Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2003 Issue

Catalogue Review – Travel Books From Bernard J. Shapero

Trave2003

“Travel Books” from Bernard J. Shapero


By Mike Stillman

Mb>Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books has just released their latest catalogue, “Travel Books – Recent Acquisitions 2003.” Shapero is a London bookseller and most of the material reflects an English or European orientation. However, much of the material is truly fascinating and will be of interest to collectors all over the world. And, for those with a strictly American orientation, you too will find a few gems here.

“Travel Books” has been divided into several, primarily regional subjects. The first, however, is worldwide. It’s called “Mountaineering,” and it covers mountain climbing throughout the world. Naturally, it includes its share of Everest and other Himalayan expeditions, but there are also many books recounting climbs in the Alps, the Americas, Japan and Asia, and more. There’s a wonderful collection here for anyone interested in mountaineering.

Item 50 is a copy of John Hunt’s The Ascent of Everest. Many attempts were made before Hunt’s expedition, but this was the first to succeed. Of course the two who made it to the top, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, are better known than Hunt, but it was Hunt who led the expedition. This 1953 first edition is inscribed by Hillary and George Lowe, another member of the party. Priced £650.

Among those titles with an American connection is E.A. Fitzgerald’s The Highest Andes. This is an 1899 first U.S. edition published by Scribner’s, and it retells the first climb of a couple of peaks in Argentina. Evidently it wasn’t a pleasant time for Fitzgerald as Shapero tells us he never climbed again. £325.

Item 42 is William S. Green’s Among the Selkirk Glaciers… Green was one of the first climbers in the Canadian Rockies, and this is his account of climbing in the Selkirk Range of British Columbia. From 1890. £120. Item 64 is Enos Mills’ The Spell of the Rockies. Mills was a naturalist and writer as well as a guide. Many consider him to be the father of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The cabin he built in 1885 still stands as a museum in Estes Park and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. From 1911. £30.

The remainder of the Shapero catalogue is divided into regional headings: Africa, Americas & Arctic, Central Asia, Far East, Greece & Ottoman, and Pacific & Antarctic. The bulk of the material was written in the late 19th or early 20th century, though numerous pieces do go outside of this range. Many of the travelers to Africa in the late 19th century wrote about the slave trade, a reminder to Americans that our Civil War did not eradicate this horrific practice from the globe.

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