Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2005 Issue

Many Topics from James Cummins Bookseller

R0604

James Cummins latest catalogue with George Washington on the cover.


By Michael Stillman

James Cummins Bookseller
has released his 92nd catalogue. It is broken into five sections: miscellaneous, Americana, science and medicine, travel and maritime, and printing history. That should be enough of a range to interest just about any collector. These are some of the items you will find.

Item 30 is a most intriguing book for anyone with an interest in early photography. It is Thoughts on the Philosophy of Light, by William Newton, published in Jeffersonville, Indiana, in 1843. It speaks of the properties of light and their implications on the future of photography. Although the astonishing development of black and white photography was only a few years old at the time, Newton was already predicting color photography. His argument was that if plates could use the impact of light rays to capture form, there was no reason why the same could not be done to capture color. It would take almost another century, but his prediction would come true. Newton also foresaw photography as a means of mapping the stars. This, too, might have seemed a bit far out at the time, the light from stars being too faint for the crude early processes. However, Newton argued, "the object which is sufficiently near to make an impression on the eye, is not too distant to produce a similar impression on a properly prepared metallic plate..." Cummins' copy carries an inscription from Newton to his brother Richard. Priced at $2,500.

This marvelous invention to capture and preserve images would be commonplace a few decades later, when famed Indian fighter General George Armstrong Custer sat for the portrait offered as item 48. This one comes with a most interesting provenance. It was presented by Custer's widow, Elizabeth, to his friend the famed western showman Buffalo Bill Cody. Cody served as a guide for Russian Grand Duke Alexis in the company of Custer in 1872. In the summer of 1876, he served as a scout for the 5th Cavalry. Some officers at the time speculated that Custer might never have fallen into the trap at the Little Big Horn if Cody had been scouting for the 7th Cavalry instead. Buffalo Bill soon thereafter permanently retired from the scouting business, and put together his Wild West Show, which made him the household name he is today, almost nine decades after his death. This photograph carries the inscription "For my husband's unwavering friend Col Cody," along with the signature, "Elizabeth B. Custer." $3,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Edward Hopper & His Contemporaries:<br>Making a Modern American Art<br>June 30, 2022
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>The Railroad,</i> etching, 1922. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>Sheet of Studies with Men in Hats and a Saloon Keeper,</i> pen, ink & pencil, circa 1900-05. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>Night Shadows,</i> etching, 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Edward Hopper & His Contemporaries:<br>Making a Modern American Art<br>June 30, 2022
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> John Marin, <i>Woolworth Building, No. 2,</i> etching & drypoint, 1913. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Charles Demuth, <i>Tulips,</i> watercolor & pencil, 1924. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>Under Control,</i> gouache, ink & wash, circa 1907-10. $30,000 to $50,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> JESSE JAMES. Autograph Letter Signed on the attack at his home which maimed his mother and killed his nephew Archie, 6 pp, March 23, 1875. THE MOST IMPORTANT JESSE JAMES LETTER EXTANT. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> THE LETTER THAT ARRIVED TOO LATE: An important letter from Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant across the battlefield at Cold Harbor, June 6, 1864. $120,000 to $180,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> DAVY CROCKETT. Autograph Letter Signed on his political philosophy and his dispute with Andrew Jackson, "at home Weakley County," August 18, 1831. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> GEORGE WASHINGTON. Letter Signed to Colonel Richard Gridley, the first engineer of the American Army, Morris Town, January 9, 1777. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> SCOTT FITZGERALD. <i>Tender is the Night.</i> FIRST EDITION, INSCRIBED to H.A. Swanseid. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS. <i>Tarzan of the Apes.</i> FIRST EDITION. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> J.R.R. TOLKIEN. <i>The Hobbit, or There and Back Again.</i> FIRST EDITION. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> NATHANAEL WEST. <i>The Day of the Locust.</i> PRESENTATION COPY, inscribed to director Richard Wallace in the year of publication. $6,000 to $8,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> FRANCIS PICABIA. Archive of 17 Autograph Letters signed to Jennie Thiersch on art and life, 1948-1951. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> JOHN HANCOCK. Autograph Letter Signed to his wife Dolly from the Continental Congress, 4 pp, Philadelphia, March 10-11, 1777. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> NIGHTGOWN WORN BY CHARLOTTE CARDEZA DURING THE TITANIC DISASTER AND RESCUE. $40,000 to $60,000

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