Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2012 Issue

Voyages and Travels from Helen Kahn and Associates

Kahn84

Voyages and travels from Helen Kahn.

Helen R. Kahn and Associates has issued a catalogue of Voyages & Travels. The Canadian bookseller usually focuses on works related to North America, and while there are many such items in this latest collection, it also expands to the far corners of the earth. There is much related to Asia and Europe to be found, and even some voyages to the coldest of places, the Arctic and Antarctic. The travels here are mostly very old, 18th and 19th centuries encompassing the majority, but some range from the 15th all the way to the 20th century. While some are centered on the travels themselves, others are more focused on things discovered and found in far off places. Here are a few of these works pertaining to trips taken many years ago.

Boats are an excellent way to travel, but not if they keep sinking. The British were having this problem at the turn of the 20th century with a particular class of boats. Item 43 is the Report by the Committee on Torpedo-Boat Destroyers, published in 1903. This committee was formed after the sinking of the HMS Cobra in 1901. This came on the heels of the sinking of the Viper six weeks early (the Royal Navy has not used snake names for ships ever since). There was no obvious explanation for the sinking of the Cobra. There were reports that she may have struck some floating timber, some thought she hit the mast of a sunken ship. Ultimately, the committee concluded there were structural weaknesses with the design, though the evidence for this claim is uncertain. Due to the secrecy concerns regarding defects in navy ships, this report remained classified for 50 years. Since it was not published, that is, to the public, it is a rarity, Kahn noting they have not been able to locate another copy of this report. Priced at $1,950.

Captain James Cook's three voyages are undoubtedly the most notable of Pacific exploration. However, Cook and his associates weren't always the quickest to report on their findings. The result is that some members of his crew, though officially prohibited, put out reports years ahead of the official accounts. To protect themselves, these books were published anonymously, though in time the authors' identities were determined. Item 81 is the Journal of the Resolution's Voyage, In 1772...1775. The unnamed author was John Marra, a gunner's mate. It beat the official report of Cook's second voyage by 18 months. This voyage was particularly significant as it put to rest the long accepted belief that there was a huge southern continent. Marra's chart indicates three points where Cook penetrated the Antarctic Circle, areas previously thought to be covered by land. He also reveals details of the differences that led naturalist Sir Joseph Banks to withdraw from the journey at the last moment. $12,500.

Item 23 is the first French edition of what is generally believed to be James Magra's jump-the-gun account of Cook's first voyage: Supplement au Voyage de M. de Bougainville; ou Journal d'un Voyage autour du monde... While describing it as a “supplement” to the account of French navigator Bougainville's earlier voyage around the world, Cook's journey really had nothing to do with the previous one. It was just that he covered part of the same territory, and connecting the book to Bougainville was likely seen as a good way to appeal to a French audience. $1,750.

Item 94 is a look at fossils by a knowledgeable man of his time, but a time before Darwin and an understanding of how old the Earth really is: Organic Remains of a Former World. An Examination of the Mineralized Remains of the Vegetables and Animals of the Antediluvian World; Generally Termed Extraneous Fossils. It comes in three volumes, 1808-1811. The author was James Parkinson, a surgeon and apothecary who later became a geologist and paleontologist. It was his work on a disease he labeled “shaking palsy” that led to its current name, Parkinson's disease. Parkinson put together an extensive collection of fossils. Like most of his era, he tried to relate them to biblical accounts of early times, concluding they were remnants of cataclysmic events, such as the flood of Noah. These catastrophic events were necessary to explain these findings when the belief was that Earth was barely 5,000 years old. However, Parkinson found this time line too short to explain his findings, concluding that biblical “days” must have been much longer than current days. $2,250.

It took a couple of centuries of searching to locate a northwest passage over Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and when it was finally found, it was generally too icebound to be of much practical use. However, in the days before the Panama, and even Suez Canal, reaching the Pacific required circling vast continents, something a northwest passage could have avoided. Item 44 is An Act for giving a public Reward to such Person or Persons, His Majesty's Subject or Subjects, as shall discover a North West Passage through Hudson's Streights, to the Western and Southern Ocean of America. Published in 1745, this early reward required the route go through Hudson Strait, the entrance to Hudson Bay, and the southernmost possible route for a northwest passage. However, later reward offers would allow for any route, no longer being so picky considering the inability of anyone to find such a passage. $2,500.

Helen R. Kahn and Associates may be reached at 514-844-5344 or hrk@hrkahnbooks.com. Their website is www.hrkahnbooks.com.

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.

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