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>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 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

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