Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2010 Issue

Legal Works from The Lawbook Exchange

Lawbook66

The law, in all its wisdom.


By Michael Stillman

The Lawbook Exchange has issued a new catalogue for legal collectors, scholars, and others interested in the law. Most of the 200+ items offered are of a more scholarly or lawyerly interest, though there are some more sensational items too, such as accounts of murders most foul from days long ago. This is the bookseller's Catalogue 66, with the long but descriptive subtitle, Recently Acquired Books, Manuscripts and Ephemera: Featuring Rare Engravings, Scarce Nineteenth-Century Treatises And a Collection of Books From the Library of Sir Frederick Pollock. Pollock, who lived from 1845-1937, was one of the great British judges and legal scholars of his day, who wrote numerous legal treatises, and whose letters with Oliver Wendell Holmes were published posthumously in The Holmes-Pollock Letters.

Here is a quick way to catch up on the important legal works as of 1823. Item 24 is A Catalogue of Law Books, Ancient and Modern. This bibliography was published by the Associated Law Booksellers in 1823. Evidently, this was a consortium of booksellers attempting to move their wares, though it also lists many earlier, out of print works. Books were listed according to field, making it easy for the student or lawyer to find works appropriate to his needs. Priced at $750.

In 1826, Congress called for a publication of U.S. laws with respect to public lands, which covered great areas of the country at the time. This compilation was printed in 1828, and it is the first issue of Laws of the United States, Resolutions of Congress Under the Confederation, Treaties, Proclamations, Spanish Regulations, and Other Documents Respecting Public Lands. It covers eastern and midwestern states, rules for establishing territories in the West, laws involving settlers, school lands, and prints numerous Indian treaties. The Lawbook Exchange notes that the volume presents "an interesting perspective on America's westward expansion." Item 154. $200.

Item 35 is another compilation of early American laws, though this time we move all the way to the Pacific coast. It is The Statutes of California, Passed at the First Session of the Legislature. This was published in 1850 and contains the first laws of California after achieving statehood. $750.

Do you know which New Yorkers filed for bankruptcy in 1843? Here is your answer. While bankruptcy laws have been in place for over a century, there were few in place during America's first century of existence. The first such law, adopted in 1800, was repealed in 1803. Too many people, particularly those with established business interests, didn't like the idea of others being able to escape their debts. The country remained without such laws again until 1841, when the recession emanating from the Panic of 1837 led to the second bankruptcy law. This law, too, was repealed, in 1843, and it would not be until late in the century that such a set of laws would finally be established permanently. It was during this brief period that item 11 was published: An Accurate List of the Names of All Persons Who Have Been Declared Bankrupts, In the Southern District of New York, Under the Recent Bankrupt Law. This was likely published for the benefit of creditors, or perhaps to embarrass people who didn't pay their debts. $450.

Now for a little sensationalism: item 144 is The Tryal of Mary Blandy, Spinster, For the Murder of Her Father, Francis Blandy, Gent. This trial took place in County Oxford in 1752. Francis Blandy was a prosperous lawyer, Mary his well-educated daughter. Francis wanted the best in a husband for his daughter, so he promised the unheard of sum of £10,000 as a dowry. This brought all kinds of suitors out of the woodwork, but only one won her heart, Captain William Henry Cranstoun. This was most unfortunate for the Blandy family. Cranstoun, like the others, was a gold digger. Unfortunately, he was already married, and when Francis became aware of this all bets were off. So, at least according to Mary, Cranstoun provided her with a "love philter" which would make Francis like her prospective husband. The main ingredient in Cranstoun's "love philter" was arsenic. Mary gave her father the potion in his tea, he became very sick, realizing what was happening Mary attempted to destroy all of the evidence, and eventually Francis died. Cranstoun escaped to France, but Mary was arrested and tried. She argued that she was unaware of the true nature of Cranstoun's potion, but the jury did not buy her defense. As Francis died at the end of a teacup, Mary died at the end of a rope. $450.

The Lawbook Exchange may be reached at 732-382-1800 or law@lawbookexchange.com. Their website is found at www.lawbookexchange.com.

You will find many of The Lawbook Exchange's books listed in "Books For Sale" on this site. Click here.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Published Half Plate Ambrotype of a North Carolina Confederate Officer. $2,000 to $4,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two 19th Century Books Pertaining to Canada's Red River Settlement. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two Books With Fore-Edge Paintings of British Architectual Landmarks. $400 to $600
    <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), "Torte a la Dobosch" from <i>Wild Raspberries</i>. $1,000 to $3,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990), <i>Pop Shop II,</i> One Plate screenprint in colors, on wove paper, 1998. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Thomas Rowlandson (British, 1756-1827), Twenty-Two Prints from the <i>Tours of Dr. Syntax</i>. $500 to $1,000
  • <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