Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2013 Issue

Antiquarian Books from Librairie Thomas-Scheler

27090c94-8664-40a4-baa1-1db4fe5c19b9

Livres Anciens.

We have received catalogue number 43 in the series of Livres Ancien (antiquarian books) from Parisian bookseller Librairie Thomas-Scheler. As a caution to English speakers, this catalogue is entirely in French. You will need some familiarity with the language to appreciate it. For this writer, with only French learned in high school many, many years ago, it is a struggle, so if descriptions of items are concise and not terribly informative, it is my fault, not the cataloguer's. Pardon my French (or lack thereof). I was a miserable student, even when my education was still fresh.

 

There is a variety of material to be found in this selection. There are many medical and scientific texts from long ago, but there are also travels, literature, social issues and more. I think we can call it a miscellany, but skewed toward scientific types of writing. Here are a few items being offered.

 

Item 19 is Nuove Sperienze Electriche... (new electrical experiments) by the 18th century Italian physicist Carlo Barletti. Barletti has been overshadowed by his contemporary Italian experimenter in electricity, Alessandro Volta, but he was an important physicist at the time this book was published, 1771. A few years later, Barletti would become chair of the experimental physics department at the University of Pavia. He was a proponent of Benjamin Franklin's fluid theory of electricity. Priced at €450 (euros, or around $606 in U.S. currency).

 

Here is a book about a terrible disease and an even worse “cure”: Lettera sopra l'uso medico interno del mercurio sublimato corrosivo, e sopra il morbo venereo. This is Giovanni Calvi's look at the use of mercury in combating the effects of venereal disease, published in 1762. Mercury was the only treatment available at the time, but the large doses of this highly toxic metal were likely more poisonous than the disease itself. Still, it wouldn't be until the 20th century that useful treatments for Columbus' gift to the Old World would begin to be developed. Item 45. €250 (US $336).

 

Staying on the topic, item 8 is De morbis venereis libri sex, by Jean Astruc, published in 1736. The book is a critical bibliography of literature pertaining to syphilis, from its introduction to Europe in 1493 by Columbus' returning sailors, through 1735. Item 8. €250 (US $336).

 

So where might be a good place to contact venereal disease, if for some unfathomable reason one wanted to? Perhaps this book has the answer: Memoire sur la prostitution publique et parallele complet de la Prostitution romaine et de la Prostitution contemporaine. One does not have to be able to read French to guess what a book that has the word “prostitution” in its title three times is about. This is a memoir about prostitution, including prostitution in Roman times, and prostitution in the contemporary world. That's why the word makes three appearances in the title. The report tells you all you need to know, maybe more, about prostitution in France during the second empire, particularly around Bordeaux. How author J. Jeannel knew so much about the subject is not clear to us. Published in 1862. Item 118. €460 (US $606).

 

Here we have a series of publications in English, published from 1886-1890, The Willits Journal. Charles S. Willits was a Philadelphia Quaker who left a then princely sum of $10,000 when he died in 1883 to be used to distribute religious tracts. He specified that one-half of them should go to “the colored people of the southern states,” and the other half to “the colony of Liberia.” The journal would later be known as The African's Friend. We have been able to determine that it continued to be published, though not always on such a regular basis, into the Nineteen Teens. We find no trace later and presume it was discontinued. A trust fund of $10,000 today would not go very far. Item 213. €250 (US $336).

 

Librairie Thomas-Scheler may be reached at +33 (0)1 43 26 97 69 or basane@thomas-scheler.fr

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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 Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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