Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2010 Issue

The American West and Other Things from the Argonaut Book Shop

Argonautholiday2010

A holiday catalogue from the Argonaut Book Shop.


By Michael Stillman

The latest catalogue from the Argonaut Book Shop is titled Recent Acquisitions and Selections from Stock. Holiday Season, 2010. That doesn't exactly tell us very much about what to expect inside. We will provide a little help. It is primarily filled with books relating to the western states of America, and early travel to and exploration of that region. There are some exceptions, but that's a decent short description of what you will find inside. Let's take a look.

Most people undoubtedly are familiar with the first great exploration into the Louisiana Territory by Lewis and Clark, and many are familiar with the second, by Zebulon Pike. The third is not so well remembered. Item 16 is Edwin James' account of that journey, published in 1823: Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains, Performed in the Years 1819 and 20… Under the Command of Major Stephen H. Long. Long was sent up the Missouri River by steamboat to explore the Yellowstone, but after stopping to winter over, President Monroe sent him a change of directions. Instead, he headed west of the Missouri, across the Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains. He attempted to reach the source of the Red River but did not succeed. Nonetheless, Long's expedition came back with much in the way of geographic and scientific data, as well as information about the area Indian tribes. However, Long made one major miscalculation, though it was not unreasonable at the time. He labeled the territory ranging from Oklahoma to Kansas, Nebraska, and eastern Colorado the "Great Desert," and concluded it was unsuitable for settlement. It was better suited to be a buffer between America and the Spanish colonies to the south. Certainly the territory was sparse by typical American standards of the day - no trees for wood and dry soil not easily employed for farming. It was also completely isolated from the rest of America in terms of transportation and communication. Nevertheless, within a few decades, immigrants would settle the land and make it part of America's farm belt. Priced at $2,500.

Forty-five years later, Samuel Bowles would take his party even farther west, though by this time there were trails to follow. His account is presented in item 36: Across the Continent: A Summer's Journey to the Rocky Mountains, the Mormons, and the Pacific States, with Speaker Colfax. Speaker Colfax was Schuyler Colfax, Speaker of the House of Representatives at the time and the first vice-president under President Grant. Celebrating the end of the Civil War, Speaker Colfax and the others set out on May 21, 1865, from Kansas, crossing the Rockies, passing through Salt Lake, crossed the empty spaces of Nevada, and eventually made their way to San Francisco. From there it was up the coast overland to British Columbia, back to San Francisco by steamer, on to Yosemite, and all the way back to New York by the end of September. Author Bowles was the Editor of the Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican and the book consists of his letters back to that newspaper. $275.

It was a very different San Francisco than the one seen by Bowles and Colfax that hosted the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915. The fair was designed to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal, but San Francisco was also intent on showing its recovery from the devastating earthquake less than 10 years earlier. Some of the latest technology, such as coast-to-coast telephone communications, was on display. Item 196 is one of 35 specially bound copies of The Legacy of the Expedition… prepared for important people, this one for C.S. Stanton, a Director of the Exposition. Printing was by the notable San Francisco fine printer John Henry Nash. The publication includes 17 large photographs of the exposition plus one 8" x 40" panorama. The panorama was taken on "Taft Day," and features the former President and other dignitaries in front of a big audience. A panorama photograph was understandable for Taft as he was a very large man. $125.

Item 4 is a copy of the first book with Ansel Adams' photographs, a follow-up to his Parmelian Prints portfolio. The work is Taos Pueblo, and it features not only Adams' photographs by the words of noted Southwestern writer Mary Hunter Austin. The book was printed by the Grabhorn Press in 1930, and is signed by both Adams and Austin. It is #29 of a limited edition of 108 copies. It contains 12 photographs of the Taos Indian pueblo (sort of an ancient apartment complex) and sold for the huge Depression-era price of $75 (it sold out). Adams was only 28 years old at the time, but his reputation was growing rapidly. $40,000.

The Argonaut Book Shop may be reached at 415-474-9067 or ArgonautSF@PacBell.net. Their website is www.argonautbookshop.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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>
  • <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

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