Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2014 Issue

Big Game Hunting and Guns from L & T Respess Books

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Big Game Hunting & Guns.

L & T Respess Books has released a catalogue of Big Game Hunting & Guns. Most of the books are focused on hunting big game, be that the big game of America, or the really big game of Africa. Hunts similar to what we saw in the past continue in North America, but the African safaris are of another time. Culling of herds of African game, with large species now under grave threat, is a bit chilling, but this was a different time. White hunters bagged hundreds of lions, elephants, and the like in the days when most of Africa was a European colonial empire. Such use of another's land might not be much appreciated today, but then again it was less devastating then Americans virtually wiping out the buffalo on which the country's natives depended for survival. Hindsight is always clearer. In the day, great hunters, wealthy foreigners, and even one of America's greatest presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, made the trek to Africa and other far off places for the chance to bag a few (or a lot) of very large animals.

 

We start with one of the earlier accounts of hunting in Africa: Five Years of a Hunter's Life in the Far Interior of South Africa... by Roualeyn Cumming. This is an 1850 second edition, published the same years as the first. Cumming hunted lion, elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, giraffe, and more during the days when there were “seemingly limitless herds of game in the region.” He even met David Livingtone in the back country when the latter was still more focused on missionary work than exploration. Item 10. Priced at $250.

 

The most famous of big game hunters, not necessarily for his hunting prowess but for his celebrity, was Theodore Roosevelt. That is not to say he wasn't adept at hunting too. Roosevelt loved challenges, and the bigger and more dangerous the better. It was a test of his mettle, or something. Item 23 is Roosevelt's African Game Trails: An Account of the Wanderings of an American Hunter-Naturalist. Indeed, it should be noted that Roosevelt was not only a hunter, but also a dedicated conservationist. Roosevelt's term as President ended on March 4, 1909, after, to his everlasting regret, he declined to seek reelection in 1908. Less than three weeks later, he was off on his African safari, an expedition sponsored by the Smithsonian institute. T.R. could not stand the thought of sitting around with nothing to do. The Smithsonian wanted specimens, and Roosevelt did not let them down. He brought back over 11,000, though this number includes plants, insects and the like. Still, what they bagged was “enormous even by the liberal standards of that era.” The book includes a listing of each big animal. $500.

 

Roosevelt's journey would be revisited half a century later by another Roosevelt. Item 20 is Sentimental Safari, by Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. Kermit was Theodore's grandson, their lives overlapping by three years. Kermit took his two sons along on this retracing of his grandfather's famous expedition. This copy of his 1963 book is signed by the author. $75.

 

We'll add one more Roosevelt, but this is an unexpected one. Elliott Roosevelt was not an offspring of Theodore, but rather, his brother. The brothers were close, and Elliott was the more charming, and seemingly headed for the greater success of the two brothers. However, the younger Elliott would become an alcoholic at an early age, which would lead to madness and a suicide attempt from which the injuries soon proved fatal. He was only 34. Item 136 is Hunting Big Game in the Eighties: The Letters of Elliott Roosevelt, Sportsman. This book was edited by Elliott's daughter, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt. She usually just left off the “Anna.” Eleanor was only 9 when Elliott died, but he had written her many letters about his trips during that time. Elliott's death left her an orphan as her mother had died two years earlier. These letters focus mainly on Elliott's big game hunting in Africa. The book was published in 1933, the year Eleanor became first lady when her husband, Franklin, took office as President. $75.

 

Almost all of these hunting books were written by men, but here is an exception: Caravans and Cannibals, by Mary Hastings Bradley, published in 1926. Mary Hastings was a writer who had already published a couple of books about Egypt when she got married. Herbert Bradley was a big game hunter, so the two took off on an expedition to the Belgian Congo in the early 1920's. They hunted elephant, buffalo, and lions. The book comes with a three-page letter concerning some monkey skins she obtained in Africa. Why did she want monkey skins? On second thought, I don't want to know why. Item 48. $125.

 

If hunting in Africa is too hot and steamy for your taste, you could try this one: Stalks in the Himalaya, Jottings of a Sportsman-Naturalist, by E. P. Stebbing, published in 1912. The game was far different here. There were no lions, elephants, hippos or rhinos. Instead, they hunted animals like the goral, serow, tahr, and markhor. Huh? Am I the only one who has never heard of these animals? It turns out they are all real, and generally of small populations living under conditions where few species dare to tread. All are described as “goat-like,” but this is not surprising as few animals can manage the high steep terrain like a mountain goat. Item 166. $125.

 

L & T Respess Books may be reached at 413-727-3435 or respessbooks@cstone.net.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <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 Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750

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