Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2015 Issue

A Mix of Material from Peter Harrington


Josephine and Peter.

Peter Harrington recently issued their Catalogue 113. As usual, it is a mix of books and some ephemeral items, with subjects that know no bounds. Anything can be found here, as long as it is of some significance and importance. With that said, we will turn to a few samples, which can only scratch the surface of displaying the 241 items contained herein.


We begin with an inscribed copy of a book of essays and speeches written by John F. Kennedy called The Strategy of Peace. This was not written by President Kennedy. Rather, it was written by Senator Kennedy. The parts were written from 1956-59 when Kennedy was a senator from Massachusetts, and published in time for the election of 1960 when he was elected President. Kennedy was grappling with the never-ending problem of achieving peace in the context of a world where colonial governments were falling and Americans were paranoid about the Communists. Kennedy believed America should be standing for its ideals, supporting those who sought to throw off domination by far-off colonial powers. However, those powers were also America's allies in the Cold War, allowing the Soviet Union to take on the role of defender of oppressed peoples. For Kennedy, America needed to redesign its policies to be more supportive of those people trying to obtain their freedom, while still supporting the West in the battle against Communism. It was a hard needle to thread. Part of Kennedy's strategy was to negotiate with the enemy, a controversial idea then as it still can be now, though his predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower, did just that. Item 126. Priced at £5,000 (British pounds, or about $7,714 U.S. dollars).

Here is another book about peace, but rather than being about achieving it, it was about what to do after it was achieved. In this case, the peace was that which came at the end of the First World War, when the Allies defeated Germany. The book, entitled The Economic Consequences of the Peace, was written by the noted economist, John Maynard Keynes, and published in 1919. Keynes had been sent to the peace negotiations as a representative of the British Treasury, but had no real authority over the treaty terms. As they emerged, he was appalled. The terms, notably the war reparations, designed to punish and keep Germany in tow, Keynes saw as far beyond Germany's means. He foresaw that this would lead to chaos in Germany, which would then spread to the rest of Europe. When his warnings went unheeded, Keynes resigned from his position and wrote this prescient book. The seeds of Europe's next conflagration had been sown in the treaty ending its last one. Item 127. £1,250 (US $1,929).

Who is the smiling woman with the close-cropped hair who graces the cover of this catalogue? She has signed her name, but that handwriting is hard to decipher. There is a reason. It is written in Cyrillic. But, why would the lady, Josephine Baker, sign her name in Cyrillic? Baker was a dancer/singer/actress, the first black movie star. Her rise was phenomenal. Born in poverty in St. Louis, as a child she was out trying to make a living on the streets. She could dance, and it got her noticed. Soon she was in New York, and appearing on Broadway and other venues as a teenager. She would be off to performances in France before turning 20, where she became an enormous star. France was more open to her than was segregated America. She would spend most of the rest of her life there, with occasional triumphant returns to America. In France, Josephine Baker was a beloved figure and national hero for her work during World War II. She used her celebrity status and invitations to diplomatic gatherings to obtain information about France's enemies, which she then reported back to allied authorities. But, why is her signature on this circa 1930 publicity photo in Cyrillic? It turns out she was close friends with Serge Lifar, noted dancer with the Russian Ballet, who undoubtedly taught her this signature. Item 11. £2,500 (US $3,858).

Oscar Wilde developed a reputation in his years at Oxford for his aesthetic beliefs and his flamboyant personality. He also wrote poems that were printed in various literary publications. However, his writings did not have much impact until he submitted his poem Ravenna for the prestigious Newdigate Prize. It is given annually for the best writing in English verse by an Oxford student. The poem was inspired by a visit to the Italian city of Ravenna the previous year. Following his award, and the personal recitation he gave after its receipt, the poem was published - Newdigate Prize Poem. Ravenna. Recited in the Theatre, Oxford, June 26, 1878. This copy has an author's inscription on the cover. Item 231. £8,750 (US $13,503).

Here is a classic, if somewhat obscure photo-book from 1936, The English at Home. Offered is a copy of the first U.S. edition published in 1936, the same year the first edition was published in Britain. It is a look at the English in the years shortly before the Second World War. Ironically, the photographer was a German, Bill Brandt. Brandt came to England to photograph and try to understand the English people. He roamed around the country, photographing the English engaged in what were common activities for them. However, what we see are great contrasts, as he photographed in the cities and countryside, the wealthy and the poor. In so doing, he created something of an anthropological look at the English, sort of like what the English did with natives of far off (and less developed, in their eyes) lands. As Raymond Mortimer noted in the introduction, "He seems to have wandered about England with the detached curiosity of a man investigating the customs of some remote and unfamiliar tribe." Item 23. £1,250 (US $1,920).

Peter Harrington may be reached at 020 7591 0220 or mail@peterharringtonbooks.com. Their website is www.peterharrington.co.uk or www.peterharringtonbooks.com (for U.S. customers).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> George Washington, Letter Signed to General James Clinton, preparing for the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, 1778. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising to send reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Thomas Edison, Autograph Letter Signed, to Western Union President William Orton, 1878. $10,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> William, Bishop of Coventry, vellum charter granting the church of Rochdale to the Cistercian Abbey of Stanlaw, in Latin, 1222. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> FDR, Photograph Signed & Inscribed, framed with wood removed from the White House roof, 1927. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Jean Dubuffet, archive including many letters written while painting in NYC, 1951-72. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Mohandas K. Gandhi, Autograph Letter Signed, describing the source of his patience, 1939. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Lithograph portrait of Albert Einstein by Hermann Struck, signed by both, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Charles The Bold, Duke of Burgundy, Letter Signed to Johann IV of Nassau, in French, 1470. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Jean Cocteau, Autograph Letter Signed, in French, 1919. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Louis Armstrong, two Autograph Letters Signed to Erich Kauffmann, his lip salve purveyor, 1965-70. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Wernher von Braun, Autograph Letter Signed to Jonathan Cross, 1975. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <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>

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions