Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2010 Issue

Uncommon and Unusual Works from Peter Masi Books

Masi204

Uncommon items from Peter L. Masi Books.


By Michael Stillman

Peter Masi Books has published Catalog 204 of uncommon and obscure items with easy to afford prices. Masi specializes in pamphlets and promotionals from various organizations, obscure ephemeral works you probably never would find if you went looking for them. He has neatly organized them by subject, some of which are agriculture, art, astronomy, automotive, computers, cooking, etiquette, medicine, natural science, paleontology, religion, sex, and women. There are lots of others too. There are many listed by state, particularly those of the Northeast (Masi is located in Massachusetts). We will take a look at a few of these uncommon items.

The name "Francis Parkman" is generally associated with adventure and American historical writing, and in particular with an account of travel on the Oregon Trail. One would not expect to see the name on such a tenderhearted book as An Offering of Sympathy to the Afflicted, Especially to Parents of Bereaved Children... Nevertheless, here it is. There's an explanation. "Francis Parkman" was also the name of the famous historian's father, a clergyman from Boston. He was the writer of this book, originally published in 1930 when the better known Parkman was seven. Item 291 is a second edition from 1833. Priced at $15.

Are you sick of all the politics and constant electioneering, where the defeated candidates immediately begin attacking the victors and start campaigning for the next election the very next day? Why can't candidates work together for the good of the country, like they used to? Wait a minute. What is this? Item 15 is The Degradation of Our Representative System and Its Reform, by J. Francis Fisher, published way back in 1863. Writes Fisher, "Hardly is one election closed, before plans are laid for another. The defeated party at once begins the assaults upon the newly elected member, & both prepare with increased animosity for a new contest." Turns out politicians have always been politicians. $25.

Item 259 is a menu for a 1935 Testimonial Banquet Tendered to Rev. A. Santolini at Rossini's Restaurant in Savin Rock (Connecticut). The menu was printed by Maturo Bros., the toastmaster was a Mr. Di Cenzo, and speakers included the names De Cicco, Caviglio, and Sartori. The meal consisted of antipasto, minestrone, mezzo pollo, insalata, and gelati. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this probably took place in an Italian neighborhood. $10.

Item 510 is a helpful exposition, Beyond Birth Control: The Christian Experience of Sex. This 1968 book was written by Sidney Cornelia Callahan. The mother of six covers such topics as celibacy, control, and family planning. $10.

Item 379 represents one half of a medical debate: An Open Letter to Eugene Grissom, M.D., LL.D., &c, Superintendent of the Asylum for the Insane at Raleigh, North Carolina, by William A. Hammond, M.D. Seems Dr. Hammond, a former U.S. Surgeon General, was displeased with Dr. Grissom's opposition to the use of mechanical restraints in insane asylums. According to Masi, Hammond responds by "thoroughly trouncing his critic's qualifications & suggesting he was better suited as an inmate than superintendent." Published in 1878. $25.

Item 317 is a happy piece put out by the American Tract Society circa 1840 for children. The title is The Uncertainty of Life, and the Certainty of Death. Page 1 is an image of a deathbed with a minister and weeping woman. This is the kind of book children had to read in the days before Dr. Seuss. $8.

No need to describe item 462 in any detail as the title says it all: A Revision of the Ordovician Bryozoan Genera Batostoma, Anaphragma, & Amplexopora. Richard Boardman's 1960 pamphlet was published by the Smithsonian. Your tax dollars at work. Actually, I sort of understand what this book is about, having taken a course in geology long ago. $10.

For those interested in rainfall in the nation's capital, item 125 is A 27-Day Period in Washington Precipitation. Published in 1944. $8. For those not comfortable with such rounding, author C.G. Abbot later followed up with On the 27.0074-Day Cycle in Washington Precipitation. Yes, this is also a Smithsonian title. Item 126. $15.

For those who can remember all the way back to when cars were as unimaginative as they are today, item 142 is Ford Motor Cars, a catalogue of the company's 1913 models. Those models consisted of versions of the Model T. There was no need for color in this brochure. $75.

Peter L. Masi Books may be reached at 413-367-2628 or masibook@verizon.net.

You will find many of Peter L. Masi's books listed in "Books For Sale" on this site. Click here.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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>
  • <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

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