Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2008 Issue

More Works from Film, Literature and History from James Pepper Rare Books

Pepper168

Catalogue 168 from James Pepper Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

Catalogue 168 from James Pepper Rare Books presents a new collection within their field: Literary First Editions, Mystery and Detective Fiction, Rare Cinema Material, and Assorted Eclectic Offerings. Included are 143 items within these fields. They are, as always, an interesting group. Here are a few samples.

Item 3 will have to fit the "eclectic" topic since it clearly doesn't belong with any of the others. This is an obscure item relating to one of the most important cases ever in U.S. constitutional law. It is a manuscript copy of William Marbury's petition to the U.S. Senate to provide confirming documents of his appointment as a Justice of the Peace in the District of Columbia. Marbury was one of President John Adams' last minute appointments, who the new President, Thomas Jefferson, refused to provide with the commissions necessary to take office. Marbury sought the Senate's assistance, but since that body was now controlled by Jeffersonians, it had little inclination to help. Marbury then went to the Supreme Court, which declined his petition as well, and Marbury's personal lack of success is of little consequence to the nation. However, it was in reaching this decision that the Supreme Court established the supremacy of the constitution over ordinary laws, and most importantly, that the courts had the power to strike down laws adopted by the other branches of government if they conflicted with the constitution. This decision was of an enormous consequence, for without it, all of the protections in the Bill of Rights would be moot, for there would be no one to enforce them. This copy of the petition came from the papers of Nathan Read, a Federalist congressman from Massachusetts. Priced at $9,500.

Item 80 is an original, unpublished work by an actress and writer of the 1950s, Leueen MacGrath. She is a bit obscure though appearing in several films and Broadway plays, but reached some greater milestones during the eight years (1949-1957) she was married to famed playwright and director George S. Kaufman. She co-wrote the very popular musical "Silk Stockings," which featured music by Cole Porter. Offered is a signed manuscript of 429 pages entitled There and Back, circa the late 1960s. It is taken from her diaries, but omits specific names and places. Among the topics, Pepper informs us, are "Byzantine Art, I Ching, murder, lesbianism, assisted suicide, Venice, Rilke, and always the life of the writer and the habit of writing." If you like it, you could publish the first edition. $1,000.

Here is a book that maybe shouldn't have been published, at least according to its author. It is an early work from science fiction writer K.W. Jeter -- Morlock Night. This 1979 first edition paperback is a continuation of H.G. Wells' "Time Machine." In a fit of brutal honesty, Jeter has inscribed this book to collector Roy Squires, "Roy, Tim [Powers] & I should both thank God that there are editors who'll buy this kind of crapola." Here is your chance to join those editors! Item 135. $200.

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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