Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2005 Issue

American Natural History from William Reese

R0613

Audubon's Trumpeter Swan.


Here is another New York item, and it is quite spectacular: Natural History of New York. The New York Natural History and Geological Survey, formed by the state legislature in 1836, commissioned this work. It grew beyond all expectations. By the time it was finished, it consisted of 30 volumes, published over a period of more than 50 years. The first 17 volumes were published from 1842-1854. The final volume was to be paleontology, but, Reese explains, state paleontologist James Hall managed to turn the project into a lifetime career. Instead of one volume, paleontology grew to thirteen, the final one published in 1894 when Hall was 83-years-old. Hall's job security left us with a wonderful record of New York's natural history, but today a complete collection is extremely rare. Item 114. $25,000.

One of the most important narratives of the early American South is found in William Bartram's Travels Through North & South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida, The Cherokee Country.... Published in 1791, this first edition recounts Bartram's explorations, telling us much about the region's natural history as well as the Indians who resided in the territory. Howes describes it as, "A work of high character well meriting its wide esteem." Item 23. $20,000. If that's a bit pricey for your budget, item 24 is the first London edition of the same work from 1792. $6,000. Or, providing you understand German, item 25 is the first German edition from 1793, Reisen Durch Nord und Sud Karolina, Georgien.... $2,000.

Sticking to a Southern theme, item 118 is Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests....Being a Medical Botany of the Confederate States.... by Francis Porcher. Porcher was a major figure in southern medical circles, having founded a hospital for slaves in Charleston in 1855. The late 1850s found Porcher involved in using the microscope to find the cause of disease, a very recent development at the time. However, his studies were disrupted by the Civil War. Porcher was needed by the Confederacy to help find medical cures using indigenous plants and local remedies, the South having been cut off from most outside resources. The result was this book, published in 1863. It has been called one of the most important works of the Confederacy. $6,000.

Women shared men's interest in natural history during the 19th century, but their role in society made it hard for them to be treated as equal scientists. One of the results was a genre of books with illustrations of plants and animals by women, but they were accompanied by poetry instead of scientific data. It was okay for women to write or republish poetry; they just couldn't be scientists. An example of such a work is Laura Munson's Flowers from my Garden....with an Introductory Poem by Mrs. L.H. Sigourney. Published in 1864, it contains 18 hand-colored plates, each accompanied by a poem. Item 112. $3,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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 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.

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