Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2009 Issue

Books Printed Before 1700 from Helen R. Kahn

Kahn76

Books Printed Before 1700 from Helen R. Kahn.


By Michael Stillman

Helen R. Kahn and Associates has released a catalogue which will appeal to collectors of antiquarian books. The title is Books Printed Before 1700. This is a collection of 16th and 17th century books primarily in Latin, French and English (with some German and Italian) about many varied subjects. Quite a few pertain to the still new and relatively unexplored lands of the Americas. Many others pertain to political intrigues of England during this time. Anyone interested in books from this era will likely find something of interest. Here are a few samples.

Item 17 is an account of a mission to New France in the mid-17th century by the Italian Jesuit Francesco Gioseppe Bressani: Breve Relatione d'Alcune Missione de' P.P. della Compagnia di Giesunella Nuova Francia, published in 1653. Bressani was 30 years of age in 1642 when he secured approval to mission to the Indians of New France, today's Canada. He spent some time in Quebec and Three Rivers before attempting the arduous journey far inland to the land of the Hurons. He didn't make it. Bressani was captured by a band of Iroquois who mutilated and tortured him. Somehow, he managed to survive several months of abuse, long enough to be ransomed by the Dutch. Bressani returned home, but undaunted by his experiences, shortly returned to New France. He spent most of the next five years assisting the Hurons, who were in the process of being virtually wiped out by their Iroquois enemies. In 1650, Father Bressani returned to Italy where he remained the rest of his life. Priced at $16,250.

Life was better for the Hurons in the days before Bressani and their rout by the Iroquois. One of the earliest looks at their nation comes from Gabriel Sagard-Theodat, published in 1632: Le Grande Voyage du Pays des Hurons... Sagard was one of the few non-Jesuits to visit the era early. He was a Recollet missionary who spent a fairly short time, from 1623-24. His work is a sympathetic look at the Hurons before being forced from their homeland on today's Lake Huron. It also contains the first printed Huron vocabulary. Item 83. $35,000.

John Evelyn was a 17th century English writer whose diaries provide one of the better looks at English society of the era. He was one of the founders of the Royal Society in 1660, the world's longest running scientific society. Two years later, he gave the address that formed this 1664 book: Sylva, or A Discourse on Forest-Trees and the Propagation of Timber in His Majesty's Dominions. This is a very early treatise on forestry management and environmentalism, as Evelyn argued for replanting of trees that were being wiped out by the glass factories and iron furnaces. Item 40. $3,250.

Some medical advice is dated. Item 95 is Hymnus tabaci, by Dr. Raphael Thorius. Of course, medical knowledge was not as advanced in 1651, but Dr. Thorius certainly got it wrong with this tribute to medicinal values of tobacco. This is the second London Latin edition of a work that was very popular at the time, meaning it must have been terrible for the nation's health. Thorius believed tobacco was good for just about every internal organ, including the lungs, and he sings its praises in this misguided poem. $700.

Pietro Bembo was a great literary figure in early 16th century Italy. He wrote and translated prose and poetry in both Latin and Italian. Late in life, he was named a Cardinal. He was appointed a secretary to the Pope after Giovanni de Medici was elected to the position in 1513. As Leo X, the new Pope greatly appreciated the arts and letters. Indeed, he turned Rome into a cultural center, while at the same time providing aid to the poor. All of this cost a lot of money, leading Leo X to overspend his treasury, sell indulgences, and rack up debts. Nevertheless, he seems to have been a good-hearted man and Bembo was able to prosper. Item 14 is Petri Bembi Epistolarum Lepnis Decimi Pont. Max. This is a 1538 edition of letters Bembo wrote on Leo's behalf. A year later, Bembo was named a cardinal. However, Leo X's papacy ended with his death in 1521, and it should be noted that while he was focused on fundraising and literary pursuits, at the same time Martin Luther was posting his 95 theses that would tear apart the Church. $1,950

Helen R. Kahn and Associates may be reached at 514-844-5344 or hrk@hrkahnbooks.com. The website is www.hrkahnbooks.com.

You will find many of Helen R. Kahn's books listed in "Books For Sale" on this site. Click here.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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>

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions