Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2008 Issue

Rosemary Sullivan Rare Books to Disperse at Auction

Rosemary

Rosemary Sullivan: dispersing an inventory


By Bruce McKinney

"All my life I've been a book collector and, for four decades, a bookseller." Thus are you introduced to Rosemary Sullivan, who in her three score and ten, is about to dispense a substantial portion of her inventory at the first of two sales to be conducted by the Three Rivers Auction Company of Washington, Pennsylvania. The first sale is November 16th. The second is planned for next spring. Mrs. Sullivan describes the first sale as 400 lots and more than 5,000 books. A detailed catalogue will be available online by or before November 7th. Many lots are large. Her primary focus has been genealogy and local Americana. The upcoming sale presents a dilemma for ABAA dealers who plan to exhibit at or attend the Boston Book Fair. It's scheduled for the same weekend. Material will be available for inspection, at the auction house, on Thursday, November 13th, from Noon until 7:00 and on other days and at other times by appointment.

All material is offered without reserve.

In speaking of her books and career recently she described a life at home with children where she also found time to identify, acquire, catalog and sell books and pamphlets. She sounds very satisfied with the ordeal as does her daughter Pat, who is helping her in this transition. She is well known in the regional trade and enjoys a good reputation. Ed Hoffman, in speaking of her said, "I've known her for twenty-five years both as a great friend and bookseller."

Marc Selvaggio, now of Berkeley, California, but once a PA guy, for years bought and sold genealogy and western Pennsylvania history with her. "She was always good at scouring the market for interesting material and I often found things to buy."

John Thomson of Bartleby's Books of Washington, D.C.: "In my experience women in the Americana field have been a rarity themselves. Years ago I would regularly travel through western Pennsylvania into Ohio to see what dealers had turned up. Rosemary had great local access, judgment and fair ideas about pricing."

John Ezra Schulman of Caliban Books of Pittsburgh speaks of her in the highest terms. "I would visit her two or three times a year - I can see her old Victorian with its wrap-around porches, the house full of books, her ferrets on the loose. She was well-connected in Washington County, a place steeped in history - The Whiskey Rebellion, local writers, local history. She had good taste. Visits were always interesting."

Charlie Bishop of Wheeling, who today does business as the Bishop of Books, speaks of Rosemary and her husband Sully, who has passed away, as very good friends whose door was always open. He remembers traveling to auctions with them - the sense of anticipation, the success and the steak dinner on the way home. "Somethings you can't buy, you can only experience." He was laughing as he spoke.

As to the material itself this is how Three Rivers has described it for the upcoming sale -

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Charles Loupot, <i>Les Cigarettes Mekka,</i> 1919. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Plinio Codognato, <i>Cicli Fiat,</i> circa 1910. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> L.N. Britton, <i>Warning! Consider the Possible Consequences,</i> c. 1917. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Leonardo Bistolfi, <i>Première Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs Modernes,</i> 1902. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Paquet Pernot / Biscuits Pernot,</i> 1910. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jul 15:</b> Jessie Tarbox Beals, archive of signed photographs, 15 silver prints, c. 1930. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Francesco Nonni, <i>Font Meo / Acqua Minerale Naturale,</i> 1924. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Frederick Winthrop Ramsdell, <i>American Crescent Cycles,</i> 1899. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> <i>Be a Tight Wad! Own Something!</i> designer unknown, 1925. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Candido Aragonese de Faria, <i>Chamonix–Mont–Blanc,</i> c. 1910. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> W.E.J., <i>Irishmen Avenge the Lusitania,</i> c. 1915. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <center><b>Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books<br>Fine Art<br>Antique Engravings & Lithographs<br>Works on Paper<br>Accepting bids until August 7</b>
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Maitres Affiches by MUCHA - Papier a cigarettes Job. 202. $5,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> De Bry - Map of the West Indies (including Florida, Cuba, Jamaica, Bahamas, Parts of Central & South America, Sea Monsters, Ships). $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gould - Short-billed Toucan (Ramphastos Brevicarinatus). $5,000 to $8,000.
    <center><b>Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books<br>Fine Art<br>Antique Engravings & Lithographs<br>Works on Paper<br>Accepting bids until August 7</b>
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Redoute, Folio - Pale Iris - Iris flavescens. 375. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gillray - Light Expelling Darkness or The Sun of the Constitution. $200 to $500.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gerard - Wild Hemp or Weed, Cannabis. 708. $150 to $450.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Shaw & Nodder - Head of The Dodo. 165. $100 to $300.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Your Own Sylvia:<br>Sylvia Plath’s letters to Ted Hughes and other items,<br>Property of Frieda Hughes<br>9 to 21 July 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Family photograph album ("The Hughes family Album"), 1957-1962. £30,000 to £50,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Typed letter signed, to Ted Hughes, on "my own private doctrine", with a poem, 5 October 1956. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Pen and ink portrait of Ted Hughes, [1956]. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Your Own Sylvia:<br>Sylvia Plath’s letters to Ted Hughes and other items,<br>Property of Frieda Hughes<br>9 to 21 July 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. Joint autograph letter signed, to William and Edith Hughes, March 1960. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Photographic portrait by David Bailey, inscribed by Plath, 1961, and another press photo. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Tarot de Marseille. Deck of cards owned by Sylvia Plath. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Pair of gold wedding rings. £6,000 to £8,000.

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