Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2011 Issue

Mexico and the American Southwest from Plaza Books

Palza32

List 32 from Plaza Books.

Plaza Books recently issued their List 32. Plaza specializes in books from or about Mexico, though that specialty spreads to adjoining areas. In this catalogue in particular, the region spreads north. Of course, the American Southwest was in the pre-Mexican War days part of Mexico, though some of these books reach into the era after that territory was seized. And then, of course, there is Texas, which declared itself a republic after Santa Anna acquiesced to its independence under the barrel of a gun, but Mexico changed its mind and continued to claim the land until after the Mexican War. So, while Plaza may be seen primarily as a seller of Mexican books, the ties to the American Southwest run too deep to separate the two. Here, now, are a few of the items being offered.

Item 5 is a look at how the American Southwest was influenced by institutions that developed in Mexico: Spanish Institutions of the Southwest, by Frank W. Blackmar. This 1891 book traces the institutions of Mexico back to their Spanish origins, and discusses the influences in areas ranging from Louisiana to California, at one time all under Spanish dominion. Priced at $150.

For a visual rather than textual look at the Southwest just before the transition from Mexican to American rule, item 10 is an 1842 map from London publisher Chapman and Hall entitled Central America II. Including Texas, California, and the Northern States of Mexico (Central America I had included southern Mexico). As of 1842, Texas had already declared, and effectively secured its independence, but statehood was still three years away. It is shown as a republic, and it is substantially larger than the Texas of today, the Rio Grande continuing to form its western border to its headwaters, making much of today's New Mexico a part of Texas. However, since 1842 was still pre-Mexican War, the remainder of today's American Southwest was still in Mexico. This map shows no New Mexico (nor Arizona), so Texas borders on “Nueva California.” North of California, where today's border with Oregon is located, lies “Columbia.” Populations are given for several cities, such as Albuquerque (6,000), Santa Fe (4,000) and El Paso (5,000), while to the west of El Paso, the city of “Toyson” is shown (today's Tucson, Arizona). $850.

Item 23 is another account that skirts the southwestern border. Rudo Ensayo. This book was written by Fr. Juan Nentuig (or Nentvig), a Jesuit priest originally from central Europe who sailed to New Spain in 1750. On arrival, he was sent to northern Mexico, to Sonora, which encompassed not only the current Mexican state of Sonora but today's Arizona as well. Nentuig's book is the major source of information about this area, its natives, missions, crops, mines and other resources at this time. In his later years, the Padre became nearly blind, but still managed to complete the manuscript for this book, which would not be published until a century later (a limited edition of 160 copies printed in 1863). Father Nentuig would be forced to leave his post at the time of the Jesuit expulsion, but died in Mexico in 1768 before reaching the ship that was to exile him from the land. $2,000.

Item 14 is an account of the culture of one of the Indian tribes of the American Southwest: Zuni Folk Tales. This is a first trade edition (1931) of an account that had appeared 30 years earlier as a Bureau of Ethnology publication. It retains the original forward by Southwest explorer John Wesley Powell, but adds a new introduction by noted southwestern writer Mary Austin. Author Frank Cushing, who lived with the Zuni for five years, was the first American anthropologist to systematically record various aspects of their culture, including legends, daily activities, and social characteristics. $275.

Item 35 is a manuscript pastoral by an obscure 19th century Mexican writer, Manuel Antonio Zayas: El Triunfo de Jesus contra la Lengua del Diablo, written in 1853. The pastoral is a play written to teach or proselytize, often including shepherds (“pastores”) in the story, hence the name. In this story, containing 95 leaves, Jesus battles, and defeats, the Devil. It includes seven hand-painted costumed figures, mostly the Devil in disguise. $2,450.

Plaza Books may be reached at 707-546-3544 or plazabks@sonic.net. Their website is www.plazabooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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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    <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.
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    <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
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    <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
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