Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2009 Issue

19th Century Literature from James Cummins Bookseller

Cummins19th

19th Century Literature from James Cummins Bookseller.


By Michael Stillman

James Cummins Bookseller has just released a catalogue of Nineteenth Century Literature. This is not, for the most part, filled with names you instantly recognize. There are a few Dickens items here, but otherwise, most of these names were not immediately familiar. In some cases, that reflects my own shortcomings in knowledge of 19th century writers, in others, it is the authors who are obscure. Nevertheless, this catalogue is great fun to read, and that would undoubtedly be true of many of the books offered as well. Here are a few.

Item 59 is By Order of the Czar: A Drama in Five Acts, by Joseph Hatton. The author has inscribed this copy to Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula. Pens Hatton, "'For Auld Lang Syne' Bram Stoker, from his friend Joseph Hatton July 1904." Hatton was among Stoker's circle of acquaintances, but perhaps not his favorite, as an account of an American tour by Stoker has him describing Hatton as "an awful ass." Hopefully his book is better. Priced at $950.

Here is an author I did not recognize: Pierce Egan. That makes me doubly ignorant, as there were two of them. Item 33 is The Pilgrims of the Thames, in Search of the National! by Pierce Egan (the elder). This is an 1839 second edition with 24 hand-colored illustrations designed by Pierce Egan (the younger). $500. The younger Egan was also a writer, and item 34 is his book The Flower of the Flock, published in 1858. This copy is inscribed by the younger to his daughter, who was not named Pierce, but Violet Kate. $3,000.

James Malcolm Rymer was an author of countless penny dreadfuls, under this name and numerous pseudonyms (Rymer is probably his real name, though even this is uncertain). Several of his pseudonyms were anagrams of his name, such as Malcolm J. Merry. Item 136 is his 1855 book The Unspeakable; or, the Life and Adventures of a Stammerer. The book is dedicated to James Hunt, author of a work on stammering, who has inscribed this copy. Rymer would have drifted into total obscurity but for the belief (not certain) that he authored the book String of Pearls, which introduced the beloved character of Sweeney Todd to the world. $300.

Here is a great title, though I have no idea what it is about: Snarleyyow, or the Dog Fiend. The author of this 1837 work is Captain Frederick Marryat, a writer of seafaring tales better known for Mr. Midshipman Easy. Item 95. $750.

Item 73 is Michael Dred Detective: The Unravelling of a Mystery of Twenty Years. This 1899 mystery was written by Marie and Robert Leighton, the first husband-wife mystery-writing team. It is also the first detective novel where the detective himself is the murderer. Did we just give something away? $600.

Item 55 is a classic turn of the century collection of supernatural tales with a mystery of its own: Tales of the Wonder Club, By "Dryasdust." It isn't hard to figure that "Dryasdust" is not the author's real name. This is an 1899 first edition, but it was republished in 1903 with the author's name now given: M.Y. Halidom. However, it turns out that this is a pseudonym too. The true identity of the author was the subject of much speculation at the time, but was never revealed. In 2005, a grandson disclosed that the author was Alexander Huth, but we cannot vouch for this. $750.

James Cummins Bookseller may be reached at 212-688-6441 or Cummins@panix.com. The website is www.jamescumminsbookseller.com.

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 Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500

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