Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2008 Issue

Strange and Fascinating American Pamphlets from Garrett Scott, Bookseller

Scott20

American Pamphlets from Garrett Scott, Bookseller.


By Michael Stillman

Garrett Scott, Bookseller, has issued Catalogue 20: American Pamphlets. Scott specializes in American pamphlets, and it can readily be argued that these are some of the most interesting pieces of Americana you can find. They are mostly from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Publishing a book was a fairly expensive undertaking at the time, but publishing pamphlets was within the means of people with more limited financial assets. The result is you can find just about any opinion, from the rational to the strange, in the form of a pamphlet. Naturally, it is the bizarre that can be the most entertaining, but others are insightful and informative. Take your pick.

Political and theological topics were the favorites of the pamphleteer. However, there are many other subjects covered, including science and "science," medicine and "medicine," and so on through literature, temperance, economics, entertainment, crime and much more. Here are a few samples.

Item 288 is the story of a strange case by a man who had psychological issues of some form or other. The book is Wonderful Works of God. A Narrative of the Wonderful Facts in the Case of Ansel Bourne...who in the Midst of Opposition to the Christian Religion, was Suddenly Struck Blind, Dumb and Deaf; and After Eighteen Days Was Suddenly and Completely Restored... Bourne, an atheist, had had some previous episodes of amnesia, but nothing like what happened to him on October 28, 1848. Bourne was evidently asked by some friends to go to a chapel, but declined, saying to himself, "I would rather be struck deaf and dumb forever than go there." He quickly received his wish, being struck deaf and dumb, plus blind for good measure. Eighteen days later, a properly chastised Bourne went to the same chapel and was cured. Bourne became something of a wonder, while trading in his atheistic ways to become a preacher. Offered is a second edition from 1877. Bourne would make his way back into the news in 1887 when he disappeared for two months from his Rhode Island home. He took up residence in Pennsylvania under the name Albert Brown. He opened a confectionary store which he operated for two months before awakening one morning supposedly totally unaware of his two months as Albert Brown, and confused as to what in the world he was doing in Pennsylvania. Bourne/Brown was hypnotized by William James who concluded he had some type of multiple personality disorder. Priced at $50.

If you think this year's presidential election mantra is something new, take a look at this 1840 political polemic: "Wherefore Change?" More than One Hundred Reasons why William Henry Harrison Should and Will have the Support of the Democracy for President... Harrison found the "change" mantra quite effective against incumbent Martin Van Buren, who suffered grievously from the economic downturn following the Panic of 1837. This unkind pamphlet refers to Van Buren as "the Nero in the White House...feasting and dancing while the American Rome is burning." The electorate was convinced of the need for change and selected Harrison, who promptly died in office without accomplishing a thing. Item 22. $75.

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.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions