Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2012 Issue

The Private Presses of Hammersmith from Sophie Schneideman Rare Books

Schneidemanhammersmith

The Private Presses of Hammersmith.

Sophie Schneideman Rare Books has issued a catalogue of the Private Presses in Hammersmith, 1891-1914. Sophie Schneideman has participated in the book trade for two decades, including several years at Maggs Bros. prior to opening her firm. Ms. Schneideman's specialty is the “art of the book,” and one would be hard pressed to come up with any better examples of fine presses than the two from Hammersmith featured here – William Morris' Kelmscott Press, and Thomas J. Cobden-Sanderson's Doves Press. Morris virtually created the modern fine press, and his friend and associate Cobden-Sanderson, continued the art, with his own interpretation, after Morris' death.

William Morris was a multi-talented individual, artist, writer, and idealistic proponent of socialism. Late in life, he turned to one of his earliest loves – books. He set up his fine printing press in 1891, and lived but another five years. However, the output of his Kelmscott Press was surprisingly prodigious, and it remains legendary. The press continued to be operated by his associates after his death in 1896, but only to complete projects started or envisioned by Morris and wind down operations. It closed in 1898.

One of those who was friendly with Morris, a fellow socialist, and occasionally worked with him was Thomas J. Cobden-Sanderson. One such associated item is offered within this catalogue. Cobden-Sanderson opened the Doves Press in partnership with Emery Walker, yet another socialistic associate of Morris, and began publishing in 1900. While featuring fine printings as did Kelmscott, he was more focused on the artistry serving the text, rather than simply beauty. Cobden-Sanderson and Walker would design the elegant Doves type, which would be used in all of their books. The partnership dissolved in 1909, but Cobden-Sanderson and Doves continued to publish until 1916. However, a few years earlier, Cobden-Sanderson began preparing for the Press' closure in a most unusual way. He looked at the Doves works in a perfectionist sort of way, considering them at “one with the purpose of the Universe.” He could not bear the thought of his type being used in any lesser way. So, in spite of an agreement that the type would go to Walker on his death, Cobden-Sanderson began a slow late-night process of dumping the type, its punches and matrices, off the Hammersmith Bridge, into the Thames. It was the only way he could guarantee the Doves type would never be used in an inappropriate way.

There is one more name to mention in relation to this catalogue – Clarence B. Hanson, Jr. Hanson, who died in 1983, was for 35 years the publisher of The Birmingham News. That's Birmingham as in Alabama, not England. Hanson had many interests, but one of his greatest passions was collecting private press books. He did most of his collecting in the 1960s and 1970s, and the books offered in this catalogue come from his Kelmscott and Doves collections. A later catalogue will feature his Ashendene collection. Now, we will take a look at a few items from this catalogue.

Item 1 was just the second book to come off the Kelmscott Press. Poems by the Way is a collection of Morris' own poetry. Some went back many decades, although it was filled out with a poem written in the year the book was published – 1891. For many of the poems, this was their first appearance in print. Priced at £2,000 (British pounds, or roughly US $3,046).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €

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