New Titles at Bauman Rare Books
By Michael Stillman
Bauman Rare Books recently issued a catalogue of New Acquisitions for April 2007. It is also labeled "Catalogue Karnak," which must refer to something, though I know not what. The Egyptian temple by that name? Johnny Carson's Karnak the Magnificent? Actually, Carson spelled his Carnac with a couple of "C's," but this is a logical explanation. There are certainly many magnificent items in this collection of varied books and manuscripts. It is all exceptional material, such as these samples drawn from the 158 items now available.
Do you enjoy viewing works of art? How about 2,000 of them? Item 2 is The Iconic Dictionary of the Most Important Painters and Sculptors. This is a 12-volume, large folio set published in Philadelphia in 1912, filled with reproductions of the works of European masters. Only 26 lettered copies of this magnificent set were produced, this one being copy "K." Priced at $32,000.
You might think the British would have learned something from their colonists' misadventures in Salem, but no, they had to learn the hard way. Item 140 consists of two pamphlets from 1712 by Francis Bragge, Witchcraft Further Display'd... and A Full and Impartial Account of the Discovery of Sorcery and Witchcraft... Impartial? These pertain to the witchcraft trial of Jane Wenham, and Bragge had little doubt of her guilt. Like the Salem "witches," Mrs. Wenham was accused of sending children into spells as well as causing the death of livestock. She apparently once made a threatening statement that implied she had other ways to get back at people, and supposedly manufactured some magic potions out of corpses. I'm just reporting what they said. You decide. However, she was only tried on one count -- speaking with the Devil, who took the form of a cat. As anyone who owns a cat knows, they can be diabolical creatures. As ridiculous as this sounds, a jury of her peers, who must have been even loonier than she, convicted Mrs. Wenham. She was sentenced to death, but the skeptical Judge sought a pardon from Queen Anne, which was granted. Judge Powell is noted for his comment at trial, when it was related that Mrs. Wenham could fly --"there is no law against flying." The pamphlets are priced at $4,200.
Here is another case of the English not listening to their colonial brethren -- the 1776 bound edition of 12 volumes of The Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle. The August edition includes one of the earliest British printings (perhaps the first) of the Declaration of Independence. There it was for King George to see, but he sent his troops off on a losing effort anyway. Item 28. $8,800.