Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2012 Issue

Books from a Concord Bibliophile from Sotheran's

Sothconbib

From a Concord Bibliophile's library.

Henry Sotheran Ltd., aka Sotheran's, has issued a catalogue From the Library of a Concord Bibliophile. Sotheran's being from London, you might think this would be a Concord in England, but no, the library belonged to a collector from Concord, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Percy Whiting Brown was the descendant of early Massachusetts settlers. He began work for a financial firm near his home turf in eastern Massachusetts, but after a few years he was sent to Cleveland to open an office. That is where he remained, though his heart, or at least his collecting interests, remained close to Concord. Brown was an active book collector, at one time President of the Rowfant Club. He put together a notable library, including Massachusetts history and English and American literature.

Percy Brown died in 1958 at the age of 71. Most of his library was sold to a bookseller. However, his family kept a few of his books, and it is 18 of those from Brown's collection that are offered by Sotheran's today. These remained in his family until recently when one of his descendants decided to offer them for sale. Here are some of them.

Since Percy Whiting Brown was himself an author, we will start with one of his books. He wrote a number of pieces on his native territory, this one being History of Rowe, Massachusetts. Rowe is a small, rural town in western Massachusetts, and Brown's family built a summer home there when he was young. This 1921 first edition was privately printed, and probably in a small quantity. Several later editions have since been printed as this is regarded as a “standard history” for the little town. Item 12. Priced at £125 (British pounds, or approximately $201 in Yankee dollars).

Item 7 is a book-length poem, a satire from the pen of James Russell Lowell. However, this first edition, released in 1848, was published anonymously, the writing attributed to “a Wonderful Quiz.” Lowell was a poet, though not one of those best remembered now, along with being an essayist, and later in life, American Ambassador to Spain and England. This satire, A Fable for Critics, which was later published under his actual name, is probably his most notable work. It includes rhymes about the works of the great (and not so great) poets of the day. Most descriptions combine the good and the bad of the writer, such as, for Edgar Allen Poe, “There comes Poe with his raven, like Barnaby Rudge, / Three-fifths of him genius and two-fifths sheer fudge.” A review of the then anonymous work Poe wrote in his role as reviewer indicates he was not particularly amused by Lowell's humor. Lowell supported many causes, including abolition, temperance, and women's rights, though these may have been more a reflection of his activist wife's encouragement than very deep convictions. This copy of his fable comes with a check for $119 made out to Lowell and endorsed by him on the back. £495 (US $797).

Here is a book with both a poetic connection and one to Percy Brown's family. Item 2 is The Obligations of Parents to Give their Children a Virtuous Education, and to Provide Schools for this Purpose... This was an 1820 sermon by the Massachusetts clergyman Ezra Ripley. Ripley was a strong believer in education and the role parents played in assuring that was provided to their children. The sermon was delivered on the opening of three new schools. Ripley married the widow of his predecessor at the Concord church, William Emerson, and as such became the step-grandfather of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson admired his step-grandfather and for a time lived with him. This copy is inscribed by Ripley to “John Brown junr.” Rev. Ripley married Percy Brown's great-great-grandparents. John Brown Jr. was Percy Brown's grandfather (without the greats). The book has been in the Brown family since it was presented almost two centuries ago. £1,250 (US $2,012).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions