Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2007 Issue

Various Autographs and Manuscripts from James Cummins Bookseller

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Autographs and Manuscripts from James Cummins Bookseller.


By Michael Stillman

James Cummins Bookseller
has issued a new catalogue of Autographs and Manuscripts. This is a most diverse collection, save for the common theme of the writer's autograph. Represented are writers, cartoonists, actors, monarchs, presidents, politicians, scientists, poets, explorers, musicians, photographers, and one of the most horrific war criminals the civilized world has ever known. Here are a few of these varied signed items.

We occasionally come across Hemingway letters, and like his books, they are always entertaining. However, item 56 is a bit far out even for him. In March of 1942, the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team was attending spring training in Cuba, Hemingway's home at the time. "Papa" would hang out around the ball field, and one night, invited a bunch of players over to his house. Hemingway evidently got a bit drunk, which turned him from friendly to mean. He challenged one the Dodgers, Hugh Casey, to a fight. Casey was a tough customer, noted for brushing back opposing batters, but Hemingway was also a large man. Casey was not looking to box the famed writer, but Hemingway insisted. They went for five one-minute rounds in Hemingway's living room, and Casey apparently got somewhat the better of it, though the writer held his own. The following day, Hemingway wrote this letter to his trainer, George Brown, asking Brown to help get him in shape for a rematch. Writes Hemingway, "We went five one-minute ones last night and I was under the impression that I needed a lot of work in order to come up against Casey again." He then continues, "I had him down twice and he hit me with everything he had all the time and it didn't do me any harm." In a P.S., Hemingway adds, "Don't say anything about the Casey business. REALLY. It was one of those good ones not the publicity kind." Both Hemingway and Casey were at the top of their game at the time. Hemingway was a very popular novelist, Casey one of baseball's top relief pitchers. Ironically, neither could handle the slide when their careers wound down. Both would commit suicide by shooting themselves, Casey in 1951 amid a paternity scandal and the end of his baseball career, Hemingway a decade later while suffering from poor health and a declining career. His 1942 letter is priced at $12,500.

Item 45 is a very early document for U.S. California collectors. It is an appointment to the Legislative Council signed by then Governor John C. Fremont, better known for his explorations of the area, on January 22, 1847. Fremont had signed the Treaty of Cahuenga just nine days earlier, securing California for the United States. Fremont was appointed Governor by Navy Commodore Stockton, but his appointment did not last long. Washington appointed General Stephen Kearny to the position, and when Fremont did not follow his commands, he was arrested and convicted of mutiny. Fremont would be pardoned by President Polk, and would go on to be the first presidential nominee of the Republican Party, losing to James Buchanan in 1856. Apparently, Fremont was not terribly concerned about who might serve on the Legislative Council. This appointment sheet has a blank space for the name of the appointee, even though Fremont had already signed it. $30,000.

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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