Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2015 Issue

Radical Literature and Posters from Lorne Bair Rare Books

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Radical literature and posters.

Lorne Bair Rare Books has issued their Catalog 21. It doesn't have a name, but is divided into four sections whose headings give a good idea of what is to be found: (1) African American History & Literature; (2) Radical, Social, & Proletarian Literature; (3) Graphics, Posters & Original Art; (4) Social Movements & Radical History. Bair focuses on politically radical material, so even those headings which aren't clear, such as posters, feature much from a left to far left point of view. However, some material is more universal in nature, such as the collection of World War II American support-the-war effort posters. Certainly, these were anti-fascist, but Americans of all stripes were anti-fascist during the war. And then, Bair always provides a little balance in a few items that come from the far right instead of the far left. Everyone gets their say in this catalogue, even if some voices are a bit louder than others. Here are a few samples of the material you will find.

 

Here is a mimeographed broadside that feels painfully timely today, despite its crude heading: A Nigger Wrench in the Pig's Court. It is an attack on the police and justice system in Baltimore with respect to its treatment of blacks. It deals specifically with the arrest of Black Panther Party member Irving "Ochika" Young for the killing of fellow Black Panther Eugene Leroy Anderson. It was claimed Young was the driver who brought Anderson to his final date, but that many others were also said to be involved in the killing of a comrade believed to be a police informer. Ultimately, Young was convicted, the only one of the defendants to suffer that fate, and spent four years in jail before being pardoned by the Governor as the conviction was dubious. To date, the case is still open. This broadside, likely from 1970, calls for resistance to police detentions and warns the Baltimore legal establishment that the Black community will be placing their "n..... wrenches" into the workings of the legal system, bringing it "to a dead halt." Item 10. Priced at $450.

 

Bair has a group of give-for-the cause-posters from the Second World War. Most cover the expected sort of sacrifices – buy war bonds, become an army nurse, keep your lips sealed about where your soldier is traveling, don't pay more than set prices for goods, observe rationing, work hard at your jobs, be careful not to get injured and lose work time, volunteer to pick crops. Here is one that is a bit more obscure. Item 144 features a woman carrying a bag of groceries in one arm, some packages in the other. She is superimposed over some soldiers carrying rifles and backpacks. The caption says, I'll carry mine too! Trucks and tires must last till victory. Walking to the grocery store might save a little wear on your tires, but judging by the armful of bags and boxes this woman is carrying, one wonders whether she could have carried this load by hand far enough to make much of a difference on her tires. $450.

 

Left wing groups have generally fought for the rights of all sorts of downtrodden minorities. This next group isn't exactly a minority, though they certainly have been abused as much as anyone. Item 155 is Animals' Rights Considered in Relation to Social Progress. Concern for animal rights was a long time coming, though today they finally do have some spokesmen. However, this book by Henry Salt and Albert Leffingwell, an 1894 first American Edition (first published in London in 1892), was a pioneer. It is the first work focused explicitly on animal rights. Salt was a socialist as well as antivivisectionist and opponent of blood sports such as fox hunting. A book he wrote about Henry Thoreau was acknowledged as influential on his theories of nonviolence by Gandhi. This copy is inscribed by coauthor Albert Leffingwell to Rev. Charles Wesley Leffingwell, a relative of some sort. $500.

 

In the first half of the 20th century, there were many people who built reputations as walkers, sort of slower versions of Forest Gump. They would walk great distances, either for a cause or simply as a means to earn a living. They would sell photo cards or other memorabilia or simply ask for donations as they walked from town to town. One such man was Nebrasker Williams. Not even the vast archives of the internet reveal much information about Nebrasker. He claimed to have walked tens of thousands of miles. Sometimes he was accompanied by his wife and sister. Usually he had a dog, notably "Big Boy," though these changed as Williams walked for years beyond the lifetime of any one dog. He described his starting point as London, but also Louisiana. At one point, he described his wife as an African Queen and said he had met with Gandhi. He also said he spent a month in jail in Louisiana until his wife fashioned a key out of a spoon and they made their escape. It is not for me to question the veracity of Nebrasker's claims, though he didn't offer much proof of them at the places he stopped. However, it must be said that Nebrasker Williams must have been an amazing man. Unlike most other walkers, Williams was black, and walking the country, including the South, in the 1920's – 1940's could not have been easy for a man of his color. His claimed imprisonment in Louisiana, he said, was because officials there did not like to see him walking with his sister, whom he said was much lighter skinned. Item 53 is a signed photographic card stock blotter of Williams and one of his dogs, with a sign saying "From Shreveport LA to Boston Mass. Hiking in 90 days." Williams has signed it and also written in pencil "left home June 4, 1924." $250.

 

Item 55 is a remarkable copy of Woody Guthrie's American Folksong. It contains a watercolor inscription to "Lily + Sandy" dated 16 June 1947 from the "Guthrie Outfit." Additionally, there is a long, rambling inscription on the forward margin of each page. In it, he recalls that his daughter Cathy was born the night he first met "$andy" and heard him/her play the piano. Guthrie says it makes him think about how several good things can happen on one night, only to have several sad things happen on another. He was evidently recalling that only a few months earlier, Cathy had died in a freak electrical fire. Bair has not been able to identify Lily and Sandy, though they may be "orientals." Guthrie met them in the basement of "Dave and Ethyl," who similarly are not further identified. It was only a few weeks later that Guthrie's second child, Arlo, was born. $17,500.

 

Lorne Bair Rare Books may be reached at 540-665-0855 or info@lornebair.com. Their website is www.lornebair.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Sergio Trujillo Magnenat, <i>Bogotá 1938 / IV Centenario / Juegos Deportivos Bolivarianos,</i> 1938. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>McQueen Drives Porsche,</i> designer unknown, 1970. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>Joe Bridge, <i>Bignan / A Des Ailes,</i> 1921. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Graham Simmons, <i>The Army Isn’t All Work,</i> 1919. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Je ne fume que le nil,</i> 1912. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>Attack of the 50 ft. Woman,</i> designer unknown, 1958. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Raymond Tooby, <i>Festival Guiness / Have You Tried One Yet?,</i> 1952. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Francisco Tamagno, <i>Terrot & Co. / Dijon / Cycles Motorettes,</i> 1909. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>A. Hori, Oakland / General Motors, circa 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines!,</i> circa 1918. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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