Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2009 Issue

Latin Americana from Kaaterskill Books

Kaaterskill10

Latin America is the focus of Kaaterskill Books' latest catalogue.


By Michael Stillman

You wouldn't expect to find the source of a catalogue entitled Latin Americana to be a small town in upstate New York. You never know. Kaaterskill Books, of rural East Jewett, New York, is the publisher of this catalogue of books pertaining to the region south of the U.S. border. These are primarily antiquarian works, mostly written in Spanish, though there are many titles in English as well as a smattering of other languages. There is much here about early explorations of, and political and revolutionary battles in, the various countries of South and Central America. Despite their unlikely location, Kaaterskill has managed to come up with 227 titles that will appeal to collectors of this wide area of the New World. Here are some of these books.

Andres Bello could fairly be described as a Renaissance Man. The question is what didn't he do, not what did he do during his lifetime. Item 21 is Obras completas de Andres Bello, and it took 26 volumes to present his complete works. This is a fairly recent publication (1981-1984) though Bello lived in the late 18th and 19th century. Early in his career, Bello edited the first Venezuelan newspaper, as well as being a writer, translator, and poet of some note. In 1810, he was sent to London with the delegation of the provisional, revolutionary government with Simon Bolivar. He remained there almost two decades, and ended up serving the government of Chile as well. He would later publish that government's official newspaper, serve as presidential speechwriter, help write its constitution and found its state university. He wrote what some consider the greatest Spanish grammar, produced a civil code still in use in several Latin American countries, and wrote books on philosophy and international law. Priced at $750.

Item 151 is a second edition (1873) of George Musters' At Home with the Patagonians: a Year's Wanderings over Untrodden Ground from the Straits of Magellan to the Rio Negro. Musters was a commander in the British Royal Navy, but he had a great desire to explore the unexplored back regions of southern South America. His travels through the backlands of what was a mostly unknown land to the outside world resulted in this book which offers detailed information about the people, customs, geography, geology and language of what was considered a primitive place. $600.

Item 179 is an 1895 reprint of a very early grammar of the Nahuatl language, Arte Mexicana compuesta por el padre Antonio Del Rincon. Writer Antonio Rincon was a Jesuit priest who originally published this grammar in 1595. This copy contains the stamp of Adolph Bandelier, the noted archeologist and Indian ethnologist of the American Southwest, for whom Bandelier National Monument is named. $200.

Item 130 is an 1878 book concerning the prophecies of the eccentric Rudolf Falb, Los Temblores y las profecias de Rodolfo Falb. Falb was a German pseudo-scientist who spent the years 1877-1879 in South America. Author Juan Menton was a German astronomer brought to Ecuador to run the local observatory. Falb was at the height of his popularity at the time, his theories, particularly regarding earthquakes, taken seriously by some based on his supposedly correct predictions of the dates and places where they would occur. It seems that Falb may have left enough fudge room in his prophesying to get away with errors, while focusing on his better predictions. Falb believed earthquakes and volcanoes were caused by the gravitational forces of the sun and moon, creating tides in an underground reservoir of lava, until it broke through the surface. He would then use calculations based on the positioning of the celestial bodies to predict these events. When he returned from his South American adventures, Falb pronounced an additional theory, based on linguistic similarities, that the ancient Israelites had originated in Peru. This theory was not as well accepted as the earthquake one, and a prediction that a meteor would strike the earth in 1899 did not come to pass. This would appear to be an extremely scarce book. $250.

Item 52 is a revolutionary official Cuban newspaper, Gaceta Oficial de la Republica de Cuba. It is dated June 3, 1959, and it portends the miserable relationship of the next 50 years between that nation and the United States. This issue was devoted to the first land reform act of the new Cuban government under Fidel Castro. It called for the confiscation and redistribution of all properties of over 420 hectares (a little over 1,000 acres). Kaaterskill notes that at the time, nearly 80% of Cuban land was owned by foreign companies, primarily American. This land was to be turned over to Cuban peasants. Naturally, redistribution of land will make some people happy, others unhappy, and in this case, American owners were among the unhappy. $175.

Kaaterskill Books can be reached at 518-589-0555 or books@kaaterskillbooks.com. Their website is www.kaaterskillbooks.com.

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>

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