Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2011 Issue

Film, Literature and More from James Pepper Rare Books

Pepper199

The latest from James Pepper Rare Books.

James Pepper Rare Books has released Catalogue 199 in their almost monthly series. The formula is similar, and obviously successful. They offer a mix of material related to film and theater, with literature, science fiction and detective mystery, and a smattering of other fields, such as sports. Here, now, is a look inside number 199.

 

Item 15 is a look at several of the stars of the 20th century by one of them - Eddie Cantor. Cantor was a comedian, but he was also a singer, songwriter, actor, dancer, and huge radio star of the 1930s and 1940s. Before that (and continuing into that era) his recordings were best sellers. He also starred in early television, but for whatever reason, his enormous popularity and fame ebbed quickly, and he is not as well remembered as are many of his contemporaries. Cantor's book is entitled As I Remember Them, published in 1963, and it has chapters on stars of his era such as W.C. Fields, Al Jolson, Greta Garbo, Groucho Marx, Judy Garland and Will Rogers. However, the one with which this copy is most connected is Cantor's longtime friend Jack Benny. Benny was the master of the pregnant pause, along with the exasperated look and legendary stinginess, all an act. Writing about Benny, Cantor says, "I told him once I'd give him the shirt off my back. 'And do you know what I'd do for you Eddie?' he said. 'I'd wash it, iron it, and charge you only thirty-five cents!'" Cantor has inscribed this copy to Benny, "One of the all-time greats of show business." Priced at $1,250.

 

Item 130 is Show Business, by Thyra Samter Winslow. Winslow made her way from small-town Arkansas to the big cities via her writing skills. Her name is obscure as most of what she wrote was for magazines, articles long since forgotten, though she did write some books (including compilations of her magazine articles) and at least one screenplay. Her writing about show business evidently brought her in contact with some its biggest names as this copy is inscribed to Florenz Ziegfield of Ziegfield Follies fame and his wife Billie Burke, best remembered as Glinda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz. To continue the name-dropping, the book later made its way to the library of Marx Brother Harpo and his wife Susan, an actress and one-time member of Ziegfield's review. $650.

 

Here's the ultimate "for dummies" book:  Dummy Days:  America's Favorite Ventriloquists from Radio and Early TV, by Kelly Asbury, published in 2003. Probably the most famous ventriloquist/dummy pairing was Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Along with the sharp-tongued Charlie, Bergen had other dummies, such as dimwitted Mortimer Snerd. What is something of a mystery is that Bergen and Charlie rose to fame on radio, where the dummy can't be seen, nor the ventriloquist's skills appreciated. The book also looks at other famed pairings, including Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney, Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop, and Senor Wences and Johnny. Not to mention Pedro, the head in a box. S'all right? S'all right. S'okay? S'okay. Item 1. $125.

 

Item 113 is a book about a book. It is Lost on the Titanic - The Story of the Great Omar - A Jeweled Binding of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyan bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe in 1911 That Went Down with the Titanic. Rob Shepherd's account of this tragedy (admittedly, the tragedy of this loss pales in comparison with the human life lost on the Titanic) was published in 2002. Sangorski and Sutcliffe were known for fine, at times extravagant bindings, and this one certainly qualified as taking the art to the extreme. It took two years to make the binding, which contained over 1,000 precious and semi-precious stones. Unfortunately, it sank so soon after being created that there was only one known old black and white photograph of it. However, Shepherd discovered archives about it, which he used to recreate its appearance in color. $375.

 

Item 19 is an original Herald Pamphlet for London After Midnight, the 1927 silent film starring Lon Chaney. It features Chaney as a vampire in this murder/horror film, though it is impossible to go into great detail. The film is "lost," perhaps the most famous of all the old silent movies for which no copies are known to still exist. $850.

 

James Pepper Rare Books may be reached at 805-963-1025 or pepbooks@aol.com. Their website is www.jamespepperbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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 Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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