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 Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <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. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Spring Auction. March 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Copper Printing Plate for "Marshall's Household Engraving of Washington." $500 to $1000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Important Documentary Painting Showing Baseball Great Ty Cobb in Cuba. $1,000 to $2,000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> <i>Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age</i>, Inscribed by Bill Wilson. $500 to $1,000
    <b>Leland Little: Important Spring Auction. March 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893-1983), <i>Prise à l'hameçon.</i> $3,000 to $6,000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Maurice Dufrène (French, 1876-1955), <i>Rayon des Soieries</i>. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> William Pope.L (American, b. 1955), <i>Intimacy Project</i>. $2,000 to $4,000
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <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