Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2011 Issue

A Holiday and Comedy Catalogue from David Schulson Autographs

Schulson149

Holidays and comedies from David Schulson Autographs.

David Schulson Autographs has released its latest selection, Catalog 149. Holiday Catalog Featuring a Special Comedy Section. The “Holiday” section consists of autographed material from a variety of personalities, from literature, science, invention, music, film, art, and more. The signed letters, photographs, and other documents aren't so much related to the holidays as they make great holiday gifts. The “Comedy” section is more targeted, the writers being comedians, comic actors, comic writers and producers of comedic films. Some of their documents are serious in nature, while in others, their comedic genius shines through. Here are some samples from this holiday catalogue.

We will start with one of America's greatest writers and humorists, Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain. In this 1890 letter, Clemens writes to publisher Henry Oscar Houghton. Apparently, Clemens found himself on a subscription list, but could not remember ever signing up. Writes Clemens, “I can't remember about this. Of course I am not denying or repudiating the subscription; I merely have no memorandum of it, & there may be some error. I can forget things; once forgot to die, when four doctors said I was going to go...” Item 7. Priced at $5,500.

Item 17 is a prescription from a doctor with the most ignominious of names – Joseph-Ignace Guillotin. His name will forever be linked to the device of execution, the guillotine, which chopped off its victims' heads. One would think Guillotin some macabre doctor of death, but he was anything but so. He was both a doctor and a political reformer. He was also opposed to the death penalty. What's more, Guillotin didn't even invent the guillotine. What he did was recommend it as an alternative to the method of execution used at the time (pre-revolution France), hanging and worse. Somehow, his name became attached to it. Guillotine believed the device, invented by another, would provide a quick, painless, more humane death. Ultimately, he hoped it would be a step toward the elimination of the death penalty altogether. Of course, when the revolution came, it did anything but reduce the rate of executions. The guillotine began working overtime, chopping off the heads of some 15,000 people during the Reign of Terror. Even Guillotin himself was imprisoned at the time, but managed to escape the device that unfairly bore his name. After the revolutionary period ended, Guillotin figured he'd had enough of politics and returned to medical practice. It was during this period, in 1800, that Guillotin wrote this prescription for a lady for a balm to be placed on her neck. Guillotin died in 1814, thankfully of natural causes. $3,000.

Among the most popular comic actors of the mid-20th century were Groucho Marx and his brothers. The Marx Brothers produced some of the funniest and most popular movies of the 1930s, and decades later, Groucho was still going strong with his television show. In 1943, during the height of the war, Groucho responded to a request for a message to the “soldiers in the jungle” from a corporal serving in Surinam. Groucho responded, attempting to be both humorous and appreciative to the soldiers for their service. He tells the soldiers not to worry about the “4-F's back home.” He notes they don't get much meat now - “the butcher shops have nothing but customers in them anymore.” Marx jokes that he planted a “Victory garden,” but, “I have raised...enough snails to keep a pre-french restaurant running for a century and a curious plant I have been eating all summer...this morning I discovered that I had been munching on marijuana...” Groucho ends by noting, “America is pretty empty without you kids.” Item 16c. $1,125.

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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