Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2016 Issue

Exceptional Material from Raptis Rare Books

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The latest from Raptis Rare Books.

Raptis Rare Books has issued a Spring 2016 catalogue. They have described it as "from Darwin to Dalloway," but there are many works and authors not beginning with the letter "D." "Austen to Zhivago" might better express its depth. It covers a variety of topics, neatly divided into sections. Those headings are Classic Literature, Children's and Young Adults Literature, Science and Natural History, Travel and Exploration, Sports and Leisure, Economics, Photography, and History and Politics. Within each category, you will find important books and occasional ephemeral items. There is little of obscurity or unknown books and authors. This catalogue is intended for the finest collections. Let's take a look.

 

Tender Is The Night was F. Scott Fitzgerald's last completed novel. It is one of those pieces of fiction that is all too real. It tells of a psychiatrist and the beautiful but unstable mental patient who becomes his wife. She deteriorates mentally, while his life disintegrates with her. The parallels to Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, who ended up institutionalized, are obvious. Two lives that burned so brightly for a brief time ended in madness and tragedy. Scott drank himself to death at the age in 44; Zelda died a few years later in a mental hospital. The year before he died, Scott inscribed this copy of Tender Is The Night to Harry Joe Brown. By this time, Fitzgerald was working in Hollywood, writing screenplays to make a living, a job he hated. He knew Brown from his role as an associate film producer. In his inscription, Fitzgerald humorously reveals his feelings toward the film industry: "To Harry Lee Brown – late of the 17th Infantry Brigade. Wounded in Hollywood. - from his fellow dough boy F Scott Fitzgerald Encino, 1939." Item 7340. Priced at $65,000.

 

Charles Dickens wrote lots of long books, but here is a very short offering from his pen. Item 5825 is a framed oval photograph of Dickens which he has signed, "Charles Dickens Washington, Seventh February 1868." He has added flourishes, both under his name and the location and date. That date is most interesting. On that day, he was in the Capitol to visit President Andrew Johnson. It was also Dickens' birthday (he was 56). In a letter to a friend describing that day, Dickens wrote, "...I have just seen the President: who had sent to me very courteously asking me to make my appointment. He is a man with a remarkable face." Johnson was not a beloved President, so perhaps the best Dickens could muster was that he had a "remarkable face." Dickens was on a tour of America at the time, doing readings that substantially supplemented his income. $48,000.

 

From the field of science and natural history, we have one of the most important, and most controversial books ever written. That would be On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection... This is the first edition of 1859, which introduced the concept of evolution (an earlier paper coauthored by Alfred Russel Wallace had described the theory to some in the scientific community). All else being equal, Darwin would have been universally admired for his being able to put the evidence together to answer the question of from whence we came. However, all else was not equal, so while Darwin was admired by many in the scientific community, his contradiction of literal biblical history was condemned by many others, who to this day do not accept his teachings. As the American Philosophical Society noted, "As he himself expected, Darwin's theory became, and continues to be in some circles, the object of intense controversy." Nevertheless, every year, more evidence builds up to support his findings. Despite the controversy, it took only a day or two for this first edition to sell out. This is one of about 30 copies with an inscription from "the author" in a secretarial hand. Darwin did not sign any of these himself. The recipient was Dr. George Buist, Secretary of the Bombay Geographical Society. Item 7415. $350,000.

 

Early America produced its share of heroic biographies, but this may be the first American autobiography of a low-life thief. Henry Tufts had an amazing career, if he is to be believed, and since he lied about almost everything else in his life, one must tread with care. Still, few such thieves are also authors. Tufts' book is A Narrative of the Life, Adventures, Travels and Sufferings of Henry Tufts, published in 1807. His sufferings need no sympathy. They were self-inflicted, and Tufts had enough self-pity to cover any needs for sympathy. As a young man, he started by stealing fruits and vegetables, and soon worked his way up to paper currency, horses, and so on. He even stole his own father's horse and sold it. Along with theft, he participated in all sorts of frauds, even pretending to be a doctor. He was incarcerated dozens of times, escaped almost as many, and was once almost hung before being saved by a pardon. He was married several times without ever divorcing his first wife, to whom he returned on numerous occasions. He left 11 children with various mothers. According to Tufts, it was an untrue allegation of theft against him that forced his desertion of his family and to turn to a life of crime, but it was his already long criminal record that led to the accusation in the first place. At long last, now in his 50's, he returned to farming and lived out his life in honest pursuits. So he said. Item 5753. $5,500.

 

Long before John F. Kennedy was a political leader, the writer of Profiles in Courage, or even commanding a naval vessel during the war, he was a student at Harvard. It was there that he wrote a thesis that was so well received, he determined to publish it as a book. Of course, it didn't hurt that his father was ambassador to Britain, or that his family was enormously rich and powerful. Nevertheless, it was regarded as a thorough, analytical study of how England found itself in a difficult position vis-a-vis Germany as war was breaking out in 1939. Published in 1940, and a best seller at the time, the title is Why England Slept, a play on Churchill's book While England Slept. Kennedy did not place the blame on Chamberlain or his policy of appeasement, as so many have, but that would have been difficult, considering his ambassador father had supported the policy. Instead, Kennedy focuses more on the difficulties a democratic country faces in reacting – political squabbles and the like, along with a British sense that ultimately, things always turn out all right. A dictatorship, on the other hand, can act swiftly without having to satisfy any opponents. Item 5850 is a unique copy of Why England Slept. This is a specially bound Presentation Copy Rose F. Kennedy. Rose was John's mother, and the book is also dedicated to her and Kennedy's father. $40,000.

 

Raptis Rare Books may be reached at 802-579-1580 or mail@raptisrarebooks.com. Their website is found at www.raptisrarebooks.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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