Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2012 Issue

48 Varied Items from The Pages of Yesteryear

Pagesyes48

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>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b><br>Lot 14. Blaeu,<i>Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula</i>, 1635. Est. $14000-$16000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b><br>Lot 305. Arrowsmith, <i>Texas: The Rise, Progress, and Prospects of the Republic of Texas</i>, 1841. Est. $18000-$20000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b><br>Lot 256. Thackara, <i>Plan of the City<br>of Washington in the Territory of Columbia</i>, 1792. Est. $13000-$16000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 188. Browne/Senex, A New<br>Map of Virginia Mary-land, 1719. <br>Est. $5500-$6500
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 47. Cellarius, <i>Scenographia Systematis Copernicani</i>, 1708.<br>Est. $2400-$3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 6. Ortelius, <i>Typus Orbis Terrarum</i>, 1571. Est. $7000-$8500
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 413. De Medina, <i>Mundo Novo,</i> 1554. Est. $7000-$9000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 37. Jansson, <i>Histoire des Grands Chemins de l'Empire Romain</i>, 1736. Est. $3000-$3750
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 798. Le Rouge, <i>Atlas Nouveau Portatif a l'Usage des Militaires</i>, 1748. Est. $2400-$3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 60. Munster, <i>Tabula Novarum Insularum</i>, 1559. Est. $5500-$7000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 122. Morden, <i>A New Map of the English Empire in America</i>, 1695. <br>Est. $14000-$16000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 291. J.J. Stoner, Niagara-Falls, <br>N.Y., 1882. Est. $1600-$1900
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 797. Sanson, <i>Die Gantze Erd-Kugel</i> ... Europa, Asia, Africa und America, 1679. Est. $8000-$10000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 799. Lotter/Lobeck, Atlas Geographicus Portatilis, 1760.<br>Est. $1600-$1900
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 808. Railroad Companies, [<i>Manuscript Railroad Atlas</i>], 1890.<br>Est. $1000-$1500
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 800. Pinkerton, <i>A Modern Atlas</i>, 1815. Est. $8000-$10000
  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. <i>A superb collection of manuscripts signed by Lincoln and relics related to Lincoln’s death</i>. Washington, 1864-1865
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Rare Relic of the Underground Railroad (1857). <i>$500 Reward Ran away ...</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> CARTER, SUSANNAH. <i>The Frugal Housewife,</i> (1772) the second American cookbook, plates by Paul Revere.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> SCHIRRA, WALTER M.. Icon of the American Space Program. <i>A Complete Set of Schirra’s Flight Log Books (1947-69).</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> A fine pair of daguerreotypes, one a black nurse holding a white baby, the other the white parents. Maryland, c. 1853.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> The Internet. (COMPUTERS.) CERF, VINTON & KAHN, ROBERT. <i>"A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication" in IEEE Transactions on Communications.</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs<br>& Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Marcus A. Root, "<i>General Tom Thumb</i>" with parents, daguerreotype, circa 1846. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> William Saunders, <i>Sketches of Chinese Life and Character</i>, album with 50 hand-colored photographs, 1871-72. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Wilson A. Bentley, album of 25 microphotographs from glass<br>plate negatives, 1888-1927.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs<br>& Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Hilla & Bernhard Becher, <i>Anonyme Skulpturen, Eine Typologie technischer Bauten</i>, first edition inscribed, Düsseldorf, 1970. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Edward Ruscha, four seminal artist's books in original dust jackets.<br>$1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Typological set of more than 100 photographs of WWII fighter planes, 1942-45. $400 to $600.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b><br>Roy DeCarava and Langston Hughes, <i>The Sweet Flypaper of Life</i>, first edition signed by authors, New York, 1955. $500 to $750.
  • <b>Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts, February 14th, 2016.</b>
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 9. HIERONYMUS. C.340-420. <i>Epistolae. WITH: Lupus de Oliveto. Regula Monachorum ...</i> US$ 20,000-30,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 47. FROST, A.B. 1858-1921. Shooting Pictures. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.<br>US$ 10,000-15,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 53. PICASSO, PABLO, RAOUL HAUSMANN, et al. ILIAZD, ed. Poesie de mots inconnus. 1949. US$ 8,000-12,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 64. BRIGGS, HENRY. 1561-1630. <i>The North Part of America</i>. [London: 1625]. Engraved by R. Elstracke. US$ 8,000-12,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 79. COPERNICUS, NICOLAUS. De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. 1566. US$ 80,000-120,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 80. DARWIN, CHARLES. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of ... US$ 70,000-90,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 87. NEWTON, ISAAC, SIR. Autograph Manuscript in Latin and English [n.p., early 1670s}. US$ 100,000-150,000
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 93. Dr. Kary Mullis' 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, awarded to him for the invention of the Polymerase Chain Reaction. US$ 450,000-550,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 96.<br>CLEMENS, SAMUEL. Autograph Manuscript, nearly complete chapter 30 of <i>A Tramp Abroad</i>, c.1879.<br>US$ 20,000-30,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 105. GOLF. [MATHISON, THOMAS. d.1754.]<br><i>The Goff</i>. An Heroi-Comical Poem.<br>US$ 40,000-60,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 113. JOYCE, JAMES. 1882-1941. <i>Ulysses</i>. First Edition, Presentation Copy, Signed and Inscribed by Joyce on the half-title. US$ 40,000-60,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 120. LONDON, JACK. Autograph Manuscript of the short story "Flush of Gold". US$ 40,000-60,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 135. STEINBECK, JOHN. Autograph Manuscript of an unpublished short story. US$ 35,000-45,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 149. GERONIMO. BARRETT, S.M., ed. Geronimo's Story of His Life. 1906. US$ 12,000-18,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 165.<br>ENOLA GAY. LEWIS, ROBERT A. An official pilot's log, 1942 to 1946.<br>US$ 50,000-80,000.

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