Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2015 Issue

Radical Literature and Posters from Lorne Bair Rare Books

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Radical literature and posters.

Lorne Bair Rare Books has issued their Catalog 21. It doesn't have a name, but is divided into four sections whose headings give a good idea of what is to be found: (1) African American History & Literature; (2) Radical, Social, & Proletarian Literature; (3) Graphics, Posters & Original Art; (4) Social Movements & Radical History. Bair focuses on politically radical material, so even those headings which aren't clear, such as posters, feature much from a left to far left point of view. However, some material is more universal in nature, such as the collection of World War II American support-the-war effort posters. Certainly, these were anti-fascist, but Americans of all stripes were anti-fascist during the war. And then, Bair always provides a little balance in a few items that come from the far right instead of the far left. Everyone gets their say in this catalogue, even if some voices are a bit louder than others. Here are a few samples of the material you will find.

 

Here is a mimeographed broadside that feels painfully timely today, despite its crude heading: A Nigger Wrench in the Pig's Court. It is an attack on the police and justice system in Baltimore with respect to its treatment of blacks. It deals specifically with the arrest of Black Panther Party member Irving "Ochika" Young for the killing of fellow Black Panther Eugene Leroy Anderson. It was claimed Young was the driver who brought Anderson to his final date, but that many others were also said to be involved in the killing of a comrade believed to be a police informer. Ultimately, Young was convicted, the only one of the defendants to suffer that fate, and spent four years in jail before being pardoned by the Governor as the conviction was dubious. To date, the case is still open. This broadside, likely from 1970, calls for resistance to police detentions and warns the Baltimore legal establishment that the Black community will be placing their "n..... wrenches" into the workings of the legal system, bringing it "to a dead halt." Item 10. Priced at $450.

 

Bair has a group of give-for-the cause-posters from the Second World War. Most cover the expected sort of sacrifices – buy war bonds, become an army nurse, keep your lips sealed about where your soldier is traveling, don't pay more than set prices for goods, observe rationing, work hard at your jobs, be careful not to get injured and lose work time, volunteer to pick crops. Here is one that is a bit more obscure. Item 144 features a woman carrying a bag of groceries in one arm, some packages in the other. She is superimposed over some soldiers carrying rifles and backpacks. The caption says, I'll carry mine too! Trucks and tires must last till victory. Walking to the grocery store might save a little wear on your tires, but judging by the armful of bags and boxes this woman is carrying, one wonders whether she could have carried this load by hand far enough to make much of a difference on her tires. $450.

 

Left wing groups have generally fought for the rights of all sorts of downtrodden minorities. This next group isn't exactly a minority, though they certainly have been abused as much as anyone. Item 155 is Animals' Rights Considered in Relation to Social Progress. Concern for animal rights was a long time coming, though today they finally do have some spokesmen. However, this book by Henry Salt and Albert Leffingwell, an 1894 first American Edition (first published in London in 1892), was a pioneer. It is the first work focused explicitly on animal rights. Salt was a socialist as well as antivivisectionist and opponent of blood sports such as fox hunting. A book he wrote about Henry Thoreau was acknowledged as influential on his theories of nonviolence by Gandhi. This copy is inscribed by coauthor Albert Leffingwell to Rev. Charles Wesley Leffingwell, a relative of some sort. $500.

 

In the first half of the 20th century, there were many people who built reputations as walkers, sort of slower versions of Forest Gump. They would walk great distances, either for a cause or simply as a means to earn a living. They would sell photo cards or other memorabilia or simply ask for donations as they walked from town to town. One such man was Nebrasker Williams. Not even the vast archives of the internet reveal much information about Nebrasker. He claimed to have walked tens of thousands of miles. Sometimes he was accompanied by his wife and sister. Usually he had a dog, notably "Big Boy," though these changed as Williams walked for years beyond the lifetime of any one dog. He described his starting point as London, but also Louisiana. At one point, he described his wife as an African Queen and said he had met with Gandhi. He also said he spent a month in jail in Louisiana until his wife fashioned a key out of a spoon and they made their escape. It is not for me to question the veracity of Nebrasker's claims, though he didn't offer much proof of them at the places he stopped. However, it must be said that Nebrasker Williams must have been an amazing man. Unlike most other walkers, Williams was black, and walking the country, including the South, in the 1920's – 1940's could not have been easy for a man of his color. His claimed imprisonment in Louisiana, he said, was because officials there did not like to see him walking with his sister, whom he said was much lighter skinned. Item 53 is a signed photographic card stock blotter of Williams and one of his dogs, with a sign saying "From Shreveport LA to Boston Mass. Hiking in 90 days." Williams has signed it and also written in pencil "left home June 4, 1924." $250.

 

Item 55 is a remarkable copy of Woody Guthrie's American Folksong. It contains a watercolor inscription to "Lily + Sandy" dated 16 June 1947 from the "Guthrie Outfit." Additionally, there is a long, rambling inscription on the forward margin of each page. In it, he recalls that his daughter Cathy was born the night he first met "$andy" and heard him/her play the piano. Guthrie says it makes him think about how several good things can happen on one night, only to have several sad things happen on another. He was evidently recalling that only a few months earlier, Cathy had died in a freak electrical fire. Bair has not been able to identify Lily and Sandy, though they may be "orientals." Guthrie met them in the basement of "Dave and Ethyl," who similarly are not further identified. It was only a few weeks later that Guthrie's second child, Arlo, was born. $17,500.

 

Lorne Bair Rare Books may be reached at 540-665-0855 or info@lornebair.com. Their website is www.lornebair.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <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>

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