Catalogue Review: Reese, Oak Knoll, & Shapero
- by Michael Stillman
Item 85 has an uncomfortable ring to us today. Barclay Raunkaier traveled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 1912 on behalf of the Royal Danish Geographical Society. He encountered much religious fanaticism and hostility, had his possessions stolen by his guides and was almost killed. While a geographical account, it is also filled with comments about poor treatment. This hostility has now had almost another century to fester, and we have come to experience it in ways beyond what Raunkaier could have imagined. The Danish first edition is priced at £1,500. Shapero also offers a second edition of the English translation, Through Wahhabiland on Camelback, from 1969, for £45. Item 413.
For collectors of Americana, Item 48 is a compelling though recent collection. It’s the library of the late Dr. Robert Burrell of approximately 300 volumes about the Gulf War. Included are many small print editions that will, naturally, be rare. If you would like to instantly own a collection that will undoubtedly be an even more valuable possession to your grandchildren, or their grandchildren, when it is also old, this one is available for £8,000.
Finally, saved for the end, is the last book in this catalogue. Undoubtedly the author frequently found himself last in groups, as would anyone whose surname begins with the letters “ZW.” Item 511 is S.M. Zwemer’s Arabia The Cradle of Islam. Shapero describes it as “A scarce title. A missionary’s document of 10 years work through the Persian Gulf with much on the history, politics, ethnology and social differences of the people there.” Samuel Zwemer, a Christian missionary to the Gulf, was my wife’s great-grandfather. She never knew her great-grandfather, but did know his daughter, herself a missionary to China. Obviously, neither had much success at converting the populations of those lands, but Zwemer started a hospital that is still in operation today, tending to the health of the great-grandchildren of the people he met during his mission. We also possess a copy of this 1900 book, complete with Zwemer’s notes. £250.
Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books can be found online at www.shapero.com or telephone (London) 020-7493-0876.