Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2012 Issue

48 Varied Items from The Pages of Yesteryear

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48.

The Pages of Yesteryear issued a catalogue a little while back with the succinct title 48. It was named, not sequentially for catalogues, but for years in business. This represents their 48th year in business, almost as old as books themselves. The items offered are an unusual mix. There are books and various ephemeral items – letters, broadsides, account books, typescripts and such. These provide a glimpse at life a century or two ago. Times have changed. Let's take a look.

Item 2 is a testament to amazing technological advances at another time of rapid technical change, the turn of the 20th (rather than 21st) century. It is a Souvenir Program of the International Aviation Tournament Belmont Park, Oct. 22-30, 1910. Most people associate New York's Belmont Park with horse racing, but for a few years, that was banned. Instead, for a few days in October, it featured airplane races. Obviously not around the track, but a race went from Belmont around the Statue of Liberty and back. The winning time was 35 minutes. Another race was won by accomplishing an average speed of 61 miles per hour. A record altitude of 9,714 feet was achieved. The program lists the events and competitors and includes several photographs. Among those who participated were Wilbur and Orville Wright. That brings us to what is so amazing about this meet. It took place just seven years after the Wright Brothers' first air flight, a 12-second journey of 120 feet at a speed of 6.8 mph and an altitude of 10 feet. Progress can be astonishing. Priced at $250.

Here is a letter the Wright Brothers might have appreciated. It is a four-page letter from a boy named “Nattie” to his “Dear Papa,” dated March 10, 1878, from Boston. In it, he talks about bicycles. Bicycle manufacturing was the Wright Brothers profession before they moved to aviation. Nattie was impressed by some men riding their “bicicles,” noting, “There is a rubber band goes around the outside of both wheels (rubber tires?)...they don't make a bit of noise...they have a little brake...and the man who rides on it can stop it just as quick as you can wink.” He notes the cost ranges from $80-$150. Item 4. $150.

Dentistry is not a particularly pleasant subject today, but at least it isn't the horror it was in 1875, the time of this dentist's account book. No high speed drills, novocaine, or much else to relieve the horror of a visit. At least Horace Mason Perkins appears to have had a bit of a sense of humor, though perhaps unintentionally, as he described his customers' creditworthiness. Perkins attended the Harvard Dental School in 1898 and received a DDS in 1908 from Tufts, which may make you wonder why he was practicing dentistry in 1875. He also received degrees from the Philadelphia Dental College in 1869 and Boston Dental College in 1870. I have no idea whether he was a good dentist, but at least he was a well-educated one. Among his comments on various customers' credit, he writes such things as “good as gold,” “[pays] cash – nice old lady,” “never known to pay bill,” “Good but doesn't come on time.” For one family he writes, “Look out for the Fox family - no good – especially G P Fox who is a loafer.” As for the “Portuguese from Cohasset,” they are hard to please and will beat you down, but if you stick to your price, they will give it to you. His pricing includes 50 cents for an extraction, but $1 if you want gas or to have it done in your home, $1 for a silver filling but $2-$3 for gold, 50 cents for killing a nerve, and $20 for a full lower plate. Item 14. $250.

Item 38 is a scathing attack on the Union Pacific Railroad from 1869, the year the transcontinental railroad was completed. The author is Chauncey H. Snow, government director for the Union Pacific under President Andrew Johnson. This report is titled Preliminary Report to the President of the United States on the Location, Construction, and Management of the Union Pacific Railroad. He criticizes the “grading, bridges, curves, location, corruption in management and in Congress, and pretty much everything connected to the Union Pacific in his 17 pages,” Pages of Yesteryear tells us. He also mentions Credit Mobilier, the company involved in a major scandal in the just beginning Grant administration. Snow concludes that he knows his report will “bring upon me enmity of persons in high official positions – of persons controlling unlimited capital...but I must do my duty.” A selfless public servant was Mr. Snow. The pamphlet is dated March 10, 1869, but that has been corrected in pencil to read March 5. That is correct, as the report was handed in to President Grant, who took office the previous day, on March 5. The following day, Grant replaced him. However, before getting too sympathetic for the idealistic Mr. Snow, or assuming this is evidence of early corruption in the Grant administration, according to the book Union Pacific by Maury Klein from 1987, Snow produced two reports on the Union Pacific, one favorable, one unfavorable. He was willing to submit the favorable one for the right compensation. When he did not receive it, he submitted the bad one. At various times, Snow reportedly sought cash or a coal supply contract from the railroad, threatening to provide harmful information if he was not paid off. $125.

Tornadoes are nothing new to the Midwest. Last year, we saw the terrible destructive force in Joplin, Missouri, and before that, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Here is a photo account of a similarly terrible storm a century ago: Omaha Cyclone in Pictures, Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913. It was not a happy Easter in Omaha that year. A line of intense storms spawned a series of tornadoes. A very bad one made its way into Omaha. The tornado was not only powerful, but wide, increasing the damage. Houses, including wooden ones from poorer neighborhoods and brick ones from wealthier ones, were destroyed. One hundred fifty people were killed, another 400 injured. This booklet contains 30 pages of pictures, one of text, and one of advertising. Item 32. $75.

The Pages of Yesteryear may be reached at 203-426-0864 or jrenjilian@hotmail.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Leaves from<br>George Washington's Own Draft <br>of His first Inaugural Address. An Extraordinary Rarity!
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Contress Authorizing Alexander Hamilton to Complete Famous Portland Maine Lighthouse.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Emanuel Leutze. Silk Flag Banner designed by Leutze, created by Tiffany & Co., and presented to Gen. John A. Dix, 1864.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The "greatest of early American maps … a masterpiece" (Corcoran). Thomas Holme.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Summons His Cabinet for a Historic Meeting to Discuss Compensated Emancipation.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Albert Einstein. Autograph Letter Signed. Einstein Counsels His Son ... Meaning of Life.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Normal Rockwell. Painting/Drawing Signed. Rockwell's "Barbeshop Quartet", 1936.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Frederick Douglass. Autograph Letter Signed to unknown correspondent. Washington, D.C.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Harry Truman. Autograph Manuscript Notebook for Kansas City Law School Night Class.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Robert E. Lee. Autograph Letter Signed, June 11, 1782. Hours after the Battle of Culpeper Court House, Lee Escapes Again.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington. Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>The Chap Book</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>Troupe de Mlle Églantine</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Philippe Henri Noyer, <br><i>Limonade Brault</i>, 1938. <br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br><i>The Great Men of the World</i>,<br>designer unknown, circa 1945-46. <br>$7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>James Montgomery Flagg,<br><i>Wake Up, America!</i>, 1917.<br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Alfred F. Burke, <i>Share / Jewish <br>Relief Campaign</i>, circa 1915.<br>$3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Ludwig Hohlwein, <i>Marke Pkz / <br>Burger - Kehl & Co.</i>, circa 1911. <br>$8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br>Gian Emilio Malerba,<i> E.A. Mele / Modo e Novita per Signora</i>, circa 1900. $7,000 to $10,000.
  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> KEY, FRANCIS SCOTT. <i>A Celebrated Patriotic Song, the Star Spangled Banner.</i> 1814.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> [COLUMBUS, CHRISTOPHER, Amerigo Vespucci ..] Bernardus Albingaunensis .. Dialogo nuperrime edito Genue in 1512.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true originall copies,</i> 1632.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (WATKINS, TABER &c.). <i>An album of 32 photographs of the Yosemite and American West Various places</i>, c. 1890s
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (BATTLE OF CONCORD.) <i>Powder horn used by Minuteman Oliver Buttrick at the Battle of Concord</i>, April 19, 1775.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (CIVIL WAR.) <i>An Extraordinary Confederate Photograph and Autograph Album of Dr. R. L. C. White</i>, 125 original mounted salt prints. 1859-61.
  • 20 Jul 2016, starts at 1pm EDT, NY
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Full scale vintage <i>Sputnik-1</i> EMC/EMI Lab Model, with live transmitter. US$ 10,000-15,000
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    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown on SOYUZ 9<br>An exhaustive manuscript on life in space. [Trans: On-Board Flight Journal for Spacecraft Soyuz-9, 1970]. US$ 6,000-9,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> SOYUZ 18? Flown Navigation Celestial Globe. Soyuz 18 lasted from May 24-July 26, 1975. US$ 30,000-40,000
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    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown Space Suit from ISS Expidition 6. Worn by Flight Engineer Don Pettit on his dramitic return to earth. US$ 25,000-35,000
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    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Lunar Rover Development. Collection of 11 vintage gelatin silver prints and 4 vintage NASA lithographs. <br>US$ 2,000-3,000.
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Lunar Orbiter I. The first image of the earth as seen from the moon. Gelatin silver print. August 23, 1966. US$ 2,500-3,500
    20 Jul 2016, starts at 1pm EDT, NY
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Michael Collins' Flown Crew-Signed Apollo 11 Emblem. One of the very few Armstrong signed mission artifacts. US$ 50,000-70,000
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    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Apollo 12 - Alan Bean in the Ocean of Storms. Signed and inscribed by Bean. <br>US$ 2,000-3,000

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