By Michael Stillman
Bauman Rare Books of New York and Philadelphia, has issued a catalogue of Summer Miscellany. A catalogue of miscellany is hard to describe, as it may contain just about anything, which this one does. It includes over 800 works of fiction and nonfiction, art, science, history, politics, poetry, photography, humor, and just about anything else you can imagine. These are all significant items and highly collectible, although they will suit a wide range of collections. Here are a few items to be found, but with the caution that they are just miscellaneous, as it is impossible to provide a representative sample when so many types of books are represented.
Item 144 is a first edition of what has to be one of the greatest speeches ever given. It is from Winston Churchill, A Speech by the Prime Minister....in the House of Commons, August 20th, 1940. England stood alone at the time, most of its allies in Western Europe overrun by the Germans, America still well over a year from entering the fray. To anyone else it might have seemed hopeless, but to Churchill, it was Britain's finest hour. Despite the enormous bombardments inflicted by Germany's superior forces, now entrenched just across the channel, Churchill was defiant, inspiring his people while reassuring them that the Royal Air Force would eventually inflict a crippling blow to Germany's internal infrastructure, making its capture of foreign lands irrelevant. It was his tribute to the work of that Air Force which resulted in the speech's most famous line, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." Not only were the British people indebted to these flyers, but so was the whole world, Americans included, though most of us may not have recognized this fact at the time. This first edition is priced at $1,450.
Here is an item from a signal event it American history -- it is a typed, signed dissenting opinion in the case of Bush v. Gore by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The majority would cut off any further vote counting, assuring victory to George W. Bush. Whatever your politics, it is undeniable that America, and the world, would be a far different place if Gore, the winner of the greatest number of popular votes, had become president instead. Item 341. $975. Item 731 is a signed dissent by another of the dissenters, Justice John Paul Stevens. Item 731. $1,500.
Now for something a bit lighter: I Love Her, That's Why! by George Burns with Cynthia Lindsay. This is a first edition of George Burns' 1955 autobiography, with the "her," naturally, being his wife and partner in comedy, Gracie Allen. Ms. Allen was noted for her strange logic, with Burns playing the straight man. They had already been on the radio for almost two decades when they broke into television in 1950, and by 1955, when this autobiography was published, they were at the height of their career. Allen would retire a few years later, while Burns would continue performing until the 1990s. Say ‘Goodnight,' Gracie. This copy is inscribed by Burns and signed by Allen. Item 111. $500.