Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2010 Issue

A Miscellany including Printing History, Bibliography, from Michael Thompson Books

Thompson94

101 books from Michael Thompson Books.


By Michael Stillman

Michael Thompson Books has published a Spring Miscellany Consisting of 100 or So Books, Mostly Recent Acquisitions, including a large selection of titles on printing history and bibliography. We can be even more specific. There are exactly 101 books in this catalogue. Otherwise, we will go with Thompson's description as it stands. However, we will add a few examples of the books being offered.

Item 18 is A List of the Writings of Lewis Carroll (Charles L. Dodgson) in the Library at Dormy House, Pine Valley, New Jersey (1928) along with A Supplementary List... (1933). One would not necessarily expect to find the finest collection of Carroll material in New Jersey, but that is where it was in the 1930s (and mostly still is, now at the Princeton Library, to which it was willed in 1944). Dormy House was the home of Morris Longstreth Parrish, a businessman and stockbroker, obviously quite successful if not well remembered today. He put together major collections from Victorian novelists, Carroll being one of them. His collection would expand a few years later when Parrish acquired the mathematical manuscript collection of Professor Dodgson, that being Carroll's real name and primary occupation when he was not writing his novels. An aged Alice Hargreaves, the Alice of Carroll's writings, stayed at Dormy House in 1935 on a trip to America to celebrate the author's 100th birthday (a bit late). Parrish left not only his book collection, but also the furnishings of Dormy House when he died in 1944 so that its main room could be recreated in the Princeton Library. This copy of his bibliography (only 66 were printed) has been inscribed to Dickens bibliographer Thomas Hatton. Priced at $2,000.

We will now transition from the collection at Princeton University to one of its first presidents, Jonathan Edwards. Edwards was a great mind and one of America's foremost theologians, most associated with the First Great Awakening in the 18th century. His preaching was a bit to the fire and brimstone side compared to mainline religion today, and even then, he could be controversial. What may not be as well remembered about him is that he had a deep interest in science, believing that it displayed God's rules, rather than contradicting them. Of particular interest to Edwards were spiders, though I have no idea why. Item 35 is Edwards' Spider Letter, published in 2009 (two and a half centuries after he died). Written in 1723 to Judge Paul Dudley, a friend of his father, the young Edwards discusses arachnids, a subject that fascinated him as a youth. $475.

Item 16 is the great work of the Spanish scientist Santiago Ramon y Cajal: Textura del sistema nervioso del hombre y de los vertebrados. It is a look at the nervous system of vertebrates. It was Cajal who discovered the basic structures of the nervous system, neurons or nerve cells. He then studied how they interacted, recognizing the presence of small gaps, or synapses between the cells. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1906 for his discoveries. This rare first edition of his book, two volumes with hundreds of original illustrations, was published in 1899-1904. $25,000.

Francis Parkman's account of The California and Oregon Trail remains the most noted book about this region from the early days of travel across it, though Parkman did not get farther than Wyoming on his journey. This Boston Brahmin was an excellent storyteller as well as adventurer, though his descriptions of the savages at times display his ethnocentric opinions. Offered is a first edition, second printing of this notable work, along with a letter from Parkman to fellow writer William Leete Stone. $6,500.

Item 81 is an intriguing item for booksellers and collectors: Slightly Foxed - but Still Desirable: Ronald Searle's wicked world of Book Collecting, published in 1989. This is one of 150 specially bound copies signed by Searle. It is a compilation of cartoons depicting various bookseller's terms, such as "cracked, but holding," "neat underlining," and "a little dog-eared but otherwise acceptable." $950.

Michael Thompson Books may be reached at 323-658-1901 or mrtbksla@pacbell.net. Their website is www.mrtbooksla.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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>

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