Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2011 Issue

Major Outdoor Sports and Angling Collection Donated to Washington State University Library

Vernon and Joan Gallup.

A major gift of sporting books was recently made to the department of Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections at the library of Washington State University. The collection was donated by Joan and Vernon Gallup, residents of America's Northwest, with a longtime appreciation for the outdoors. The collection contains 15,000 books related to outdoor sports, primarily to angling, or what amateurs know as "fishing." The Gallup Collection is estimated to be worth $1.8 million, the largest gift or rare books ever made to the library's MASC department in its 120-year history.

The WSU library released a statement noting, "Assembled over decades from American and British dealers, the collection is three times the size of well known angling collections at Princeton University and the University of New Hampshire. It represents one of the largest of its kind ever donated to a public institution."

Washington State University is a bit out of the way, not necessarily where one might expect to find such a major collection. Located in Pullman, Washington, it is 300 miles from Seattle, but only 10 miles from Idaho. Come to think of it, that may be the ideal place in North America for a collection on angling, short of perhaps building a library on the banks of the Restigouche. It is located in an area of outstanding fishing, just a stone's throw from the Snake River. The library is situated at the heart of its audience.

Offering a hint at what is in the collection, MASC head Trevor James Bond said, "This collection is replete with amazing books, such as Sarah Bowdich's The Fresh Water Fishes of Great Britain. To vividly illustrate her book, Bowdich ground scales from fish and mixed them in her paints." Mrs. Bowdich's watercolors were issued in installments from 1828-36. The work is as rare as it is spectacular to view, having been issued in only 50 copies.

A complete set of Henry Abbott's "birch books" is also found in the collection. Abbott was an outdoorsman who would spend his summers in New York's Adirondack Mountains. He was something of an amateur naturalist who enjoyed hunting, fishing, and wandering the forests of northern New York. He was also something of an early preservationist of the forests when most saw them as valuable primarily as a source of timber. From 1914-1932, Abbott would write and self-publish his books, nineteen in all, and give them out as Christmas gifts to his friends. The moniker given them comes from Abbott making the covers look like birch bark. He only printed about 100 copies of each, so assembling a complete set is a major challenge.

No such collection would be "compleat" without the granddaddy of angling and sports books in general: The Compleat Angler, by Izaak Walton. While not the first fishing book, it is certainly the most famous. Walton evidently did well in his business, as he seems to have been able to spend most of the second half of his long life rod and hook in hand. His book is in the format of a dialogue, with the angler expressing both the joys of his pastime and providing practical guidance to fellow anglers. The Gallup Collection includes a copy of the 1653 first edition of this sportsman's classic.

Commenting on the value of the collection, Vice-Chairman of the Department of English Todd Butler said that it "will no doubt serve as the foundation for significant graduate work in humanities and related fields."

Rare Book Monthly

  • Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Keats, John] Spenser, Edmund: The Works of that Famous English Poet, Mr. Edmond Spenser. $50,000 - $80,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: (Walton, Izaak): The Compleat Angler or the Contemplative man's Recreation. Being a Discourse of Fish and Fishing. $30,000 - $50,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: Thomas, Gabriel: An Historical and Geographical Account of the Province and Country of Pensilvania; and of West-New-Jersey in America. $25,000 - $35,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Carroll, Lewis]: The Game of Alice in Wonderland. $2,000 - $3,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: Athias, Joseph, et al.: Biblia Hebraica. $7,000 - $10,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Warhol, Andy, and Jens Quistgaard] Dansk Designs Salesman's Presentation Catalogue. $2,500 - $3,500.
  • Sotheby’s, June 26: Poe, Edgar Allan. Tamerlane — the most poignant rarity in American literature. 400,000 - 600,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: The Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." 2,500,000 - 5,000,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: William Blake. “Poems with very wild and interesting pictures” 1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: Thomas Taylor [artist]. The original cover art for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. 400,000 - 600,000 USD
  • Bonhams, June 15-25: 18th Century American Sea Captain's Journals of Voyages to Hawaii, China, and South America. $35,000 - $45,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Admiral Richard E. Byrd's Autograph Diary from Bolling Advance Base, Winter 1934. $40,000 - $60,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Thoreau, Henry David. Walden; Or, Life in the Woods. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854. $4,000 - $6,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Cellarius, Andreas. Harmonia macrocosmica seu atlas universalis et novus, totius universi creati cosmographiam generalem, et novam exhibens. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Nobelist George Stigler's Copy of Ricardo's Classic on the Science of Economics. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Histoire charmante de l'adolescente sucre d'amour. Paris: F. L. Schmied, 1927. $15,000 - $20,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Fine Copy of Walras's Classic on the Theory of Marginal Utility. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Arion Press Moby Dick. Melville, Herman. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Venegas, Miguel. Noticia de la California, y desu conquista temporal, y espiritual hasta el tiempo presente. $7,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Carelton Watkins, Yosemite and the West. Portfolio of 21 imperial albumen prints. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: An Unpublished Archive of Thornton Wilder Correspondence to F.J. O'Neil. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Vesalius, Andreas. 1514-1564. Suorum de humani corporis fabrica librorum epitome. $100,000 - $150,000
  • Bonhams, June 25: Vesalius, Andreas. 1514-1564. De humani corporis fabrica libri septem. $200,000 - $300,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Gersdorff, Hans Von. 1455-1529. Feldtbuch der wundartzney. $40,000 - $60,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Pare, Ambroise. C.1509-1590. La Methode Curative des Playes, et Fractures de la Teste humaine. Avec les pourtraits des Instruments necessaires pour la curation d'icelles. $25,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Reisch, Gregor. 1470-1525. Margarita Philosophica. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bright, Richard. 1789-1858. Reports of Medical Cases, Selected with a View of Illustrating the Symptoms and Cure of Diseases by a Reference to Morbid Anatomy. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Berengario da Carpi, Giacomo. C. 1460-1530. Tractatus de fractura calve sive cranei. $10,000 - $15,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Vicq D'Azyr, Felix. 1748-1794. Traite d'antomie et de physiologie. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Croce, Giovanni Andrea Della. 1509?-1775. Chirurgia libri septem... $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bruno Da Longburgo. 1200-1286. La cyrogia di Maistro Bruno: Expertissimo in quella. Tradutta in vulgare. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Schwann, Theodor. 1810-1882. Mikroskopische Untersuchungen uber die Ubereinstimmung in der Struktur und dem Wachsthum der Thiere und Pflanzen. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Cowper, William. 1666-1709. The Anatomy of Humane Bodies, with Figures Drawn after the Life… $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bidloo, Govard. 1649-1713. Anatomia humani corporis, centum & quinque tabulis, per artificiossis. G. de Lairesse ad vivum delineatis. $6,000 - $9,000

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