Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2006 Issue

Inscribed Books from James Cummins Bookseller

Cummins96

James Cummins offers inscribed books.


By Michael Stillman

The 96th catalogue from James Cummins Bookseller is entitled Inscribed. This is a collection of just over one hundred works that have been inscribed, most often, though not necessarily, by the author. The greatest number of the books are literary works, but again, not all. There are artists, poets, actors and politicians who have put their names and comments to these pages. For those who collect just a bit more than the printed word, Cummins has a catalogue for you. Here are a few examples.

Ernest Hemingway was undoubtedly still very much in love with second wife Pauline Pfeiffer in September 1928, when he inscribed a copy of Grabados y Litografus de Goya to her. It is a book which reproduces Francisco de Goya's drawings. They had been married less than a year, and Hemingway was still a struggling writer at the time. Ms. Pfeiffer, on the other hand, had a healthy trust fund and a doting uncle who purchased a Key West home for the couple. She was a magazine writer and editor herself, and she captured the heart of "Papa" while the latter was still married to his first wife. States his inscription, "Pauline Hemingway with love from Ernest." Of course those with a roving eye tend to rove again, and in time Pauline too would be replaced by a younger, third (of four) wife. They were divorced in 1940. Item 41 is the Hemingway inscribed Goya to Pauline. Priced at $6,000.

Charles and Jane Engelhard were wealthy benefactors of numerous causes, and friends with some of the leading politicians of their day. Jane, born in China, had married Charles, a wealthy industrialist, in 1947. Among their friends was President Lyndon Johnson, a man as colorful as Hemingway. LBJ sent copies of books to both of his friends, The Vantage Point, which he authored, to Jane, The Professional. Lyndon B. Johnson, by William S. White, to Charles. In a tipped in card to Jane, Johnson, in typical style, inscribes, "For Jane Engelhard. My dear friend-Counselor-Companion and Sweetheart whom I deeply love." To Charles, he writes, "To Charles Engelhard -- with best wishes." Well, we can see which of the two LBJ liked better! Item 49 is the book and card to Jane. $1,500. Item 50 is the book for Charles. $1,000.

In 1975, Mrs. Engelhard would accompany Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield on a trip to China to help the government formulate foreign policy. Mansfield would present her with a copy of their report - China: a Quarter Century after the Founding of the People's Republic. Mansfield was a great mind, though not quite the charmer that LBJ was. His inscription is appreciative and friendly, though not quite so familiar: "To 'China Born' Jane B. Engelhard, who did so much to make the mission to China worthwhile ... With my deepest personal thanks & appreciation to a great & knowledgeable lady & associate." Two different styles. Item 60. $1,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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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