Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2009 Issue

A Trip to the Fair with the Kelmscott Bookshop

Kelmscottcafair09

The Kelmscott Bookshop at the California Fair.


By Michael Stillman

The Kelmscott Bookshop Rare Books produced a catalogue for the California International Book Fair 2009. The Kelmscott Bookshop focuses on fine press and other artistic works and early editions. Naturally, you can expect to find something from William Morris and his Kelmscott Press. The bookshop brought an interesting selection from their inventory along to the fair, and here are some samples of these books.

Item 25 is a copy of the 1929 first edition of The Autobiography of Lord Alfred Douglas, by...no need to say. This book contains a printed dedication to William Sorley Brown, plus a handwritten inscription to "W. Sorley Brown from his friend Alfred Douglas." It's not surprising that Douglas would like Brown, as the latter had written The Genius of Alfred Douglas in 1913. Brown was a journalist and one of the few who appreciated the poetical genius of Douglas. Most people knew Douglas better for his scandalous affair with Oscar Wilde. It was as a result of a libel suit by Wilde against Douglas' father that Wilde ended up being convicted of sodomy and spent two years in jail. Douglas' father, the Marquis of Queensberry, noted for his rules of boxing, despised Wilde and his own son as well. These were all a bunch of dysfunctional people, and their story is more entertaining than Douglas' poetry. Priced at $4,500.

Max Beerbohm has been cleverly described by Joseph Epstein as "the world's greatest minor writer." He is no longer a household name - not that he ever was - though his name is one of those we know we have heard of before. He wrote humorous essays and drew caricatures, and his largest following, perhaps, was among the literati. George Bernard Shaw was a particular fan of his work. Item 6 is The Works of Max Beerbohm, a first English edition of his first book. It is a collection of his essays, previously seen in periodicals, that was published in 1896. It includes a 16-page bibliography of his work, which is remarkable since Beerbohm was only 24 at the time. Offered is a presentation copy of Beerbohm's book to his godmother. $1,250.

Annie Brassey was a popular author in the days before Beerbohm appeared on stage. She wrote escapist literature, quite literally. Lady Brassey was married to a wealthy, influential man, which afforded her the opportunity to travel. She and her family (five children) would take off in the family yacht, the "Sunbeam," and sail around the world. She wrote several accounts of her trips. Item 13 is one of these adventures, though this is a sad one. The title is The Last Voyage to India and Australia, in the 'Sunbeam' 1886-1887. This was a voyage of some 50 people, including family, friends, and staff. Sadly, Annie came down with malaria off the coast of Australia and died at sea. So was she buried, as bringing her body home was not practical at that time. It was left to Lord Brassey to provide the book's conclusion. $525.

Item 79 is the very scarce first book by Booker T. Washington. The title is Daily Resolves, published in 1896, and contains affirmations on living positively. Washington was the notable black educator, born into slavery, who believed education was the means by which African-Americans could raise their position in society. $3,000.

Item 9 is a first edition by a woman of noted firsts: Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women, by Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell. Dr. Blackwell was the first woman to graduate from medical school in the U.S., and was the first woman to practice medicine in both the U.S. and the U.K. She was, naturally, a supporter of women's rights, but also was an abolitionist. Her two sisters-in-law, Lucy Stone and Rev. Antoinette Louisa Brown Blackwell, were also active supporters of women's rights and other causes. This copy is inscribed by Rev. Brown Blackwell, who was the first woman to be ordained a minister in the U.S. $700.

Kelmscott Bookshop Rare Books may be reached at 410-235-6810 or info@kelmscottbookshop.com. Their website is www.kelmscottbookshop.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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>

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