Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2015 Issue

Medicine, Military, Literature, American History and More from Yesterday's Muse Books

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Books from yesterday.

Yesterday's Muse Books recently published their May 2015 Catalog. We are a little behind on that, but close enough. There is a variety of material here, mostly from the 19th and 20th centuries. A few topics have particular concentrations. There are many medical books from the 19th century, military works pertaining to the great wars, quite a few literary works, a few children's books, some American history, and various other topics. It is worth a look for collectors in numerous fields. Here are a few samples.

 

We begin with one of those books relating to American history, in this case, history in the making. Item 10 is The Life and Public Services of Hon. Abraham Lincoln, with a Portrait on Steel. To Which is Added a Biographical Sketch of Hon. Hannibal Hamlin, by D. W. Bartlett. Lincoln, of course, was a president and Hamlin was his first vice-president. However, this is not a biography of a president and vice-president. It was published in 1860, at which time Lincoln was but a former one-term congressman while Hamlin had been a senator, governor and congressman from Maine. Safe to say, this biography was written to promote their ticket for national office, and while we don't know whether it played any role, it certainly didn't hurt. Priced at $175.

 

Around the time Lincoln was thinking of running for President, Charles Reemelin had other issues in mind. He was concerned about the quality of wine produced in the United States. To alleviate these concerns he published a book, The Vine-Dresser's Manual, An Illustrated Treatise on Vineyards and Wine-Making. This is an 1859 printing of an 1855 book. Reemelin was an immigrant from Germany who brought old-world wine making skills to the new world. He provides instructions on planting and cultivating a vineyard and producing "good, wholesome wine." Reemelin announces that "the use of wine as food must necessarily be a part of the social enjoyments of our people." A century and a half later, many Americans have come to agree with his assessment. Item 1. $250.

 

Next up is a medical text with a focus on a most amazing case: Life and Letters of Dr. William Beaumont, Including Hitherto Unpublished Data Concerning the Case of Alexis St. Martin, published in 1912. The authors are Jesse Myer and William Osler, along with the contributions of Dr. Beaumont, though he died almost 60 years prior. William Beaumont is known as the "Father of Gastric Physiology" for his pioneering work on gastric digestion, though it was poor Alexis St. Martin who enabled him to conduct his extensive research. In 1822, Canadian fur trapper St. Martin was shot in the stomach at close range. Beaumont, an army physician, treated him, not expecting that he would live. He did, but the hole never completely healed. It offered Beaumont an amazing opportunity. He could peer inside of St. Martin's stomach and observe what was going on. He even put pieces of food on a string in there and then pulled it out to observe what had happened. For a while, no longer able to trap, St. Martin worked as Dr. Beaumont's handyman, giving the doctor regular access, though St. Martin moved on to other endeavors. And, despite the hole in his stomach, St. Martin lived to a ripe old age, dying in 1880 at the age of 78 (some records say 86, giving him an earlier birth date). Dr. Beaumont's work is considered the most important in the field prior to Pavlov. Item 39. $45.

 

Here is another work related to Dr. Beaumont, sort of a centennial celebration of Beaumont's most important book, published in 1833. Item 47 is William Beaumont (1785-1853): The Centenary of the Publication of His Contributions to Medicine. Naturally, it was published in 1933, this copy having been signed by author Nolie Mumey. Mumie was himself a physician and a noted writer on medical history. This book is a limited edition, copy #18 of 100. $75.

 

We all want to save money on food, so here is a cookbook that will help you. It has to help because it comes from a time of rationing. Item 15 is The Victory Binding of the American Woman's Cook Book: Wartime Edition, with Victory Substitutes and Economical Recipes for Delicious Wartime Meals. Ruth Berolzheimer's 1943 cookbook, published during the heart of the Second World War, was designed to help people stretch their budgets and food sources in these difficult times. It is likely that these recipes will be more healthy than what is found in most diets today with all their fat, corn syrup, and processed foods. Don't forget your victory garden – free, healthy food. Ms. Berolzheimer teaches us how to feed a family of five on $15 a week. That may not be realistic 70 years of inflation later, but I reckon these recipes are still a good deal as you will struggle to feed a family of one for $15 a day now. $95.

 

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

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