Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2010 Issue

Travel Books from Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books

Shaperotravel2010

Travel books from Bernard J. Shapero.


By Michael Stillman

Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books has published a catalogue of Travel 2010. The date is for the catalogue, not the travels, as these are primarily books from a time when travel was accomplished without the benefit of engines. Sails, animals, and feet were the primary modes of transportation. The catalogue is divided into four sections: Africa, America/Asia/Pacific, Mediterranean to the Himalayas, and Europe. They even manage to sneak some polar explorations in here, though they don't entirely fit one of those categories. These are overwhelmingly European-centric in the sense that most were journeys begun in Europe and represented expansion of knowledge of the world from the point of view of the natives of that continent. Here are a few of these 363 books of travels around the world.

This is one of those Arctic adventures: Farthest North. The Norwegian Polar Expedition, 1893-1896, by Fridtjof Nansen (1897 first edition in English). Nansen was hopeful of being the first to reach the North Pole. He concluded that the Arctic sea ice flowed on the ocean, so his aim was to get his ship frozen in the ice and ride it over the Pole. He had his ship, the Fram, especially built to withstand the extreme pressure of the packed ice. Instead of being monumentally strong, it was designed to slide up with the pressure, almost riding on top of the ice. While Nansen's theory was basically correct, once frozen in and moving, he realized the ice was not going to take him over the Pole. So, he and Hjalmar Johansen set out on foot. They were not able to reach the North Pole, though they did get farther north than anyone before. Nansen and Johansen were not able to find their way back to the ship, but later did find a British expedition, and both they and the Fram eventually made it home. The Fram was later used to carry Roald Amundsen's expedition to Antarctica, the first to reach the South Pole. Item 205. Priced at £135 (British pounds, or roughly $215 in U.S. dollars).

James Bruce made an early attempt to find the elusive source of the Nile River, which he described in Travels to discover the source of the Nile, in the years 1768...1773, published in 1790. Bruce had to learn the language and customs of the locals to make his journey in Abyssinia, where he believed the source would be found. Bruce did make it to the headwaters of the Blue Nile, but most consider the White Nile to be the main river, so credit for finding the true source would have to wait almost another century. Item 10. £7,750 (US $12,344).

The source would finally be discovered on an expedition led by Richard Burton, though Burton did not believe it. Item 15 is an 1860 first edition of Burton's The lakes regions of Central Africa. A picture of exploration. Both Burton and John Speke became very ill on this journey. Though temporarily blinded, Speke was able to travel farther, and discovered Lake Victoria. He believed it to be the source of the Nile; Burton did not. Burton attacks Speke's conclusion in this book, though Speke proved to be right. £1,500 (US $2,390).

Speke would confirm his beliefs in a second expedition, without Burton, in 1862. This he recounted in his 1864 book, What led to the discovery of the source of the Nile. Even at that point Burton was not convinced, and the two were scheduled to debate when Speke died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound that morning. Whether it was accidental or intentional is uncertain. Item 106. £3,250 (US $5,178).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <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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