Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2012 Issue

A New Miscellany from Kenneth Karmiole, Bookseller

Karmiole32

New Miscellany #32.

Kenneth Karmiole, Bookseller, has issued a New Miscellany #32. It is, naturally enough, a collection of varied works. They range from incunable Latin texts representing the 15th century to items published in most of our lifetimes. Most, however, are quite old. Subjects vary widely, too much so to adequately describe. So we will describe a few individual items and leave it to your imagination what else may be found.

John Wise was one of America's first aviators, long before the Brothers Wright. Naturally, he was not flying airplanes. He was a balloonist. He began flying balloons in 1835, and despite the numerous accidents, mishaps and misadventures over the years, he returned to the sky constantly throughout his life. He delivered the first air mail, though he did not reach his intended target. He was called on to use a balloon to scout enemy positions during the Civil War, but his balloon got caught in trees. It is is hard to control where those things go. Nevertheless, he made many advances, including the development of a balloon that folded into a parachute when punctured to land safely. It sort of worked. He also discovered the prevalent west to east air current, and planned to ride it all the way to Europe. That never happened. Item 1 is Wise's Through the Air: a Narrative of Forty Years' Experience as an Aeronaut, published in 1873. In 1879, at the age of 71, Wise set out from East St. Louis, never to be heard from again. Neither he nor his balloon were ever found, but the body of his passenger was discovered in Lake Michigan, likely explaining his fate. Priced at $750.

Here is an account of some other travels, but of a more typical variety: Around the World with General Grant. After the completion of his second term as President, Ulysses S. Grant embarked on a two-year worldwide tour. Along the way he met with Queen Victoria, Bismarck, the Pope, and the Emperor of Japan, among others. It was a very successful trip, and Grant was met with much respect and honor wherever he traveled. This “profusely illustrated” account was written by John Russell Young and published in 1879, the year Grant returned home. Item 98. $200.

Item 50 is R.S. Kirby's The Wonderful Scientific Museum: or, Magazine of Remarkable Characters; Including All the Curiosities of Nature and Art... This is sort of science, though perhaps more in the freak show sense. It consists of six volumes, printed from 1803-1820, “A most amazing collection...on every imaginable subject, from murders and mermaids to heroic deeds and strange characters, from water-spouts in Iceland to the Hammersmith Ghosts, from giants, midgets, and bearded ladies to monsters human and animal, and from missionaries to a man who advertised long and unsuccessfully for a wealthy wife!” $2,000.

Item 11 is a letter that provides an interesting insight into the thinking of David Ben-Gurion, a leader in Israel's independence movement and its first Prime Minister. He had received a letter from a Mrs. Berman in 1964, a year after leaving office, who must have thanked him for his contributions and related how she benefited personally. To Ben-Gurion, however, he was not providing personal favors. “...I have done nothing for you or anybody else,” he writes. “What I did all my life was merely to do my duty – that is all.” $1,000.

Item 46 is one of those incunables, a 1486 edition of Epistolae Familiares by Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini. This includes Aeneas' serious letters. The man wasn't always so scholarly. He was a bit of a rogue as a youth. He reportedly fathered two illegitimate children, and wrote a popular risqué novel called The Tale of Two Lovers in 1444. If you remember your Gutenberg, it wouldn't have reached a very wide audience in 1444, but became popular later with the advent of printing. That may have embarrassed Aeneas a bit, as he became more serious, found a role in the Church, and just 14 years later, was named Pope - Pius II. By all accounts, he grew into his role and was one of the better Popes in an era when not all were so good. $8,500.

Item 75 is one of those religious/scientific books you still occasionally see today, but not very often. It is an attempt to reconcile Biblical events as literal history with scientific evidence. Robert Miln looked at the geologic evidence and attempted to match it with his belief in the Bible as revealed, literal truth. The title of his 1786 treatise is A Course of Physico-Theological Lectures upon the State of the World, from the Creation to the Deluge. $600.

Kenneth Karmiole, Bookseller, Inc., may be reached at 310-451-4342 or Karmbooks@aol.com.

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 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.

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