Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2013 Issue

Literature and Books of Merit from Whitmore Rare Books

Whitmore6

Literary firsts and more.

Whitmore Rare Books has issued their Catalogue 6, “offering literary first editions and other books of merit.” Literary works dominate the selection, but everything presented is meritorious, so what is not literature still fits the description. As “books of merit,” you will recognize most of these books or their authors. Their merit has been recognized. And, we will now recognize a few of the specific titles offered.

Item 28 is one of those iconic books of 20th century American literature, The Great Gatsby. There is not much to be said about it that is not already well known. It is a work of the “Jazz Age,” the “Roaring Twenties,” whatever one wants to call the era. F. Scott Fitzgerald, and his wife Zelda, lived the lifestyle to the fullest, supported by this and some earlier successes of Scott's writing. Offered is a first edition of Gatsby, published in 1925. The book was not a major success at the time, doing little to stop what was now a rapid downward spiral in the lives of the Fitzgeralds. Priced at $2,650.

By 1932, the Fitzgeralds' situation had deteriorated into complete chaos. Scott was drinking heavily, and Zelda's mind no longer functioned correctly. She had already spent a considerable time institutionalized in Europe when she entered psychiatric facilities at Johns Hopkins Hospital that year. However, it was at this time that Zelda grabbed her pen and wrote her only published novel (she was a published writer of magazine articles and shorter pieces). The result of her brief outburst of writing is Save Me The Waltz. While a work of “fiction,” the story largely parallels the lives of the Fitzgeralds. Scott was not pleased. He had been working for ages on a novel based on the same story (Tender is the Night), and demeaned Zelda's writing skills. Between that and disappointing sales, it must have only added to the burdens upon her troubled mind. Item 29 is a copy of Zelda's novel that belonged to Elizabeth Boyd, childhood friend of “Scottie” Fitzgerald, Scott and Zelda's daughter and only child. $5,000.

Speaking of 20th century American literary icons, if there is a book more iconic than Gatsby, it is this one: Gone With The Wind. This book is set in the South, from whence the Fitzgeralds came, but in the days after the Civil War, when antebellum splendor turned into the defeated's reality. Item 48 is a May 1936 first edition in a first issue dust jacket of Margaret Mitchell's classic. The copy has been signed by Miss Mitchell. $16,500.

Here is another important book, but for very different reasons. Sadly, it was not fiction. Jacob Riis came to America as a young man, lived in the slums of New York at first, got a job as a police reporter, and became both a photographer and reporter. He is particularly noted as a pioneer in flash photography, which allowed him to display images of some of the darker, seamier sides of New York City. Item 55 is a copy of his “muckraking” book from 1890, How The Other Half Lives. Riis focused particularly on Manhattan's tenements, places where immigrants lived in terrible squalor. People would be jammed into small tenement apartments, often large, extended families. They were frequently dark, dirty, and unsanitary. The terrible poverty would lead to other problems, heavy drinking in particular. Children would often spend their days working in the nearby sweatshops. Riis believed middle and upper class people did not realize how bad the conditions were in the slums, and with this book, which features both textual descriptions and Riis' photographs, he set out to make them understand. One of the people whose eye Riis caught, and became a follower of his mission, was a young Theodore Roosevelt, just working his way up in New York politics at the time. Riis' influence was obviously significant, as Roosevelt would go on to be a dedicated reformer. Item 55. $1,850.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.
  • <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

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