Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2015 Issue

The Latest Selections from James Cummins Bookseller


Catalogue 127 from James Cummins Bookseller.

James Cummins Bookseller has published Catalogue 127. Those familiar with Cummins' catalogues will recognize the format. It offers a mix of items, historical to fictional. Many items are books, while other are various other forms of paper – drawings, letters, photographs and documents. The common thread is that the material is significant and appropriate for serious collections. Here are a few items from #127.


We start with one of many books by an American writer who who deserves far more recognition then he gets today, though he was once much better known. William Wells Brown was a remarkable man. Born a slave, he managed to escape north, where he taught himself to read and write. He was a contemporary of the much better known Frederick Douglass, with whom he shared a similar background. Brown became a writer and an abolitionist, a nation's conscience as he wrote forcefully of the evils of slavery. During the 1840's he worked on a steamboat near Buffalo, which he used to help runaway slaves across Lake Erie to freedom in Canada. In 1849, Wells and his two young daughters traveled to Europe. He wanted his daughters to gain an education while he lectured audiences about the horrors of slavery. He found a more receptive audience than in America. In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act was passed, which would have put Brown at risk of being captured and returned to slavery had he returned home. He chose to stay in England. He wrote Clotel, believed to be the first novel published by an African-American (it was published in London). In it, he writes of Thomas Jefferson's black daughters (speculation until confirmed by DNA testing a century and a half later). Brown expounds on the hypocrisy of white leaders such as Jefferson who wrote of freedom while owning slaves (Brown's father was also a white man, a cousin of his owner). In 1852, Brown wrote a travelogue of his time in Europe. Item 13 is a copy of that book: Three Years in Europe or, Places I Have Seen and People I have Met, published in 1852. In 1854, after a British citizen officially bought his freedom, Brown was able to return to America where he continued to write and speak out for abolition, and continued to write about the contributions of his people after slavery was finally abolished. Priced at $2,000.


With the football season only a few weeks away, we get to look back to a time long before it was America's favorite sport, at least to watch. Item 21 is Walter Camp's Football Records of American Teams, published in 1883. This is a compilation of records from the first season played under modern football rules. It was compiled by Camp, known as “the Father of American Football.” Among the new rules he introduced were the line of scrimmage, snap from center, the system of downs and scoring, a 100-yard long football field, and a reduction in the number of players from 15 to 11. Camp played for Yale, then a powerhouse, through the 1882 season and later coached his alma mater's team. In his introduction Camp notes that this book will help next year's managers from having to sort through all the correspondence concerning rules. Along with the rules, it contains records of 23 college teams dating back to 1876. Item 21. $13,500.


Item 59 is a manuscript power of attorney that concerns two major figures from American Revolutionary history. In 1802, Congress, at the urging of President Jefferson, issued a major land grant to the Marquis de Lafayette. Lafayette was the Frenchman who came to America to serve Washington and the revolutionaries as a general in their fight for independence. Few foreigners, or many others for that matter, were more beloved by Americans. Along with expressing thanks, Jefferson hoped to entice Lafayette back to America. He left after the Revolution, returned for a visit in 1784, went back to France and never returned. Rather than being enticed back, Lafayette signed this 1804 power of attorney. It grants a power of attorney to James Madison, primary writer of the United Sates Constitution and future President, then serving as Secretary of State. It gives Madison full authority to manage the lands in his interests, Lafayette obviously having full confidence in Madison. Lafayette eventually did return to America, but not until 1824, when he visited every state, all of the living Presidents, including Madison, and met everyone who was anyone while being cheered by huge crowds wherever he went. $25,000.


I don't know if this is great literature or particularly realistic, but it certainly was popular. Item 15 is Tarzan of the Apes, a 1914 reprint. This copy comes with a 1938 inscription from author Edgar Rice Burroughs to “Jane,” more specifically, Maureen “Jane” [O'Sullivan] Farrow. O'Sullivan played the role of Jane opposite Johnny Weissmuller's Tarzan in the first six Tarzan films. The book comes with a publicity photo of Burroughs visiting “Tarzan” and “Jane” on the movie set. The book was inscribed in Tarzana, the ranch, now a community, started by Burroughs. $7,500.


Next is a book about a jungle, but not the one inhabited by Tarzan. Item 90 is The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, published in 1906, a first edition, first issue. This is Sinclair's expose of the terrible sanitary conditions in the meatpacking industry, though it was meant to be an expose of the terrible working conditions of its laborers. Readers were more horrified to learn how unsanitary their meat was than how poorly the workers were treated. This copy is not only signed by Sinclair, but is also inscribed by author Jack London that same year. London was a socialist like Sinclair and in his inscription writes of the book, “it smashes a sledge-hammer blow for the Revolution.” London understood Sinclair's motives better than most readers. $9,500.


James Cummins Bookseller may be reached at 212-688-6441 or info@jamescumminsbookseller.com. The website is www.jamescumminsbookseller.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 7. Ritter's unusual sun-dial world map, 1607. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 16. Fascinating Japanese satirical map published prior to WWII, 1932. Est. $1400 to $2000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 30. Newton's 2" miniature terrestrial globe, 1833. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 318. Braun & Hogenberg's first plan of Moscow in contemporary color, 1575. Est. $2750 to $3500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 346. One of the most decorative 18th century maps of Malta, 1680. Est. $1200 to $1500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 412. The first printed map devoted to the Pacific in full contemporary color, 1589. Est. $8000 to $10000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 425. Rare set of celebrated explorers of the New World, 1592. Est. $1900 to $2300
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 436. Two superb miniature atlases bound in one volume with 98 maps, 1682. Est. $5500 to $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 445. Part IV of de Bry's "Grand Voyages" by Girolamo Benzoni, 1613. Est. $2000 to $2500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 447. Tallis' "History of the United States of America" in six volumes, 1850. Est. $1500 to $1800
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 448. Mallet's miniature military masterpiece, 1672. Est. $1400 to $1700
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Malcolm X, Autograph Letter Signed, from prison, 1950. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Letter from Moses Walker, an enslaved Georgia man, to his mother at another plantation, 1854. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Signed cabinet card of Frederick Douglass, albumen photograph, Boston, circa 1879. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Placard from the Memphis Sanitation Worker's strike, 1968. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b><br><i>The North Star,</i> volume 1, issue 27, Rochester, NY, 1848. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Hand-tinted tintype of John Brown, circa 1860. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster signed & inscribed by Huey Newton, circa 1967. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Album of aerial views of the march on Montgomery, taken by federal troops, 1965. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster for the SNCC, photograph by Danny Lyon featuring John Lewis, circa 1962. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <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. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <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>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Jenner (Rev. George Charles). <i>The Evidence at Large...Respecting Dr Jenner's Discovery of Vaccine Inoculation,</i> presentation copy from Edward Jenner to Rev. Rowland Hill, 1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>An Entirely New Romantic Drama, in Three Acts, by Mr. Wilkie Collins, called The Frozen Deep,</i> 1857. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Lighthouses and Islands of Ireland, c. 125 drawings, 1867. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Shelley (Lady Jane). Diary, 1853 & 1860. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Scottish Binding.- The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, bound in contemporary brown polished calf decorated with the figure of a Chinese spearman, by ?James Scott of Edinburgh, 1778. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Man Within,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1929. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Mellan (Claude, 1598-1688). The Holy Face, or the Veil of St Veronica, [c. 1649 and later]. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Desaguliers (John Theophilus). <i>A Dissertation concerning Electricity,</i> W. Innys, and T. Longman, 1742. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Le Jeune (Paul). <i>Relation de se qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'anné 1636 enuoyée au R.Pere Provincial de la Compagnie de Iesus en la Province de France,</i> 1637. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Stumpf (Johann Rudolph). <i>Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Völckern Chronicwirdiger thaaten beschreibung, </i> Zurich, Froschauer, 1586. £3,000 to £4,000

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