Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2009 Issue

Sporting Books from James Cummins Bookseller

Cumminssport04-09

Sporting Books from James Cummins Bookseller.


By Michael Stillman

James Cummins Bookseller has issued a new catalogue of Sporting Books. Sporting should be distinguished from sports. These books are about the more traditional pastimes of hunting and fishing. Actually, most are about "angling," fishing with a hook, though it seems most people today use the word "fishing" when they go out with hook and line. Mixed in are a few books that describe other games as played a couple of centuries ago, and some that are more focused on just being outdoors. Finally, there is an extensive selection of books from the Derrydale Press. This press was a fine printer of books primarily in the fields of sport and outdoors. Altogether, there are almost 500 books offered in this catalogue (499 to be exact). Here are a few.

The starting place for all reviews of sporting books is, of course, The Compleat Angler, by Izaac Walton and Charles Cotton. We will not be original, so here it is. Item 352 is the fifth edition of this book from 1676, the last published during Walton's lifetime. This edition was published as a compilation of three works, the others by Charles Cotton and Robert Venables, and bound together under the common title page of The Universal Angler. Made so by Three Books of Fishing. As with each edition of Walton's works, there were changes made from previous editions. Priced at $15,000.

Item 245 is an account of the first angling club in America, An Authentic Historical Memoir of the Schuylkill Fishing Company... Founded in 1732, author William Milnor Jr. later served as the organization's secretary. He was also a member of America's first hunting club, the Gloucester Fox Hunting Club. Milnor also managed to serve a couple of terms in Congress and a year as Mayor of Philadelphia along the way. His account of the fishing club was published in 1830. $1,250.

Zane Grey is remembered as one of the greatest writers of the American West. You expect to see him seated on a horse, but that was not always the case. It's hard to fish on horseback, particularly offshore, and Gray spent a lot of time with a fishing rod. He wrote a series of books about his fishing experiences. Item 123 is Tales of the Angler's Eldorado: New Zealand. This scarce 1926 book includes 100 of his photographs. $2,500. Several other Grey fishing books are also offered in this catalogue.

Item 345 is a remarkable account of hunting on the American frontier: Pioneer Life; or, Thirty Years a Hunter. Being Scenes and Adventures in the Life of Philip Tome, Fifteen Years Interpreter for Cornplanter and Gov. Blacksnake, Chiefs of the Allegheny River. This book was self-published by Tome in 1854, but his adventures took place from 1791-1825. The association with Cornplanter is particularly notable. He was a leader of the Senecas and the Iroquois Federation. Though, as his name suggests, a believer in peace, he served as a war chief during the American Revolution. Despite his wish for neutrality, the Iroquois chose to fight on the side of the British. After the war, he became friendly with the Americans, and signed treaties with them, though in time he would become disillusioned with the treatment of his people. Gov. Blacksnake was another Seneca Chief, nephew of Cornplanter. $3,000.

Item 113 is Willard Glazier's Headwaters of the Mississippi...and a full account of the discovery and location of the true source in a lake beyond Itasca, published in 1893. Glazier led an exploration to find a source beyond Lake Itasca for the Mississippi River. A few small tributaries lead into that lake, and Glazier discovered a lake that flowed to Itasca, Elk Lake, which he modestly renamed "Glazier Lake." It has since been returned to its original name, and most people still think of Itasca as the source of the great river. Nonetheless, Glazier's life was full of adventures, including prison escapes during the Civil War and a horseback ride from Boston to San Francisco. $250.

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

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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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