Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2017 Issue

A Summer Miscellany from The Brick Row Book Shop


Miscellany Seventy-Four.

The Brick Row Book Shop has issued their Miscellany Seventy-Four: Recent Acquisitions (with a few exceptions) for Summer 2017. There's not much you can say to describe a "miscellany" beyond all that is said in that one word. We do note a fair amount of literature here, old novels and collections of poetry, often by rather obscure (at least to me) writers. American and English literature are offered the most. The dates are old, primarily 18th and 19th century, with a few items extending to both sides of that timeline. Here are a few selections from this catalogue of varied material.


We begin with what is certainly an unusual novel, obscure today, by a woman whose name you probably do not recognize – Frances Marie Norton. For those who believe conspiracy theories are something new, this 1888 book will reassure you they are not. The title is The Stalwarts; or, Who Were to Blame? It is described as a novel, but the fictionalized names represent real people. The long title speaks about political activities that resulted in the Civil War and the "assassination of two good presidents." Lincoln was the first, Garfield the second. What makes this book interesting is who the author, Mrs. Norton, was. She was the sister of Charles Guiteau, the man who assassinated Garfield. She maintains that her brother was crazy, had been that way from birth, but that he was unknowingly used by others who wanted to do away with Garfield, including the Stalwarts, a faction of the Republican Party, and various Wall Street and other powerful people. She said she was writing this book to warn people of the "near approach to anarchy and a military dictatorship, the sure precurser [sic] of a fallen republic and an established monarchy..." Fortunately, Mrs. Norton's warnings must have been heeded as we do not have a monarchy... at least not yet. Item 5. Priced at $275.


Here is another oddity. Item 13 is Poems, on Various Subjects, by Isabella Oliver, published in 1805. Ms. Oliver was a resident of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, who was not a full-time poet. Rather, she would write her poems while "engaged in the common business of life," such as performing household chores, going for a walk, or running errands. She didn't literally write them. Ms. Oliver did not have a formal education so she did not know how to write. Instead, she would commit her poems to memory and dictate them later on to someone else to put on paper. Published in 1805, poems cover topics of the day, such as the death of Washington and the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. There is also a nine-page poem on the evils of slavery, which is interesting as this was well before the development of a serious abolition movement in America, though the northern states were eliminating it at the time. $700.


This broadside from 1793 exploited an opportunity for the English to do what they most enjoyed doing for many centuries – condemning the French. The two were at each other's throats for ages, either as rivals or enemies. The French Revolution made the powerful in England especially paranoid as they didn't like all this democracy and equality stuff. It is doubtful they shed many tears when that revolution turned from high principles to outright butchery. Item 26 is a broadside headed Massacre of the French King! It continues, View of La Guillotine; or the Modern Beheading Machine, at Paris. It then translates the Decree of the National Convention ordering the execution and provides a description of the execution itself. The broadside also features an illustration of the execution. It shows King Louis XVI lying on a bench, his neck beneath the guillotine, waiting for the blade to drop. $3,500.


We've seen some unusual people already in this catalogue, but none came even close to being as strange at Theophilus Ransom Gates. Item 14 is a small archive that offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to collect some rare remnants of the life of the man who became known as "Theophilus the Battle Axe." Gates grew up in Connecticut but moved to New York State as a young man. He became a teacher and then an itinerant preacher. He had had some sort of visions as a boy that he wished to share. He moved to Philadelphia and there began publishing a newspaper entitled The Reformer. This archive includes three letters from Gates, four manuscript receipts in Gates' hand, and a printed prospectus for the paper dated 1823. The material comes from the 1820's. The Reformer was designed to attack organized religion, which he saw as seeking to take over the country for its own purposes. He believed it incompatible with the spirit and principles of the Gospel. In the 1830's, Gates moved to the countryside, to an area of Chester County he called "Free Love Valley." Gates believed in free love and lots of nudity, like the Garden of Eden. He gathered a group of a few dozen followers who must have had lots of fun in the name of God. Quoting from Jeremiah, he called on his followers to be battle axes fighting for the Lord. Hence, his followers became known as "Battle Axes" and Gates obtained his moniker "Theophilus the Battle Axe." Not surprisingly, they were not particularly popular with their more conservative neighbors, but the group persisted until Gates died in 1846 and a few years later before drifting away. $2,500.


Item 45 is one of the more controversial biographies, one that unintentionally damaged the reputation of its subject for a century. The writer was William Godwin, the subject his wife, Mary Wollstonecraft. The title is Memoirs of the Author of Vindication of the Rights of Woman, published in 1798. Wollstonecraft was the author of this feminist book, but she died in childbirth in 1797. That child was to become Mary Shelley, wife of poet Percy Shelley and author of Frankenstein. Mary Wollstonecraft might not quite have been into free love like the Battle Axes, but she was a libertine by 18th century standards, veteran of a couple of affairs and mother of an out-of-wedlock child when she married the political radical Godwin. Godwin was forthright and honest in describing his wife's life in this biography. He thought it a positive, displaying her feminism and belief in human rights, but for the century of prudishness that followed, it tarnished her reputation, minimizing her contributions to women's rights. $3,250.


The Brick Row Book Shop may be reached at 415-398-0414 or books@brickrow.com. Their website is www.brickrow.com.

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

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