Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2006 Issue

Literature from the William Reese Company

Clarac

Twain's daughter/biographer Clara Clemens at her father's bust. Courtesy Cleveland S. U. Library.


Their greatest find was Mr. Ledbetter, who by then had picked up the sobriquet "Leadbelly," both a play on his name and a reference to his toughness. The Lomaxes would take him to New York, where he would begin a recording career which, while never making him rich, enabled him to cultivate a large following. Unfortunately, as his career began to grow, Leadbelly came down with Lou Gehrig's disease. He died in 1949. However, his songs, mostly Leadbelly's interpretations of older, sometimes forgotten folk songs, have been recorded by everyone from the Weavers, Johnny Cash and Gene Autry, to the Rolling Stones and Nirvana. They are like a who's who of American music: Goodnight Irene, Midnight Special, House of the Rising Sun, Cotton Fields and Black Betty. Item 8 is the Lomax's 1936 book, Negro Songs as Sung by Lead Belly "King of the Twelve String Guitar Players of the World," Long-time Convict in the Penitentiaries of Texas and Louisiana. $250.

It is poetry filled with passion, anger, even hatred, and eventually, despair. It is the poetry of the Confederate South, anger, followed by steadfastness, followed by hopelessness. Sentiments of never giving in are replaced by reality. Many of the poems extol the virtues of freedom, of free Southerners defending themselves to the death from enslavement by the North. They never saw the irony in it. Editor William Gilmore Simms put together a collection of poetry from the Confederate South, written from 1860-1865, and published it a year after the war ended. In his preface Simms notes that while it was poetry of the Confederacy, it now belongs to the entire nation, as part of its history. These poems offer a rare look at the mindset of those who sought to break the Union, though the juxtaposition of the honor, freedom and morality of which they spoke, with the terrible inhumanity they sought to impress on others, is hard for those not born into it to understand. This intriguing look at the Old South is entitled War Poetry of the South. Item 649. $225.

I don't know this book by Robert Peck, but I like the title: A Day No Pigs Would Die. Must have been a tough day at Hormel. Item 569. $65. Or how about John Cheever's The Day the Pig Fell into the Well. Hopefully he did so on a day no pigs would die as that sounds very dangerous. Item 144. $250.

Finally, some real literature: Star Trek Voyage One "The Cage." Actually, this was just an imaginary voyage (unlike the others). It was a pilot script for an episode that never aired. This script was created in 1964, two years before the first episode was broadcast. The Cage never was filmed, though the plot line was incorporated into a later episode. Item 659 is a mimeographed typescript of this phantom voyage. $200.

The William Reese Company is found online at www.reeseco.com,
phone number 203-789-8081.

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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