Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2014 Issue

Philosophers and Psychologists from Athena Rare Books

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Philosophers & Psychologists.

Athena Rare Books of Fairfield, Connecticut, has released a catalogue on Philosophers & Psychologists, their Catalog 14. There is not a lot of light reading in this catalogue. Athena specializes in the history of ideas, and history does not focus on the small stuff, but the big ideas. For those up to the challenge of understanding how the greatest minds of the past saw themselves and their world (fully recognizing that great minds aren't always great at writing easily understood language), this catalogue will start you on your quest. Put on your thinking caps before entering.

 

John Locke described his revolutionary ideas about human understanding in his seminal work, An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding (we would say human understanding today) in 1690. Item 35 is a first edition, first issue of this important work. Locke challenged the prevailing idea of the time that we were born with some sort of knowledge. Rather, he saw newborns as a “blank slate,” awaiting knowledge to be imparted into their minds from their surroundings. This placed Locke firmly into the newly developing empiricist tradition, that we learn from perceptions and experience. This philosophy had wide-ranging practical impacts. Scientific theory, the learning of scientific concepts through observation, trial and error, as opposed to determining them from some innate logic, enabled us to learn from experience, and advance our understandings from what we learned. On the political side, the “blank slate” theory implied that we all start out the same or equal, a concept employed in the Declaration of Independence – all men are created equal. Priced at $70,000.

 

Here is a philosophical work that is much more readable and entertaining than the typical book of philosophy. Candide, the great work of French Enlightenment philosopher Francois Voltaire, is a biting satire of the religious/philosophical belief of Optimism, that we live in the best of all possible worlds. Rather than an erudite discussion of the philosophy, Voltaire ridicules the theory with the story of the naïve young protagonist, Candide. Candide is taught Optimism by his tutor, the appropriately named Pangloss. However, Candide suffers the most excruciating series of horrors - wars, storms, earthquakes. All the while, Pangloss keeps reiterating that these things are for the best, until the whole philosophy becomes absurd. Ultimately, Candide ends up working a farm, concluding that what is best is to tend his garden, rather than search for answers to incomprehensible mysteries. Item 45 is a true first edition, first issue, published in 1759. Finding such a true first is difficult as some 20 issues are dated 1759, many of which were pirated. The book was an enormous success right from the start. $50,000.

 

This next item takes us into the realm of logic, mathematical precision to be precise. The book is Symbolic Logic, by John Venn, published in 1881. It deals with set theory, new at the time, but is notable most for its diagrams. It was John Venn who developed the well known Venn Diagrams, such as the classic intersecting circles. One is A, the other B, and in the area where the two intersect, those elements have the characteristics of both A and B. Item 44. $750.

 

Here is an item that may sound more like a science book, and it is, and yet it had a greater impact on the way we see ourselves than perhaps any other book ever written. Item 3 is Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection... Offered is a second edition, second issue, published in 1860, the year after the first. Naturally, this book totally changed our understanding of from where we came. Darwin had served as the naturalist on a scientific expedition to Patagonia, publishing a volume on what he found as part of the official account in 1839. However, he had not yet developed his theory on why species isolated from each other gradually developed different characteristics. By the early 1840's, he had developed his theory of evolution, but between fear of controversy and other work he found important (barnacles!), Darwin did not publish his conclusions. It was not until 1858, when Darwin learned that Alfred Russell Wallace had independently reached similar conclusions, that he realized he needed to publish his own findings. $15,000.

 

Athena Rare Books may be reached at 203-254-2727 or bill@athenararebooks.com. Their website is found at www.athenararebooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts, 8 June 2016, New York
    Bonhams June 8: ARISTOTLE.<br>384-322 B.C.E. De animalibus <br>US$ 300,000-500,000.
  • <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 131. After Karl Bodmer (1809-1983) Pehriska-Ruhpa Aquatint. $1500-$2500
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 212. Catlin Snow Show Dance Hand Tinted Lithograph No. 14. $1000-$2000.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 213: Hurlimann After Bodner Saukie Fox Indians Aquatint. $500-$1000.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 226: After Karl Bodmer. Dance of the Mandan Indians Aquatint. $1000-$1500.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 281: Karl Bodmer (1809-1983) Massika and Wakusasse Hand. $750-$1500.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 244: After Catlin Nah-To-Toh Pa Lithograph, Plus Another. $300-$600.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 305: History...Indian Tribes N. America, McKenney & Hall, 3. $3000-$5000.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 316: Catlin, George, "North American Indians," 1841, 2 Vols. $500-$1000.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 284: Catlin, George, "North American Indians," 1926, 2 Vols. $200-$300.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 285: Coleson, Miss Ann, "Among the<br>Sioux Indians!" 1864. $500-$1000.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 289: Heard, L.V.D., Sioux War and Massacres, 1865, First. $400-$800.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 288: Life of Life of Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak or Black Hawk, 1834. $400-$800.
  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. <i>A superb collection of manuscripts signed by Lincoln and relics related to Lincoln’s death</i>. Washington, 1864-1865
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Rare Relic of the Underground Railroad (1857). <i>$500 Reward Ran away ...</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> CARTER, SUSANNAH. <i>The Frugal Housewife,</i> (1772) the second American cookbook, plates by Paul Revere.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> SCHIRRA, WALTER M.. Icon of the American Space Program. <i>A Complete Set of Schirra’s Flight Log Books (1947-69).</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> A fine pair of daguerreotypes, one a black nurse holding a white baby, the other the white parents. Maryland, c. 1853.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> The Internet. (COMPUTERS.) CERF, VINTON & KAHN, ROBERT. <i>"A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication" in IEEE Transactions on Communications.</i>
  • Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 18. Blaeu, <i>Nova et Accuratissima Totius Terrarum Orbis Tabula</i>, 1660.<br>Est. $14000-$17000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 20. Pitt, <i>Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula</i>, 1680. Est. $9500-$11000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 65. Ortelius, <i>Americae sive Novi Orbis, Nova Descriptio</i>, 1571. <br>Est. $6000-$7000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 84. Bailleul, <i>L'Amerique Divisee en Ses Principales Parties</i>, 1752.<br>Est. $19000-$22000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 99. Sayer & Bennett, <i>The American Military Pocket Atlas</i>, 1776. <br>Est. $10000-$12000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 269. Reid, <i>Plan of the City of Washington in the Territory of Columbia</i>, 1796. <br>Est. $2750-$3500
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 291. Carleton, <i>Map of Massachusetts Proper</i>, 1801. Est. $12000-$14000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 378. Keulen, <i>Pas Kaart vande Noord Oost Kust van Cuba en d'Oost Kust van Florida</i>, 1695. Est. $3250-$4000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 651. Ptolemy/Fries, <i>Tabula Superioris Indiae & Tartariae Maioris</i>, 1541.<br>Est. $3000-$4000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 688. Wit, <i>Nova Africa Descriptio</i>, 1660.<br>Est. $2750-$3500
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 706. Ortelius, <i>Maris Pacifici</i>, 1589.<br>Est. $8000-$9000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 727. Audubon, <i>Least Stormy-Petrel</i>, 1836. Est. $1400-$1700
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 741. Bordone, <i>Isolario</i>, 1547.<br>Est. $16000-$19000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 747. Teesdale, <i>A New General Atlas of the World</i>, 1835. Est. $2000-$2750
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 752. Colton, <i>Colton's Atlas of the World Volume I and II</i>, 1856.<br>Est. $2500-$3250
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 760. Prevost, <i>Histoire Generale des Voyages ... Tome Quatorzieme</i>, 1757. <br>Est. $2400-$3000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b> Anne & Margot Frank's copy of <i>Grimm's Fairy Tales</i>, in which Anne wrote her own and Margot's name, circa 1940. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b> Albert Einstein, group of 4 letters Signed to Helmut L. Bradt regarding Bradt's emigration to the U.S., one bearing Nazi censor ink stamps, 1939-40. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b> Archive of items from Ludwig Bemelmans to producer Mary K. Frank, concerning <i>The Street <br>Where the Heart Lies</i>, 1959-62. <br>$10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b> Archive of correspondence to<br>Edwin A. Van Valkenburg from President Theodore Roosevelt and members of his family, 1913-21. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b> Oscar Wilde, manuscript notes panning a book on book collecting, circa 1886. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b><br>John Hancock, partly-printed document Signed as Governor of Massachusetts, Boston, 1781.<br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b> Franz Liszt, Autograph Letter<br>Signed to Carl Gille, Rome, 1869. $4,00 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b> Joseph Conrad, photograph Signed and dated, 1918. $1,000 to $2,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b><br>Two Guns White Calf, photograph postcard Signed with his pictogram, 1929. $800 to $1,200.

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