Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2014 Issue

Books and Manuscripts from James Cummins Bookseller

10ec1739-726d-49bd-b490-1d9992d5753d

Fine books and manuscripts.

James Cummins Bookseller has released Catalogue 121. It contains a mix of books and manuscripts, covering a variety of subjects. Cummins features material that is important, rare, and in top condition. It is designed for those who collect at the highest level. Here are a few of these very interesting items now offered.

 

For those still fascinated by railroads, once the gateway to travel and adventure for regular folks, here is an outstanding book from England: Drawings of the London and Birmingham Railway, by John C. Bourne, with an Historical and Descriptive Account, by John Britton F.S.A. Bourne provided the illustrations, Britton the text. Published in 1839, The 34 lithographs display construction of the railway line from London to Birmingham at the dawn of railroading. It was a spectacular feat of construction, and the quality of this book matches the construction work. It was produced by Ackerman & Co., noted for the high quality of their printing. Item 6. Priced at $9,000.

 

Item 18 is a late in life letter from Mark Twain, but we will call him Samuel Clemens because this story begins before he adopted that pseudonym for his writings. At the age of 22, Clemens, still working on a steamboat, spied a young lady named Laura Wright. She was quite young – 14. Twain was evidently smitten, and the two spent three days together, evidently fond of each other without being terribly romantic. They shared some correspondence for several years, but other than a reported meeting when Sam was seriously discouraged by Laura's mother, they never met again. Nonetheless, Laura remained in Clemens' consciousness the rest of his life, and he had a recurring dream of an unidentified woman seemingly based on Laura. He never forgot her. Item 18 is a letter the now 70-year-old Clemens wrote in 1906 to his sister-in-law, Susan Crane. Crane was the younger sister of Clemens' wife, Olivia, and she remained close to her sister and brother-in-law all of their lives. Olivia died in 1904, but Sam and Susan remained in regular contact. In this letter, Clemens writes of that old romance, perhaps surprising since it is to the sister of his late wife. Writes Clemens, “Here's a romance for you! Forty-eight years, 2 months & 1 day ago I parted from a sweetheart who was 14 years old, & since then I have never seen her nor exchanged a word with her - & today I got a letter from her! (I remembered her hand.) She is poor, is a widow, in debt, & in desperate need of a thousand dollars. I sent it. Still, I am not bankrupt yet...” Clemens reveals something about himself, and to his wife's sister no less, in remembering the exact number of days since he had last seen Laura Wright, and the fact that he sent her $1,000, a very large sum of money in 1906. However, it appears that he had not been fully honest with his sister-in-law since they apparently did meet once again two years later, and they did exchange letters for some number of years afterwards. $4,500.

 

We can all sympathize with Charles Dickens when it comes to this problem. Item 25 is a letter Dickens wrote in 1869 to Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. Le Fanu was an Irish writer most known for his gothic, mystery, and ghostly tales. Le Fanu had submitted an article for Dickens' periodical, All The Year Round. It was for Green Tea, a short work about spiritualism that Cummins describes as arguably his greatest work of short fiction. However, Dickens had a problem reading it, for reasons we can all understand. He writes to Le Fanu, “...I have safely received your MS and have sent it to the printer. I tried to read it in your writing, but could not succeed without devoting more time to the task than I could spare.” $7,500.

 

Item 31 is a collection of correspondence, primarily to James McLaughlin in 1890, though as late as 1898, during the time of the Ghost Dance. The Ghost Dance movement was a native spiritual revival, an Indian prophet preaching that taking part in the dance would revive the natives' good fortune. White settlers were afraid. They feared part of the Indians' hopes for a revival of their culture meant getting rid of them. McLaughlin was the Indian Agent for the Sioux Reservation in Dakota, and while he saw himself as sympathetic to the Indian, he still decided to bring in troops and clamp down on Sitting Bull and the Sioux. Perhaps some of these letters led him to act this way. One woman wrote, “...we are living in mortal fear at the present time of being surprised by the bloody Sioux.” A man says, “...there is quite a big excitement here over the Indian scare and my family has gone to safety...” Another says an Indian who went to Nevada to learn about the dance (that is where it started) had returned to start a Ghost Dance in McLaughlin's area. The rest is history – an army confrontation with the Indians, a misunderstanding, and then the slaughter at Wounded Knee, including the killing of Sitting Bull. $15,000.

 

James Cummins Bookseller may be reached at 212-688-6441 or info@jamescumminsbookseller.com. The website is www.jamescumminsbookseller.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions