Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2009 Issue

Great Writers, Actors, Crooks and More from James Pepper Rare Books

Pepper186

Catalogue 186 from James Pepper Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

James Pepper Rare Books has issued Catalogue 186 in a familiar series. The Santa Barbara bookseller generally features literature, science and detective fiction, and items related to film and the theater. While there will always be an exception or two from these parameters, what we have this time is what we expect to see in a Pepper catalogue. So, we will take a look at some of this month's specific offerings.

Item 114 is a rare and remarkable Eugene O'Neill piece. In the early 1940s, O'Neill contracted a neurological disorder which caused his hands to shake uncontrollably. Though he tried dictating, O'Neill was unable to write unless he put pen to paper, thus his writing came to an end. Fortunately, he had written drafts of what would become his four most notable plays, including Long Day's Journey Into Night and The Iceman Cometh. By this time, O'Neill was estranged from his three children, had divorced two wives and had a rocky relationship with his third. Fortunately, he seems to have had a good relationship with his step-daughter, who typed and probably helped correct his manuscripts, perhaps saving some of his greatest works. When A Moon for the Misbegotten, the last play he wrote, and the last one published during his lifetime, was released, O'Neill inscribed this copy to his daughter-in-law, Cynthia Chapman Stram, as follows: "For Cyn, whom I regard as a collaborator in this opus - which I wish were better! - (think of those days of typing!) - with as always, love and understanding: Your admiring Step-Pop, Gene, August 1952." Though Cynthia lost her job as O'Neill's typist, that was at the behest of her mother, a troubled woman, not her troubled stepfather, who obviously maintained good feelings toward her. While O'Neill tried his best to sign and inscribe copies of his books, this became increasingly difficult as the years went on. By the time Moon was published, such inscriptions, even to family members, became rare, making this inscribed copy exceptional. He died the following year. Priced at $15,000.

Withdrawal from writing was forced upon O'Neill by illness, but here is a writer who withdrew voluntarily. J.D. Salinger was a critically acclaimed, but not very well-known author when he published The Catcher in the Rye in 1951. It was an enormous success, its off-color language making it controversial for its day, only further enhancing its popularity. Schools ever since have never known whether to include the book in their curriculum or ban it. However, fame did not suit Salinger well. He began to withdraw from society, writing less and eventually refusing all interviews. Therefore, item 127 is unusual. It is a broadside published in advance of his Nine Stories in 1953. It's headed, J.D. Salinger's Own Words, where he discusses things about his personal life and writing, things you would not expect to hear him discuss. Item 127. $4,500.

If you believe what you see on the silver screen, then this archive of material is related to Jimmy Stewart's mother. Beulah Bondi was never a siren of the screen. She did not begin getting roles until she was in her 40s, and then regularly played the role of the star's mother. That would most often be the case with Stewart. She played his mother in four films, including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and It's a Wonderful Life. Item 15 is an archive of letters, clippings, photographs (including a large still from Mr. Smith), and other ephemeral items related to the talented character actress. Ms. Bondi received two Oscar nominations for best supporting actress, and an Emmy for her last role, as a guest in television's The Waltons in 1976. She died in 1981 at the age of 92. Item 15. $450.

Speaking of Oscars, here is a notable film contract from 1946. The film named in this 20-page contract is Katie For Congress, and the actress who was hired and signed this document was Loretta Young. The film would be renamed The Farmer's Daughter, and it won the Oscar for Best Actress of 1947 for Miss Young. Item 47. $950.

Here is the unexpected item for a Pepper catalogue. It is a Statistical View of the United States, Embracing its Territory, Population - White, Free Colored, and Slave - Moral and Social Condition, Industry, Property, and Revenue... This 1854 government publication based on census data is inscribed "With Respects of W.M. Tweed." Tweed was a one-term congressman from New York, serving from 1853-55, but this is not what he is remembered for. He would go on to be the most famous of political bosses ever, the infamous "Boss Tweed" of Tammany Hall. He would control New York City's government by 1870. The corruption was stunning. Along with ballot box stuffing the "Tweed Ring" skimmed off enormous amounts of money, possibly $1 billion or more in today's dollars. However, Tweed was also a very personable man and knew how to ingratiate people with kind words and favors. Unfortunately for him, the corruption was just too great. He was arrested in 1871, convicted in 1873, sent to prison, from which he escaped to Spain, was caught ten months later and died in prison in 1878. Item 138. $950.

James Pepper Rare Books may be reached at 805-963-1025 or pepbooks@aol.com. Their website is www.JamesPepperBooks.com.

You will find many of James Pepper's books listed in "Books For Sale" on this site.
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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>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

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