Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2015 Issue

Children's Books from Aleph-Bet Books

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Children's Books.

Aleph-Bet Books has issued their Catalogue 110 of Children's Books & Illustrated Books. Almost all qualify as both for children and illustrated. Many you will recognize from your youth. Perhaps they were new books at the time, from a Maurice Sendak or Dr. Seuss. Others may have been classics from an earlier time still popular, such as Beatrix Potter or L. Frank Baum. Others you may not recognize – older books that went out of style, in some cases because tastes changed, in other cases because evolving standards made them just plain offensive. Whether you collect what you knew when you were young, or what you didn't know then, you will find it here in this catalogue. Here are a few samples.

 

We will begin with one of those books that are offensive by today's standards, and should have been but were not in their time. Item 3 is Pickaninny ABC, a Dean's Rag Book published in 1905. This is not Uncle Remus or Little Black Sambo, however objectionable they may be. The alphabet begins with “A” for Alabama Coon, and has other stereotypes like “M” for minstrel and “W” for watermelon. The illustrations are grotesquely stereotyped black children. In case you are thinking this book must have come from the American South, you are wrong. It was published in London. Priced at $1,200.

 

Such gross insensitivity to different people was not a necessity for earlier times. Here is a book that's a century older, People of All Nations, a Useful Toy for Girl or Boy. This is a Darton and Harvey book, also published in London, in 1806. It depicts and pictures 26 people from various lands for each letter of the alphabet, and then 37 more not in alphabetical order. Some of the nationalities are obscure, such as Xalapaner and Janizaiy. Xalapan is an ancient site in Guatemala, Janizaiy, as best I can tell, something Turkish. “J” is for Jew, but instead of something anti-semitic, it says “This appears to be a dealer in clothes, the Jews were a very respectable people...” “V” is for Virginian, “...generally dressed after the manner of the English; but this is a poor African and made a slave of to cultivate the earth for growing rice, tobacco, sugar, etc.” While the description is sympathetic, the illustrator got it wrong, showing an American Indian with a feather headdress and long smoking pipe as the image of an African slave. Item 9. $1,850.

 

Here is another depiction of American Indians as strange as describing them as African slaves. Item 173 is “Our Indians.” A Midnight Visit to the Great Somewhere-Or-Other. The book was created by Luther Daniels Bradley, a Chicago Daily News cartoonist, in 1899. In it, a boy and girl are taken on a fantastic voyage by some Indians who bounce back and forth between realistic and the surreal. They are taken to the somewhere-or-other by canoe, but this is a flying canoe. The Indians serve tea in china cups like proper Englishmen, and they celebrate victories by playing band instruments and performing vaudeville acts. $2,000.

 

This is an unusual title: The Story of the String and How It Grew. The author of this 1916 book is Sam Plank. It features a piece of string threaded through small holes in the pages. The result is you can see an actual string running through various scenes illustrated on the pages. Item 344. $400.

 

Item 253 is an early schoolbook for Mohawk Indian children: Primer for the Use of the Mohawk Children, to acquire the Spelling and Reading of their own, as well as to get acquainted with the English Tongue. The Mohawk title indicates learning the spelling of their own language must have been next to impossible: Waerighwaghsawe Iksaongoenwa Tsiwaondad – derighhonny Kaghyadoghsera. This 1786 London edition of Daniel Claus' primer was taken from the Montreal first of 1781. However, the London is the first edition to have illustrations. A frontis mezzotint depicts Indian children at work in school. $18,500.

 

Item 449 is a look at one of the great advances in technology of a century ago – radio. Author E. Boyd Smith wrote numerous books for children, with this one being published in 1923: Fun in the Radio World. Regular broadcasting had only begun a few years earlier, but radio had spread quickly like it was the latest app. Smith, perhaps a bit fancifully, opines that radio can calm savages in far off lands, they being so amazed by the voices and music coming from apparently nowhere that they become almost mesmerized. $450.

 

Item 26 is a bit of unusual anthropomorphism. The title is Vegetable Verselets, written by Margaret Hays. Among the humanized vegetables are Mrs. I. Wrish Potato, Mistress Spinach, Master Radish, Polly Parsley, Rosa Rhubarb, Nurse Cabbage, and more. The humorous drawings are by Grace (Dayton) Wiederseim. She is best known for her drawings for Campbell's Soup. $450.

 

Aleph-Bet Books may be reached at 914-764-7410 or Helen@alephbet.com. Their website is found at www.alephbet.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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.

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