Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2010 Issue

Signed Items from David Schulson Autographs

Schulson146

Signed items from David Schulson Autographs.


By Michael Stillman

David Schulson Autographs recently released their Catalog 146. It contains a variety of inscribed and signed documents, along with more detailed material, such as letters and even a few signed drawings. The signers are all familiar names, people of significance in their chosen fields. They may come from science, literature, art, film, music, politics, or other fields. The common thread is their importance. Here are a few of the items we found in this latest catalogue.

Item 24 is a letter from playwright George Bernard Shaw to Erica Cotterill in 1908. Cotterill was a young lady, half the age of the 50-year-old Shaw, who became overly infatuated with the notable man. Shaw's thoughts about her are less clear. They could perhaps be described as some combination of condescension and irritation, accompanied by the pleasure of having your ego stroked and carrying on an illicit relationship that requires no intimacy, it being limited to the intimacy experienced in sending letters. The relationship went on longer than Shaw cared for, not as long as Ms. Cotterill would have liked. Cotterill was also a playwright, though generally considered a bad one, little remembered but for her relationship of sorts with Shaw. It is unclear to what this particular letter pertains, as Shaw is brief and terse in an evident reply to Ms. Cotterill. Writes Shaw, "Yes, yes; but oh! So unimportant. Dreadfully dull." Shaw undoubtedly felt this way about Ms. Cotterill, but the letter is probably about a subject, not her personally. Perhaps it relates to her play, or some aspect of it, as 1908 was the year she published her most notable play, if that can be said of any of her works, A Professional Socialist. Priced at $500.

Edward Everett Horton appeared in every film released from the 1920s-1940s, or at least it must have seemed that way. He didn't get the leading role, but he was a very popular character actor, often being the lead's best friend, or some bumbling clerk type of personality. He would later be a regular on television, or doing voice-overs on cartoons, right up until he died in 1970. Along the way, Horton purchased some real estate with his earnings, and one of his tenants was writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald came to Hollywood in the late 1930s to be a screenwriter (he needed the money). Item 9 is a typed, signed letter, dated October 27, 1939, addressed to Mrs. Horton: "May I add my congratulations to the many you will receive today." Edward Everett Horton never married, but he lived with his mother, who was just celebrating her 80th birthday, which seems the logical explanation for this letter. $3,500.

Item 15 is a 1950 letter from filmmaker Fritz Lang to an unknown respondent. Evidently, the respondent was writing an article, and Lang sent him/her some photos from his most famous movie, 1926's Metropolis. It was a terrifying view of a city 100 years in the future (we're getting close now) where the elite lived high in the skyscrapers, while everyone else toiled mercilessly below. It was written by his then wife, Thea von Harbou. When the Nazis came to power, von Harbou warmly supported them, while Lang divorced and got out, emigrating to America. $3,000.

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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