Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2016 Issue

Artists' Books to Astronomy (and More) from The Kelmscott Bookshop

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Catalog 13 from The Kelmscott Bookshop.

The Kelmscott Bookshop Rare Books has released their Catalog 13 – Artists' Books, Private Press, Children's Books, 19th Century Literature, Art, Pre-Raphaelites, Letters, Manuscripts, Astronomy, & More. That is a wide and unusual array of topics. The earlier material, artists' books and private press, is filled with recent publications, many from 2015. As you go farther back in the catalogue, you go back in time, reaching into the 19th century with literature, letters and manuscripts, and sometimes a couple of centuries even farther back. The range is as wide as the distance from artists' books to astronomy. Here are a few samples of the items to be found in this latest selection from The Kelmscott Bookshop.

 

We begin with a couple of recent examples of artists' books that push the meaning of the word "book" beyond its traditional definition. Item 6 is a set of miniature books, replete with its own miniature wooden bookshelf, created by the Bo Press in 2014. Miniature is no exaggeration for these books as they stand a mere one inch tall. The bookshelf, however, is twice that size. The books themselves are a set of six Jane Austen novels... sort of. How on earth can you jam a Jane Austen novel into a book this size? The answer is you can't. The pages are blank. Then again, so many people place books on bookshelves for decoration, rather than reading, why bother pretending? This is meant to be a work of art, not text. Priced at $175.

 

What is to be done with the millions of old, but not valuable books out there that no one wants? One answer has been to sell them by the foot as decorations for bookshelves, their text no more important than they are in the aforementioned Jane Austen "novels." Here is another solution – change them into something new. Item 36 is what is known as an altered book, created by Carol Owen in 2004. We let Ms. Owen describe an altered book: "I am often asked to describe altered books to people who are unfamiliar with them. I explain it this way: I start with an old, unloved book and transform it with paint, photos, and other embellishments. The end result is a book that has become a work of art, with pockets, niches, and secret compartments, enticing the viewer to keep turning pages." Ms. Owen is not alone in creating art from old books, and we think it's a great way to give new life to books that would otherwise be headed to the pulp mill. $350.

 

Here is a book by another individual who created original books, but in a different way. William Henry Ireland was a forger. His father was a great Shakespeare collector, and William appreciated the Bard as well. As he explained it, he started out by trying to fulfill his father's greatest wish – to have a document in Shakespeare's handwriting. William turned his father's wish into a business, as he continued to produce numerous manuscripts in Shakespeare's "hand." Although some people were dubious, he got away with it for a while. His downfall was to overdo it. He eventually created an entirely new play "written" by Shakespeare. It didn't measure up to his other works. Eventually, he confessed as otherwise suspicion would have fallen on his father. In 1805, Ireland wrote this book in an unsuccessful attempt to salvage his reputation: The Confessions of William-Henry Ireland. Containing Particulars of His Fabrication of the Shakespeare Manuscripts... This copy bears the bookplate of Elihu Root, Nobel Peace Prize winner and notable American statesman, who served as Secretary of State under Theodore Roosevelt as well as other high offices. Item 94. $350.

 

Item 123 is the History of Delaware County, and the Border Wars of New York. This is an interesting account of early Delaware County, in rural upstate New York, made even more interesting by the nature of its author. The "border wars" refers to attacks by Indians in what was an outpost in the wilderness in pre-revolutionary America. The book's author was a young surveyor, who spent several years in his trade in upstate New York. However, he was an ambitious young man, and at the time of its publication, twenty-year-old Jay Gould was just starting to enter his first major business venture – a tannery. Gould would become far better known for his investments in another industry, railroads, which began in the following decade. He would go on to become the ninth richest person in American history, according to Fortune Magazine. He also developed one of the worst reputations in the era of robber barons, using bribes and various forms of political influence to get his way and not showing much in the way of compassion for his employees. The book states it was published in Roxbury, New York, though Sabin says it was actually printed in Philadelphia. Sabin also reports that it is rare because most copies were destroyed in a fire, while Howes adds that Gould in his wealthy years wished to suppress the book, buying up copies and destroying them. $250.

 

This next book was written by a remarkable 19th century woman, and it comes under the topic of astronomy. Mary Ward (The Hon. Mrs. Ward) was a self-taught scientist, self-taught reflecting the virtual impossibility of a woman obtaining a scientific education in the 19th century. However, she came from a family of scientific developers in Ireland, was very smart, and gravitated to the field. Her specialties included studying insects and astronomy, the very small and very large. She wrote books on each subject, her target being average people rather than scientists, those wishing to learn about the field. Item 119 is Telescope Teachings, published in 1859. Her cousin had built the world's largest telescope at the time, so she had access to it to make observations. Sadly, the scientific curiosity of her family was also Mary Ward's downfall, and resulted in her being an interesting footnote in history. A couple of her cousins had built an early steam-powered vehicle. They believed it represented the future of travel, but while steam was used to power trains, its weight was such that it didn't work out for travel on the dirt roads of the day. One day, Mrs. Ward was riding in their car when she was thrown from it while rounding a curve. She fell under the wheels and was crushed, making Mrs. Ward the first fatality from an automobile accident. $175.

 

The Kelmscott Bookshop Rare Books may be reached at 410-235-6810 or info@kelmscottbookshop.com. Their website is www.kelmscottbookshop.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> <i>Keep Calm and Carry On</i>, designer unknown, 1939. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, <i>Le Journal / La Traite des Blanches</i>, 1899. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> <i>"Let Us Go Forward Together,"</i> designer unknown, 1940. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, <i>Babylone d'Allemagne</i>, 1894. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Frank Beatty, <i>Out of the Running</i>, 1929. $2,000 to $3,000.
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    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> <i>Danté / Sim • Sala • Bim!</i>, designer unknown. $12,000 to $18,000.
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    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Abram Games, <i>Join the ATS</i>, 1941. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Aldo Mazza, <i>Torino / Esposizione Internazionale</i>, 1911. $3,000 to $4,000.
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    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Booth & Williams: NO RESERVE Rare Book Auction, now through July 23, 7:15PM EDT</b>
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> John Muir. <i>My First Summer in the Sierra</i>, Boston, 1911.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Ernest Hemingway. <i>For Whom the Bell Tolls</i>, New York, 1940. First edition later printing.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Upton Sinclair. <i>The Jungle</i>, New York, 1906. First edition.
    <b>Booth & Williams: NO RESERVE Rare Book Auction, now through July 23, 7:15PM EDT</b>
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> George Orwell. <i>Nineteen Eighty-Four</i>, 1949. First American edition.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Harper Lee. <i>To Kill a Mocking Bird</i>, 1960. Early printing.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Richard Wright. <i>Native Son</i>, New York, 1940. First edition.
    <b>Booth & Williams: NO RESERVE Rare Book Auction, now through July 23, 7:15PM EDT</b>
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Dryden, Congreve, and others. <i>Ovid’s Art of Love</i>, London, 1764. English translation of Ovid’s work.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> S. E. Hinton. <i>The Outsiders</i>, New York, 1967. First edition.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> J. D. Salinger. <i>The Catcher in the Rye</i>, Boston, 1951. Book club edition.
    <b>Booth & Williams: NO RESERVE Rare Book Auction, now through July 23, 7:15PM EDT</b>
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Ayn Rand. <i>Atlas Shrugged</i>, New York, 1957. Early printing.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> J. D. Salinger. <i>Raise High The Roof Beam, Carpenters</i> and <i>Seymour: An Introduction</i>, Boston, 1963. First [book] edition, third state.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Tennessee Williams. <i>Sweet Bird of Youth</i>, 1959. First edition.

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