Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2017 Issue

Radical Causes from Lorne Bair Rare Books


Lorne Bair's Catalog 28.

Lorne Bair Rare Books has issued their Catalog 28. Bair specializes in radical literature, mostly from the left. Minority and workers' rights, economic justice, and similar causes dominate the material. This catalogue has been divided into four sections: African American History, Literature & Culture; Radical, Social & Proletarian Literature; Social Movements & Radical Thought; and Graphics, Art & Photography. These are a few of the items offered.


The 1930s was a high period for radical causes. Socialists, Communists, and unions found more receptive audiences, the result of the terrible poverty caused by the Great Depression. This book is not from one of the more radical movements, but did more than almost any other such writing to reach the mainstream with its portrayal of economic injustice and poverty experienced by so many ordinary Americans. It is a tale of a family of "Okies," Oklahomans forced from their farms by the Dust Bowl, seeking meager survival in the California farm fields. This book is, of course, The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck. The travails of the Joad family are well-known. Those who didn't read the book almost surely saw the movie, Henry Fonda playing the lead. The book was published in 1939, and this copy is a first edition, first printing, a fine copy with comparable dust jacket, not even price clipped. It is a good as they come. Item 97. Priced at $7,500.


Item 182 consists of a carte-de-viste captioned Mrs. Tennie C. Claflin, Broker, along with an autographed card of Miss Claflin (despite the "Mrs" in the carte-de-viste, she was unmarried). Tennie C. was a radical feminist, of sorts, though certainly not in the image of Susan B. Anthony. She wrote a book promoting women's rights, along with such things as free love, which probably didn't endear her to the movement. She and her sister, Virginia Woodhull, opened the first Wall Street brokerage run by women, and Ms. Woodhull was the first woman to run for President (she lost decisively, to say the least, to Ulysses Grant in 1872). On the other hand, the Claflin sisters were also known as scam artists. Among Tennie's other professions was giving spiritual readings, and who better to have intrigued by your readings, and perhaps other things (Tennie C. was quite attractive), than the aged Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, the world's richest man? Well into his 70s, the Commodore provided the financial backing for the sisters' brokerage firm. When he died, Vanderbilt's son gave the sisters a healthy sum of money to move to England. Tennie C. hooked up with another wealthy elderly gentleman (though not on the Vanderbilt level) and became a Viscountess. $600.


Less removed in time is the Vietnam War era. The nation became sharply divided over a war that the government waged, and many, particularly older people, supported. On the opposite side, others, including a large portion of younger people, those who would be asked, and then forced, to go to war, sharply dissented. They at best saw the Vietnam War as serving no purpose, if not being an evil attempt by America to impose its will on others through violent force. Item 228 is an example of the latter point of view, a circa 1967 poster. It throws back an iconic moment in American history at America. It depicts a Vietnamese person riding a horse past a home in the dead of night, only the moon lighting the way, another person watching and listening from the door. Playing on Paul Revere's midnight ride, the caption states, The Americans Are Coming. $300.


Next we have a very bizarre comic book from Ovid P. Adams. Published in 1970, the title is The Adventures of Black Eldridge the Panther. It is a fictionalized tale of the life of Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver. On the cover, Cleaver is depicted with the severed head of a white man in his hand (in a sense appropriate for a man named "cleaver"). In the story, Cleaver is exiled in Algeria, which was accurate. After being involved in a shoot-out with police, Cleaver fled first to Cuba and then Algeria. While there, he broke with other Panthers who he felt had become too accommodating with whites. However, in this story, Cleaver covertly returns to the U.S. after hearing of a Black artist killed by a White racist in Utah. In revenge, he decapitates the leader of the conservative Mormon Church. There is great irony in this story that Adams could not have imagined in 1970. When he left Algeria, Cleaver went to France, where he became a born-again Christian and began manufacturing pants meant to make men look more manly. When he returned to America, he made his peace with the law and moved farther and farther to the right. He joined up with Sun Myung Moon's conservative Unification Church, and then, in the ultimate irony with this tale, became a Mormon. Continuing to move right, he became a conservative Republican, unsuccessfully seeking the party's nomination for senate in California. Cleaver died in 1998. Item 1. $850.


Item 98 is a compilation of early writings by H. G. Wells with a brief, but most intriguing, inscription. Wells grew up in a struggling family. His father, Joseph Wells, was not a successful man. A modest inheritance enabled him to open a shop, but it was no more successful than his other endeavors. Joseph set his son up with some apprenticeships. They did not work out. The result was Wells was a disappointment to his father, who was not much impressed by his son's interest in books and learning. In the early 1890s, Wells began writing short stories and essays for magazines, many of them humorous. He was a prolific writer, with some of these later culled to create this volume entitled Certain Personal Matters, dated 1898 (actually 1897). They were popular, and in 1895, he published his first novel, The Time Machine. While he had not yet reached his peak of recognition at this point, Wells was already reasonably successful and supporting his parents. This copy of Personal Matters has been inscribed by Wells to his father, with the brief words, "from his unworthy son." While it might be just a case of extreme self-effacement, it may also be a bit of a dig, as his father had made him feel unworthy, but by this time, Wells was far more successful than his father ever had been. $4,500.


Lorne Bair Rare Books may be reached at 540-665-0855 or info@lornebair.com. Their website is www.lornebair.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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