    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b> PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius. <i>Geographicae enarrationis libri octo</i>. Argentoragi, 1525.
    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b><br>[SAXTON, Christopher]. <i> [An Atlas of England and Wales]</i>. [London, Christopher Saxton, 1579].
    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b> Commission des sciences et arts d'Egypte. <i>Description de l’Égypte</i>… Paris, Imprimerie impériale - Imprimerie royale, 1809-1828.
    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b> CHURCHMAN, John. <i>To George Washington President of the United States of America this Magnetic Atlas or Variation Chart is humbly inscribed by John Churchman</i>. Philadelphia, 1790.
    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b><br>APIANUS, Petrus. <i>Tipus Orbis Universalis</i>. Vienna, Johannes Camertius, 1520.
    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b><br>LORIOT, A[uguste], [after] Nicolas LANE. <i>[Pocket globe]</i>. London, 65 New Bond Street, 1809.
    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b><br>BLAEU, Johannes. <i>Grooten Atlas</i>. Amsterdam, Joan Blaeu, 1662-1665.
    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b><br>INGEBORG BRUN, Emmy. <i>Mars efter Lowell’s Glober 1894-1914</i>. Denmark, [c1915].
    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b><br>LUTHER, Martin. <i>Der vierde Teil aller Bücher vnd Schrifften des thewren seligen Mans</i>. Gedruckt zu Jhena, Durch Christian Rödinger, 1556.
  • <b>Lawbook Exchange:</b> Lawbook Exchange. Trials for Murder, Robbery, Burglary, Rapes, Sodomy... 4 vols. London, 1764. See at the 2017 NY ABAA Book Fair Booth C-22
    <b>Lawbook Exchange:</b> An Enquiry Concerning the Liberty, And Licentiousness of the Press. New York, 1801. See at the 2017 NY ABAA Book Fair Booth C-22
    <b>Lawbook Exchange:</b> Tavern Licence Granted to John Swan by Mayor James Duane, 1789. See at the 2017 NY ABAA Book Fair Booth C-22
    <b>Lawbook Exchange:</b> First edition of Story's, Commentaries on the Constitution. 3 vols. Boston, 1833. See at the 2017 NY ABAA Book Fair Booth C-22
    <b>Lawbook Exchange:</b> Manuscript Law Dictionary. Repertorium Universale, Amandola, Italy, c.1750. See at the 2017 NY ABAA Book Fair Booth C-22
    <b>Lawbook Exchange:</b> Magna Carta. London, 1556. See at the 2017 NY ABAA Book Fair Booth C-22
    <b>Lawbook Exchange:</b> Hemard. Code Civil, in an extraordinary binding. See at the 2017 NY ABAA Book Fair Booth C-22
    <b>Lawbook Exchange:</b> Two Accounts of the Murder of Mr. John Hayes. London, 1726. See at the 2017 NY ABAA Book Fair Booth C-22
    <b>Lawbook Exchange:</b> Robinson, Boardman. Mr Justice Precedent. 1914. See at the 2017 NY ABAA Book Fair Booth C-22
    <b>Lawbook Exchange:</b> Five volumes of Italian Legal Code in miniature. Turin: Fratelli Bocca, 1901-1903. See at the 2017 NY ABAA Book Fair Booth C-22
    <b>Lawbook Exchange:</b> Tartagni. Alexander de Imola in Prima(m) (et) Secunda(m)... Venice, 1514. In a contemporary chained binding. See at the 2017 NY ABAA Book Fair Booth C-22
    <b>Lawbook Exchange:</b> Catalogue 85. Recently Acquired Books, Manuscripts & Ephemera

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