Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2014 Issue

Travel and Exploration from Peter Harrington

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Travel and Exploration.

Peter Harrington has issued a new catalogue of Travel and Exploration, their Catalogue 103. It contains a wide variety of travel narratives, though we can mention a few concentrations. Most of the explorations covered emanated from England, home base for the bookseller. While travels reach all points of the globe, including the Americas, Asia, and Australia, there is some concentration on journeys to the Middle East and Africa. The timing of the journeys is mostly 18th to early 20th century, though there are some that go over these borders of time in both directions. The language of most books is English, though again, there are exceptions. Travel and exploration is one of the most popular of fields for collectors, and if this is your interest, you will appreciate this latest catalogue from Peter Harrington.

 

We start with the second book, with many more to come, of the prolific writer and great English wartime commander Winston Churchill. Published in 1899, the title is The River War. An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan. The British had lost control over the Sudan to local forces, a situation intolerable to them during the height of the colonial era. Churchill served with the 21st Lancers, who led what has been described as the last cavalry charge, on the city of Omdurman. While the British had fewer forces than their enemy, they had a major advantage in terms of advanced weaponry and were successful in retaking the country. Churchill described the book as “a tale of blood and war.” He has signed the first volume and initialed the second. Item 61. Priced at £7,500 (British pounds, or approximately $11,909 U.S. dollars).

 

While Churchill's political career was only beginning at the turn of the century, its highlights 40 years away, this next author was reaching the peak of his political career at the time. Theodore Roosevelt ascended to the U. S. presidency in 1901, and became one of the most influential, and many believe greatest, of presidents. Yet, he left office in 1909 after declining to seek reelection, which left the adventurous former leader with nothing in particular to do. Not for long, though, as he almost immediately headed out on a monumental African safari. He took some 250 others along, mainly guides and porters, and brought back thousands of plant and animal specimens for the Smithsonian. The highlight of his long journey from British East Africa to the Belgian Congo, and to the Sudan a decade after Churchill, was big game hunting. Still, Roosevelt was also a conservationist, dedicated to preservation. Item 215 is his 1910 account of his journey, African Game Trails. An Account of the African Wanderings of an American Hunter-Naturalist. This is #106 of the signed, limited edition of 500 copies. £6,000 (US $9,522).

 

In the same general time, but on the other side of the Nile, T.E. Lawrence was busy excavating archeological sites in the Middle East. Lawrence had grown up in England with a fascination for antiquarian history. However, with war on the horizon in early 1914, the British decided to use Lawrence's ready cover as an archeologist to obtain military information. Lawrence was conducting his research within the Ottoman empire, which would soon be the ally of Britain's war enemy, Germany. The British were afraid the Turks would try to seize Egypt, and figured such an attack would require crossing the Negev, an area about which they had little information. So, they sent Lawrence on an archeological mission to the biblical “Wilderness of Zin,” the real aim being to learn about routes across this area in case of invasion. Lawrence (along with archeologist Leonard Woolley) prepared the necessary archeological report which was published in 1915: Palestine Exploration Fund Annual, 1914. The Wilderness of Zin. Lawrence would soon become better known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” as, on behalf of the British, he assisted Arabs in rebelling against Ottoman rule. This required the Turks dedicate great resources to putting down the Arabs, resources that otherwise could have been employed to assist Germany. Item 149. £1,250 (US $1,983).

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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