Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2007 Issue

Signed Historic Documents from Stuart Lutz

Lutz1

Highlights of Stuart Lutz's latest acquisitions.


By Michael Stillman

Stuart Lutz Historic Documents
has issued a "highlights catalog," one that includes some of their most intriguing new acquisitions. In keeping with the changing times, they've limited the catalogue to the "highlights," while the complete listing of available items, along with color photographs, are available as a download from their website. Still, the printed edition affords a look at a few of the new signed documents, and provides a persuasive invitation to visit the website for more. Here are some samples of what is now available.

Displayed on the cover is a letter from President John F. Kennedy, written a little over two months before he was assassinated, to author Jacob Baal-Teshuva. Baal-Teshuva had compiled a book of essays titled The Mission of Israel. This was a book of essays in support of the State of Israel, with notable figures such as Lyndon Johnson and Eleanor Roosevelt offering contributions. President Kennedy was among the contributors. He wrote that the survival and success of Israel was essential and that there was no real conflict between the aspirations of the Israelis and those of the Arabs. In his letter to Baal-Teshuva, Kennedy thanks him for sending a copy of the book and states that he looks forward to reading it. Priced at $5,000.

Here is a most entertaining "Dear Jane" letter from one Loring Barker to his sweetheart no more, a Betsey Torrey, in 1792. Barker considers himself a complete cad for his actions in marrying another. Writes Barker, "This is to inform you that there was such a person as Loring Barker and I am very sorry you ever knew there was such a person." He later adds, "...there is not a more miserable creature living than I am," a sentiment probably shared by Miss Betsey. However, a few other lines in the letter indicate that Betsey perhaps overplayed the hard-to-get hand, or maybe she was just thankful Barker elected to marry Polly Ross instead. He notes that Betsey had many times told him she wished to live a single life (doubtful), that she deserved someone better than he (possible), and that she had rejected his previous overtures. In what one suspects is a bit of an ingenuous though very polite excuse, Barker claims, "I have often been told that Miss Torrey was too worthy a person for me to have, and have taken it into consideration and think so myself." I'll bet Polly Ross must have appreciated that! From what we can tell, Barker and Miss Ross were married in 1791, but it was not until June 12 of the following year that he got around to telling poor Betsey. In the letter, Barker speaks of all of this happening after he left Pembroke. He evidently returned, since Barker is buried in Pembroke, Massachusetts. Perhaps it was in anticipation of his return that he wrote this belated "Dear Jane" letter. Oddly, it appears that Elizabeth Torrey was married in November of 1792 in Pembroke to one Isaac Bowen Barker. Whether Loring Barker and Isaac Barker were related is unclear, but probably not closely if so. Loring lived until 1848, Betsey until 1851. $300.

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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