Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2015 Issue

Major Literary Works from Whitmore Rare Books

E0a88100-30f9-43a3-91e8-fc42300d13dc

A catalogue of important literature.

Whitmore Rare Books recently completed their Catalogue 10. They describe their field as “offering literary first editions and other books of merit.” This explains well what you will find, with one further detail. They also focus on condition. Most of what you will find is in fine or near fine condition, even dust jackets (where applicable) being in amazingly good shape for dust jackets. The great majority of what is offered are first editions of important literary works, with a few exceptions, such as a couple of letters written by authors, a poster, and I'm not sure whether children's books qualify as also being literature or stand apart. Here are a few examples of what you will find in this tenth Whitmore catalogue.

 

We will start with one of those works that could be called a children's book, but it is enjoyed at least as much by adults. It is the timeless classic of logic, albeit turned upside down: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, writing under the pen name Lewis Carroll, produced his masterpiece of twisted logic that makes all of us, young and old, think, a useful if often forgotten skill. Offered is a copy of the rare 1866 first American edition, essentially the earliest obtainable printing. The book was first printed in England in 1865. Carroll sent out 50 copies to his friends. However, illustrator John Tenniel was displeased with the quality of the printing, and Carroll acquiesced to his request to have the copies recalled. Carroll wrote those to whom he had earlier sent copies to send them back, and promised to give them new copies once they were printed. Meanwhile, the rest of the copies were sent to America, where they were given a new title page and published as the first American edition, herein offered. American readers, evidently, are not so fussy. Only around 20 copies of the London edition with the 1865 title page still exist, essentially making it unobtainable today. Item 14. $21,000.

 

Next up is the book that forever made us rethink our assumptions about rabbits. They aren't always gentle little critters. Item 2 is an inscribed first edition of Richard Adams' Watership Down. It is the story of a group of rabbits who leave their warren on the advice of one who foresees its destruction. They have to endure attacks by others from their own warren who do not believe them, and other rabbits along the way. Yes, there are killer rabbits out there. Somehow, they do find a new home and survive the various obstacles they encounter along the way. And yes, their original warren is destroyed, as foreseen, and it was none other than humans, like us, who did it. The book seems full of allegorical references and lessons for humans based on these anthropomorphized rabbits, but Adams has strenuously maintained that there is no deep meaning here, just a story he made up for his girls, who encouraged him to write it down. $1,250.

 

Many consider this book to be Ernest Hemingway's masterpiece, not a small compliment considering his body of work. Item 37 is a first edition, first printing of The Sun Also Rises. Published in 1926, it is the story of American and English expatriates in Europe in the 1920's, a thinly disguised account of his own time there. The Paris-based characters take a trip to Spain, to watch the bullfights and the running of the bulls, their interactions perhaps epitomizing life of the “Lost Generation.” Those were people who came of age during the First World War, and had a hard time finding themselves in the years ahead. Item 37. $2,850.

 

From the Lost Generation we go to the Beat Generation. If Hemingway's book was the signature description of the former, this one is the quintessential tale of the latter – On The Road. Published in 1957, it recounts author Jack Kerouac's journey across the country in the late 1940's. While there are few representatives of the Lost Generation still around anymore, those of the Beat Generation can readily be found at the Social Security office or Denny's early bird special. We know who we are. Kerouac, on the other hand, will never grow old. His drinking did him in first. Still, he remains a generation's voice. Item 42. $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 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
  • <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

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions