Donald Heald Rare Books has published A Selection of Fine Books and Manuscripts. These are a combination of important texts and beautiful illustrations, very fine books indeed. The catalogue is broken down into sections, those being: Americana & Canadiana; Travel, including Atlases; Colour Plate & Illustrated Books; Natural History; and Photography. This catalogue was especially prepared for this month's ABAA book fair in New York, so if you are in the area, you may want to stop by and take a look. Here are some of these special items.
We will start with an item that combines text and images, bringing together a writer and a photographer notable in their specialty – the American Southwest. The photographer/artist is Ansel Adams, the greatest photographer of the Southwest, and one of the best of anything. He has provided 12 mounted photographs. The writer is Mary Austin, perhaps not quite as well known, but the author of a notable book on the desert Southwest almost 30 years earlier. The title is Taos Pueblo, and it looks at the Indians and their home around Taos, New Mexico, in 1930. As a book of Adams' photographs 40 years later described this work, it is “a true and beautiful book by two consummate artists.” To assure the printing lived up to the quality of the book, it was printed by the legendary Grabhorn Press. It was published in a limited run of 108 copies, this one being number 44. Priced at $75,000.
From the Southwest we go to the Northwest, and America's greatest internal exploration. Item 21 is the History of the Expedition Under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, to the Sources of the Missouri, Thence Across the Rocky Mountains and Down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean. Performed During the Years 1804-5-6. This first edition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's official account was finally published in 1814, Lewis' intervening death having slowed publication. Lewis and Clark departed on their expedition at the request of President Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson had recently purchased an enormous amount of land from France, the Louisiana Purchase, and wanted to know just what he had bought. There was no buyer's remorse. For $15 million, Jefferson had doubled the size of the United States, and as a result of this expedition, America began to understand the vast territory that was now a part of the nation. This copy contains the maps and charts, including the large folding map often missing. $150,000.
Our next stop takes us even farther north, to Canada. Item 16 is an album of 42 watercolor scenes of Canada by the career military man and amateur artist Edmund Gilling Hallewell. Hallewell was a soldier and officer, and from 1841-1847, was stationed in Bermuda, not a hotspot of military adventures, but Hallewell was also the private secretary of the Governor, whose daughter he married. The Governor was impressed by Hallewell's paintings of Bermuda, leading to a suite of his Bermuda lithographs being published in London in 1848. In 1847, Hallewell was transferred to Canada, where he remained through 1853. It was during this time that he painted various views in eastern Canada, with scenic views being his specialty. After 1853, Hallewell was sent to Crimea (wars never end there) and then to Malta, dying in 1869 at the age of 47. $75,000.
For the next stop we reverse direction and head south, as far south as any man had traveled at the time of publication – 1825. Item 51 is A Voyage towards the South Pole, performed in the years 1822-24. Containing an examination of the Antarctic Sea, to the seventy-fourth degree of latitude... The author was James Weddell, and he was a sealer, not an explorer. An earlier voyage to southern waters had been very profitable, but as competition for seals increased, Weddell headed for more distant southern waters, beyond the Falklands, South Shetlands, and Georgia Island. In this journey, Weddell proceeded farther south than anyone before, and the open water led him to conclude that there were open seas all the way to the South Pole. However, it was just an unusually warm year that opened the sea, and he turned around just short of reaching the Antarctic continent. On his return to England, Weddell was encouraged to write an account of his voyage, of which this is the first edition. The Weddell sea off the coast of Antarctica is named for this sealer cum explorer. $3,250.