Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2010 Issue

A Variety of Books from Peter L. Masi

Masi205

The latest from Peter L. Masi Books.


By Michael Stillman

Peter L Masi Books has issued Catalog 205 of almost 500 items on a variety of subjects, the common thread being you won't have to pay much for all but a handful of titles. The catalogue is dominated by $10 and $20 books. Many come from the collection of Marjorie Lemay, who was a Harvard Medical School neuroradiologist who died in 2008. Her collection included many medical works, and her special interests focused on the skull and brain, which in turn led to interests in anthropology, archeology and paleontology, and from there to the art and culture of people of different lands. She was at one time married to Walter Eugene Knox III, a cancer research biochemist, so some of these books were once his, including a number of student Ph.D theses. Masi notes that Lemay did not obtain these books so much for a collection as for the information within, so they may not be considered the most highly collectible of titles yet, but they are priced accordingly. Here are some of the books you will find in the latest group of books from Peter L. Masi.

Medical texts may sound a bit dry for most readers, but fake medicine is always fascinating. Item 304 is Gerald Carson's One for a Man, Two for a Horse: A Pictorial History, Grave & Comic, of Patent Medicines, published in 1961. This look at medicine from a century ago includes many pictures and advertisements for the wonder drugs of another era. Of course, readers may have laughed at the absurdity of the claims back in 1961 even as they purchased Geritol in copious amounts for their "tired blood," its primary ingredient being the same as many of these earlier medications - alcohol. Today, we are more reasonable, rushing to our doctors for a prescription to the latest drug with an invented name as seen on TV. Priced at $10.

From fake medicine we go to fraudulent paleontology: Piltdown: A Scientific Forgery, by Frank Spencer, published in 1990. Piltdown man was a "human" fossil discovered near Piltdown, England, by Charles Dawson. Its jaw was more ape-like, but its brain was large, like a human. To many, it was the "missing link" between apes and humans, showing that our ancestors developed intelligence prior to developing our current diet. However, it was all a fraud. It took 40 years to finally establish the truth (though many were suspicious long before). Someone, likely Dawson, had combined parts of a human skull with an orangutan's jaw, and then filed down the teeth to create this in-between species. Item 74. $10.

Item 328 is a book that combines medicine and art: Robert C. Hinckley and the Recreation of "The First Operation Under Ether." That operation was conducted on October 16, 1846 at Massachusetts General Hospital, and if there is something worse than being the subject of the first operation under ether, it would be being the subject of the last operation without ether. Hinckley reproduced this momentous event on canvas some three decades after it took place, meaning it should not be considered quite as accurate a portrayal as a photograph. Author Richard Wolfe has managed to dig up every imaginable detail about this painting that now hangs in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. $25.

Albert Schweitzer was one of the great humanitarians of the 20th century. Actually, "humanitarian" understates his beliefs. He developed a philosophy known as "Reverence of Life," but for him, "life" meant all life, not just human. The one sure thing, Schweitzer believed, is that we are alive and want to go on living, and that this applies to all life. So, though he understood we must take some life, even if just plants for eating, he felt we should understand what we are doing and not take life needlessly. These values led Schweitzer to the major activity of his life - operating a hospital in a part of Africa where medical care was practically nonexistent during the first half of the 20th century. His reverence saved countless human lives as well as inspiring the environmental movement that began to grow near the end of his life. Item 35 is A Tribute on the Ninetieth Birthday of Albert Schweitzer, celebrated in Boston on January 14, 1965. The great doctor died later that year. $10.

Item 9 is an item that stirs both sadness and irony: The Democratic Republic of Sudan. From a Great Past...to a Peaceful & Industrious Present. That may have been the present circa 1975, but in the years following, the country has been home to some of the most brutal internal conflicts and genocide seen in the world during the past two decades. $15.

Peter L. Masi Books may be reached at 413-367-2628 or masibook@verizon.net.

You will find many of Peter L. Masi's books listed in "Books For Sale" on this site. Click here.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Published Half Plate Ambrotype of a North Carolina Confederate Officer. $2,000 to $4,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two 19th Century Books Pertaining to Canada's Red River Settlement. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two Books With Fore-Edge Paintings of British Architectual Landmarks. $400 to $600
    <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), "Torte a la Dobosch" from <i>Wild Raspberries</i>. $1,000 to $3,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990), <i>Pop Shop II,</i> One Plate screenprint in colors, on wove paper, 1998. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Thomas Rowlandson (British, 1756-1827), Twenty-Two Prints from the <i>Tours of Dr. Syntax</i>. $500 to $1,000
  • <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 Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</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. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000

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