Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2009 Issue

Six Hundred Children's Books from Aleph-Bet Books

Alephbet91

Your childhood is alive and well at Aleph-Bet Books.


By Michael Stillman

Aleph-Bet Books has released their Catalogue 91 of Children's Books and Illustrated Books. Actually, most are illustrated children's books, thereby qualifying under both headings. These books are great fun, though some of the ethnic stereotypes of another age can make us quite uncomfortable. Otherwise, these trips back to our youth, and that of our grandparents and great-grandparents as well, can't help but make you feel good. So we will now take our trip back in time.

Item 139 is one of 100 copies of the 1876 first edition of Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark that was specially bound for the author. Tipped in is a copy, also from 1876, of his rare booklet, An Easter Greeting to Every Child Who Loves Alice. This was privately printed by Carroll, actual name Lutwidge Dodgson, for his friends, this being the rare first issue. The book carries an inscription "from the author," dated March 29, 1876. It is inscribed to Beatrix Tolhurst. We cannot find out much about Miss Tolhurst other than Dodgson requested permission of her mother to take her picture in 1869 and inscribed at least one other book to her (in 1871), so we would guess she qualifies as one of Dodgson's young friends. Priced at $11,500.

Here is another signed item: Love Letters of Mark Twain, published in 1949. Twain has signed the item both as Twain and with his real name, Samuel Clemens. This is an edition limited to 155 copies. Okay. I wasn't born yesterday. I don't recall when Twain died, but it was certainly well before 1949. He would have been 115 years old then. Twain was not signing anything, at least on this earth, in that year. Well, it turns out this isn't a forgery, or ghostly appearance, after all. Publisher Harper & Brothers evidently had these signed pages in their possession for many years, and decided to use them in this special limited edition. Item 558. $5,000.

Here is another signature from yet another humorous author, and one who was definitely alive at the time he wrote it. Item 77 is a letter dated July 15, 1917, from L. Frank Baum to his illustrator John R. Neill. In the typed, signed letter, on Baum's letterhead depicting many of his books, the author expresses his appreciation for Neill's drawings for The Lost Princess of Oz. This was the eleventh of his Oz books. Baum did pick up that Neill had put two peaches on a tree that was only supposed to have one, but otherwise appreciates his faithfulness to the text. Baum then expresses regrets that they haven't seen each other in a long time, and notes, "I remember our former foregatherings with real pleasure and think we would harmonize if we were jailed together in the same cell." $27,500.

We all have had books by Dr. Seuss, but how many out there have a book by Mrs. Seuss? Yes, there really was such a person, and she too was an author. Her name was Helen Palmer (technically Helen Palmer Geisel, but she left off the good doctor's real last name on her books). Item 94 is her book I Was Kissed by a Seal at the Zoo, published in 1962. Rather than using fantastic drawings as did her husband, Mrs. Palmer-Seuss illustrated her book with photographs. Item 94. $125.

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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