Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2013 Issue

Books, Manuscripts and Ephemera from The Lawbook Exchange

Lawbook73

Legal books, manuscripts, and ephemera.

The Lawbook Exchange has issued Catalogue 73. Recently Acquired Books, Manuscripts and Ephemera. This one covers seven centuries of the law. Printed works range from five items of incunabula, mostly focusing on church rather than civil law, to material from the 20th century. Manuscripts include 18th and 19th century account books from lawyers, judges, and civil authorities. Finally, there is a section of artworks, primarily printed images of various courtroom and other law-related scenes. This last group is framed and ready for hanging on a wall. Some are serious, but many contain humorous images. These are some of the works you will find in this most recent Lawbook catalogue.

The first item in this catalogue is an important defense of America's legal institutions from the days before the establishment of its constitutional government: A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America. This is the three-volume first edition published in London 1787-1788 by America's Minister to Great Britain and future President, John Adams. In response to foreign criticism, Adams set out a spirited defense of the republican governments in the various states, including the concept of separation of powers and bicameral legislatures. Originally intended to be just one volume, Adams expanded to add two more in 1788. Adams' work became a major influence on America's constitutional convention as they set up the rules under which the federal government has operated for all of these years since then. Due to their separate publishing, complete sets of Adams' Defence are not easy to find. Priced at $22,500.

A century later, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., published one of the most important works on American law: The Common Law, published in 1881. Holmes was still in private practice at the time, but the following year he was appointed to the highest court in Massachusetts, where he served for 20 years, followed by 30 years serving on the U.S. Supreme Court. Holmes argued against the prevailing view that the law was like scientific principles, something unchanging to be deduced by thoroughly studying its wording. He considered it an evolving series of principles as much deduced from practical experience as applying to it. Item 50. $650.

From legal highs we go to legal lows, the scandalous trials that the 99% of the population not so interested in legal theories would rather read about. Item 77 is No Church Without a Bishop, Or, A Peep into the Sanctuary. This is Alonzo Potter's account of the ecclesiastical trial of New York's Episcopal Bishop Benjamin Onderdonk in 1845. Onderdonk was accused of being a bit too familiar with some of his female parishioners. Specifically, he was charged with fondling several ladies who testified against him. Onderdonk, who was involved in theological debates of the day, denied the charges and claimed they were brought by those opposed to his theological views. Whatever the truth was, and it is still debated today, the charges certainly made for an interesting trial. One of the claims stated, “The bishop accepted the challenge, if such was intended, and again inserted his hand into her bosom, this time very low down, and with the palm inward, and toyed with his handful in a way which, Miss Jane naively says, it is out of her power to describe.” Perhaps that was because he had supernatural powers (or maybe she was just making it up). A split decision ended up with Bishop Onderdonk being suspended from his post, but not relieved of his title as Bishop, which he held in suspension the remainder of his life. $450.

Item 88 is an account of two libel trials from the turn of the 19th century: Report Of The Case John Dorrance Against Arthur Fenner...[and] the Case of Arthur Fenner vs. John Dorrance... Dorrance was a Common Pleas Court Judge in Rhode Island in 1801, while Fenner was the state's Governor. They were also political rivals, which may have been the impetus for Governor Fenner to make his charges against Dorrance. The body of a suicide victim had been turned over to Judge Dorrance for proper burial. Fenner charged that instead of burying the victim, Dorrance sold his body for medical practice in return for a beaver hat. Dorrance, he charged, even “had the impudence to wear” the hat while serving as Town Moderator. The body was missing from the grave, but according to a 1992 book on medical grave robbers by Suzanne M. Schultz, there was absolutely no evidence that Dorrance knew or approved of the grave robbing, nor did he receive a beaver hat for the corpse. It didn't matter. Fenner was successful in having Dorrance defeated for reelection, and the juries found, at least in part, for Fenner. This case throws light on an ugly practice – grave robbing – that was widespread at the time as there was an insufficient supply of bodies to fill the needs of medical students. $650.

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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