Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2006 Issue

Unusual and Intriguing Items from Thomas Cullen

Cullen39

The latest collection from Thomas Cullen.


By Michael Stillman

Thomas Cullen, Rockland Bookman
has issued his 39th catalogue of Fine Books, Manuscripts & Ephemera. Cullen doesn't specialize in any particular field. What he looks for is the unusual - books not readily found through other sources, and one-of-a-kind manuscripts. The result is a catalogue for everyone, as you never know just what will show up in a Cullen collection. Here are a few samples from the offerings he has for us this month.

But first, Cullen notes the recent, pleasant summer in western New York (he is located in Orchard Park, near Buffalo) and how, while they will get snow, it will melt. They don't experience the extreme disasters of hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Hah! Sure it will melt. In July. I know western New York well enough not to be fooled. New Orleans will be rebuilt before the snow melts in Buffalo.

Item 28 was one of the most important books in the days leading up to the Civil War, perhaps even more so than "Uncle Tom's Cabin." The latter was a sentimental, emotional appeal to eliminate slavery. However, The Impending Crisis of the South: How to Meet it, was a logical, statistical dismantling of the institution. What's more, its author, Hinton Helper, was himself a Southerner, raised in North Carolina. It infuriated many in the South and eventually was banned in the region. Helper, using census statistics, demonstrated the decline in the South, which he attributed to the use of slave over free labor. He showed how the North grew in so many respects, including industrially and culturally, while the South lagged far behind. He even hammered the region with the coup de grace, that the North was more advanced even agriculturally, assumed to be the South's greatest strength. Helper argued that no compensation should be paid slaveholders for freeing their slaves. To the contrary, he demonstrated that land in the South was worth a small fraction of that in the North, so that slaveholders were actually indebted to small, non-slave owning southerner landowners for the losses they incurred as a result of this institution. Originally published in 1857 (this copy is an 1860 reprint), this slightly successful treatise would become very popular when Republicans reprinted it and distributed copies free just before the War. This use did not provide Helper with much money, but President Lincoln would reward him with an appointment as Consul to Buenos Aires. However, Helper was no friend of the black man. His concern was with poor white subsistence farmers and laborers. After emancipation, he saw Blacks as poor Whites' major competitors, instead of the old slaveholders, and proceeded to publish a string of virulently racist, anti-Black works. He became an embarrassment to Republicans and extreme even by southern standards. He would next promote the building of a transcontinental railway all the way from Hudson Bay to the tip of South America, but he only lost money on it. Many years after his greatest success, in 1909, Helper committed suicide. Item 28 is priced at $85.

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 Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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