Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2009 Issue

"Bad Books" and More from Garrett Scott, Bookseller

Scott23

Some "bad" books, and some good ones, from Garrett Scott, Bookseller.


By Michael Stillman

It's not often we see a catalogue with the cover warning "Beware of Bad Books." Is this the ultimate caveat emptor, a warning as to the quality of books within? Of course, not. This is an image of a page from one of the many unusual, sometimes cranky works found inside. It was a 19th century tome warning that reading cheap, immoral literature can lead one to all sorts of horrors, even murder. Anyway, you will find your share of bad books and bad poetry in this latest catalogue from Garrett Scott, Bookseller, though not "bad" in the sense of evil. Just bad. Along with these typical strange items we expect from Scott, there are many more rational pieces, with the common theme being obscurity. Scott's catalogues are fun to read, and Catalogue Twenty-Three is no exception. These are some of the items you will find.

Nothing could be more suitable for a catalogue with its share of cranks than a broadside from a man who was once arrested for being a crank. That would be J.W. Shiveley, the Saratoga (New York) "Professor," who proclaiming himself to be the Messiah, came to Washington in 1881 to cast the Devil out of presidential assassin Charles Guiteau. Instead, he was arrested. A Mesiah is not recognized in his own land, at least not this one. Back home in Saratoga, Shiveley published this broadside to help people make their selections in the 1884 presidential race, and as you can see from the title, he was still chasing the Devil: That Same Old Serpent, Old Satan, the Devil, the Great Red Dragon! The Wonderful Beast with Seven Heads and Ten Horns! As Shively explains, "This is the Two Hundred Thousand Billion Dollar Letter that Dana & Butler Refused to Publish..." You could bail out AIG with that kind of money, but apparently it still wasn't enough to convince Dana and Butler to publish his letter. Shiveley was not fond of either political party, which he incisively describes as "Gigantic European and American God and Moral, Old Monopoly, Steal Rings and Whiskey, Star Route Sneak Thief Steal Rings." A lot of people still feel that way about our political parties. Shiveley casts his lot with that "darling sweet Belva Ann Lockwood." Lockwood was a suffragist who was unable to secure the support of the leading women's rights advocates of the day, but still managed to garner 4,149 votes in her bid for the presidency. How many are attributable to Shiveley's support is unknown. They didn't have exit poles then. That was 4,870,000 fewer votes than Grover Cleveland captured. In fairness to Lockwood, she was a rational, pioneering woman, one of the first allowed to practice law in the U.S., and it is doubtful she had any connection with the eccentric Mr. Shiveley. Item 136. $275.

Item 35 is a promotional for an exhibition featuring the invented "universal" language of Esperanto: L'Esperanto dans la Vie Moderne. Esperanto en Moderna Vivo. This is a program in French and Esperanto for the exhibit at the International Exposition in Paris. Esperanto was intended to help bring the world together by providing an easy-to-learn language that all peoples would share. However, there is great irony in the timing of this attempt at universal conciliation - 1937. The Germans weren't buying into all the peace and love, and they would return to Paris just a few years later with diabolical intentions. $50.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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

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