Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2021 Issue

While Walking in San Francisco

704f528b-a966-48f7-9fa6-983dbfdd5e32

A chance "find" while thinking about an old friend

Ten years or so ago I used to occasionally walk along Sacramento Street between Presidio and Arguello in San Francisco when the weather was good, looking into sultry store windows arrayed to attract the unsuspecting to buy things they never knew they wanted or needed.  One random day 12 years ago I walked by and into Thomas Moser, the upscale builder of fine furniture and casually maneuvered through their classic chairs, beds, tables and sundries and inquired whether I could sit on one of their rocking chairs.  Out of the shadows a slim woman, graceful and well-dressed nodded and joined me nearby.  Her name was Jackie.

 

I’m a natural born salesman and know the breed and she too had the gift and we quickly dispensed with pleasantries.  She had some age on her but was obviously once a player and it was interesting to share perspectives, how age was working for and against us, and in particular about how a woman of her attainment was working afternoon sessions in an upscale furniture shop.

 

Mentioning she was 81, she simply said “I want to be occupied.”  It was a quiet day and we shared our stories, the way salesmen tell and retell, and modify, exhaling to pause, adjusting adjectives and adverbs the way the bullfighter flicks their muleta.  It was great fun.

 

We admired each other to the point she mentioned it was hard to be a single woman at 81 and needed friends in her life, someone to keep an eye on her, what with the uncertainties of aging.  I understood her predicament and was deeply charmed she considered me a candidate.

 

Over the years after, I would stop by, more to see her than to buy something, and she was doing okay, life being random like the possibilities on the Monopoly Board, one day on Chance it’s “pay income tax” and next picking up a get out of jail free card.  That's aging.

 

What with Covid-19 I hadn’t walked by as often and it was only recently I stopped in to inquire about the statuesque woman I was hoping to find.  The fella now handling her shift, paused to say, she passed away and we spent some minutes to remember her, her style, and her very appealing direct manner.

 

I’m sentimental and sometimes feel that random confirmations suggest we’re still on the same wave length.  So, it was less than an hour later, after learning that Jackie had slipped away, while walking by an antique shop on the same side of Sacramento Street I noticed their door was ajar and took it as an invitation to ask, if browsers were welcome.  “Come in” encouraged me, stepping into the clutter, my eyes slowly measuring the contents and gazed toward the back, now being offered the chance to go upstairs for other possibilities after which I came down empty handed and stopped to say thank you for permitting me into their inner sanctum.

 

Thereupon, Tom the owner, now properly introduced, said “let me take you next store” where he had more stock and bingo, on the far left, I saw a large print that prompted me to squint to see the text in the hard to read light.  “at Camp Worth (Kingston, July 1855).”  What the devil?  It looked familiar. The price was $1,000 and said I’ll buy it subject to confirming its connection to Kingston, New York.  Would it be Kingston, New York by any chance?

 

And an hour later, yes, in Transactions+ I found seven records and others on the internet including a digital file the Huntington shares in Google searches.   Oh yes, certainly.

 

I brought it home the following afternoon and am left with the unmistakable feeling Jackie was in this with me.  I’ve since ordered non-reflective acrylic replacing the glass.  In a couple of weeks I’ll have this rare survival gussied up.

 

Friendships and shared enthusiasms seem to have a life of their own and I will think about her, remembering her voice, her smile and intelligence, knowing she guided me to this early rare print of Kingston, in Ulster County in New York.  It will be on a wall nearby.

 

 

New York Public:

https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/5e66b3e8-a9c9-d471-e040-e00a180654d7

 

Jacqueline Thompson

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sfgate/obituary.aspx?n=jacqueline-thompson&pid=194842025

 

The Huntington

https://hdl.huntington.org/digital/collection/p16003coll4/id/4166/

 

 

 

 


Posted On: 2021-05-01 01:09
User Name: mairin

Bruce, this little story is a treasure, and nicely crafted.
(Sorry I missed it earlier.)
I admire your voice in the piece -- convincing, authentic.
And you handle emotion in the narrative quite well -- always a challenge for writers.
Thanks for the pleasure.
- M. Mulvihill, Guest Writer, Rare Book Hub.


Posted On: 2021-05-01 04:48
User Name: AE288399

Wonderful, Bruce.
Thanks for this.
Best,

Ed Hoffman


Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>A third selection of 16th and 17th<br>Century English Books from<br>the Fox Pointe Manor Library<br>Thursday 21st October 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Hawking & Hunting.- Turberville (George). <i>The Booke of Falconrie or Hawking,</i> second edition, Printed by Thomas Purfoot, 1611. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> George Steevens' copy.- Coryate (Thomas). <i>Coryats Crudities Hastily gobbled up in five Moneths travells in France, Savoy, Italy, Rhetia...,</i> first edition, complete copy, Printed by W. S[tansby], 1611. £4,000 to £6,00
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Butler (Charles). <i>The Feminine Monarchie: or The Historie of Bees,</i> second edition, Printed by John Haviland for Roger Jackson, 1623. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>A third selection of 16th and 17th<br>Century English Books from<br>the Fox Pointe Manor Library<br>Thursday 21st October 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Brathwait (Richard). <i>The English Gentlewoman, drawne out to the full Body: expressing, What Habilliments doe best attire her…,</i> Printed by B. Alsop and T. Fawcet, for Michaell Sparke, 1631. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Glapthorne (Henry). <i>The Ladies Priviledge,</i> first edition, Imprinted...by J. Okes, for Francis Constable, 1640. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Witchcraft.- F. (H.) <i>A true and exact Relation Of the severall Informations, Examinations, and Confessions of the late Witches, arraigned and executed in the County of Essex,</i> first edition, 1645. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>A third selection of 16th and 17th<br>Century English Books from<br>the Fox Pointe Manor Library<br>Thursday 21st October 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Hobbes (Thomas). <i>De Corpore Politico. Or the Elements of Law, Moral & Politick,</i> first edition, 1650. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Early steam engine.- Worcester (Edward Somerset, 2nd Marquis). <i>A Century of the Names and Scantlings of such Inventions…,</i> first edition, 1663. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Cookery.- M[ontagu] (W[alter]). <i>The Queens Closet Opened. Incomparable secrets in physick, chirurgery, preserving and candying, &c,</i> 3 parts in 1 vol., 1674. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>A third selection of 16th and 17th<br>Century English Books from<br>the Fox Pointe Manor Library<br>Thursday 21st October 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Speed (John). <i>An Epitome of Mr. John Speed's Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain,</i> 2 parts in 1, 90 engraved maps, Printed for Tho. Basset, and Ric. Chiswel, 1676. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Le Boe (Franciscus). <i>Of Childrens Diseases... also a Treatise of the Rickets,</i> first edition, Printed for George Downs, 1682. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Economics.- Locke (John). <i>Several Papers Relating to Money, Interest and Trade,</i> first collected edition, Printed for A. and J. Churchill, 1696. £2,000 to £3,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>26th-29th of October 2021</b>
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th- 29th:</b><br>Books from XV to XX Century
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th:</b><br>Manuscripts and autographs
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th:</b><br>Artist books
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th:</b><br>Cars & more
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th:</b><br>Magazines
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th- 29th:</b><br>Books from XV to XX Century
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Luzzatto High Holiday Mahzor:<br>A Magnificent Illuminated Ashkenazic Prayer Book<br>19 October 2021</b>
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Luzzatto High Holiday Mahzor:<br>A Magnificent Illuminated Ashkenazic Prayer Book<br>19 October 2021</b>
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Luzzatto High Holiday Mahzor:<br>A Magnificent Illuminated Ashkenazic Prayer Book<br>19 October 2021</b>
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Luzzatto High Holiday Mahzor:<br>A Magnificent Illuminated Ashkenazic Prayer Book<br>19 October 2021</b>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Pancho Villa, passport for a news correspondent covering the Mexican revolution, signed, 1914. $1,000 to $2,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Nirvana’s <i>Nevermind,</i> CD insert signed & inscribed days after release by Cobain, inscribed by Novoselic, 1991. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Robert Indiana, <i>The Book of Love,</i> complete portfolio, artist’s proof set, 1997. $100,000 to $125,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Marcel Vertés, Colette, <i>Chéri,</i> two volumes, deluxe edition, signed by the artist, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Virginia Woolf, <i>Orlando,</i> first trade edition, first impression, London, 1928. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Mark Twain, receipt for payment of the Mark Twain Public Library Tax, 1908. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk von Gustav Klimt,</i> portfolio, collotype plates, 1918. $15,000 to $20,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions