Some Gift Suggestions From Bauman Rare Books
By Michael Stillman
Bauman Rare Books has issued a catalogue just in time for the holiday season - Gift Suggestions. You can prove your love to someone special by presenting him or her with one of these fine works. There is undoubtedly someone in your life worthy of a gift of lasting value and interest, and you probably are struggling to think of what to buy that person anyway, so you might give Bauman a call. There is not a particular theme which runs through this catalogue, so there is likely something for everyone on your gift list within the pages. Since there is not a specific theme other than quality, we can only display a few samples, with the caution if none of these is quite right, there is probably something else among the 200 listings that is.
What could be more a propos to the Christmas giving season than a book about a trip to the North Pole? Admiral Robert Peary didn't find Santa Claus, but he was the first to reach the North Pole. At least he probably was the first, though rival explorer Frederick Cook claimed to have beaten him (unlikely), and some question whether Peary actually reached the Pole. However, most credit Peary as the first, and he certainly reached someplace very cold. Peary's 1910 account of his year earlier journey is offered in The North Pole. This is one of only 500 copies signed by Peary, and includes maps and numerous photographs, along with an introduction by Theodore Roosevelt. Item G153. Priced at $2,800.
Robert Scott must have been looking for the anti-Santa. Poor Scott achieved his goal of reaching the South Pole, only to find that Roald Amundsen had beaten him to it, and then paid for his journey with his life on the way back. Scott reached the South Pole on January 12, 1912, only to be greeted by a note from Amundsen left a month earlier. Not as well prepared as Amundsen, Scott and his party succumbed to the elements before making it back to camp. In 1913, his diaries, discovered eight months later where he died, were published as Scott's Last Expedition. Item G155. $1,600.
Tevye's Daughters, a 1949 book by Sholom Aleichem, is not the most famous book ever written, but it spawned one of the most popular theatrical plays ever. That, of course, would be "Fiddler on the Roof." To find out whether the play did justice to the book, you can order item G8, a first edition of Aleichem's work. $1,250.
Here is a classic you can give your children: Histoire de Babar, Le Petit Elephant. This is the 1931 first issue of the first edition of the first Babar book. It is, naturally, in French, as Babar was a francophonic elephant. This is one of the early, oversized books created by Jean de Brunhoff, although it is only standard folio in size, not elephant folio. That's because, as the title says, Babar was a "petit" or little elephant. Item G37. $3,800. On second thought, maybe you shouldn't give this book to your children.