Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2012 Issue

A Miscellany from Sotheran's

Images of the Great Western Railway.

Item 5 is a rare poetical interlude by a man of science. George Romanes came to work with Charles Darwin as a young man, and became one of the evolutionist's greatest supporters and admirers. He wrote several scientific works, some of which “evolved” from Darwin's work during his relatively brief career (Romanes died at age 46). When Darwin died, Romanes was devastated. It led him to write this lengthy poem, a loving tribute to the man who was his mentor. He sent a copy of his poem to Darwin's son, Francis, for the latter's consideration for his published collection of Darwin material, but it was not included. However, it did appear in Romanes' privately printed Poems in 1889, and a later collection of his poems published after his death. Offered is Romanes' personal, bound typescript copy of his Charles Darwin: A Memorial Poem. £15,000 (US $24,111).

Here is an ephemeral item from one of the greatest failures in social engineering ever attempted – Prohibition. Liquor was outlawed for about a dozen years from the 1920s to early 1930s,which meant people had to find extra-legal methods of obtaining it. Of course there were speakeasies and other ways of purchasing it from those who distilled or imported it illegally. And then, there was “medicinal” alcohol. You could legally obtain your booze if you had a prescription for it. Your doctor and neighborhood pharmacy substituted for the outlawed tavern. Prescriptions were filled out in duplicate by the physician, one for the patient, the other for the pharmacist. Items 382-384 are pharmacist copies of prescriptions for whiskey that were issued to Brannen Bros. drug store in San Francisco in 1931. £98 each (US $157).

Sotheran's may be reached at 020 7439 6151 or books@sotherans.co.uk. Their website is found at www.sotherans.co.uk.

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