Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2010 Issue

Nautical Books from the Columbia Trading Co.

Columbia148

Nautical works from the Columbia Trading Co.


By Michael Stillman

The Columbia Trading Company of West Barnstable, Massachusetts, has issued its Catalog 148 of Nautical Books and Artifacts. It is filled with works relating to the sea. From battleships to yachts, important voyages to personal sailing, it's all here. There are even a few items related to inland boating, such as navigation along America's rivers, but most of the waterways underlying these books are heavily salted. Now it's time to dip a toe into this catalogue to see what type of material can be found.

Travel at sea has long been associated with both great discoveries and enormous danger and tragedy. Item 294 is an account of the latter: The Lusitania's Last Voyage. Being a Narrative of the Torpedoing and Sinking of the R.M.S. Lusitania by a German Submarine off the Irish Coast, May 7, 1915. Britain and Germany were at war when the British ship Lusitania left New York on May 1, 1915, with approximately 1,800 passengers and crew on board. It was a civilian passenger ship, though it was carrying some small arms. America, at the time, was neutral, as neither President Wilson nor the American public had any desire to be dragged into a European conflict. However, the Germans had recently announced that they would consider any ships entering English waters fair game for its new U-boats (submarines), and warnings were issued that the Lusitania could be a target. It is doubtful that most passengers, including many Americans, took this too seriously, but on May 7, a single torpedo from a German submarine hit with deadly results. The Lusitania listed dramatically, and not too long after sank. The extreme tilt made it difficult to launch the lifeboats. In all, almost 1,200 of the passengers and crew died. It was a successful mission for the Germans militarily, but a public relations disaster. Anger was great in America, although the desire to stay out of war still prevailed, and Wilson would win reelection in 1916 on a "kept us out of war" platform. Nonetheless, American opinion was now tilting decidedly to the British side, and the President was aiding England, leading to further disputes with Germany and eventual American entry into the war. Charles Lauriat's account of the Lusitania was published in 1915, the year of its sinking, and well before America's participation in the war. Priced at $40.

Here is another great war-related tragedy at sea, though this one came on fresh water, and was the result of carelessness and greed rather than an attack. The loss of life was greater than that on the Lusitania or the Titanic. At the end of America's Civil War, the Union needed to move thousands of prisoners of war from southern prisons back home. Naturally, both the Union and the prisoners wanted them to return as quickly as possible, and there was money to be made on the transportation. The steamship Sultana, with a capacity of 376, took on a load of 2,300 returning soldiers. It had a leaky steam boiler, but the owners were not about to delay their schedule to repair the boiler as they feared they would lose their load of passengers to competing ships. At $5 a head, the Sultana was a money machine. It picked up most of its passengers at Vicksburg, and near Memphis, the boiler exploded. Most of the weakened ex-prisoners drowned, some 1,700-1,800 of them dying in the wreck. Item 237 is Gene Salecker's 1996 account of this great tragedy, Disaster on the Mississippi. The Sultana Explosion, April 27, 1865. $20.

Here is an item for collectors of nautical works or of Robert Louis Stevenson. The title is In The South Seas. An Intimate Photographic Record. Though published in 1987, nearly a century after Stevenson died, it contains photographs and letters written from sailing voyages in the South Pacific by Stevenson and his family between 1888 and 1890. Item 536. $25.

Item 105 is a 1955 facsimile of an ode to Sir Francis Drake, naval hero or brutal pirate, depending on your point of view. Drake was the English privateer who captured many Spanish ships and murdered more than his share of men along the way, in service to his Queen. He was also the first Englishman to accomplish a circumnavigation of the world. In 1587, poet Thomas Greepe published this ode to Drake's work: The True and Perfecte Nevves of the Woorthy and Valiaunt Exploytes, Performed and Doone by that Valiant Knight Syr Francis Drake. You would think by 1955 they could have cleaned up the spelling, but they stuck to the letter of the first edition. $75.

The Columbia Trading Company may be reached at 508-362-1500 or info@columbiatrading.com. Their website is found at www.columbiatrading.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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>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>

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