Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2014 Issue

Great Literature from Whitmore Rare Books

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Catalogue 9.

Catalogue 9 has been released by Whitmore Rare Books, “offering literary first editions and other books of merit.” “Literature” describes most of the items offered, though that might be a stretch for a few, such as Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat, David Embury's classic Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, or a manuscript appointment of a successor as Lord Chancellor for Sir Francis Bacon when he was put on trial in 1621. In hindsight, he might better have joined the pilgrims, as the great philosopher was convicted of corruption and banned from public office for life. Here are a few more of the books to be found within this ninth catalogue.

 

Perhaps Bacon felt like “K,” the protagonist in Franz Kafka's The Trial. This is a 1937 first American edition of a book originally published in German in 1925, the year after Kafka died. K goes through surreal proceedings by a court of unknown judges and unknown authority, not even told the charges against him. The charges come to dominate his life as K remains in the dark about what is going on, seeking help from a lawyer and others who seem to know more than he, but not enough to be of much use. A year later, the poor man is taken away and executed. Kafka's masterpiece was never finished. He didn't even want it published. Kafka had written the work 10 years earlier, and left instructions to his literary executor to burn his papers when he died. Fortunately, the executor ignored his wishes and published the book. Item 49. Priced at $4,250.

 

K was unable to extricate himself from his predicament, but if there is one man who could have escaped from it, or anything else, it would be the one-time owner of this book. Item 45 is a copy of Natural Magick, a 1658 first English language edition of a book by John Baptist Porta, originally published in 1558. Porta was an Italian “scientist,” perhaps a scientist for his era. His work includes legitimate science, along with magic, the occult, alchemy, and just about anything else that crossed the mind of the inquisitive gentleman. This book precedes the era of the scientific method, Porta gathering his “knowledge” wherever he could, from ancient writings to his own observations. This copy of Porta's book is notable for its provenance. It was once owned by the most renown magician ever, Harry Houdini. The master of escapes has signed his name, and made a few notations. Houdini has placed a notation for “INKS” on page 350. This section reveals how to make invisible ink and invisible writing. $22,500.

 

Kafka wasn't the only author to leave behind an unfinished book. F. Scott Fitzgerald, who had gone six years without a novel, having turned to film scripts for money, was working on another when he died. Fitzgerald's was a tormented life, and years of drink had depleted his health. A couple of heart attacks at the age of 44 finished him off. He had partly finished a novel about the rise to power of a film producer, a subject with which he would have been familiar from his late-in-life work in Hollywood. With help from notes about the unfinished parts, The Last Tycoon was published in 1941, the year after his death. Item 27. $1,250.

 

Item 64 is a long-forgotten book that was “found” a couple of decades ago, and then swept into the public consciousness with a recent film of the same name, Twelve Years A Slave. Solomon Northup's account of his 12 years on a Louisiana plantation was published in 1853, a year after Uncle Tom's Cabin, quickly selling 30,000 copies to readers seeking a nonfictional account of what slavery was like. Northup was a free black man, a farmer and a violinist from upstate New York when he was enticed to come to Washington, D.C., ostensibly to play the violin. Instead, he was kidnapped, slavery still being legal in the nation's capital, and transported to Louisiana. Control over slaves was such that Northup was unable to get a message to his family back home. He toiled for 12 years on the plantation before convincing an itinerant Canadian carpenter, working temporarily on the plantation, to send letters back to New York. Eventually, Northup was rescued by the son of his father's former owner (from the days slavery was legal in New York) and officials of the State of New York. Northup wrote his book and spoke to abolitionist audiences for the next few years, but in 1857 disappeared again, and no one knows what became of him (it is not believed he was kidnapped into slavery a second time). $8,500.

 

We will conclude with some much lighter reading, a return to very early childhood. Item 6 may be one of the first books you ever read, or someone read to you. It is Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon. It could be argued that Clement Hurd's illustrations made this book more than Brown's lyrics, though simple as they are, they were just right for this story. It is as magical as it is simple, and it lights up the eyes of any young child to whom this story is read. I say that from personal experience. This first edition was published in 1947. $650.

 

Whitmore Rare Books may be reached at 626-297-7700 or info@whitmorerarebooks.com. Their website is www.WhitmoreRareBooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts, February 14th, 2016.</b>
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 9. HIERONYMUS. C.340-420. <i>Epistolae. WITH: Lupus de Oliveto. Regula Monachorum ...</i> US$ 20,000-30,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 47. FROST, A.B. 1858-1921. Shooting Pictures. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.<br>US$ 10,000-15,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 53. PICASSO, PABLO, RAOUL HAUSMANN, et al. ILIAZD, ed. Poesie de mots inconnus. 1949. US$ 8,000-12,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 64. BRIGGS, HENRY. 1561-1630. <i>The North Part of America</i>. [London: 1625]. Engraved by R. Elstracke. US$ 8,000-12,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 79. COPERNICUS, NICOLAUS. De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. 1566. US$ 80,000-120,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 80. DARWIN, CHARLES. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of ... US$ 70,000-90,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 87. NEWTON, ISAAC, SIR. Autograph Manuscript in Latin and English [n.p., early 1670s}. US$ 100,000-150,000
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 93. Dr. Kary Mullis' 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, awarded to him for the invention of the Polymerase Chain Reaction. US$ 450,000-550,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 96.<br>CLEMENS, SAMUEL. Autograph Manuscript, nearly complete chapter 30 of <i>A Tramp Abroad</i>, c.1879.<br>US$ 20,000-30,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 105. GOLF. [MATHISON, THOMAS. d.1754.]<br><i>The Goff</i>. An Heroi-Comical Poem.<br>US$ 40,000-60,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 113. JOYCE, JAMES. 1882-1941. <i>Ulysses</i>. First Edition, Presentation Copy, Signed and Inscribed by Joyce on the half-title. US$ 40,000-60,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 120. LONDON, JACK. Autograph Manuscript of the short story "Flush of Gold". US$ 40,000-60,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 135. STEINBECK, JOHN. Autograph Manuscript of an unpublished short story. US$ 35,000-45,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 149. GERONIMO. BARRETT, S.M., ed. Geronimo's Story of His Life. 1906. US$ 12,000-18,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 165.<br>ENOLA GAY. LEWIS, ROBERT A. An official pilot's log, 1942 to 1946.<br>US$ 50,000-80,000.
  • <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b><br>Lot 14. Blaeu,<i>Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula</i>, 1635. Est. $14000-$16000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b><br>Lot 305. Arrowsmith, <i>Texas: The Rise, Progress, and Prospects of the Republic of Texas</i>, 1841. Est. $18000-$20000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b><br>Lot 256. Thackara, <i>Plan of the City<br>of Washington in the Territory of Columbia</i>, 1792. Est. $13000-$16000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 188. Browne/Senex, A New<br>Map of Virginia Mary-land, 1719. <br>Est. $5500-$6500
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 47. Cellarius, <i>Scenographia Systematis Copernicani</i>, 1708.<br>Est. $2400-$3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 6. Ortelius, <i>Typus Orbis Terrarum</i>, 1571. Est. $7000-$8500
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 413. De Medina, <i>Mundo Novo,</i> 1554. Est. $7000-$9000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 37. Jansson, <i>Histoire des Grands Chemins de l'Empire Romain</i>, 1736. Est. $3000-$3750
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 798. Le Rouge, <i>Atlas Nouveau Portatif a l'Usage des Militaires</i>, 1748. Est. $2400-$3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 60. Munster, <i>Tabula Novarum Insularum</i>, 1559. Est. $5500-$7000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 122. Morden, <i>A New Map of the English Empire in America</i>, 1695. <br>Est. $14000-$16000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 291. J.J. Stoner, Niagara-Falls, <br>N.Y., 1882. Est. $1600-$1900
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 797. Sanson, <i>Die Gantze Erd-Kugel</i> ... Europa, Asia, Africa und America, 1679. Est. $8000-$10000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 799. Lotter/Lobeck, Atlas Geographicus Portatilis, 1760.<br>Est. $1600-$1900
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 808. Railroad Companies, [<i>Manuscript Railroad Atlas</i>], 1890.<br>Est. $1000-$1500
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 800. Pinkerton, <i>A Modern Atlas</i>, 1815. Est. $8000-$10000
  • <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>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs<br>& Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Marcus A. Root, "<i>General Tom Thumb</i>" with parents, daguerreotype, circa 1846. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> William Saunders, <i>Sketches of Chinese Life and Character</i>, album with 50 hand-colored photographs, 1871-72. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Wilson A. Bentley, album of 25 microphotographs from glass<br>plate negatives, 1888-1927.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs<br>& Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Hilla & Bernhard Becher, <i>Anonyme Skulpturen, Eine Typologie technischer Bauten</i>, first edition inscribed, Düsseldorf, 1970. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Edward Ruscha, four seminal artist's books in original dust jackets.<br>$1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Typological set of more than 100 photographs of WWII fighter planes, 1942-45. $400 to $600.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b><br>Roy DeCarava and Langston Hughes, <i>The Sweet Flypaper of Life</i>, first edition signed by authors, New York, 1955. $500 to $750.

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