Important Works Offered by Bauman Rare Books
By Michael Stillman
This may be a bit late for a November Holiday Catalogue from Bauman Rare Books, but as they say, this is better than never. Besides which, it is a very special catalogue, and surely some of the items offered are still available. For those who have not yet purchased your holiday gifts, you are in deep trouble, and you will need something as spectacular as the works in this catalogue to dig yourself out of that hole.
Like many Bauman catalogues, this one offers a large variety of items. Fields covered include literature, first editions, history, Americana, photography, music, science, early television, signed manuscripts, poetry, art, fine bindings and illustrations, children's books and more. Material is always top quality as well as being important. The descriptions are thorough so there will be no guesswork about the material. For those who collect on the higher levels, Bauman catalogues present some outstanding opportunities. Here are a few samples.
For those who collect Hemingway, item 95 is a classic signed letter from the author. In 1931, he received a request from publisher Paul Romaine, asking permission to include his short poem Ultimately in a publication he was putting together. Ultimately had originally been published in 1922. The befuddled Hemingway responded, "I cannot recall the poem in question so can't consent -- But if you will mail me a copy of it, airmail to this address, will wire you yes or no after reading it... If it is too lousy I will wire you no and you will understand my motives." Fortunately, the poem was good, or at least not too lousy, and Romaine was granted permission to publish. Item 95. Priced at $10,000.
For Americana collectors, here is a most important item. It is the Journal of the Proceedings of the Congress, Held at Philadelphia, May 10, 1775. This is the official printing of the journals of the Second Continental Congress. At the First Continental Congress, the colonists were still trying to resolve their issues with the British. By 1775, everything was breaking down. British attacks at Boston would lead the Congress to the brink of rebellion. With Bostonian John Hancock as president and the Adamses as members, it is no wonder they were becoming angry. Among the other delegates were Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, who would be appointed Commander in Chief. At one point they would say, "Our cause is just...the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will...employ for the preservation of our liberties, being with one mind resolved, to die Freemen rather than to live as slaves." Item 4, $60,000.
What comes earlier than even a first edition? For some books, there is a prepublication prospectus intended to drum up business. Item 7 is one for perhaps the most collectible and valuable literary work of the 20th century, James Joyce's Ulysses. The four page prospectus announces Ulysses by James Joyce will be published in the Autumn of 1921 by Shakespeare and Company" -- Sylvia Beach. Joyce's novel was first published in installments in England, but no printers were willing to take on the risk of publishing the book.