Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2007 Issue

Various New Items from John Waite Rare Books

Waite14

Catalogue Fourteen from John Waite Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

John Waite Rare Books
of Vermont has issued their Catalogue Fourteen, a collection of 72 varied items suitable for equally varied collectors. There are literary first (and later) editions, autographed works, photographs and manuscripts, art, documents from both sides of the Civil War, poetry, maps, travel, and so on. We cannot say exactly which collectors will find something to buy, but just about any are likely to find something worth a look. Here are a few examples.

We will start with something targeted to the antiquarians. Anything older than Gutenberg qualifies as antiquarian no questions asked. Item 25 is a vellum manuscript issued by one Conradus of Germany in 1339. In it, he pledges his lands will annually provide one pig, two geese, and four chickens for the feast of the blessed Jacob. Conradus attests that his daughters, Elizabeth and Petronille, have consented to this gift. One suspects the current owner of these lands would be surprised to learn of his obligation. Priced at $950.

Item 55 is a different type of contract, one for the labor of Joel Bishop of North Haven, Connecticut. The date was December 15, 1796, the term "one Year or 310 working days" (there were more working days in a year back then), and the employer Miller and Whitney of Georgia and Connecticut. Whitney is the better known of the partners, he being Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin. His machine revitalized agriculture and the economy of the South, enabling a worker to produce 50 pounds of cleaned cotton a day, where only one pound was possible before. Bishop was hired to produce cotton gins, and for his labor, he was to be paid $200 for the year, five dollars per quarter with the balance at the end of the contract. The firm agreed to provide "suitable Food and Lodging," while Bishop had to pay for his own "Grogg and Washing," and provide his own tools. The contract is signed by the firm's superintendent and Benjamin Whitney, Eli's brother. $1,500.

For those who collect American financial genius Alexander Hamilton, there is the July 21, 1804 issue of The Port Folio, published in Philadelphia by "Oliver Oldschool," pseudonym for Joseph Dennie. This was written by a supporter of Hamilton after his death in a duel with Vice-President Aaron Burr (Burr had better aim than Vice-President Cheney). With columns bordered in black for mourning, the publication prints correspondence between Hamilton, Burr and their handlers leading up to the duel, Hamilton's will, a full description of his funeral and the oration by Gouverneur Morris, and his last statement wherein he was quoted as claiming he entered the duel "with a fixed resolution to do him no harm." Hamilton's shot missed by a mile, consistent with his claim that he had no intention of striking Burr, though Burr may not have so interpreted his fire. Whatever the intention, Hamilton was mortally wounded, as was Burr's reputation. Item 33. $700.

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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