Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2012 Issue

Travel from Bestebreurtje Rare Books


Travel from Bestebreurtje Rare Books.

Gert Jan Bestebreurtje Rare Books has issued List 50: Travel. This is a collection of mainly 18th and 19th century travels, or material related to journeys. We will describe some of it as “related,” as there are many items pertaining to slavery, or the Dutch East India Company, not specifically about the journeys themselves, but it took long journeys in slave ships for slavery to exist, and even longer trips for residents of the Netherlands to make it to the East India Company's colonies in far off Indian and Pacific Ocean lands. Here are some of the travel items now being offered.

Item 31 is the first really thorough look at the United States after the Revolution. Voyage dans l'Amerique Septentrionale, dans les Annees 1780, 1781 et 1782 was the work of the Marquis de Chastellux. Chastellux served as a major-general under Rochambeau, assisting the Americans during their Revolution. After the war, he toured around America, from Virginia to Pennsylvania and New England. According to the commentators, nothing escaped his eye. Chastellux wrote about practically every detail he saw, “even the most trifling incidents that bad roads, inconvenient inns and distracted times usually afford” (from an early Maggs catalogue). The book also provides information about more important issues, such as the economy, social conditions, and the character of the people. He also provides commentary on events during the Revolution, and later, on a visit to Monticello to meet with Jefferson. Offered is the first complete edition (there had been a shorter, privately printed edition prior) published in 1786. Priced at €795 (euros, or around $1,068).

Item 174 is the French language account of an Englishman's visit to a part of Russia that became part of America during his travels. Sounds appropriate for a Dutch bookseller's catalogue! Frederick Whymper was an odd combination of artist and explorer. In 1865, he traveled with the Western Union Telegraph Expedition to Russian Alaska. As to why Western Union was exploring Alaska, that's a strange story. An attempt had earlier been made to lay a cable from America to Europe under the Atlantic Ocean, but that cable quickly failed. So, Western Union got the bright idea of running a cable from San Francisco, up through Oregon and Washington, British Columbia, Russian Alaska, under the Bering Sea, across Siberia, and on to Moscow, where it could hook up with existing cables running east to Europe. It was hoped that this long route, because it had much less of a distance under water, would hold up better than the Atlantic route. However, after much surveying and some initial construction, it was abandoned after a successfully working cable was run under the Atlantic. While the Overland Telegraph was a dismal economic failure, it did provide much information about Alaska, and may have played a role in America's decision to purchase the land from Alaska in 1867. Whymper writes about his travels in Alaska, where he was still present to witness the raising of the American flag over the land. The French edition of his “Travels and Adventures in Alaska,” titled Voyages et Aventures dans l'Alaska, was published in 1871. €225 (US $302).

Item 49 is a book about a most interesting American character - Walter Murray Gibson. He was likely born in the South, though he at times claimed he was born in England. Described in a 2006 article in the Honolulu Advertiser (a newspaper he once owned) as both “a silver tongued 19th-century adventurer,” and a “scoundrel of historic note,” he makes his first appearance on the public stage as a captain of a ship running guns in the Caribbean. He next set off for the Dutch East Indies, landing on Sumatra. He made his way inland, and being the “silver tongued” scoundrel he was, became friendly with various princes and nobility of the island. The Dutch were not amused. They saw him as a disruptive force and promptly threw him in prison. He was there for 15 months before managing his escape. Back in the U.S., he published this book in 1855, The Prison of Weltevreden; and a Glance at the East Indian Archipelego. It recounts the various unpleasantries he experienced at the hands of the Dutch. Gibson would go on to have an even more interesting career in the years after this book. He went to Utah, converted to Mormonism, and headed off to Hawaii as a missionary. However, within a few years, he was excommunicated by the Mormons. Seems he was using church funds to amass personal power, among other things. It did not slow down Gibson, who used his remarkable personal skills to get in the good graces of various important people, securing funding to buy the Advertiser, and then inserting himself as a voice for natives of Hawaii versus recent arrivals. In particular, he garnered the support of the King, who named him Prime Minister, and to other important offices. However, he schemed to grow Hawaii into an empire of Pacific Islands, and when this plan fell apart, he fled Hawaii for his life. A year later, in 1888, he died in San Francisco. €275 (US $370).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Jenner (Rev. George Charles). <i>The Evidence at Large...Respecting Dr Jenner's Discovery of Vaccine Inoculation,</i> presentation copy from Edward Jenner to Rev. Rowland Hill, 1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>An Entirely New Romantic Drama, in Three Acts, by Mr. Wilkie Collins, called The Frozen Deep,</i> 1857. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Lighthouses and Islands of Ireland, c. 125 drawings, 1867. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Shelley (Lady Jane). Diary, 1853 & 1860. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Scottish Binding.- The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, bound in contemporary brown polished calf decorated with the figure of a Chinese spearman, by ?James Scott of Edinburgh, 1778. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Man Within,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1929. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Mellan (Claude, 1598-1688). The Holy Face, or the Veil of St Veronica, [c. 1649 and later]. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Desaguliers (John Theophilus). <i>A Dissertation concerning Electricity,</i> W. Innys, and T. Longman, 1742. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Le Jeune (Paul). <i>Relation de se qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'anné 1636 enuoyée au R.Pere Provincial de la Compagnie de Iesus en la Province de France,</i> 1637. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Stumpf (Johann Rudolph). <i>Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Völckern Chronicwirdiger thaaten beschreibung, </i> Zurich, Froschauer, 1586. £3,000 to £4,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> George Washington, Letter Signed to General James Clinton, preparing for the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, 1778. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising to send reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Thomas Edison, Autograph Letter Signed, to Western Union President William Orton, 1878. $10,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> William, Bishop of Coventry, vellum charter granting the church of Rochdale to the Cistercian Abbey of Stanlaw, in Latin, 1222. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> FDR, Photograph Signed & Inscribed, framed with wood removed from the White House roof, 1927. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Jean Dubuffet, archive including many letters written while painting in NYC, 1951-72. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Mohandas K. Gandhi, Autograph Letter Signed, describing the source of his patience, 1939. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Lithograph portrait of Albert Einstein by Hermann Struck, signed by both, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Charles The Bold, Duke of Burgundy, Letter Signed to Johann IV of Nassau, in French, 1470. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Jean Cocteau, Autograph Letter Signed, in French, 1919. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Louis Armstrong, two Autograph Letters Signed to Erich Kauffmann, his lip salve purveyor, 1965-70. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Wernher von Braun, Autograph Letter Signed to Jonathan Cross, 1975. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <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. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <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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