Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2011 Issue

From the Left (Occasionally Right) from Lorne Bair Rare Books

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Radical works from Lorne Bair.

Lorne Bair Rare Books has released Catalogue Ten, a collection that will warm the hearts of those well to the political left, a few to the far right, and almost no one in the middle. This is not a catalogue for moderates, for the why-can't-we-all-get-along crowd. These are works from people with strong opinions, those fighting for the cause no matter how long the odds. While most of these writers come from the left, battling for unions, civil rights and similar causes, Bair includes a few from the other end of the spectrum, such as the biography of George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi party. Fair and balanced. Though the political left never truly came to power, it was at one time much stronger than it is today, and it pushed the center to accept much of what it once resisted, unions for workers, civil rights for minorities, equal rights for women, freedom from as well as of religion, assistance for the poor. While some of the extreme statements may seem amusing today, they did force a reluctant political establishment to treat those with less influence more fairly, if only as a means to prevent them from coming to power.

 

One of the greatest causes of the left came in the 1920s, the trial of Ferdinando Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Sacco and Vanzetti were accused, tried, and convicted of murder during a Massachusetts robbery in 1920. In 1927, they were executed for the crime. Their guilt or innocence is debated to this day, though it would certainly be a stretch to say they were guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, or that their trial was fair. Many believed they were convicted more for their anarchistic views and Italian heritage than from evidence of their guilt. Their trial and execution created international outrage and drew protests from many leading American figures who believed they had been railroaded. For those who would like to reach their own conclusions about the fairness of their trial, item 38 is the complete official transcript of the trial and later court proceedings, six volumes in all, published in 1928-29. Priced at $750.

 

Over the years, many whites have played on racial fears by blaming blacks for their own crimes or bad behavior. From the Scottsboro Boys to more recent cases of family killings being blamed on supposed black intruders, the hope is that juror prejudices will make them more likely to believe that someone else did it if that someone else is black. However, here is a play on that practice of which I was previously unaware. Item 9 is Burnt Cork and Crime:  Stories Summarized from Press Reports. This short piece was published by the Committee on Interracial Cooperation, circa 1935. It summarizes national news stories where white criminals perpetrated their crimes while wearing blackface. The practice was evidently most common in the South where existing prejudices made it easy to assume a black man perpetrated the crime regardless of whether one actually did so. $150.

 

Item 69 is a copy of Brann's Annual for 1897, a collection of William Cowper Brann's writings for his Waco, Texas, newspaper, The Iconoclast. It was his last annual, as Brann was assassinated the following year. It would be hard to call Brann far left or far right; he was just far out. Generally considered a brilliant newspaperman and writer, his outrageous opinions would have been well suited for today's cable TV and talk radio. Brann was born in Illinois, son of a minister, but he made his mark in Texas. He worked at several newspapers, from St. Louis to all over Texas. He never lasted long. He launched his own newspaper in Austin, The Iconoclast, in 1892. It was unsuccessful, so he sold it to William Porter, who would later be better known by his penname - O. Henry (it failed for him too). However, a few years later, Brann reopened his paper in Waco, and this time it was a great success. At his death, its circulation was almost 100,000, amazing for such a publication in the very conservative hometown of the Baptist university, Baylor. Brann skewered religions, the Baptists and Baylor in particular, and attacked wealthy eastern industrialists, particularly those who married European royalty. One of his noted comments was directed at the Baptists:  "I have nothing against the Baptists. I just believe they were not held under long enough." However, if all this sounds very liberal, Brann also wrote some of the most vitriolic, incendiary stereotypes of American blacks, such as would have embarrassed even many of his southern contemporaries. Brann was shot down on the streets of Waco in 1898 by an enraged supporter of Baylor University (though shot in the back, he managed to spin around and fire six shots at his assailant, both succumbing the following day from their wounds). The Iconoclast did not survive much longer once its voice was stilled. Today, a collection of material on Brann may be found at… Baylor University! $200.

 

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Sergio Trujillo Magnenat, <i>Bogotá 1938 / IV Centenario / Juegos Deportivos Bolivarianos,</i> 1938. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>McQueen Drives Porsche,</i> designer unknown, 1970. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>Joe Bridge, <i>Bignan / A Des Ailes,</i> 1921. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Graham Simmons, <i>The Army Isn’t All Work,</i> 1919. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Je ne fume que le nil,</i> 1912. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>Attack of the 50 ft. Woman,</i> designer unknown, 1958. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Raymond Tooby, <i>Festival Guiness / Have You Tried One Yet?,</i> 1952. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Francisco Tamagno, <i>Terrot & Co. / Dijon / Cycles Motorettes,</i> 1909. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>A. Hori, Oakland / General Motors, circa 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines!,</i> circa 1918. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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