Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2009 Issue

Literature, Film and Presidents from James Pepper Rare Books

Pepper180

Catalogue 180 from James Pepper Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

James Pepper Rare Books has issued their Catalogue 180. This is a collection of 150 items, mainly within the categories of literature, film and mystery, along with a few others that don't quite fit any of these classifications. There are a few with presidential connections this time, so we will start with these somewhat unanticipated items.

Item 77 is a first edition, first issue of William Dean Howells' Lives and Speeches of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin. The book was published in 1860, and signed by Howells 54 year later. In the day, books such as these were used to promote a candidate, communications being more limited. There were several about Lincoln, but this was the most successful. Lincoln didn't forget Howells, appointing him Consul to Venice, an honor if not major diplomatic post. Years later, Howells told Mark Twain that he had elected Lincoln. Undoubtedly he helped, and if his contribution was the straw that elected the man, then America owes Howells a debt of gratitude. The book comes with an autograph letter of Howells laid in. Priced at $4,000.

Presidential scandals were not until recently considered appropriate matters for public discussion, but they are nothing new. Item 108 is The President's Daughter. The Love Story of President Harding (1927), along with Honesty or Politics (1932). The former is a later printing, the latter a first edition. The author is Nan Britton, who claimed to have had an affair with Harding before and after his election to the White House, and that he was the father of her daughter. His paternity, or the nature of their relationship, is as yet uncertain. Britton was a teenage daughter of a Harding friend who, for reasons only known to her, had an overwhelming crush on the older man. That wouldn't have mattered much to anyone besides Mrs. Harding were it not for his unlikely elevation to the presidency. Britton's tales might embarrass Bill Clinton, including a tryst in a White House closet. Supposedly, Harding promised to support her daughter, but that was interrupted by his sudden death in 1923. His family certainly wasn't going to honor any such supposed commitment. Britton's claims might have seemed far-fetched, except that Harding had carried on a long affair with another woman not his wife, Carrie Phillips. He had his weaknesses. Ultimately, Harding's administration would go down as one of the most scandal-ridden in American history, though that was because of its corruption, not sex scandals. $1,250.

As long as we're discussing illicit affairs of the famous, item 42 is A Loving Gentleman. The Love Story of William Faulkner and Meta Carpenter, by Meta Carpenter Wilde and Orin Borstin (1976). Carpenter was a secretary working for film director Howard Hawkes when Faulkner was hired by Hawkes to help write film scripts. Faulkner was intrigued to find there in Hollywood someone else from his native Mississippi. He was probably even more intrigued by her being young and attractive. It led to an on-again off-again intimate relationship that Miss Carpenter was kind enough to share with us many years after Faulkner passed on. This copy has been signed by Carpenter and co-author Borstin. $150.

If you are a Faulkner collector, here is some of his most important writing. Not most interesting, just most important to him personally. It is a large collection of documents pertaining to his selling the movie rights to The Sound and the Fury. Included are four signed contracts and numerous other papers. Item 37. $50,000.

Item 78 is a signed first edition of Victor Hugo's poem L'Ane (The Ass, and it's a poem narrated by a DONKEY). Offered is a copy inscribed by Hugo to French statesman Jules Simon. Simon was a moderate republican in a time when France was battling between radical and moderate republicans and a powerful group wishing to restore the monarchy. He served a year as prime minister before being forced out, but his republican views ultimately prevailed. $6,500.

You can reach James Pepper Rare Books at 805-963-1025 or pepbooks@aol.com. Their website is www.JamesPepperBooks.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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