• <b>Bonhams History of Science and Technology. September 21. Consignments Now Invited.</b>
    <b>Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts. September 22. Consignments Now Invited.</b>
  • <b>Arader Galleries Aug 5:</b> Lot 8. Estados Unidos de Mijoco... John Disturnell (1801-1877). Est $90,000-125,000. Start Bid $50,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries Aug 5:</b> Lot 33. Shipping off Charlotte Amalie in the Danish West Indies. Est $12,000-15,000. Start Bid $7,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries Aug 5:</b> Lot 36. Poppy, F.19. Jacques le Moyne de Morgues, 1560's. Est $90,000-120,000. Start Bid $50,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries Aug 5:</b> Lot 37. <br>White Iris, F.9. Jacques le Moyne de Morgues, 1560's. Est $90,000-120,000. Start Bid $50,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries Aug 5:</b> Lot 38. Peach, F. 66. Jacques le Moyne de Morgues, 1560's. Est $100,000-120,000. Start Bid $60,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries Aug 5:</b> Lot 39. Pomegranate. 1560's. Est $200,000-300,000. Start Bid $120,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries Aug 5:</b> Lot 40. Flamingos. Louis Agassiz Fuertes. Est $60,000-80,000. Start Bid $36,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries Aug 5:</b> Lot 57. The Discoverie of the Large, Rich and Bewtiful Empire... Est $10,000-15,000. Start Bid $6,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries Aug 5:</b> Lot 59.<br>The West-India Atlas ... JEFFERYS, Thomas, 1775. Est $22,000-25,000. Start Bid $13,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries Aug 5:</b> Lot 62. The Natural History of Barbados. Est $10,000-12,000. Start Bid $6,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries Aug 5:</b> Lot 64. A Voyage to the Islands Madera, Barbados, Nieves... Est $24,000-28,000. Start Bid $14,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries Aug 5:</b> Lot 65. Bucaniers of America... Est $12,000-16,000. Start Bid $7,000.
  • Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Fine Books and Manuscripts, August 5th.
    <b>Leslie Hindman Aug 5:</b> Lot 3. Lewis, Meriwether and William Clark. <i>History of the Expedition under the Command</i>... 1814. $50,000-$70,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman Aug 5:</b> Lot 90. Audubon, John James. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States</i>... $30,000-$50,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman Aug 5:</b> Lot 19. Hutchins, Thomas and George Louis le Rouge. <i>Partie Occidentale de la Virginie,</i> ... $8,000-$12,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman Aug 5:</b> Lot 88. Truman, Harry. Signed Presidential Proclamation ... Surrender of Germany. 1945. $6,000-$8,000
    Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Fine Books and Manuscripts, August 5th.
    <b>Leslie Hindman Aug 5:</b> Lot 15. <i>The American Military Pocket Atlas ... Maps, both General and Particular, of The British Colonies</i>... $4,000-$6,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman Aug 5:</b> Lot 95. Buller, Walter Lawry. <i>A History of the Birds of New Zealand</i>. London, 1873. First edition. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman Aug 5:</b> Lot 89. Audubon, John Hames and John Bachman.<i>The Quadrupeds of North America</i>. New York, 1852-1854. 3 vols. Complete. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman Aug 5:</b> Lot 124. Bracciolini, Poggio. <i>Poggii Florentini Oratoris Clarissimi</i> ... Argentinae, 1513. 2 parts in one. $3,000-$5,000
    Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Fine Books and Manuscripts, August 5th.
    <b>Leslie Hindman Aug 5:</b> Lot 85. Book signed by H. Hoover and over 190 members of his administration, 1929-1933. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman Aug 5:</b> Lot 252. Carroll, Lewis. <i>Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass</i>. 2 vols. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman Aug 5:</b> Lot 78.<br>Currier and Ives. <i>A Midnight Race on the Mississippi</i>. New York, 1860. Large folio lithograph, hand-colored. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman Aug 5:</b> Lot 268. <br>(The Beatles) Autographed note card signed in pen by all four members. Framed and matted with repro photo. $3,000-$5,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Catalogue 160: Magnificent Books, Manuscripts, & Photographs
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Shakespeare's First Folio (1623)
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Charles Darwin family photograph album
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Spectacular album of mammoth photos of the American West by Watkins & others
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Washington family copy of The Federalist (1788)
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Underground Railroad runaway broadside (1857)

Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2008 Issue

A.E. Crowell Decoys offered by Stephen O'Brien Fine Arts

Obrien

A.E. Crowell carvings from Stephen O'Brien.


By Michael Stillman

Here is a catalogue uncommon for our reviews. It is certainly not of books, and only tangentially might be called “ephemeral." However, one of the favorite subjects for book collectors is sports and sportsmen, and in the days before baseball and football were massively popular, sports hunting was of keen interest, particularly for those of means. This brings us to the latest catalogue of Stephen O'Brien Jr. Fine Arts. It is entitled Select Carvings by A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952) . Crowell was both a master sportsman and artist, and those who collect in the field of hunting, particularly of waterfowl, will certainly appreciate these fine carvings.

Crowell grew up on a cranberry farm in East Harwich (Cape Cod), Massachusetts. Though not a hunter, his father gave young Crowell a shotgun when he was twelve. Crowell took to hunting like...well...a duck to water. He began devising ways to get waterfowl to stop at the lake near his home on their migrations. Although he carved some decoys early on, Elmer's preferred means was live decoys. He would train tethered ducks and geese to lure wild ones their way. He became something of a legend, and hunters sought his help.

Around 1900, Dr. John C. Phillips, sportsman, author, and Associate Curator of Birds at the zoological library at Harvard, hired Crowell, who would remain in his employ for ten years. Along with building better blinds and training his live decoys, Crowell began carving more. He carved both decoys and simply decorative works. However, this would remain a secondary activity until 1912 when Massachusetts passed a law outlawing the sale of migratory birds. Depletion of these bird species by clever techniques such as those employed by Crowell alarmed conservationists, who won their battle with the hunters in the state legislature. Unable to trade in live decoys any longer, Crowell turned to his carving skills to fashion wooden decoys and decorative carvings. This he would do for most of the remainder of his long life.

It is impossible to describe Crowell's carvings with words, other than to note that his great familiarity with the species he carved enabled him to achieve exceptional reality in his works. He carved and painted with meticulous attention to detail. His works are prized by collectors, the best having reached prices in excess of $1 million. Of course, not all are quite so pricey, but you probably would not want to use one of Crowell's carvings as an active decoy today. However, one would look spectacular on the shelf next to your antiquarian hunting books.

Stephen O'Brien may be reached at 617-536-0536 or visited online at www.americansportingart.com. The gallery is located on Newbury Street in Boston.

Rare Book Monthly


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