Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2014 Issue

An American Miscellany from Walkabout Books

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An American Miscellany.

Walkabout Books has issued their Catalogue Three. An American Miscellany. This is a selection of very American material, that is, the issues and discoveries described are quintessentially part of American history. If this is your field, you will be fascinated with this material. Most of what you will find comes from the 19th century, and what does not, is close to that century's beginning or end. Here are a few items we found.

 

What could be more American than a fascination with disasters? As the preface tells us, “The work is decidedly American.” This is an account of the worst American catastrophes as of 1846: Steamboat Disasters and Railroad Accidents in the United States... This is a “revised and improved” edition of an 1840 book, with no author listed. It contains, “authentic accounts of nearly all the various disasters on steamboats and railroads that have occurred, during many years, throughout the United States.” It claims that no other similarly thorough collection of misery has ever before been published. Item 24. Priced at $200.

 

Remember how your mother would dress you warmly so you wouldn't catch your death of cold? Perhaps that was because she read this book by Samuel Thomson, published in 1825 (second edition): A Narrative of the Life and Medical Discoveries of Samuel Thomson; Containing an Account of His System of Practice, and the Manner of Curing Disease with Vegetable Medicine... Thomson, described here as a “self-taught practitioner” (and nothing scares me more than a “self-taught” doctor), had a theory that death was caused by a diminution of heat from the body. Perhaps he so concluded from the fact that dead bodies become cold, but if so, he had cause and effect mixed up. Thomson believed that eating various plants would help preserve body heat, though brandy and steam baths were also recommended. I can certainly vouch for the warming capacities of one of his recommended vegetable products – cayenne pepper. Actually, Thomson is given credit for some positive influences on medicine. His “cures” were of no benefit, but that was also true of many mainstream medical practices of the day, such as bloodletting. The surprising degree of acceptance of Thomson's theories forced other medical practitioners to reevaluate the success of what they were recommending. Item 33. $300.

 

Here is another warm way of curing disease, and it came from the well-known John Harvey Kellogg, inventor of the corn flake: Light Therapeutics, A Practical Manual of Phototherapy for the Student and the Practitioner. This revised edition was published in 1910, but Kellogg notes that he had been using incandescent light baths at his Battle Creel Sanitarium since 1891, the early days of the light bulb. This was a time when new scientific discoveries, such as electricity and radiation, were believed to have great healing powers. Kellogg was half right when he proclaimed, “the time will soon arise when no hospital will be considered fully equipped...[without] a full set of electric light appliances for therapeutic use.” Hospitals certainly are now fully equipped with electric light appliances. No one wants to undergo brain surgery by candlelight. Still, that's stretching the definition of “therapeutic use” for lights. Item 30. $150.

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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