Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2009 Issue

Left of Center from Lorne Bair Rare Books

Bair8

Lieutenant Calley mask on the cover of Lorne Bair's Catalog 8.


By Michael Stillman

This month we received our first catalogue from Lorne Bair Rare Books of Winchester, Virginia. Lorne Bair has been a bookseller for the past 15 years and is a member of the ABAA and Virginia and nearby Washington (D.C.) antiquarian bookseller organizations. Recently published is Bair's Catalog 8 and it is filled with their specialty, books related to radical and other leftist movements and causes over the years. There are books pertaining to socialism and anarchism, equal rights movements for blacks, women and gays, much on the labor movement and workers' rights, utopian communities, prison reform, and the Spanish Civil War. Items range from the abolition movement to the Vietnam War. While most of these works come from the left, Bair does provide some balance, so you will also find a few racist pieces, KKK and John Birch points of view represented. For those who like their politics removed from the safe center, Lorne Bair Rare Books has items you will appreciate. Here are some examples.

Item 20 is a plea involving one of the most noted of civil rights cases, that of the Scottsboro Boys. The Scottsboro Boys were eight black teenagers, accused, convicted, and sentenced to death for raping two white women when all were traveling on a freight train. Evidence was sorely lacking, but in 1932 Alabama an accusation of a black man raping a white woman was as good as a conviction. The defendants were lucky to avoid being lynched before their convictions were issued. Their case went to the U.S. Supreme Court twice, and was struck down twice, once for ineffective counsel, once for failure to include blacks on the jury. During the height of this legal confrontation, this plea was issued: Mr. President: Free the Scottsboro Boys! It includes contributions from two of the Scottsboro mothers plus a preface from the great novelist Theodore Dreiser. It was published in 1934. After a couple of overturned convictions and death sentences, some of the defendants were released, others pleaded guilty for reduced sentences, and eventually all were freed. The last still subject to possible arrest was pardoned in 1976 by Governor George Wallace of all people, though at a time when he was beginning to repent for his earlier segregationist views. Priced at $250.

Item 12 is one of the stranger Utopian pieces: Secret Enemies of True Republicanism. Most Important Developmments [sic] Regarding the Inner Life of Man and the Spirit World, in Order to Abolish Revolutions and Wars and to Establish Permanent Peace on Earth... Nice sentiments from the author and Benedictine monk Andreas Smolnikar, but it appears the good monk may not have had both feet on the ground. He had become infatuated with the ideas of fellow German immigrant J.A. Etzler, who developed plans for a machine that could cultivate 20,000 acres of land for less than $1 an acre and with the labor of only 3 or 4 men. That's a stretch by today's standards, but with only the benefit of mid-19th century technology, he should have known better. Smolnikar apparently built the machine, but it immediately broke down. One of his followers, George Karle, had a vision revealing how it could be fixed, but drowned before repairs could be made. Smolnikar pinned the blame for Karle's death on Mormon founder Joseph Smith, even though Smith was dead, explaining Karle died as a result of "the instrumentality of the departed Mormon prophet Joe Smith, not directly but by the instrumentality of a cow." Makes perfect sense. The book was published in 1859. $1,500.

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>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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