Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2016 Issue

Rare Books Pertaining to the Americas, Ireland, Travel, Bibliography and More from Patrick McGahern Books


Catalogue 241.

Patrick McGahern Books has released Catalogue 241. Rare, Scarce and Interesting North and South America, Canadiana, Ireland, Antiquarian, Travel, Bibliography. Geographically, if you take the quadrant that is in both the western and northern hemispheres, you have most of the territory covered. Of course, material described as antiquarian and bibliography are without location. Whatever the type, the books and ephemeral items are scarce if not rare, and indeed interesting. Here are a few.


We begin with a quintessentially American type of book – the captivity. Item 30 is A Narrative of the Captivity of Mrs. Johnson. Containing, an Account of her sufferings, during four years, with the Indians and French. Indian captivities are common among American writers, but I hadn't heard of French captivities before. I'm not sure which was worse for a proper British lady. Susannah Johnson was captured from her home in Charlestown, New Hampshire, in 1754 during the French and Indian War. Charlestown was the location of a fort, and it was there that the first casualty leading to the French and Indian War took place. Mrs. Johnson, several of her family members, and a couple of neighbors were taken from their homes by Indians and marched to Quebec. She was nine months pregnant at the time and gave birth to a daughter on the way. Mrs. Johnson was separated from all her family but the newborn, spending a few months with the Indians before being sold to the French in Montreal. Eventually, the family was reunited – in prison in Quebec. Finally, she was released via a prisoner exchange in 1757, which took her to England before making her way back home to America. Mrs. Johnson, now Mrs. Hastings (Mr. Johnson died and she remarried), finally got around to writing an account of her captivity in 1796. Offered is a third edition published in 1814, four years after she died. As such, it naturally is the first to include the sermon preached at her funeral, along with other material, including the names of those residents of Charlestown killed or imprisoned during the French and Indian War. Priced at CAD $1,500. (Canadian dollars, or approximately $1,137 U.S. dollars).


Item 20 is a first edition, with all first issue points, of Joseph Conrad's Nostromo. A Tale of the Seaboard. Published in 1904, it is set in the fictional South American country of Costaguano. Much of the story is centered around a silver mine, and how hidden silver eventually controls the life of the story's once incorruptible protagonist. The book was not very well received for a work by Conrad at the time, but many have since come to view it as his greatest novel. CAD $1,500. (U.S. $1,137).


America's first major western expedition, led by Lewis and Clark, penetrated the Northwest. The second, headed by Zebulon Pike a short time later, examined the Southwest. The third, led by Stephen Long, went in between, traversing the Platte River to the Rocky Mountains in 1820. While that is Long's best known mission, three years later he was assigned another route, more northerly than west. This time he proceeded up the Mississippi to the Minnesota River (then known as St. Peter's River), and from there to the headwaters of the Red River of the North. This would take him into Canada, and next he then traveled east to the Great Lakes. An account of this journey was published in 1825, written by Long's geologist, William H. Keating: Narrative of an Expedition to the Source of the St. Peter's River, Lake Winnepeek, Lake of the Woods... This account of Long's second expedition is described as very thorough, with details about the area, the local Indians, and the Red River Settlement. Item 34. CAD $2,000 (US $1,512).


Here is another account of a man who traveled west. He actually traveled much farther, but nonetheless, his hardships, if any, were far fewer. Such is the advantage of traveling over a century later. George Wilbur Spinney undertook a seven-week trip in the late summer of 1947, covering 8,325 miles. He crossed Canada from Montreal to the west coast, hence south to California, across the U. S. to Chicago, and back home again. He then created this typed manuscript of his adventure, which includes photographs, newspaper clippings, and tipped-in programs. The trip was described as for business and pleasure, Mr. Spinney then serving as President of the Bank of Montreal, Canada's oldest bank. It is fortunate that Mr. Spinney was able to take such a trip in 1947 as he died early the following year. Item 65. CAD $250 (US $188).


Item 68 is a dramatic poster celebrating the Canadian National Exhibition Toronto Aug. 25 to Sep.10. The event was Canada's jubilee or semi-centennial, celebrated in 1917. The full-color poster by artist Arthur Henry Hider depicts a mounted Royal Herald, holding a proclamation by the Queen. Trumpeters play just behind the herald, while in the background the exhibition grounds can be seen. The poster proclaims, "Jubilee Spectacle. Dynamo of Compelling, Magnetizing Energy. Fifty Years of Fascinating History Dramatically Told. 1200 Performers." It adds, "War – In all its branches vividly shown." This occurred at the time of what was then known as the Great War, now World War I. The top of the poster announces "$6.00 Cleveland to Toronto via 'C & B' Line Daily Steamers." The C & B was the Cleveland & Buffalo Transit Company, which ran a thriving business along the Great Lakes until the late 1930's. How passengers reached all the way to Toronto is not clear. Surely the ships did not sail up or down Niagara Falls, and the trip through the Welland Canal takes many hours. Perhaps each way was a full day trip. CAD $900 (US $680).


Patrick McGahern Books may be reached at 613-230-2277 or books@mcgahernbooks.ca. Their website is www.mcgahernbooks.ca.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 7. Ritter's unusual sun-dial world map, 1607. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 16. Fascinating Japanese satirical map published prior to WWII, 1932. Est. $1400 to $2000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 30. Newton's 2" miniature terrestrial globe, 1833. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 318. Braun & Hogenberg's first plan of Moscow in contemporary color, 1575. Est. $2750 to $3500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 346. One of the most decorative 18th century maps of Malta, 1680. Est. $1200 to $1500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 412. The first printed map devoted to the Pacific in full contemporary color, 1589. Est. $8000 to $10000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 425. Rare set of celebrated explorers of the New World, 1592. Est. $1900 to $2300
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 436. Two superb miniature atlases bound in one volume with 98 maps, 1682. Est. $5500 to $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 445. Part IV of de Bry's "Grand Voyages" by Girolamo Benzoni, 1613. Est. $2000 to $2500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 447. Tallis' "History of the United States of America" in six volumes, 1850. Est. $1500 to $1800
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 448. Mallet's miniature military masterpiece, 1672. Est. $1400 to $1700
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Malcolm X, Autograph Letter Signed, from prison, 1950. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Letter from Moses Walker, an enslaved Georgia man, to his mother at another plantation, 1854. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Signed cabinet card of Frederick Douglass, albumen photograph, Boston, circa 1879. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Placard from the Memphis Sanitation Worker's strike, 1968. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b><br><i>The North Star,</i> volume 1, issue 27, Rochester, NY, 1848. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Hand-tinted tintype of John Brown, circa 1860. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster signed & inscribed by Huey Newton, circa 1967. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Album of aerial views of the march on Montgomery, taken by federal troops, 1965. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster for the SNCC, photograph by Danny Lyon featuring John Lewis, circa 1962. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <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>
  • <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

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions