Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2019 Issue

Mulvihill Collection acquires celebrated Scots astronomer, Mary Somerville

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While the Mulvihill Collection focuses mostly on pre-1700 women writers (English, Irish, Dutch), it has recently acquired a special newcomer: Mary Somerville, her 1834 classic, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences (London, 1834; 5 plates; 10th ed., 1877). The Mulvihill copy is a deluxe, rebound second edition (1835), with Somerville's additional notes and new preface. A self-trained polymath, "Mrs Somerville" was a respected astronomer and science writer whose talents extended to painting, music, and educating the great J.M.W. Turner on Newtonian color theory. We include her self-portrait here, and we invite you to look up (and look up!) with Mary Somerville. <Click here for article>


Posted On: 2019-09-04 19:13
User Name: chavvy@aol.com

This is as witty as it is informative and illuminating--a delightful account of the process of collecting, as well as an elegant tribute to Somerville. Especially welcome was the final image of the banknote, which brought the past into the present in an unexpected way. Would that all scholarly writing displayed such a welcome lightness of touch....
Margaret D. Stetz
Mae & Robert Carter Professor of Women's Studies and Professor of Humanities
University of Delaware


Posted On: 2019-09-05 03:11
User Name: mairin

Posting for collector, E.M. Katz:
Thank you for alerting me to this new essay, Maureen, and
I especially appreciated your good taste in selecting Dr Rosalind
Franklin, as dedicatee (and maybe the guiding Muse on your shoulder, too).
Let me know if your Somerville copy includes any ownership signatures, any
inscriptions, bookplates. And thanks, also, to Rare Book Hub, for hosting
this work. I am not a subscriber, but should be.
Keep in touch. Much admired the essay. E.M. Katz, Berlin / NYC.
___


Posted On: 2019-09-05 03:15
User Name: mairin

Posting for a collector friend in Rhode Island:
Maureen, Your passionate yet informative piece is nothing short of magical.
You have managed to shed some much needed light on the often overlooked, and sometimes forgotten, scientific contributions of such wonderful women as Mrs. Somerville.
These magnificent contributions to your collection will no doubt keep this flame burning for many years to come. Many thanks for sharing this wonderful story. Masterful.
- DJC, Collector, Rhode Island.
___


Posted On: 2019-09-05 20:11
User Name: mairin

Posting for my favorite polymath, Daniel R. Harris, Brooklyn, NY / Sarasota, FL.
__
If this subject receives further attention, best tell readers about Somerville's publisher (her only publisher): the Murray family publishers of London, originally from Scotland. (Yes, the big Murray Archive is listed in the article's Apparatus, glad to see that, an essential resource.)
Murray and the family business took good, faithful care of Somerville's writings over 4
decades -- remarkable, no? And, then, this matter: When it is mentioned, in one of the caption notes, that the telescope "gave the world to the 17th century", I'd replace "the world" with "the universe", or even "the world and the sky". (Maybe.) Otherwise, a strong delivery of useful information & images. (Incidentally, Somerville's self-portrait, on the article's Display Page, shows Turner's influence, I'd say; he was one of her circle. How could she, herself a painter, not be influenced by such an extraordinary talent?) A serious, elaborate file here, constructed over several operating systems & servers -- no simple task! Rare Book Hub served it up nicely, heroically.
- DR Harris / Words Art Music @ http://blog.danielharrismusic.com/
___


Posted On: 2019-09-11 17:17
User Name: ruricius

What a lovely erudite discussion.... but I'd have expected no less! And made all the more special after having seen and admired the liber ipse!
Ralph Mathisen
Professor of History, Classics, and Medieval Studies
University of Illinois


Posted On: 2019-09-22 19:08
User Name: alice185

A delightful essay and a fine tribute to Mary Somerville, a graceful appreciation of the well deserved serendipity of acquiring the book. It’s also a valuable reminder of current work restoring women to their place in the history of science. Very well done. Alice Browne.


Posted On: 2019-09-24 20:55
User Name: laipar2@aol.com

Much appreciated. Women collectors collecting books by women scientists!
I have recently acquired Louise Bourgeois Boursier, mid-wife to Marie de Medici, the collected works, 1626 to 1645, comprising a rare first edition of her book of secrets, all bound in contemporary vellum.
I am a scholar and a collector and find the book as object and its printing paratexts an essential aid in my research of early modern women writers.


Posted On: 2019-10-29 16:33
User Name: mairin

Posting for Bookseller, Mark Stirling, Nevada
___

As someone interested in "systems theory", I was drawn at once to
Dr Mulvihill's "Somerville" essay, announced on Exlibris-L, especially
Somerville's argument for a "connexion" among the sciences. This integrative
approach has captivated me for the last several years. The essay's images and
detailed caption notes are a portal to a more comprehensive appreciation of
many interesting subjects. And I like how Mulvihill contextualized her material,
by linking Somerville to earlier figures (Vermeer, Newton, Pepys) and also to Somerville's
contemporaries (JMW Turner, Humboldt, Darwin). The essay demonstrates new
approaches to thinking about many complex subjects. And, of course, beautifully designed,
with close attention to the physical properties and reception of this successful
early-19th-century science book.

Mark Stirling in Nevada
Up-Country Letters / www.upcole.com
____


Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
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    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Scarce <i>Events of the Tulsa Disaster,</i> First Edition, 1922. $4,000 to $6,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Unpublished CDV of Frederick Douglass by Benjamin F. Smith, 1864. $3,000 to $5,000
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    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> California Imprint of <i>President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation</i> Broadside, 1864. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> John C.H. Grabill Cabinet Card of Buffalo Soldier Wearing Buffalo Coat, ca 1886. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare <i>What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking,</i> 2nd Cookbook Published by African American. $6,000 to $8,000
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    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Only Known Slave Narrative Published Independently in California, <i>Life and Adventures of James Williams.</i> $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare First Edition of History of Black Literature, Abbé Grégoire <i>De La Littérature des Nègres</i>. $2,500 to $3,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> African American Soldier and Medal of Honor Winner Christian A. Fleetwood CDV, PLUS. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries Pennant, 1910 Reno, Nevada. $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Joe Gans Photograph at 1906 Goldfield, Nevada Fight by Percy Dana. $600 to $800
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Sense and Sensibility: A Novel, By a Lady,</i> 3 volumes, London, 1811. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Virginia Woolf, <i>Kew Gardens,</i> limited edition, signed by Woolf & Bell, London, 1927. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> <i>[Arabian Nights],</i> Calcutta II version, 4 volumes, Calcutta & London, 1839-1842. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 ALS to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor, anticipating Christie’s sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Emma,</i> first edition, London, 1816. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Hirohito & Nagako, Emperor & Empress of Japan, 2 photographs signed, showing Nagako in kimono & obi bearing the imperial seal. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 autograph letters signed to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor Elizabeth Tilberis, anticipating Christie’s announcement of a sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Sarojini Naidu, complete galley proof of <i>The Broken Wing</i> signed with several holograph pages & an autograph letter signed to writer Edmund Gosse, 1916. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Fernando Pessoa, <i>Mensagem,</i> first edition, presentation copy, signed & inscribed, Lisbon, 1934. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Graham Greene, <i>The Basement Room,</i> first edition, Greene’s personal copy, signed with annotations throughout, London, 1935. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Abraham Lincoln, partly-printed document signed, call for troops issued during America’s first national draft just days before the NYC draft riots, 1863. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b><br><i>Les Chansons de Bilitis</i> by Pierre Louÿs, illustrated by George Barbier & F.L. Schmied, Paris, 1922. $8,000 to $12,000.
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    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
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    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
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    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
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    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €

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