Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2005 Issue

Many Topics from James Cummins Bookseller

R0605

General Custer's photo, inscribed by his wife to Buffalo Bill

Here is a haunting photograph. It is of Sigmund Freud's writing desk in Vienna, where he did much of his work. It was taken for a collection of photographs of Freud's Austrian home and office, published by young photographer Edmund Engelman. The year was 1938, and Freud was fleeing Austria after it was taken over by the Nazis. It was only because of Freud's reputation that he was permitted to leave the country. He would escape to Paris, and then on to England, where he died the following year. Engelman's photograph is offered with a copy of his book, BERGASSE 19. Sigmund Freud's Home and Offices, Vienna 1938, signed by Engelman. Item 71. $2,500.

Item 56 is a copy of William Guthrie's A New Geographical...Grammar...of the Several Kingdoms of the World. This one carries the signature of one the most famed political names ever - Abraham Lincoln. It is dated November 18th, 1784. Huh? Is this a forgery by someone with a very poor knowledge of dates? Not at all. This is a book once owned by the other political Abraham Lincoln, the one who was a Pennsylvania assemblyman and served as a delegate to the Pennsylvania state convention which ratified the Constitution. He was married to Ann Boone, a relative of Daniel. This Abraham Lincoln was the brother of the more famous Abraham Lincoln's great-grandfather, John Lincoln. This makes the Abraham Lincoln here described the great-great uncle of the Abraham Lincoln you know. As if this isn't sufficiently confusing, there were also two other Abraham Lincolns in the family. Along with this brother, Abraham, John had an uncle Abraham, and named a son Abraham. The son, Abraham, was the Presidents grandfather. And, we might note, the great-great uncle Abraham Lincoln, whose book is offered, had an exquisite, even Hancockesque signature, which makes this book a wonderful substitute for those unable to obtain President Abe's signature. What's more, this Abraham Lincoln's signature is rarer. $1,500.

Item 42 is a book about witchcraft by Lambert Daneau, Deux traitez nouveau... Published in 1579 (it is actually a combination of two books published separately in 1574), Daneau provided tips on how to spot a witch. They had odd protuberances on hidden parts of their bodies, and would hide in secret places like synagogues. Daneau's recommendation was to kill them. His recommendations would be adopted a few centuries later in Salem, Massachusetts. The second work combined in this book discusses games of chance, and whether such games as dice and cards involve an element of skill, and therefore do not constitute religiously prohibited gambling. $3,500.

Item 43 is a color stencil of George Washington on his horse, circa 1840. It was drawn on black cloth, giving it a nighttime look. This drawing is seen on the cover of Cummins catalogue. Item 43. $4,000.

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