Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2011 Issue

Travel from Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books


Travel 2011 from Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books.

Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books has released their catalogue of Travel 2011 Part I. From this we will infer that there will be at least one more travel catalogue before the year is out. It is broken down by region, and a quick perusal reveals that all continents, even Antarctica, are included, along with some islands. The types of travels range from explorations to archeological research, tourist adventures, military missions, religious missions, operations to disrupt the slave trade, and just about anything else that might lead people to travel to lands far away. These are some samples of the works we found in Travel 2011.


Item 29 is a guide that could come in handy for those wishing to make an overland journey through America's prairies: The Prairie Traveller, A Hand-Book for Overland Expeditions. Randolph Marcy's guide was originally published in 1859, by which time most routes had been well established by overland travelers, though this was still the only way to make these journeys as the intercontinental railway was still a decade away. Marcy had traveled extensively throughout the west so he was an expert on the overland routes. Offered is a copy of the 1863 London edition, also known as the first Burton edition. This was the first edition edited by, and including an introduction and updates from famed British explorer Richard Burton. Burton is more noted for his great explorations in Africa and the Middle East, but shortly before the Civil War, he came to America and made a journey to Salt Lake. His keen observations add to Marcy's useful guide. Priced at £1,500 (British pounds, or roughly $2,438 in U.S. currency).


One of the greatest European explorers of Africa was David Livingstone, though he was really a missionary. He was not very successful at converting the natives, leading him to become more explorer than missionary. Even his explorations were poorly organized and did not achieve all of his goals, and yet he managed to reach many parts of Africa previously unseen by westerners. Eventually, he lost contact with the outside world for years, leading to Henry Stanley's famous journey to find him, and his apocryphal quote, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume." Item 16 is Livingtone's account of one of his earlier journeys, while his health and reputation were at their peak:  Missionary travels and researches in South Africa, published in 1857. £1,250 (US $2,031).


Item 51 recounts a most unusual expedition, A Pilgrimage to Nedj, the Cradle of the Arab Race, published in 1881 (second edition). Nedj is in the central part of the Arabian Peninsula, an area that had been visited by only a few Europeans up to that time, let alone an upper class British woman. Author Lady Anne Blunt was no ordinary, stuffed-shirt lady, but a daring, tough and unsentimental woman who determined to visit dangerous, far off places. Indeed she was welcomed with great respect by the local Emir, Muhammad ibn Rashid, who, Shapero notes, "received them courteously, having recently knifed his nephew and cut off the feet of his cousins, leaving them to bleed to death." It's a good thing the Blunts weren't related to the Emir. £1,250 (US $2,031).

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