The Latest from Bauman Rare Books
By Michael Stillman
We have received a catalogue of New Acquisitions from Bauman Rare Books dated April 2006. Bauman's offerings generally cover a wide spectrum of fields. What they have in common is that all are first tier items. These are not the obscure or unknown authors and personalities, but the household names and important personages of the times. We will provide a few samplings from this catalogue, but this is just to get a sense of the type of material available. You will need the catalogue to fully appreciate all that Bauman has acquired.
Here is one of the greatest books ever published, made even more remarkable by the fact that it appeared less than four decades after the invention of printing. Item 2 is Das Buch der Croniken, better known as the Nuremberg Chronicle, by Hartmann Schedel, published in Nuremberg in 1493. This monumental book aimed to cover nothing short of the entire history of the world, from the creation up to what was then the present. People from Adam and Eve and Noah to Charlemagne, St. Augustine, and Dante get their due. Even the mythical Pope Joan makes an appearance. Cities from Nineveh to Rome to Paris and Nuremberg are covered. But not even that was enough. It also describes the future, that is, the end of times. Included are 1,809 woodcut illustrations along with maps of Europe and the world, plus a two-page illustration of the destruction of Jerusalem. This is a particularly rare and desirable copy as it has been colored by a contemporary hand. As for Pope Joan, whose image was defaced in most copies, her portrait is untouched, and while her biography was crossed out, it is still legible. Priced at $365,000.
Item 101 reflects the fear of every young person who dreams of becoming famous. That fear is someone will dig up some memorabilia from your childhood and display it for strangers to see. Well here we go. It is a valentine decorated by an obviously quite youthful Ernest Hemingway. On one side, it displays a child's drawing of a leafless tree and the words, in a very youthful hand, "This is my Valentine." On the other side is written "Ernest Miller Hemingway." Papa's mama kept scrapbooks of his youthful creations, and this was once a part of one. $8,800.
Item 69 is the ironic My Life on the Plains. Or, Personal Experiences with Indians, by George Armstrong Custer. Of course it does not include Custer's most notable experience with Indians, but he did not live long enough to write about that one. This book was published in 1874, two years before his fateful encounter at the Little Big Horn. $4,500.
Here is another ironic item: Herbert Hoover's first inaugural speech. The new president speaks of the nation's liberation from widespread poverty. He notes that economic policy should "establish more firmly stability and security of business and employment and thereby remove poverty still further from our borders." Hoover concludes, "The questions before our country are problems of progress to higher standards; they are not the problems of degeneration." "Ours is a land...filled with millions of happy homes; blessed with comfort and opportunity."