Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2004 Issue

John Waite Rare Books<br>Offers

0913

Books and Ephemera from John Waite Rare Books


By Michael Stillman

Vermont bookseller John Waite Rare Books is offering an eclectic collection of "Books & Ephemera" in their recently released tenth catalogue. While some of the material reflects their northern New England location, there are also items you can't help but wonder how they made their way to Vermont. Perhaps it is because Vermont has long been a vacation spot or place for second homes. Here are a few of the items Waite is offering.

Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams had an on-again off-again friendship over the course of their lives. They were best of friends early in Capote's career and at one point sailed together from Europe to America. Waite quotes from Williams' writings, "In those days Truman was about the best companion you could want. He had not turned bitchy. Well, he had not turned maliciously bitchy." However, in later years, when Capote turned "maliciously bitchy," Capote would depict Williams, in Waite's description, as "a washed-up, self-pitying, and neurotic drunk." So it is interesting to see Capote's Music for Chameleons, in which he dedicates the book to Williams. It was published in 1980, nearing the end of both authors' lives. This copy is signed both by Capote on the title page and Williams on the dedication page. Item 23. Priced at $2,500.

Item 13 is an interesting undated slavery related item from the 1850s. It is a song sheet for a piece called "Pretty Dilly Burn." It is a song supposedly presented through the voice of a male slave (though lyricist George Meeser was undoubtedly a white northerner). It retells how slavery breaks up a beautiful romance between two slaves, but in the end, they are brought back together through the goodness of the singer's kind master. Exactly what this strange connection of good and evil was meant to say in this era when the nation was becoming polarized by slavery is not clear. In the song, the singer, treated well by his master, falls in love with Dilly Burn, overworked by hers. Then one day, Dilly Burn's master sells her "for a paltry sum of gold," and the two are parted. The singer becomes despondent, his master asks why, and he explains. His kindly owner responds by buying Dilly so the two can be together. The song closes with "And now we're happy in our cot, and massa's pleased to see, How two fond hearts that truly love, tho' black, can happy be." The complete lyrics to this song and an image of the song sheet can be found on the Library of Congress website at http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/S?ammem/amss:@field(TITLE+@od1(Pretty+Dilly+Burn++Andrews,+Printer,+38+Chatham+Street,+N++Y++[n++d+])). $400.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ian Fleming, <i>Goldfinger,</i> first edition, inscribed to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE, London, 1959. Sold for $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Joseph Brant, Mohawk Chief, ALS, writing after pledging support to King George III against American rebels, 1776. Sold for a record $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Sonia Delaunay, <i>Ses Peintures</i> . . ., 20 pochoir plates, Paris, 1925. Sold for a record $13,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Diana, Princess of Wales, 6 autograph letters signed to British <i>Vogue</i> editor, 1989-92. Sold for $10,400.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alexander Hamilton, ALS, as Secretary of the Treasury covering costs of the new U.S. Mint, 1793. Sold for $12,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Benjamin Graham & David L. Dodd, <i>Security Analysis,</i> first edition, inscribed by Graham to a Wall Street trader, NY, 1934. Sold for $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> George Barbier & François-Louis Schmied, <i>Personnages de Comédie,</i> Paris, 1922. Sold for $9,375.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli,</i> Paris, 1897. Sold for a record $13,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ralph Waldo Emerson, <i>The Dial,</i> first edition of the reconstituted issue, Emerson’s copy with inscriptions, Cincinnati, 1860. Sold for a record $3,250.
  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.

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