Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2015 Issue

The Best of 2014 from Yesterday's Muse Books

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Best of 2014.

Yesterday's Muse Books has released a catalogue of the Best of 2014. It was a very good year. The western New York bookseller's catalogue could be described as a miscellany of highlights as just about any subject might be found. We do note the selections are particularly wide in the fields of Americana (much of it colonial or early U.S.), literature, religion, and Arctic exploration, while other subjects include biography, medicine, military, and children's books. Here are a few items you will find in this year-end review.

 

We start with a book that comes with a most significant provenance. Item 3 is a copy of Cotton Mather's Magnalia Christi Americana; or the Ecclesiastical History of New-England, from its First Planting in the Year 1620, unto the Year of Our Lord 1698. Despite its title, Mather tells us about much more of the earliest days of colonial America than just what went on in church. It is an excellent history of its time. Mather, America's leading religious figure at the turn of the 18th century, has long been tarnished by his tacit support of the Salem witch trials, but he was a man learned in many subjects. Regardless of one's opinion of Mather, it is the family connection of this copy that is most intriguing. It belonged to several generations of the family of Harriett Beecher Stowe. The book made a great impression upon her. In her semi-autobiographical book, Poganuc People, Mrs. Stowe wrote, “But there was one of her father's books which proved a mine of wealth to her. It was a happy hour when he brought home and set up in his bookcase Cotton Mather's “Magnalia,” in a new edition of two volumes. What wonderful stories these! and stories, too, about her own country, stories that made her feel that the very ground she trod on was consecrated by some special dealing of God's providence.” This American edition was published in 1853 and contains the ownership stamp of her husband, Rev. C.E. Stowe, and signatures of her son, Charles E. Stowe, and her grandson, Lyman Beecher Stowe. Priced at $3,500.

 

Cotton Mather's father was also an important Massachusetts Puritan minster, not exactly a fun guy, finding his own minister father a bit too liberal, but a very influential figure like his son. For those who think a picture is worth a thousand words, and Increase Mather wrote many thousands of words, item 29 is The Portraits of Increase Mather... by Kenneth B. Murdock, published in 1924. Murdock gathered all known contemporary portraits of Mather, including three herein reproduced for the first time. This was a limited edition, #35 of 250 copies. It was printed at the Harvard University Press (Increase Mather was also President of Harvard University a few centuries earlier) by Bruce Rogers, the noted typographer and type and book designer. $125.

 

Item 107 is Arctic Explorations: The Second Grinnell Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin, 1853, '54, '55, published in 1856. Author Elisha Kent Kane was surgeon on the first Grinnell Expedition, and in command of the second. Henry Grinnell was a wealthy merchant who sponsored the two expeditions in hopes of learning the fate of explorer John Franklin, whose ships disappeared a few years earlier attempting to find a northwest passage. Kane wrote accounts of both expeditions. The first found Franklin's first winter camp, but not the men. The second was similarly unsuccessful, but came back with much charting of the far north. They traveled farther north than had anyone else at the time. Their ship became icebound and Kane was forced to lead his men on a harrowing overland journey to rescue (something Franklin was unable to do). $150. Yesterday's Muse also has a copy of Kane's account of the first Grinnell Expedition available.

 

Here is another, and quite exciting account of the Second Grinnell Expedition: Professor Sonntag's Thrilling Narrative of the Grinnell Exploring Expedition to the Arctic Ocean, in the Years 1853, 1854, and 1855. August Sonntag's account is filled with information about the harrowing journey and escape, along with opinions on what happened to Franklin and how one might be able to reach the North Pole. There was only one problem with the account. It was not written by the Grinnell Expedition's astronomer. It was a fraud. Charles C. Rhodes had purchased a brief article written by Mr. Sonntag from his wife. He then greatly expanded on the article to create a work of fiction, based on Sonntag's article and other polar writings. He was able to get away with it for awhile because Sonntag was working in Mexico. Several of his comrades from the mission denounced the work and stated they did not believe it was written by Sonntag. When Sonntag found out about the book, he whipped off a letter from Mexico saying, “I am very much mortified to see my name at the head of such a wretched concern, especially as I never wrote anything about the expedition which could have given cause to a book like this.” Item 115. $250.

 

Perhaps the most famous, or second most famous, of Dr. Seuss' books is Green Eggs and Ham. However, Seuss wrote another book about eggs in 1953, seven years earlier. Item 61 is Seuss' Scrambled Eggs Super! It is the story of a boy who, tired of ordinary scrambled eggs, travels the world to collect the eggs of various exotic birds that only Dr. Seuss could create. $175.

 

Yesterday's Muse Books may be reached at 585-265-9295 or yesterdays.muse@gmail.com. Their website is found at www.websterbookstore.com.

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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