Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2014 Issue

Legal Texts and Gruesome Crimes from the Lawbook Exchange

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Catalogue 76.

The Lawbook Exchange has issued its Catalogue 76 of Recently Acquired Books, Manuscripts and Ephemera. It is filed with significant legal and constitutional texts for serious scholars and collectors. There are also some books for the less scholarly among us, tales of gruesome murders and other horrible crimes centuries ago. These are the “fun” books. Today, we would hear about such things on TV or the internet, stories lost as soon as the electrons stop flowing. Back then, these tales had to be printed in books and pamphlets, preserving them for our entertainment today, just as they entertained an earlier generation with their lurid details. Here are a few items found in this latest Lawbook catalogue.

 

Probably the most significant book ever written about the United States was Frenchman Alexis de Toqueville's account of Democracy in America, written in the 1830's. However, de Toqueville did not come to America to learn about its political institutions. He came to study its prison system. His famous book would come a few years later as he wrote about what else he had learned on his visit. His first account concerns American prisons and it is here offered as item 3: Du Systeme Penitentiare aux Etats-Unis at de son Application en France... (the prison system in the United States and its application to France). It was co-written with Gustave de Beaumont and published in 1833, two years before the first part of his book on American democracy. The two spent nine months traveling around the United States observing prisons, interviewing both wardens and prisoners. It led them to advocate prison reform in their own country. Priced at $2,500.

 

If you are wondering who are those gentlemen on the cover of this catalogue, it is a group that was gathered in The Lobby of the House of Commons, 1886. This caricature appeared in Vanity Fair on November 30, 1886, and features such politicians of the day as William Gladstone, Lord Randoph Churchill, and Charles Stewart Parnell. The artist was “Lib,” the name used by Liberio Pesperi. Vanity Fair was published from 1869-1914, with around 2,400 caricatures appearing during its run. Twenty-one of these were published in double-page prints and also printed separately. This is evidently a separately issued print since it lacks the vertical crease of those included in the magazine. Item 73. $350.

 

Item 41 is one the Lawbook Exchange describes as “the first work devoted to laws relating to women.” Attributed to Thomas Edgar and published in 1632 (only edition), the title is The Lawes Resolutions of Womens Rights: Or, the Lawes Provision for Woemen. The anonymous work is also referred to as The Womens Lawyer. It covers issues relating to women, including dower, age of consent, divorce, descent, rape, and many more. $9,500.

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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