Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2007 Issue

European and American Autographs from David Schulson

Schulson2

David Schuslon Autographs' January Sale catalogue.


By Michael Stillman

This review may be a day late for a January Sale Catalog, but for those who collect autographs, and aren't too proud to beg for an extension, it is worth a look. The catalogue comes from David Schulson Autographs, Ltd., and the signers come from a variety of fields – arts, music, literature, poetry, science, politics and more. While Schulson describes the business as "autographs," few are just autographs and nothing more. The great majority are complete documents, primarily letters, but also contracts and signed photographs. And, though Schulson Autographs is located in New York, more of this group comes from the pens of Europeans than Americans. Here are a few samples from this latest collection.

Here is a humorous letter, though a shocking one would have been more appropriate for this writer. The letter comes from French physicist Andre Ampere. Ampere engaged in pioneering work on electromagnetism and electrical currents. The measure of electric current, the ampere, more commonly known as the "amp," is named for him. The letter relays an invitation to M. Lemoir, deputy office manager at the Ministry of Interior, from Pierre Ballanche, a philosopher. "His majesty Balanche," writes Ampere (in French), "orders you there or face death..." Had these words been written during the French Revolution, they probably would have scared poor Lemoir out of his skin, but by 1828, a sense of humor had returned to France. Item 1. Priced at $1,325.

Item 90 is a most striking letter from famed playwright George Bernard Shaw. Written in 1908, the 50-something year-old Shaw rebukes the flirtatious, Shaw-obsessed Erica Cotterill, several decades his junior. She practically stalked Shaw, but for whatever reason, he was friendly and communicative (perhaps encouraging) with her, while apparently managing to withstand her advances. Writes Shaw, "Now that I have taught you some respect for business and the law, let me assure you that marriage is more sacred then either, and that unless you are prepared to treat my wife with absolute loyalty, you will be hurled into outer darkness for ever. The privilege of pawing me, such as it is, is hers exclusively." Shaw continues, "You are a luxurious young devil, with the ethics, and something of the figure, of an anteater; and I have no doubt you can coax your mother & your Rupert [Brooke] by crawling all over them; but if you dare to try those tactics with me in my wife's house you will be very startlingly awakened to the iron laws of domestic honor. Also, it is not sensible nor decent to write about such demonstrations except to men of your own time of life..." He concludes, "Remember that your best behavior will not be too good for me, as you hardly yet know how to behave yourself at all, being the very worst brought-up young woman I have ever met in the course of my half century of 'taking notice.'" Shaw has been noted for having unusual relationships with women, and this letter certainly fits that image. $2,760.

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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