Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2012 Issue

Books from a Concord Bibliophile from Sotheran's

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From a Concord Bibliophile's library.

Henry Sotheran Ltd., aka Sotheran's, has issued a catalogue From the Library of a Concord Bibliophile. Sotheran's being from London, you might think this would be a Concord in England, but no, the library belonged to a collector from Concord, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Percy Whiting Brown was the descendant of early Massachusetts settlers. He began work for a financial firm near his home turf in eastern Massachusetts, but after a few years he was sent to Cleveland to open an office. That is where he remained, though his heart, or at least his collecting interests, remained close to Concord. Brown was an active book collector, at one time President of the Rowfant Club. He put together a notable library, including Massachusetts history and English and American literature.

Percy Brown died in 1958 at the age of 71. Most of his library was sold to a bookseller. However, his family kept a few of his books, and it is 18 of those from Brown's collection that are offered by Sotheran's today. These remained in his family until recently when one of his descendants decided to offer them for sale. Here are some of them.

Since Percy Whiting Brown was himself an author, we will start with one of his books. He wrote a number of pieces on his native territory, this one being History of Rowe, Massachusetts. Rowe is a small, rural town in western Massachusetts, and Brown's family built a summer home there when he was young. This 1921 first edition was privately printed, and probably in a small quantity. Several later editions have since been printed as this is regarded as a “standard history” for the little town. Item 12. Priced at £125 (British pounds, or approximately $201 in Yankee dollars).

Item 7 is a book-length poem, a satire from the pen of James Russell Lowell. However, this first edition, released in 1848, was published anonymously, the writing attributed to “a Wonderful Quiz.” Lowell was a poet, though not one of those best remembered now, along with being an essayist, and later in life, American Ambassador to Spain and England. This satire, A Fable for Critics, which was later published under his actual name, is probably his most notable work. It includes rhymes about the works of the great (and not so great) poets of the day. Most descriptions combine the good and the bad of the writer, such as, for Edgar Allen Poe, “There comes Poe with his raven, like Barnaby Rudge, / Three-fifths of him genius and two-fifths sheer fudge.” A review of the then anonymous work Poe wrote in his role as reviewer indicates he was not particularly amused by Lowell's humor. Lowell supported many causes, including abolition, temperance, and women's rights, though these may have been more a reflection of his activist wife's encouragement than very deep convictions. This copy of his fable comes with a check for $119 made out to Lowell and endorsed by him on the back. £495 (US $797).

Here is a book with both a poetic connection and one to Percy Brown's family. Item 2 is The Obligations of Parents to Give their Children a Virtuous Education, and to Provide Schools for this Purpose... This was an 1820 sermon by the Massachusetts clergyman Ezra Ripley. Ripley was a strong believer in education and the role parents played in assuring that was provided to their children. The sermon was delivered on the opening of three new schools. Ripley married the widow of his predecessor at the Concord church, William Emerson, and as such became the step-grandfather of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson admired his step-grandfather and for a time lived with him. This copy is inscribed by Ripley to “John Brown junr.” Rev. Ripley married Percy Brown's great-great-grandparents. John Brown Jr. was Percy Brown's grandfather (without the greats). The book has been in the Brown family since it was presented almost two centuries ago. £1,250 (US $2,012).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
  • <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 54. Fanciful engraving of earth's interior with magma core and errupting volcanoes (1682). $1500 to $1800.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 165. Rare state of Jefferys' influential map of New England in contemporary color (1755). $8000 to $9500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 177. Mouzon's foundation map of the Carolinas (1775). $10000 to $13000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 183. Very rare first state of De Fer's map of the Lower Mississippi Valley (1715). $20000 to $25000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 253. Scarce Scottish edition based on Ellicott's plan of Washington, D.C. (1796). $2400 to $3000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 313. Stunning view of Philadelphia by John Bachmann (1850). $3250 to $4250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 338. Rare Civil War map based on Bucholtz map of Virginia (1862). $9500 to $12000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 667. First map to accurately show Luzon in Philippines (1590). $6000 to $7500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 682. Rare map of Shanghai International Settlement published just after WWI (1918). $7000 to $9000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 738. Coronelli's superb map of the Pacific showing the Island of California (1697) Est. $2400 - $3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 743. A cornerstone piece in the mapping of Australia and New Zealand (1726) Est. $6000 - $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 781. An uncommon signature during Jefferson's Governorship of Virginia (1779) Est. $9500 - $11000

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