Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2011 Issue

New Acquisitions at Peter Harrington

Harrington78

Catalogue 178 from Peter Harrington.

The bookselling firm of Peter Harrington has published their Catalogue 78. The common thread among items in this catalogue is not topic nor even that they are books (though most are). It is that they are recent acquisitions. Harrington offers a broad range of material, notable for its importance and condition. Subjects, however, can vary from novels to historical works to children's books, art and more. Here are a few samples from this latest issue.

We will start with the data. The interpretation came later. Item 43 is the Journal of researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S. Beagle…1832-1836, published in 1839. This is a presentation of the natural history of southern South America and area islands by the Beagle's naturalist Charles Darwin. It was originally one volume of a four-volume account of the Beagle's expedition presented by Captain Robert FitzRoy. However, Darwin's volume was of greater interest to many readers, so it was then published separately, making this a first edition and first separate issue of Darwin's first book. It would be from the data that he garnered on this journey that Darwin would develop his theory of evolution over the next two decades, regarded by many as the most important scientific finding of the 19th century. Priced at £8,500 (British pounds, or roughly $13,358 U.S. Dollars).

Some writers are prolific with their signatures during their lives, but none was more prolific at signing books after his death than Mark Twain. Well, perhaps that's not entirely accurate, but several Twain books published after his death came with his signature. Give Twain credit for preparing for all contingencies, including his own demise. In 1906, in preparation for a complete collected edition of his works, Twain sat down and signed his name to just over 1,000 leaves to be included in this work. He signed them both with his penname, Mark Twain, and actual name, S.L. Clemens. However, the project became delayed for many years. Twain died in 1910, but the 37-volume set of his collected works was not published until 1922. Fortunately, the publisher kept the signed leaves in storage all of those years, so when the set finally was published, they included Twain's signatures, clear as life. Item 31 is a signed complete set of The Complete Writings. £8,750 (US $13,732).

On March 7, 1950, Jack Kerouac wrote this letter to his fellow writer and friend from his younger days in Lowell, Massachusetts, Ian MacDonald. Among his comments, Kerouac writes, "Your notes concerning my book were most heartening…but I want to write a better one next." Indeed he did. Kerouac had just published his first book, but he was then working on his second, the one for which he would always be known - On The Road. He would finish that book the following year, though it would take until 1957 before he finally got it published. Item 92 is Kerouac's letter. £3,000 (US $4,712).

Punch must be the longest running, most popular humor magazine ever published. With the full name of Punch or the London Charivari (named after a French publication), it began in 1841, and quickly became known for its cartoons. Its circulation grew for a hundred years; its readers included many of the greatest names in politics and literature. The circulation finally began to wane after the Second World War, and it closed in 1992, after a 150-year run. For those who love Punch, item 132 is your gift - a complete run, 300 volumes bound in 214, from 1841-1992 (not including the brief re-launch from 1996-2002). £6,000 (US $9,421).

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  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
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  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
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