Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2015 Issue

Some Very Old Books from James Gray Booksellers

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Fascicule 5.

James Gray Booksellers has published their Fascicule no V, also known as number 5. Gray focuses on the very old in books, most titles being 17th century or earlier. Not surprisingly, many of the works relate to theology, the field then subsuming much of what today is science, medicine and the like. Still there are many tracts just relating to science, or math, travels (particularly early visits to New England), botany, and even some good old gossip. They may have seen things differently then, but their curiosity was similar to our own. Here are a few items from this collection.

 

Are you reading this article because you chose to read it, or do you have no choice but to read it, no matter how much you don't want to? It's the age old question – freedom or determinism. That question became more debated after the Protestant Reformation, but it was a question even earlier. Item 722G is De Divina Praedestinatione. There are multiple books with this title, but this is one once attributed to Felicianus, now believed to be the work of Petrus de Ilperinis. We don't have a date of authorship, but it preceded printing since de Ilperinis died in 1381. This first edition was published in 1473-74. I have not been able to find much out about the author, other then he was a Dominican and his brother a cardinal. Nor have I been able to learn what his position was on predestination. My Latin is insufficient to read his book. It appears that interest today is less in Petrus' words than in the beauty of the book, the work of the short-lived press at the Monastery of SS. Ulrich and Afra in Augsburg. Priced at $15,500.

 

Item 721G is an important work in American history. It is New Englands Memoriall: or, A Brief Relation of the most Memorable and Remarkable Passages of the Providence of God, manifested to the Planters of New-England in America; With special Reference to the first Colony thereof, Called New-Plimouth. Despite the reference to God in the title, this is the first secular work printed in English America, the first true historical tract printed in America. It was published in 1669. The author was Nathaniel Morton, who had a front row seat to watch the development of the Plymouth colony. He arrived in 1623, just three years after the Pilgrims, and after his father died, he was raised by his uncle, Governor William Bradford. Morton not only had his own experiences to draw upon. He had access to the many manuscripts Bradford left, as well as writings of other important figures in the colony. Morton, himself, was one of Plymouth's most important figures of the 17th century. $65,000.

 

Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, unmarried, childless, but highly respected. By the end of the 17th century, her supposed love life had become the subject of numerous exposés. What, if any, love life Elizabeth had is unknown. It is known she had some favorites, and the one she seemed most likely to marry was Robert Dudley. For whatever reason, perhaps political, it never came to pass. Dudley died in 1588. Her affections would later grow for Dudley's stepson. Now an elderly lady, that stepson, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, was more than 30 years her junior. He was brash, adventuresome, personable, and ambitious. At times he got away with behavior disrespectful to a queen, but she had a soft spot for him. He used that to advance his career. However, a poor showing while leading troops in Ireland, plus a sudden, unannounced return to England to justify his behavior when told not to leave Ireland, led to a sort of house arrest. More importantly, he was stripped of his authority and source of income. Rather than seeking to make amends, the brash Devereux tried to mount a rebellion. He was quickly defeated and sent to the Tower of London, where his head was removed from the rest of his body. The old Queen knew when the borders of sentiment had been breached. Item 503F is a bit of revisionist history from 1695, The Secret History Of the Most Renowned Q. Elizabeth And the E. of Cssex [sic]. By a Person of Quality. Maybe, but not of a whole lot of quality. $1,500.

 

Next up is a very early combination natural history and travel guide for New England. Item 603G is An Account of Two voyages to New-England. The voyager was John Josselyn, who visited New England in 1838-39 and again in 1663-71. His brother lived in Maine, which was then part of Massachusetts. Published in 1673, Josselyn writes about the flora and fauna of New England, as well as about its government, society, folk medicine and other observations from his extensive travels throughout the region. He also provides advice on those considering emigrating to the new land. $35,000.

 

James Gray Bookseller may be reached at 617-678-4517 or Jamesgray2@me.com.

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 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.
  • <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

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