Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2010 Issue

Literature and Film from James Pepper Rare Books

Pepper188

Catalogue number 188 from James Pepper Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

James Pepper Rare Books has whipped off their latest catalogue of books and related material, Catalogue 188. Pepper is one of the more prolific cataloguers, issuing a new collection virtually every month. The firm specializes in literature, film-related material, mystery and detective fiction. Each month brings a new group of interesting items. Here are some of the latest.

Item 9 is a pamphlet for the premier role of one of America's most popular movie stars of the roaring 20s. The pamphlet is for the 1927 film It, starring Clara Bow. Bow was the object of many a young, and old man's dreams at the time, a beautiful young lady with a rough personal background but a flair for the camera. In this film she plays the classic poor girl wins the love of a rich man role. She emerged from the film with the title the "It Girl," which came to refer to a woman who had...well..."it." Clara Bow's film career was relatively brief, roughly ten years from bursting on the scene in silent movies, to a few talkies, and finally marriage and children, retirement from film, and psychological issues likely originating from her childhood that resulted in a difficult life. Priced at $300.

Clara Bow might never have made it to talking films were it not for Lee DeForest. Item 36 is a copy of DeForest's 1929 book: The Home of DeForest Phonofilm: The Miracle of Science. DeForest is best known for his invention of the Audion vacuum tube, which greatly amplifies weak electronic signals. It made radio possible. However, this book deals with a second DeForest invention, a means of adding sound to film. It was one of several such means developed in the 1920s that changed the movie industry, and the careers of many of the silent film greats, for better or worse. $125.

In his later years, De Forest became a proponent of very conservative political views, including hunting down supposed communists in the government, McCarthy's cause, so he likely would have appreciated this book: Red Channels. The Report of Communist Influence in Radio and Television, published in 1950. This book lists 151 writers, artists, musicians and others with alleged subversive motives. Among those listed were Edward G. Robinson, Orson Welles, Lillian Hellman, Leonard Bernstein and Pete Seeger. And another listed "subversive" was the owner of this book, the noted 30s and 40s band leader Artie Shaw. Apparently, one of his eight wives, Forever Amber writer Kathleen Winsor, said in her divorce proceedings that Shaw had once confessed to being a member of the Communist Party, though he tore up his membership card immediately upon issue. The book comes with a clipping from Time Magazine concerning a 1957 Fifth Amendment case with a handwritten notation from Shaw. Item 118. $600.

Item 55 is a most interesting and revealing letter from author and screenwriter William Goldman. Goldman had been asked to give a speech at the New School in New York with Stephen King in 1980. Goldman declined. He confesses to extreme stage fright, noting, "...the idea of getting up in front of a group and doing anything not only gives me insomnia, it literally causes me to fixate on the coming event for what seems like forever." He then reveals a dream about speaking in public where the audience walks out. He concludes, "Sorry, because I'm a fan of Stephen King...but my public speaking days are now forever behind me...If King is ever in New York and would like a drink or dinner, please tell him I'd love to meet him. I'm in the phone book..." Perhaps King took up the offer, for as Pepper notes, Goldman and King would become well-acquainted, with Goldman writing screenplays for three of King's works. $250.

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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