Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2016 Issue

A Variety to be Found in Jeff Weber's Bookseller's Cabinet


From bookseller Jeff Weber's cabinet.

Jeff Weber Rare Books has issued their Catalogue 181 Bookseller's Cabinet. What's in the bookseller's cabinet? Turns out there are four types of not closely related material. Weber carries many other varieties of books, but his cabinet holds four categories: Americana & California; Early Printed Books; Fine Printing, Books on Books, Illustrated & Literature; and Sports, Pastimes & Etc. There are books from very old to quite recent, with many well within the reach of even a beginning collector. Here are a few samples of the books you will find.


We begin with a piece of notable Californiana. On January 24, 1848, James Marshall was building a water-powered sawmill for John Sutter. James S. Brown was part of the "Mormon Battalion" working on the mill. Marshall wrote a book about the event, and another was finally prepared many years later. That would be James Brown's account published in 1894: California Gold. An Authentic History of the First Find With the Names of Those Interested in the Discovery. According to Brown, Marshall picked a few tiny pieces of something from the water and exclaimed to the others, "Boys, I have got her now." The other men weren't very interested, but Brown says he took the largest piece and tested it with his teeth. When it did not give, he proclaimed, "Gold, boys, gold." The Gold Rush was on. Only 55 copies were reported to have been printed of this small book. Item 1. Priced at $3,500.


William Pemble was a Puritan theologian who wrote at least 11 books, many popular at the time (though not now). All were published after he died in 1623 at the age of just 32. His tutor and mentor had them published. This book strays from his typical theological treatise, though the influences of his religious beliefs affect some of his conclusions. Item 25 is A Briefe Introduction to Geography containing a Description of the Grounds and generall Part thereof, very necessary for young Students in that Science, published in 1630. Pemble sought not to provide the usual geography describing specific lands and coasts, but rather to speak of more general properties, such as climate zones, longitude and latitude, and the nature of general features such as mountains, oceans, and continents. Pemble concluded that the earth and water are round. As he noted, it is not square, "nor three-cornered, nor Piramidall, nor conical on Tapperwise, nor Cylindricall...nor hollow like a dish." He did not consider mountains and valleys contradictory to the earth's roundness as those are incidental variations, and the roundness of water is demonstrated by watching a ship at sea dip below the horizon. However, he did not accept Copernicus' theory that the earth revolves around the sun. He stated that the earth is immovable, a conclusion he was able to reach from personal observation. Never believe your eyes. $2,500.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a brilliant student in college. He there determined his success in life would be based on literary accomplishments. He also wrote some minor poems that were published in magazines, to no great account. However, his talents quickly got him a job as a professor, and his literary talents were put to work translating European texts. That's where he stood at the age of 32 when he published his first book of poetry. It contained numerous translations of others' poems, but also nine of his own. It was an immediate success, and Longfellow was on the journey that would make him America's most popular and beloved poet in the 19th century. Item 69 is a copy of Longfellow's first book of poems, Voices of the Night. This is not the first edition, which was published in 1839, but an 1845 issue printed to meet the continuing demand. In time, though Longfellow's name continues to be well known, his poetry lost its earlier luster, now being seen more as unoriginal and derivative of European styles. Nonetheless, his contemporaries did not feel that way about him, treating him with the honor of one of America's greatest statesmen. $25.


The best known exploration of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon was conducted by John Wesley Powell in the 1870's, but it was not the first. In 1857, Joseph Christmas Ives (so named because he was born on Christmas day) headed an official expedition up the river. Unlike Powell, who was taking on the more treacherous rapids from the north, Ives built a steamboat and went upstream from the river's mouth. He made it to the canyon, and then set out by land to Fort Defiance in today's Colorado with his report. Ives reported on the geology, botany, and native tribes living in the area. He was more interested in the land's practical uses than its beauty, concluding the dry barren land wasn't good for much of anything. Item 6 is the Senate version of his account, Report upon the Colorado River of the West, explored in 1857 and 1858 by Lieutenant Joseph C. Ives... published in 1861. This copy includes various associated reports, illustrations by his accompanying artist German Heinrich Balduin (Baldwin) Mollhausen, and maps of the canyon by topographer Frederick W. von Egloffstein. Item 6. $1,400.


We conclude with a recent book containing detailed information concerning a unique form among the book arts – for-edge paintings. These are those remarkable paintings drawn upon the fore-edges of books, requiring an unusual skill. The title is An Annotated Dictionary of Fore-Edge Painting Artists & Binders (Mostly English & American). The Fore-Edge Paintings of Miss C. B. Currie; with a Catalogue Raisonné. The author is bookseller Jeff Weber himself, the work published in 2010. With 432 pages and many illustrations (along with being signed by the author), you won't find a more detailed treatise on the subject. It contains essays on the history of the art and the challenges it entails, and a comprehensive dictionary of every artist and binder known to create fore-edge paintings. Finally, there is a section on Ms. C. B. Currie, perhaps the most prolific of all fore-edge painters, but about whom little is known. She probably painted close to 200 fore-edges in the early 20th century, working with bookseller Sotheran's and bookbinders, and her name is known because, unlike most who preceded her, she signed and numbered her paintings. However, virtually nothing is known of her personal life. $400.


Jeff Weber Rare Books may be reached at 323-344-9332 or weberbks@pacbell.net. Their website is found at www.WeberRareBooks.com

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>

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