Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2013 Issue

Lorne Bair Rare Books Offers Radical Literature

Bair17

Socialism and more.

Lorne Bair Rare Books has issued Catalogue 17, which looks like its title is “What to Read on Socialism and Sundry Other Topics,” but is not. It would be a good title, though. Bair specializes in radical literature, most of it socialist in orientation. However, there are “sundry other topics,” some of it being other causes generally associated with the left, black, women's, workers' and gay rights, anti-war protests, drug culture and the like. Then, in the interests of fairness and balance, there are some publications from the far right as well. Capital gets its occasional say, even if labor speaks more loudly in these pages. Here are some of the publications that take us to the edges of the political spectrum, but rarely to the middle.

There may be no more iconic left-right confrontation than that of the Spanish Civil War. The Fascist aligned Spanish military went after the Republican government in a war that attracted supporters from all over the world. Liberal to socialist to communist supporters came to fight for the Republicans, while Fascists and the German Nazi regime provided air power to support the generals. It was a brutal war, hundreds of thousands killed, before the Fascists under General Franco gained final control. Pablo Picasso created his most famous painting during the war, a piece in support of the Republicans. It is entitled Guernica, and it displays the horror of bombings of that city by the Fascists in 1937. During the final year of that war, 1939, the painting was placed on tour to raise money for refugees of the war. Item 239 is the program for its appearance in New York – The American Artists Congress Presents the Masterpiece Guernica by Pablo Picasso. This copy is signed by Julio Alvarez del Vayo, Foreign Affairs Minister during the Republican government and a man who sought the overthrow of the Fascist government through the end of his life (both del Vayo and Franco died in 1975). Priced at $400.

Once in awhile, two causes that normally appeal to the same types of constituencies run into conflict. Here is an example of a conflict between black and gay rights. The Saint was a notable gay nightclub in Atlanta several decades ago, a time and place not terribly suited to recognition of gay rights. However, it came under attack from advocates of black rights in this circa 1980 poster. It displays a photograph of 38 men who worked at the Saint at the time. The poster is headed, This is a Phenomenal Photograph. It points out that two-thirds of Atlanta's residents are black, “but...they ain't at the Saint.” A look at the photograph reveals that not one of the 38 employees is black. “What are the odds,” it continues, “all 38 jobs to Whites, 0 to Blacks? Less than one in a trillion.” It concludes that this is not what is phenomenal, but what is is that “nearly every Gay bar in the country is just like the Saint.” Item 193. $200.

Item 130 proved to be the ultimate muckraking book: The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair. As Sinclair later explained, “I aimed for the public's heart but by accident I hit it in the stomach.” Sinclair described the horrors of conditions in the meatpacking industry of Chicago at the turn of the century. His intent was to expose the terrible conditions in which the immigrant workers labored, but what ended up catching the public's attention was the deplorable sanitary conditions under which the meat they ate was produced. Offered is a first issue of the trade edition, published in 1906. $200.

Item 189 is an ugly promotion for eugenics from a different side of the political spectrum. W.E.D. Stokes was a man born to considerable wealth, who in turn added to that fortune as a real estate developer, earning more money than friends along the way. He was born of the family that owned mining company Phelps Dodge, though he had to sue his brother for a share of the inheritance when he was left out of his father's will. He had a couple of marriages that ended in very ugly divorces and numerous affairs. Along with his active personal life and real estate development, Stokes found himself regularly in litigation. Nonetheless, he managed to find time in 1917 to write The Right to be Well Born; or, Horse Breeding in Its Relation to Eugenics. As the neither kindly nor tactful Stokes argues, “...in breeding horses, we render impotent the unfit. We never try to render fit a sire by education. We have no sanitariums for weak horses, to keep them alive at public expense, and then turn them loose to reproduce their unfitness, to refill more homes for defectives. The same rule should apply to humans...” $75.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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>

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