Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2012 Issue

For the “Children” from Aleph-Bet Books

Alephbet100

The one hundredth catalogue from Aleph-Bet Books.

Aleph-Bet Books has reached a milestone. The Pound Ridge, New York, specialist in children's and illustrated books recently released their Catalogue 100. The format of their catalogues has been the same, at least for quite a while now. They offer 600 items, profusely illustrated with color photography, overwhelmingly both for children and illustrated. There are few catalogues quite as much fun to peruse. As adults, our tastes and interests diverge widely. As children, we all are entranced by the world of make-believe, whether that be talking animals, mystical lands, heroic adventures, or wizards and magic. Everyone likes children's books, whether child or not. Here are a few of this latest six hundred.

Item 51 is an unusual title for “Oz” author L. Frank Baum. Naturally, Baum is far and away best known for his Oz books, but he wrote many other books and series. However, outside of various fairy tales, he used pseudonyms for these other books so as not to interfere with his major works. After the release of The Emerald City of Oz in 1910, it was announced that the series would be discontinued. That freed Baum to use his name on other books he wrote. In 1911, Baum published the work here offered, The Daring Twins, under his own name. It is a mystery, amateur detective type of story, where 16-tear-old Phoebe Daring sets out to prove her brother, Phil, was falsely accused of thievery. The series was intended to appeal to both boys and girls in the 12 to 18 range, and using Baum's name was hoped to capture young people who had read the Oz books as children. There was a follow-up to this tale published in 1912, Phoebe Daring, and Baum wrote a substantial portion of what was intended to be the third book in the series. However, as finances became tight for publisher Reilly & Britton, it was decided to return to the proven best sellers, and by 1913, Baum was writing Oz books again. Priced at $500.

Here is another book with an Oz connection/non-connection. After the death of Baum in 1919, it was decided to keep the series going. Ruth Plumly Thompson was selected as “Royal Historian of Oz,” or perhaps we could simply refer to her the new author. Thompson would go on to produce 19 more Oz books between 1921 and 1939, five more than did Baum. She had only published one book prior to her appointment as Royal Historian, and wrote only two non-Oz books during her years producing the 19 Oz titles. John R. Neill was even more tied into the series than Thompson. Neill was an illustrator who took over the task of illustrating the books after the first in the series (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz). He drew the illustrations for the final 13 titles written by Baum, and was considered for the position of writer as well after his death. However, when that role was given to Thompson, he continued to illustrate the series, including all 19 of Thompson's titles. After Thompson's retirement, Neill finally took over the writing, writing and illustrating the next three titles in the series from 1940-42 (Neill died in 1943). However, Thompson and Neill collaborated on one non-Oz book, the second of two non-Oz books produced by Thompson during her tenure as Royal Historian. Item 527 is a copy of that collaboration, Curious Cruise of Captain Santa, published in 1926. It is a Christmas fantasy. $850.

Item 329 is a copy of a children's book beloved throughout the land and even the world, but most particularly in Massachusetts. Indeed, it is the official children's book of the state. It is the classic Make Way For Ducklings, written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey. The book is highlighted by the trip of Mrs. Mallard, leading her eight ducklings, from the Charles River to Boston's Public Garden. The Boston police provide the necessary escort, stopping traffic along the way, so the family is able to safely make the trip to their new home. The ducklings have become celebrated heroes in the city, almost like its revolutionary patriots. In fact, a statue of Mrs. Mallard and her eight children was erected within the Public Garden. Offered is a 1941 first edition of McCloskey's duck tale. $18,500.

You are probably familiar with Dorothy Kunhardt's notable touch book Pat the Bunny. You may have a copy in the attic, though probably not a first edition. Item 302 is Kunhardt's follow-up, The Telephone Book. No, this is not one of those big books full of numbers dinosaurs used to use before you could look up numbers online. It is a book with movable parts celebrating that black thing with a hand dial that used to be plugged into everyone's wall. The handset can be lifted to make a “call,” and the book instructs youngsters to say, “Hello?” Unfortunately, it does not tell them how to send text messages. $1,200.

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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