Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2009 Issue

A Spring Miscellany from Austin's Antiquarian Books

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A Spring Miscellany from Austin's Antiquarian Books.


By Michael Stillman

We have received our first catalogue from Austin's Antiquarian Books of Wilmington, Vermont: Spring Miscellany. Books, Manuscripts, Ephemera. It is, as it says, a "miscellany," meaning the catalogue is hard to describe. It may not have everything, but it does have many things. Certainly most meet the expectations of the bookseller's middle name - antiquarian - and there is a slight leaning toward titles from their native New England. However, there are works from all across America, and a fair number of books from overseas. So, we will describe a few of the works we found with the caution that these are not necessarily representative of the wide array of subjects available in this catalogue.

You undoubtedly know that Ferdinand Magellan was the first to circumnavigate the globe (actually, Magellan died before the journey completed, but his surviving crew completed the circle). However, do you know who was first to circumnavigate the world alone? The answer is Canadian-born seaman Joshua Slocum, who completed the journey in a little over three years from 1895-1898. Slocum was a man born for the sea. He probably spent more of his life on a boat than on land. For years, he, his wife, and several children lived on a boat, traversing the world, making money hauling cargo. After his first wife died, he remarried, but wife number two quickly grew tired of life at sea. By 1895, the rest of his family was busy with other things and Slocum set out on his historic journey. At the time it made him famous, and his account is considered by many to be one of the great travel adventures. After his circumnavigation, he attempted to settle down, but it didn't work, and he was back at sea. In 1909, heading for adventures in South America, Slocum and his boat were lost at sea. Item 113 is his book: Sailing Alone Around the World, published in 1905. It is inscribed, "Yours very truly Joshua Slocum on the Spray Cottage City Aug 15th, 1906." Cottage City, renamed Oak Bluffs in 1907, is located on Martha's Vineyard, Slocum's last home on land. The "Spray" was the boat in which he sailed around the world, and also the one on which he was lost at sea. Priced at $425.

Item 38 is a typed, signed letter from Thomas Edison, dated July 25, 1908. It was written to Theodore H. Miller of Poughkeepsie. Miller had sent Edison some photographs of his son operating a phonograph, and Edison writes, "it gives me such gratification to hear of the pleasure the phonograph gives to others." While we cannot be certain of this, it seems very likely that this is the Theodore H. Miller who was an inventor, tinkerer, fan of Edison, and a successful businessman, Superintendent of Poughkeepsie's largest industrial firm DeLaval Separator. Miller had a young son at the time, plus a one-year-old daughter. She, Elizabeth "Lee" Miller, later Lady Penrose, would grow to be a famous Vogue fashion model. The story is she was discovered on a New York street by Conde Nast himself. Next, she moved to the other side of the camera, becoming a noted photographer, collaborating (and more) with Man Ray, and a friend of Picasso. She even appeared in a Jean Cocteau film in 1930. Perhaps her greatest triumph was her photographs during the war, and of concentration camps and other German scenes shortly after it ended. Her irrepressible style undoubtedly came from her father, an iconoclast who also dabbled in photography and sent his child's picture to Edison. $1,250.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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>
  • <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

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