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, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €
  • <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Harriet Tubman Cabinet Card by H.S. Squyer, Auburn, NY, 1892. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Scarce <i>Events of the Tulsa Disaster,</i> First Edition, 1922. $4,000 to $6,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Unpublished CDV of Frederick Douglass by Benjamin F. Smith, 1864. $3,000 to $5,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> California Imprint of <i>President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation</i> Broadside, 1864. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> John C.H. Grabill Cabinet Card of Buffalo Soldier Wearing Buffalo Coat, ca 1886. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare <i>What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking,</i> 2nd Cookbook Published by African American. $6,000 to $8,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Frederick Douglass Walking Stick, 1888. $3,000 to $5,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Only Known Slave Narrative Published Independently in California, <i>Life and Adventures of James Williams.</i> $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare First Edition of History of Black Literature, Abbé Grégoire <i>De La Littérature des Nègres</i>. $2,500 to $3,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> African American Soldier and Medal of Honor Winner Christian A. Fleetwood CDV, PLUS. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries Pennant, 1910 Reno, Nevada. $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Joe Gans Photograph at 1906 Goldfield, Nevada Fight by Percy Dana. $600 to $800
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Sense and Sensibility: A Novel, By a Lady,</i> 3 volumes, London, 1811. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Virginia Woolf, <i>Kew Gardens,</i> limited edition, signed by Woolf & Bell, London, 1927. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> <i>[Arabian Nights],</i> Calcutta II version, 4 volumes, Calcutta & London, 1839-1842. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 ALS to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor, anticipating Christie’s sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Emma,</i> first edition, London, 1816. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Hirohito & Nagako, Emperor & Empress of Japan, 2 photographs signed, showing Nagako in kimono & obi bearing the imperial seal. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 autograph letters signed to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor Elizabeth Tilberis, anticipating Christie’s announcement of a sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Sarojini Naidu, complete galley proof of <i>The Broken Wing</i> signed with several holograph pages & an autograph letter signed to writer Edmund Gosse, 1916. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Fernando Pessoa, <i>Mensagem,</i> first edition, presentation copy, signed & inscribed, Lisbon, 1934. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Graham Greene, <i>The Basement Room,</i> first edition, Greene’s personal copy, signed with annotations throughout, London, 1935. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Abraham Lincoln, partly-printed document signed, call for troops issued during America’s first national draft just days before the NYC draft riots, 1863. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b><br><i>Les Chansons de Bilitis</i> by Pierre Louÿs, illustrated by George Barbier & F.L. Schmied, Paris, 1922. $8,000 to $12,000.

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