Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2011 Issue

More of the Very Unusual from Garrett Scott, Bookseller

Scott34

More of the unusual from Garrett Scott.

Garrett Scott, Bookseller, has published Catalogue 34 (Miscellaneous Acquisitions). Scott specializes in the unusual. This can mean one of two kinds of unusual – works that are uncommon and different from what you often see, and works by authors who are downright strange, crackpots if you will. This collection seems more oriented toward the crazies. These items, usually of pamphlet or other short-form length, are certainly entertaining in their own strange way. They display thought processes that can be hard for most minds to follow. What we see here is a different level of creativity, genius if you will, but genius barely recognized in its time, even less recognized now. The border between genius and insanity may be a fine line. These items tend to fall on the wrong side of it.

We will start with an item that sounds spiritual, but is actually a work of science: Paradise and How to Get There. As this 1906 work by Dr. John Ball explains, “Paradise is a real place. It encircles the earth like a rarified atmosphere at a great height and with a correspondingly large circumference. The upper spirit-spheres of the earth come into contact and mingle with the upper spheres of our nearest planets, which enables the more highly developed spirits to travel from one planet to another on the interplanetary currents which equalize the psycho-magnetic forces, and thus preserve perfect harmony in the higher spiritual regions.” I don't even know what that means, let alone how Dr. Ball observed any of these comings and goings. Item 12. Priced at $125.

Peter Sabatelli was an immigrant grocer from Apollo, Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh) who started receiving visions from St. Cosmas in 1935. According to his 1949 pamphlet, The Apparitions of St. Cosmas to Peter Sabatelli, Apollo, Pa., Mr. Sabatelli would be visited by six girls and a man in white who would predict various local, national, and international disasters. Also according to this book, all came true. That's a fairly high percentage, so Mr. Sabatelli went to the Pittsburgh Press with his predictions, but apparently they weren't much interested in hearing about these disasters until after they happened. That's not much good for a seer. Finally, Sabatelli was able to get a local priest to promise to tell the Bishop when he had a vision, with the understanding the Bishop would inform President Roosevelt if they had national consequences. I don't know whether he ever did relay these visions, but my guess is the priest was humoring him. Nonetheless, not everyone took Mr. Sabatelli lightly. He built a shrine to St. Cosmas in his home (“The shrine itself is beautiful and is lighted by hidden neon lights of three different colors”). Apparently many took Sabatelli's visions quite seriously and crowded his house, forcing the grocer to build a shrine outside of town on 2 ½ acres of land. According to a news article of the time, the shrine cost Sabatelli $160,000, built with money from the sale of pamphlets. It was turned over to the Catholic diocese. I could find nothing more online about Mr. Sabatelli and his shrine except an article by a person who visited there recently, who wrote that it is locked up now but is still beautiful on the outside, and is currently owned by an adjacent Baptist Church. A plaque on the outside still states that it was erected through the apparitions of St. Cosmas to Mr. Sabatelli, though no one around there knows much about its history anymore. Item 74. $125.

It is hard to imagine Mr. Sabatelli was anything but sincere in his belief he had been visited by St. Cosmas. No such honesty can be attributed to E. Virgil Neal, who went by the name of X. La Motte Sage. Item 76 is a large sheet headed, Press Notices. Dr. Sage received hundreds of complimentary press notices while making his tour of the United States. This was 1897, and the notices referred to his hypnotic performances. Dr. Sage hypnotized one man who stayed in a trance in a store window for 48 hours. Even more amazingly, he hypnotized him via that newfangled device, the telephone. A group of men was hypnotized into thinking they were shoeing a mule, another that they were fishing. Dr. Sage or Mr. Neal apparently was engaged in all types of dubious activities over the years, finally being exposed in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1914. As it noted, Neal “made quackery his life work.” He had been denied use of the mails as a result of fraud, taught palmistry, sold fraudulent pills, sold supposed health foods, beauty treatments, something guaranteed to increase your height, wrinkle eradicators, a cure for baldness, a hair remover, eye treatment, and bust developer. The article noted that prior to 1900, he traveled the country under the alias X. La Motte Sage putting on supposed exhibitions of hypnotism. $225.

But... if you still believe Sage/Neal was an honest man, you may learn his techniques in A Higher Course in Personal Magnetism, Hypnotism, Suggestive Therapeutics and Magnetic Healing. Item 75. $75.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <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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