Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2011 Issue

An Extract of Ephemera from Marc Selvaggio

Selvaggio137

Some tasty ephemera.

Marc Selvaggio, Books and Ephemera, has issued their Catalogue Number 137 Extract of Ephemera! That odd title can be explained by the ephemeral brochure pictured on the cover, promoting Armour's Extract of Beef. I do not know what they extracted from the beef to produce it, nor do I want to know, but undoubtedly it made everything better. And so will these pieces do for your collection of ephemera. They will certainly beef it up. It is filled with all sorts of promotional devices, advertising and catalogues for goods, services, "medicine," grooming, entertainment, travel and more. This is capitalism at its finest, a bizarre bazaar of products to separate you from your money. Step right up, folks.

 

Item 349 is a print of Cassie and Victoria Foster, the Fairy Sisters, Smallest Persons in the World. There was a time when it was acceptable to gawk at people because they were unusually small or had some other atypical features. Cassie and Victoria's parents made the most of this by displaying their children, 3 out of 11 of whom were very small. At the time of this printing, 1872, Victoria, the taller, was 11, Cassie 3. Neither was as high as a piano leg, as the image shows (next page). The two Nova Scotians were dubbed "the Fairy Sisters." Sadly, their diminutive size evidently led to health problems, and the two died within a month of each other in 1875. However, if you are concerned for their parents losing their meal ticket so soon, a brother, Dudley, who shared his sisters' stature, was born in 1877, and he provided a second generation of income for his parents until he died at age 17. Priced at $450.

 

Women were regularly targets for medical "cures" at the turn of the last century, and gullibility played into the hands of sort-of Dr. Hartland Law and his brother Herbert Law. Item 343 is The Viavi Gynecological Plates. Designed to Educate Mothers and Daughters Concerning Diseases of the Uterine Organs, published from San Francisco in 1891. The Laws would branch out into cures for many diseases, but it was women's issues that provided their bread and butter. They published books promoting cures, which focused on their Viavi line of products. The Laws promoted them through a Tupperware type of marketing, saleswomen getting together with other women, or renting out lecture halls to give advice and sell Viavi products. The saleswomen may have known little about health and medicine, but the same could be said for the Law brothers. Despite exposes and condemnation by the AMA, they sold tons of their products, and achieved great wealth. They converted much of that wealth into San Francisco real estate, including the luxurious Fairmont Hotel, and even after suffering massive destruction in the 1906 earthquake, they quickly bounced back rebuilding their properties. Perhaps their feminine products worked better for men, as both brothers lived to mid-century and died wealthy, though their once enormously popular product line has disappeared like other quack cures. $100.

 

This must have been a dying business when item 124 was published in 1910 - the W.A. Paterson Company's Designers and Builders of Vehicles. No, these are not automobiles. These are horsemobiles. Paterson built buggies and surreys and wagons in Flint, Michigan. This would have been a great business 20 years earlier, maybe still 10 years prior, but by 1910 Henry Ford was already pumping out Model Ts. Actually, Paterson wasn't completely oblivious to realty, and began making automobiles too in 1908, lasting until 1923. $125.

 

If it wasn't clear enough that horse and buggy days were over in 1910, that was the year Blanche Stuart Scott and Gertrude Lyman Phillips undertook 5000 Miles Overland. Wonderful Performance of a Wonderful Car. The Story of Miss Scott's Journey Overland. Miss Scott did all of the driving - 5,393 miles in a little over two months. The route took her from New York through Utica, Toledo, Chicago, Council Bluffs, Kearney, Cheyenne, Ogden, Lake Tahoe, Sacramento, and finally, San Francisco (where she could have stocked up on Viavi if she wasn't feeling right). This book is an account of an exciting journey through lands where roads would have been little more than dirt ruts. However, it is also a promotional piece, and the repeated use of the word "Overland," and the talk about a "Wonderful Car," gives away that it is promoting the Overland. The Overland was a fine automobile in its day, but the name disappeared in the 1920s. Overland combined with Willys, which was absorbed by Kaiser, in turn sold to American Motors, which was taken over by Chrysler, which was purchased by Mercedes, then spun off independently again, and finally, rescued by American taxpayers. You own Overland now, so to speak. Item 321. $400.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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>

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