Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2012 Issue

Science, Americana, Literature and More from B & L Rootenberg

Rootenbergny2012

From the New York Fair.

B & L Rootenberg Fine & Rare Books recently prepared A Selection of Books Exhibited at the International Antiquarian Book Fair New York. Their catalogue is divided into four sections, (1) Science, Medicine, Natural History, Travel; (2) Americana; (3) Literature; (4) Incunabula, Bible & Theology. The greatest concentration is in the first category, science and medicine in particular. The books are most suitable for an antiquarian fair, as with a very few exceptions, they are old, 19th century and earlier, sometimes much earlier. Among the books offered are some of the greatest works ever published, particularly in the sciences. These are a few of them.

Here is a book that turned the Earth around, quite literally: De revolutionibus orbium... by Copernicus. This is the book that made the startling revelation that the Earth revolved around the sun, not the other way around. It confounded the common sense of observing the sun rise and fall each day, and contradicted established religious dogma. Somehow, Copernicus managed to get away with it all, although his successor would not. Offered is the second edition from 1566. Item 20. Priced at $150,000.

Item 50 comes from Copernicus' defender, the Italian astronomer Galileo. This is a 1632 first edition of his Dialogo... This book is presented as a dialogue between a defender of Copernicus' heliocentric system and the traditional Earth as center of the universe model. However, from the “discussion” it is obvious that Galileo believed in Copernicus' sun centered system. These views were not appreciated by the Church, which condemned Galileo and put him under house arrest for the remainder of his life. $100,000.

While Copernicus and Galileo accurately described what was going on, it was up to Isaac Newton to explain why. Newton developed his theories of motion and gravity which explained why the universe behaves as it does. He explained it all in his Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica. Offered is a first edition, published in 1687. Item 88. $195,000.

Newton had his detractors. Item 87 is R.J. Morrison's The new principia; or, true system of astronomy, published in 1868 (second edition). Morrison had a different idea of truth than most of us. In his treatise, Morrison “disproves” Newton's theories, and establishes that the sun is only 365,006.5 miles from the Earth. This could explain global warming. $500.

Item 2 offers a cure for an age-old condition, as offered by an anonymous “Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons.” The title of this 1883 book is, Kallos. A treatise on the scientific culture of personal beauty and the cure of ugliness. Rootenberg describes this as a “charming work on the causes and treatments of ugliness.” The author claims that businesses can benefit from having attractive employees, or as the bookseller points out, this is “probably not a politically correct book for today.” $400.

Talk about a day that will live in infamy... Item 132 is one of the first (if not the first) announcement of the United States Tax Law of 1862. This was the law that created the Internal Revenue Service and imposed the first income tax. Yes, you can blame Abraham Lincoln. This law was passed out of necessity. The government was running up large debts to pay for the Civil War and needed another source of revenue. The act created an income tax, which remained in place until it expired ten years later. An attempt to reimpose one in 1894 was struck down by the Supreme Court, leading to the 16th amendment, which legalized a permanent income tax in 1913. $2,000.

If there is just one book of poetry you would like to own, this is probably it. Item 137 is a first edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass (1855). It is generally considered the quintessential collection of American poetry, a paean to America and democracy. It is also noted for being quite rare. $95,000.

B & L Rootenberg Rare Books may be reached at 818-788-7765 or blroot@rootenbergbooks.com. Their wesbite is www.rootenbergbooks.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 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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