Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2004 Issue

The Old Booksellers of New York and other papers<br>By William Loring Andrews



Mr. Bradburn dealt largely in secondhand law, theological and medical books, and his shop was a veritable boon to impecunious students of theological seminaries and academies of medicine and to briefless attorneys and counselors at law. Books of a less utilitarian character, but possessed of more charms for the bibliophile, also found their way to his shop; and the patient searcher for rarities might at any moment stumble upon one tucked away among the volumes clad in prosaic legal calf which lined his shelves.

When first I knew this veteran of the old book trade he was a pleasant-faced, elderly man, with an air of prosperity and contentment about him, in puzzling contrast to the surroundings of his dingy, contracted, but typical old bookshop. The book business prospered so well with Mr. Bradburn that he was able to make investments in such choice Manhattan real estate as Central Park and Fifth Avenue lots, the "unearned increment" of which in course of time made him well-to-do.

There is not much ozone about old books, nevertheless dealing in them appears to be conducive to longevity. C. S. Francis, to whom we have still to refer, died at the age of eighty-five; and I have had lately the gratification of sending Mr. Bradburn my congratulations upon his attainment, on April 5th, 1895, of his ninetieth birthday, in good health and the full possession of his faculties.

One of Mr. Bradburn's near neighbors was John Pyne, a "man of many friends," who, we are told, resembled Joseph Sabin in this, that he never smoked tobacco or used alcoholic liquors. Mr. Pyne removed from Nassau Street to the corner of Broadway and Astor Place. Not meeting with the success he had anticipated, he returned to his former stand, but found that many of his old customers had drifted away. He finally abandoned the second-hand book business and entered the Register's office of the City of New York, where he remained until his death, in 1894.

In Nassau Street, between Fulton and Ann Streets, was the bookshop of T. H. Morrell, at one time the rallying place for antiquarians interested in old New York and Revolutionary history. Mr. Morrell was more conspicuous as an "extra illustrator" than as a dealer in rare books, although he had acquired a knowledge of and trafficked to a considerable extent in the latter. His pronounced penchant was for books on the drama, New York City, and the American Revolution. Although the books he "extra illustrated " were for sale when completed— unless executed to order—he lavished upon them all the skill and taste of an experienced and enthusiastic amateur. His knowledge of the class of prints to which he confined his attention was thorough, and he inserted in his books the choicest and rarest that he could procure. When necessary he had them repaired and restored by George Trent, that unequalled adept in the art of cleaning, mending, and inlaying books and prints, and then consigned the volumes to the skillful hands of the binder, William Matthews.

A lasting monument to Mr. Morrell's zeal and industry is the copy of Dr. Francis's "Old New York," which he illustrated and extended to nine volumes. This book finally came into the possession of Mr. J. H. V. Arnold, and at his sale was purchased by Joseph Sabin for Robert L. Stuart at a cost of $230 per volume. It contains over twenty-five hundred prints, water-color drawings and autographs, and among the latter are either letters or signatures of all the mayors of New York up to the time the book was completed. It is by far the most extensively illustrated copy of any book upon New York local history, and will probably never be equaled, for there are no prints which have become so scarce as those which relate to old New York. The lithographic plates in Valentine's "Manual," which earlier collectors affected to despise and hesitated to use, have become Hobson's choice with the "extra illustrator " of this fair city of Gotham of today.

Mr. Morrell had always betrayed strong dramatic proclivities, and he finally donned the tragedian's garb. His formal entrance to the stage was made in the character of Cardinal Richelieu, and he selected Philadelphia as the scene of the first and, as I am informed, last public exhibition of his histrionic ability.

A few steps further up Nassau Street (No. 140) brought the book-hunter on his rambles to "Old Hollingsworth's," who afterward migrated to the east side of Broadway, near Great Jones Street. He dealt in prints and old magazines; and although his shop was a mere cubby-hole, it was well for the book or print collector to make in it occasionally a tentative cast of his drag-net.

Around the corner, in Fulton Street, was the store of Timothy Reeve and Company, who dealt exclusively in imported rare and standard books, which they sold at retail and to the trade generally throughout the country. They relinquished business in 1866, and were succeeded by the present firm of S. B. Luyster and Company.

Allan Ebbs was located on the west side of Broadway, near Fulton Street. His specialty was high-class and handsomely bound English books. In 1870, with his family, he took passage for Europe, and was lost on the "City of Boston."

C. S. Francis should have had an earlier place in these sketches. He came to the city in 1826 and opened a store at 189 Broadway, near Dey Street. From there he removed to 252 Broadway, under the famous old Peale's Museum. For many years his store was the headquarters for men of letters and lovers of books. His brother, D. G. Francis, who succeeded him in business, although advanced in years, has only within the last few months relinquished the management of the oldest established bookstore in this city.

Mr. C. S. Francis published the first American edition of "Aurora Leigh "; and the writer has in his possession Mrs. Browning's note in relation to Mr. Francis's acquisition of the copyright, which reads as follows: "Having received what I consider to be sufficient remuneration for my poem of 'Aurora Leigh' from Mr. Francis, of New York, it is my earnest desire that his right in this and future editions of the same may not be interfered with." This warning to trespassers is prominently displayed in the edition published by Mr. Francis in 1857.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>Including Autographs & Memorabilia<br>31 March 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Rackham (Arthur). The Old Hag Standing Outside a Cottage, original drawing, signed by the artist, [c.1909]. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> FIRST EDITION, first printing, signed by the author, original pictorial wrappers, 1997. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Castiglione (Giuseppe, after). Twelve plates from <i>Twenty views of the European Palaces of the Yuanming yuan,</i> 1783-1786. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>Including Autographs & Memorabilia<br>31 March 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Spanish Antiphonal.- Antiphonal manuscript, [Spain], ca. 1650. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Almanach de Gotha.- Almost complete run 1769 to 1945, 12mo & 8vo, Gotha, C.W. Ettinger [- Justus Perthes]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Bible, Greek.- New Testament [Greek], Novum Iesu Christi D.N. testamentum, ex bibliotheca regia, 2 parts in one, Robert Estienne, Paris, 1550. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>Including Autographs & Memorabilia<br>31 March 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Lithgow (William). <i>The Total Discourse of the rare Adventures… from Scotland, to the most famous kingdoms in Europe, Asia, and Affrica…,</i> woodcut illustrations, 4to, I. Oakes, 1640. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Spanish Interest.-16th -18th Century. Large collection of letters related to prominent members of the Spanish court and clergymen,; v.s., late 16th-mid 18th century. £1,800 to £2,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Darwin (Charles). <i>The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex,</i> 2 vol., FIRST EDITION, first issue8vo, John Murray, 1871. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>Including Autographs & Memorabilia<br>31 March 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Loewy (Raymond) ARR. Mickey Mouse, original gouache and air brush illustration of Mickey Mouse, signed by artist., n.p. [1946]. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Potter (Beatrix) & Sendak (Maurice). <i>The Tale of Peter Rabbit,</i> NUMBER 2 OF 250 SIGNED COPIES, WITH AN ORIGINAL DRAWING BY SENDAK, New York, 1995. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Wolstenholm (Jonathan) ARR. Books on Books, original watercolor, signed and dated by the artist, 2005.
  • <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>April Auction<br>April 4, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> MITCHELL, John (1711-1768). A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America. Copperplate engraving with original hand color. London, 1755. $250,000 to $350,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AUDUBON, John James (1785 - 1851). Brown Pelican (Standing), Plate 251. Aquatint engraving with original hand color. London, 1827-1838. $175,000 to $225,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AUDUBON, John James (1785 - 1851). Fish Hawk or Osprey, Plate 81. Aquatint engraving with original hand color. London: 1827-1838. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>April Auction<br>April 4, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> GONZALES DE MENDOZA, Juan (1545 - 1618). <i>The Historie of the great and mightie kingdome of China…</i> London, 1588. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> VERBIEST, Ferdinand (1623-1688). [World Map] Kun-Yu Ch'uan-Tu. Engraved twelve sheet map with vertical sections joined to form six sheets. Korea, Seoul, c. 1860. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> SANGGI, Chong (1678-1752). Korean Atlas. Manuscript map on mulberry bark paper. C. 1750-1790. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>April Auction<br>April 4, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AUDUBON, John James (1785 - 1851). Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Plate 66. Aquatint engraving with original hand color. London, 1827-1838. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AKERMAN, Anders (1721-1778). & AKREL, Frederik (1779-1868). Pair of Celestial and Terrestrial Globes. Stockholm, c. 1800. 23 inch diameter, each. $60,000 to $100,000.

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