By Michael Stillman
John Michael Lang Fine Books has issued its List 22 of Recent Acquisitions. This includes 32 new items without a particular underlying theme, but probably including something for almost anyone. There are several offerings pertaining to Lang's home territory, the Pacific Northwest, but there are also items which discuss cooking, world's fairs, travel, wooden coins, Hoover dam, New Mexico, Spain, San Francisco, and book decorations, as well as autographed books from Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, actress Katherine Hepburn, and French Chef Julia Child, children's books, a Tennyson set and Hamlet's soliloquy. That's a start. Here are a few samples.
We start with the oldest book in this collection, The Truth Exalted in the Writing of That Eminent and Faithful Servant of Christ, by John Burnyeat, published in 1691. Burnyeat was a Quaker who traveled around the colonies in the 17th century, spending much time in Maryland and Virginia. He was closely associated with Quaker founder George Fox and coauthored a book with him. He also found himself, with Fox, in a spirited and less than warm debate with Rhode Island founder Roger Williams. It is perhaps odd that two leaders, among the most tolerant of the time, could not get along with each other. This book tells of Burnyeat's journeys and the antagonism he endured for his faith. Item 6. Priced at $750.
Item 17 is an unpublished circa 1958 mimeographed typescript of Harry Day and the Hercules by Charles R. Stark, Jr. It is marked "final revision" of this book intended for Caxton Printers of Caldwell, Idaho, that for whatever reason, never came to be (Caxton did print another Stark work, "The Bering Sea Eagle"). The unpublished work is a biography of the Idaho mining and smelting magnate of the first four decades of the 20th century. Day and a partner staked their claim to the Hercules mine in 1889, but it was not until 1901 that a strong vein of silver and lead was discovered, eventually making Day, his family, and various investors wealthy. The Hercules shut down in the 1920s, but by then Day had obtained other mines, and interests in smelting plants, real estate, the Wallace, Idaho, newspaper and other investments. He died in 1942. $650.