Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2004 Issue

John Waite Rare Books<br>Offers

0913

Books and Ephemera from John Waite Rare Books


By Michael Stillman

Vermont bookseller John Waite Rare Books is offering an eclectic collection of "Books & Ephemera" in their recently released tenth catalogue. While some of the material reflects their northern New England location, there are also items you can't help but wonder how they made their way to Vermont. Perhaps it is because Vermont has long been a vacation spot or place for second homes. Here are a few of the items Waite is offering.

Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams had an on-again off-again friendship over the course of their lives. They were best of friends early in Capote's career and at one point sailed together from Europe to America. Waite quotes from Williams' writings, "In those days Truman was about the best companion you could want. He had not turned bitchy. Well, he had not turned maliciously bitchy." However, in later years, when Capote turned "maliciously bitchy," Capote would depict Williams, in Waite's description, as "a washed-up, self-pitying, and neurotic drunk." So it is interesting to see Capote's Music for Chameleons, in which he dedicates the book to Williams. It was published in 1980, nearing the end of both authors' lives. This copy is signed both by Capote on the title page and Williams on the dedication page. Item 23. Priced at $2,500.

Item 13 is an interesting undated slavery related item from the 1850s. It is a song sheet for a piece called "Pretty Dilly Burn." It is a song supposedly presented through the voice of a male slave (though lyricist George Meeser was undoubtedly a white northerner). It retells how slavery breaks up a beautiful romance between two slaves, but in the end, they are brought back together through the goodness of the singer's kind master. Exactly what this strange connection of good and evil was meant to say in this era when the nation was becoming polarized by slavery is not clear. In the song, the singer, treated well by his master, falls in love with Dilly Burn, overworked by hers. Then one day, Dilly Burn's master sells her "for a paltry sum of gold," and the two are parted. The singer becomes despondent, his master asks why, and he explains. His kindly owner responds by buying Dilly so the two can be together. The song closes with "And now we're happy in our cot, and massa's pleased to see, How two fond hearts that truly love, tho' black, can happy be." The complete lyrics to this song and an image of the song sheet can be found on the Library of Congress website at http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/S?ammem/amss:@field(TITLE+@od1(Pretty+Dilly+Burn++Andrews,+Printer,+38+Chatham+Street,+N++Y++[n++d+])). $400.

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.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions