Twain, Tarzan, and Everything Else from The Heritage Book Shop


Twain, Tarzan, and Everything Else from The Heritage Book Shop

Another captain sent to observe the transit of 1769 was Jean Chappe D'Auteroche, sent by France. The French sent out two observatory expeditions, one to the Philippines and the Chappe D'Auteroche expedition to the coast of California. The book is Voyage to California to Observe the Transit of Venus, this being the first English edition published in 1778. This book retells the ship's race against time, trying to reach Baja California in time for the transit. Chappe D'Autertoche made it just in time, but tragically, two days after the transit, the ship was hit with a fever called the "Black Vomit." Chappe D'Auteroche was one of the crewmen who became sick and died. Item 39. $2,500.

Heritage offers 11 Mark Twain items in this catalogue, including some wonderful first editions. Item 286, however, is a photograph. It's a rather formal image of this man who could find humor in anything. The photo comes with an inscription from Twain to his daughter, Jean Clemens, including the description, "This starchy but justifiable & very commendable exaggeration of her Papa's aspect...." This photo can be seen on the image of the catalogue's cover which accompanies this review. $15,000.

Item 309 was the first book published in America about flying in heavier than air vehicles. First published in England in 1810 (the American edition is from 1814), Thomas Walker used his years of studying birds to design his machine. Walker was no Wilbur or Orville Wright. He was at best something of a theoretical amateur. A contemporary account indicates he did finally build something beyond the paper airplanes he started working with, a contraption that was unable to lift off of the ground. Walker believed that two things were critical to building an airplane: wings large enough to support it, and a source of power sufficient to overcome man's insufficient arm strength. Therein lies the problem. Walker imagined an airplane which flapped its wings. This notion would have to be put aside before an airplane would be designed which could actually fly. The book is A Treatise on the Art of Flying, by Mechanical Means with a full explanation of the natural principles by which birds are enabled to fly: likewise instructions and plans for making a flying car with wings....$12,500.

If you've ever dreamed of having a first edition of Freud's major work, here is your chance. Item 112 is Die Traumdeutung, or the Interpretation of Dreams. Only 600 copies of this book, which opened the door to psychoanalysis, were printed. Here is one of them. $40,000.