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>Doyle: Hunting Books from the Collection of Arnold "Jake” Johnson. Online only auction Aug 3-14</b>
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>The Sportsman's Portfolio of American Field Sports.</i> 1855. Est: $600 to $900
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Bishop's Birds. Etchings of Water-Fowl and Upland Game Birds.</i> 1936. Est: $200 to $300
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Hunting Big Game in Far Northwest British Columbia</i>. 1904. Est: $500 to $800
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Mananaland. Adventuring with Camera and Rifle Through California in Mexico.</i> 1929. Est: $400 to $600
    <b>Doyle: Hunting Books from the Collection of Arnold "Jake” Johnson. Online only auction Aug 3-14</b>
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Grand Canyon Trails.</i> 1924. Est: $300 to $500
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>A Sporting Trip through Abyssinia. A Narrative of a nine months’ journey..</i> 1902. Est: $200 to $300
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Hunting in Tanzania [...in Zimbabwe; ...the Sudan; ...in Botswana; ...in Ethiopia; ...in Zambia; ...in South Africa; ...in Kenya]</i>. 1991-2000. Est: $800 to $1200
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Hounds and Hunting through the Ages ... with an Introduction by the Earl of Lonsdale</i>. 1928. Est: $600 to $900
  • <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:</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

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