Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2004 Issue

Interesting and Unusual Americana from<br>David M. Lesser Antiquarian Books

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Before Microsoft, even before Boeing, there was a Seattle. Most people don’t know this but it is true. Item 66 from J.W. Dodge is A Wonderful City, Leading All Others in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and British Columbia: Seattle… The folks in Spokane, Portland, Helena, Boise and Vancouver may not agree with the premise, but this work is based on “authentic information,” and who can argue with that? Published in 1890. $375. Another 1890 promotional for Seattle can be found in Frederick Grant’s Washington the Evergreen State and Seattle Its Metropolis. Item 84. $375.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black, the New York Herald published The Cipher Dispatches… in 1879, claiming these coded telegraphs showed that Samuel Tilden tried to buy the electors’ votes in the 1876 election eventually awarded to Rutherford B. Hayes. Certainly it’s odd to think that Tilden was trying to buy the election when in fact he won it, only to have it stolen from him. Item 196. $175.

Which song still sung today was introduced to us in 1831 in Juvenile Lyre: or Hymns and Songs, Religious, Moral, and Cheerful, Set to Appropriate Music? The answer is “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” This piece by Sarah Josepha Hale had been introduced the previous year as a poem, but this is its first appearance as a song. Of course my kids now sing it as “Mary had a little lamb, a little pork, a little ham, and a side of mashed potatoes.” Ms. Hale probably wouldn’t be amused. Item 85. $500.

I don’t know if there were any ulterior motives to John Aiken’s Labor and Wages…, published in the manufacturing city of Lowell, Massachusetts, but the 1849 date is interesting. In it Aiken claims that the wages of labor are increasing. “In no other country has labor been so well remunerated as here,” he says. It is interesting because the “humanitarian” argument being made for slavery at the time was that the southern slaves were better off than the white mill workers of the North, even if the latter were free. This piece would seem to repudiate the high-ground argument for slavery. Item 2. $125.

We’ll close with a topical item considering the recently concluded Tour de France bicycle race. Incidentally, according to a TV report I recently saw, most children, when asked to name the first man to walk on the moon, answered “Lance Armstrong.” Anyway, item 21 is an 1896 directory for bicycles. It is Artman’s Cycle Trade Directory of the United States and Canada… $500.

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books is located on the internet at www.lesserbooks.com and can be reached by phone at 203-389-8111.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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 Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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