• <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>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers: The Adventure & Exploration Library of Steve Fossett. October 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> SHACKLETON, Ernest Henry, Sir. <i>Aurora Australis. Printed at the Winter Quarters of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907, During the Winter Months of April, May, June, July, 1908.</i> $60,000 to $80,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> HUMBOLDT, Alexander von, and Aime J. A. BONPLAND. <i>Vues des Cordillères, et monumens des peuples indigènes de l'Amérique.</i> Paris, 1810. $30,000 to $40,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> COOK, James, Captain. [Collected Voyages]. London: Strahan and Cadell, 1773, 1777, 1784. First editions of the second and third voyages. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers: The Adventure & Exploration Library of Steve Fossett. October 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> DARWIN, Charles. <i>A Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle, between the years 1826 and 1836.</i> $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> SPILBERGEN, Joris van (1568-1620). <i>Speculum orientalis occidentalisque Indiae navigationum.</i> Leiden: Nicolaus van Geelkercken, 1619. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> DRAKE, Francis, Sir. <i>Sir Francis Drake Revived. Who is or may be a Pattern to stirre up all Heroicke and active Spirits of these Times…</i> London, 1653 [i.e. 1652]. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers: The Adventure & Exploration Library of Steve Fossett. October 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> SHACKLETON, Ernest Henry, Sir, Louis C. BERNACCHI, and Apsley George Benet CHERRY-GARRARD, editors. The South Polar Times. London, 1907-1914. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> ANSON, George. <i>A Voyage round the World, In the Years 1740...</i> 1744. London: John and Paul Knapton for the author, 1748. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> HERRERA Y TORDESILLAS, Antonio de. <i>Description des Indes Occidentales, Qu'on appelle aujourdhuy Le Nouveau Monde...</i> Amsterdam: Michel Colin, 1622. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers: The Adventure & Exploration Library of Steve Fossett. October 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> NOORT, Olivier van. <i>Description du Penible Voyage fait entour de l'univers ou globe terrestre...</i> Amsterdam: Cornille Nicolas, 1610. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> LEO AFRICANUS, Johannes. <i>A Geographical Historie of Africa, Written in Arabicke and Italian.</i> London: George Bishop, 1600. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> SCHOUTEN, Willem Corneliszoon. <i>Journal ou Description du Merveilleux Voyage de Guillaume Schouten, Hollandois natif de Hoorn, fait es années 1615, 1616, & 1617.</i> 1619. $4,000 to $6,000
  • <center><b>William Bunch Auctions<br>October Fine Art and Prints<br>October 29, 2018</b>
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> Aegidius Sadeler (Flemish, 1570-1629), engraving on laid paper "Madonna and Child in a Landscape", after a drawing by Albrecht Durer. $800 to $1,200
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860-1920), drypoint etching on paper "On Hemso Island", 1917, pencil signed. $400 to $600
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> Joseph Pennell (American, 1860-1926), etching on paper "Setting Up Columns", pencil signed. $200 to $300
    <center><b>William Bunch Auctions<br>October Fine Art and Prints<br>October 29, 2018</b>
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> William Lee Hankey (British, 1869-1952), drypoint etching on paper "Affection", pencil signed. $200 to $300
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> William Walcot (English, 1874-1943), drypoint etching on paper "Lower Broadway, New York", 1924, pencil signed. $200 to $300
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> Auguste Brouet (French, 1872-1941), color etching "La Pirouette", pencil signed, ed 111/250. $400 to $600
    <center><b>William Bunch Auctions<br>October Fine Art and Prints<br>October 29, 2018</b>
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975), lithograph on paper "The Boy", pencil signed. $2,000 to $3,000
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> John Stockton de Martelly (American, 1903-1979), lithograph on paper "Looking at the Sunshine", pencil signed, original AAA certificate. $400 to $600
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> Jacques Hnizdovsky (Ukrainian-American, 1915-1985), woodcut on paper "Moppet", pencil signed and dated 1965, ed 118/250. $400 to $600
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Kurt Vonnegut, archive of 12 letters, signed to his family, 6 illustrated, 1930s-40s. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Allen Ginsberg, 11 autograph manuscripts, including 10 drafts of poems & a page of notes, circa 1948. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Joan Miró, illustrated autograph note signed to MoMA Director of Exhibitions & Publications, 1959. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Carl Gustav Jung, typed letter signed to a colleague, 1948. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Gustav Mahler, ALS, arranging a meeting during his historic visit to New York, circa 1908. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Mark Twain, ALS, explaining the target of his new book, 1902. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Charles Dickens, ALS, accepting an invitation in the voice of a <i>Martin Chuzzlewit</i> character, 1843. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Jacob Lawrence, illustrated greeting card signed, 1960. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Robert E. Lee, ALS, to the colonel of the Kanawha Valley volunteers, boosting morale, 1861. $15,000 to $25,000

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2017 Issue

Dear Mrs. Trump – A Librarian's Snarky Attack on the First Lady and Dr. Seuss Not a Great Moment in Library Science

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Of what race was the Cat in the Hat? Black? White? Feline?

A Massachusetts librarian managed to deliver an embarrassing blow to what was presumably her cause, tolerance and racial justice, with one of the more inept public attacks you will ever see. Her obvious target was the President, fair game for criticism, but instead attacked his wife and an American icon, Dr. Seuss.

 

It all started harmlessly enough. First Lady Melania Trump sent out a letter in honor of National Read a Book Day. In it, the First Lady emphasized the importance of reading and noted she was recognizing a school in each state that "achieved high standards of excellence." In Massachusetts, the school selected was Cambridgeport Elementary School in Cambridge. Along with the recognition each school would receive ten books, all by the wondrous Dr. Seuss.

 

Reading is a good, thoroughly noncontroversial cause. It's the type most First Ladies have settled upon. Laura Bush was a heavy promoter of reading. This was not enough for Ms. Soeiro, who in the name of sensitivity issued a most insensitive reply online, one mercilessly picked up by the press across the nation. After beginning with a sarcastic comment about how "expensive" it must have been to send the books by second-day air, she went on to lecture the First Lady on ethnic diversity, socioeconomic status, gender, differing abilities, per pupil spending, free all-day kindergarten, white supremacy and the miserable policies of the Secretary of Education, whom Mrs. Trump did not appoint. She pointed to libraries in inner city schools being closed, not a problem in this wealthy Boston area community that is home to Harvard University. She exclaimed that her school did not have a "NEED" for these books, undoubtedly true, but ten books with the First Lady's seal is evidently more like an award certificate than an attempt to build a library.

 

If this wasn't bad enough, Ms. Soeiro then proceeded to lambaste Dr. Seuss. She explains to the First Lady something I did not know either - "You may not be aware of this, but Dr. Seuss is a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature." Those are fighting words. I don't think it's Dr. Seuss who is the tired cliché here. The good doctor was beloved not only by me but my children as well. If today children don't appreciate him, which I cannot believe, then they are missing the most important part of their young lives – childhood. He did more to get children to read then probably anyone else on earth. Perhaps if Ms. Soeiro had to endure Dick and Jane as a child in school she would better appreciate just how wonderful this man was.

 

The librarian then continues, "Another fact that many people are unaware of is that Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes. Open one of his books (If I Ran a [sic – the] Zoo or And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, for example), and you’ll see the racist mockery in his art." No longer possessing those books myself, I would go to the library to check them out and see, but either they got rid of them, or it must be a racist institution I wouldn't want to patronize. She cites a book entitled Was the Cat in the Hat black and another titled Is the Cat in the Hat Racist? The answer is of course he was. After all, he wears a top hat, bow tie, and white gloves. What could be more racist than that? Never mind that Abe Lincoln wore a top hat, Bill Nye a bow tie, and Mickey Mouse white gloves. Apparently, these are indicia of blackface minstrel shows. Still, I think I would be less offended by someone wearing a top hat than by someone saying the Cat in the Hat looks like people of my race. He barely even resembles someone of the feline race let alone the human race. And he wore whiteface.

 

Now Dr. Seuss, like all of us, was a product of his times. George Washington owned slaves, Abraham Lincoln did not free the slaves until three years into the Civil War, one Roosevelt was an imperialist, the other interred the Japanese. All were ahead of their time in terms of humane and compassionate sentiments, but they were not perfect. So should we smugly condemn them for failing to meet today's standards? You can be certain that our descendants, 100 years from now, could similarly condemn us for behavior we do not even see as wrong from the vantage point in which we live. Seuss was actually way ahead of his time in terms of being progressive and tolerant, and a bizarre target for a thinly veiled attack on President Trump. In the days before the Second World War, he churned out many cartoons forcefully attacking the original "America First" movement. This despite the pro-Nazi movement being concentrated with ethnic Germans, just like Theodore Seuss Geisel himself. Seuss did not see Nazi sympathizers as "fine people." Believe me.

 

He was not only sympathetic to Jews, he was to African-Americans. That leads us to a specific criticism. In the 1930s, before writing his books, he did some advertising drawings which depicted Africans in a stereotypical, demeaning manner. That was common in his day and even black entertainers of the era performed in ways that would be considered demeaning today. Mulberry Street depicts a Chinese man in stereotypical dress with a set of chopsticks, and this has led to calls to remove a mural containing this image from the Seuss Museum. But, even when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, Irish comedians still played drunkards, Italians gangsters. When boys and girls played doctor and nurse, the boys were always the doctor, the girls the nurse. Were we all misogynists? By today's standards, yes, but none of us, girls included, saw anything wrong. It took the women's movement to open our eyes to understanding the subtle harm to the stereotypes we were unconsciously promoting. People need to be judged within the context of their times.

 

Dr. Seuss did have one blind spot for which criticism is fair. During the war years, he let his anger at Japan spill over to unfair attacks on Japanese Americans. He portrayed them as disloyal and supported their internment, one of America's darker episodes. Of course, so did Franklin Roosevelt, a very progressive President, and many other Americans, caught up in the hysteria of war. He should have known better. Even in those times, that was too far, though in the 1950s, when boys played war games, we were still fighting the "Japs." Seuss' attitude toward the Japanese slowly evolved, and a decade later he visited Japan and dedicated his 1954 book, Horton Hears a Who!, to a Japanese friend. That is a book whose message is steeped in tolerance, just as The Lorax presents a powerful environmental message. Perhaps unlike some of today's pro-diversity books, Dr. Seuss may have imparted that message in a way that better reached the young, as he also entertained them and encouraged their imaginations to run wild. Dr. Seuss was a good man who changed with the times. Do not denigrate him.

 

Returning to Melania Trump's books, it should be noted that the Cambridge school system quickly issued a message saying that while Ms. Soeiro had a right to express her views, the decision on whether to accept or reject the books was not hers to make. As for Mrs. Trump herself, she seems to be a decent and well-meaning lady. She did not grow up in America and probably does not understand all the nuances of our culture and politics. I grew up here and I haven't mastered them all. It undoubtedly never occurred to her that giving some books out as a reward to high performing schools could somehow be construed as evil. If this was an opportunity to point out the greater needs of poorer schools, that could have been done with a helpful, respectful reply, not a snarky one. If Mrs. Trump doesn't understand all the nuances of American sensitivity, she has spent her years here with a husband who probably doesn't teach sensitivity all that well. If a day goes by where he doesn't say something to offend me, I worry that he has taken ill. Attack her husband all you like, leave the family alone. Instead of helping the cause of tolerance, you set it up for ridicule. That is not helpful. Liz Phipps Soeiro, will you please go now.


Posted On: 2017-11-25 14:43
User Name: jklaw77

Michael, to answer one point of yours: my 8 and 10 year old kids love and appreciate Dr Seuss (along with millions of their contemporaries I am sure!)--John Kirsner


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams: Sale Results from <i>Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I.</i> September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25 results:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. Sold for $97,500
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25 results:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. Sold for $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25 results:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. Sold for $87,50
    <b>Bonhams: Sale Results from <i>Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I.</i> September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25 results:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. Sold for $8,750
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25 results:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. Sold for $37,500
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25 results:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25 results:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. Sold for $6,875
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25 results:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. Sold for $3,750
  • <center><b> The Library of Pierre Bergé<br>Auction Pierre Bergé & Associés<br>in association with Sotheby’s<br>Paris-Hôtel Drout<br>December 14, 2018<br><br>New York Exhibition<br>Oct. 16 to Oct. 20</b>
    <b>The Library of Pierre Bergé, NY exhibition 10/16 to 10/20:</b> BARTHOLOMEUS ANGLICUS. <i>Le Proprietaire des choses.</i> Lyon, [circa 1484]. 150 000 / 200 000 €
    <b>The Library of Pierre Bergé, NY exhibition 10/16 to 10/20:</b> MONTAIGNE, Michel de. <i>Essais.</i> Bordeaux, 1580. 400 000 / 500 000 €
    <b>The Library of Pierre Bergé, NY exhibition 10/16 to 10/20:</b> PROUST, Marcel. <i>Du côté de chez Swann.</i> Paris, 1914 [1913]. 600 000 / 800 000 €
    <b>The Library of Pierre Bergé, NY exhibition 10/16 to 10/20:</b> MONSTRELET, Enguerrand de. <i>Le Premier [-Tiers] Volume des Cronicques.</i> Paris, circa 1503.<br>300 000 / 400 000 €

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