Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2010 Issue

Legal Works from The Lawbook Exchange


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: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <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. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <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>
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Jenner (Rev. George Charles). <i>The Evidence at Large...Respecting Dr Jenner's Discovery of Vaccine Inoculation,</i> presentation copy from Edward Jenner to Rev. Rowland Hill, 1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>An Entirely New Romantic Drama, in Three Acts, by Mr. Wilkie Collins, called The Frozen Deep,</i> 1857. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Lighthouses and Islands of Ireland, c. 125 drawings, 1867. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Shelley (Lady Jane). Diary, 1853 & 1860. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Scottish Binding.- The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, bound in contemporary brown polished calf decorated with the figure of a Chinese spearman, by ?James Scott of Edinburgh, 1778. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Man Within,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1929. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Mellan (Claude, 1598-1688). The Holy Face, or the Veil of St Veronica, [c. 1649 and later]. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Desaguliers (John Theophilus). <i>A Dissertation concerning Electricity,</i> W. Innys, and T. Longman, 1742. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Le Jeune (Paul). <i>Relation de se qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'anné 1636 enuoyée au R.Pere Provincial de la Compagnie de Iesus en la Province de France,</i> 1637. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Stumpf (Johann Rudolph). <i>Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Völckern Chronicwirdiger thaaten beschreibung, </i> Zurich, Froschauer, 1586. £3,000 to £4,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Malcolm X, Autograph Letter Signed, from prison, 1950. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Letter from Moses Walker, an enslaved Georgia man, to his mother at another plantation, 1854. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Signed cabinet card of Frederick Douglass, albumen photograph, Boston, circa 1879. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Placard from the Memphis Sanitation Worker's strike, 1968. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b><br><i>The North Star,</i> volume 1, issue 27, Rochester, NY, 1848. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Hand-tinted tintype of John Brown, circa 1860. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster signed & inscribed by Huey Newton, circa 1967. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Album of aerial views of the march on Montgomery, taken by federal troops, 1965. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster for the SNCC, photograph by Danny Lyon featuring John Lewis, circa 1962. $3,000 to $4,000.

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