Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2016 Issue

A Variety to be Found in Jeff Weber's Bookseller's Cabinet

From bookseller Jeff Weber's cabinet.

Jeff Weber Rare Books has issued their Catalogue 181 Bookseller's Cabinet. What's in the bookseller's cabinet? Turns out there are four types of not closely related material. Weber carries many other varieties of books, but his cabinet holds four categories: Americana & California; Early Printed Books; Fine Printing, Books on Books, Illustrated & Literature; and Sports, Pastimes & Etc. There are books from very old to quite recent, with many well within the reach of even a beginning collector. Here are a few samples of the books you will find.

 

We begin with a piece of notable Californiana. On January 24, 1848, James Marshall was building a water-powered sawmill for John Sutter. James S. Brown was part of the "Mormon Battalion" working on the mill. Marshall wrote a book about the event, and another was finally prepared many years later. That would be James Brown's account published in 1894: California Gold. An Authentic History of the First Find With the Names of Those Interested in the Discovery. According to Brown, Marshall picked a few tiny pieces of something from the water and exclaimed to the others, "Boys, I have got her now." The other men weren't very interested, but Brown says he took the largest piece and tested it with his teeth. When it did not give, he proclaimed, "Gold, boys, gold." The Gold Rush was on. Only 55 copies were reported to have been printed of this small book. Item 1. Priced at $3,500.

 

William Pemble was a Puritan theologian who wrote at least 11 books, many popular at the time (though not now). All were published after he died in 1623 at the age of just 32. His tutor and mentor had them published. This book strays from his typical theological treatise, though the influences of his religious beliefs affect some of his conclusions. Item 25 is A Briefe Introduction to Geography containing a Description of the Grounds and generall Part thereof, very necessary for young Students in that Science, published in 1630. Pemble sought not to provide the usual geography describing specific lands and coasts, but rather to speak of more general properties, such as climate zones, longitude and latitude, and the nature of general features such as mountains, oceans, and continents. Pemble concluded that the earth and water are round. As he noted, it is not square, "nor three-cornered, nor Piramidall, nor conical on Tapperwise, nor Cylindricall...nor hollow like a dish." He did not consider mountains and valleys contradictory to the earth's roundness as those are incidental variations, and the roundness of water is demonstrated by watching a ship at sea dip below the horizon. However, he did not accept Copernicus' theory that the earth revolves around the sun. He stated that the earth is immovable, a conclusion he was able to reach from personal observation. Never believe your eyes. $2,500.

 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a brilliant student in college. He there determined his success in life would be based on literary accomplishments. He also wrote some minor poems that were published in magazines, to no great account. However, his talents quickly got him a job as a professor, and his literary talents were put to work translating European texts. That's where he stood at the age of 32 when he published his first book of poetry. It contained numerous translations of others' poems, but also nine of his own. It was an immediate success, and Longfellow was on the journey that would make him America's most popular and beloved poet in the 19th century. Item 69 is a copy of Longfellow's first book of poems, Voices of the Night. This is not the first edition, which was published in 1839, but an 1845 issue printed to meet the continuing demand. In time, though Longfellow's name continues to be well known, his poetry lost its earlier luster, now being seen more as unoriginal and derivative of European styles. Nonetheless, his contemporaries did not feel that way about him, treating him with the honor of one of America's greatest statesmen. $25.

 

The best known exploration of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon was conducted by John Wesley Powell in the 1870's, but it was not the first. In 1857, Joseph Christmas Ives (so named because he was born on Christmas day) headed an official expedition up the river. Unlike Powell, who was taking on the more treacherous rapids from the north, Ives built a steamboat and went upstream from the river's mouth. He made it to the canyon, and then set out by land to Fort Defiance in today's Colorado with his report. Ives reported on the geology, botany, and native tribes living in the area. He was more interested in the land's practical uses than its beauty, concluding the dry barren land wasn't good for much of anything. Item 6 is the Senate version of his account, Report upon the Colorado River of the West, explored in 1857 and 1858 by Lieutenant Joseph C. Ives... published in 1861. This copy includes various associated reports, illustrations by his accompanying artist German Heinrich Balduin (Baldwin) Mollhausen, and maps of the canyon by topographer Frederick W. von Egloffstein. Item 6. $1,400.

 

We conclude with a recent book containing detailed information concerning a unique form among the book arts – for-edge paintings. These are those remarkable paintings drawn upon the fore-edges of books, requiring an unusual skill. The title is An Annotated Dictionary of Fore-Edge Painting Artists & Binders (Mostly English & American). The Fore-Edge Paintings of Miss C. B. Currie; with a Catalogue Raisonné. The author is bookseller Jeff Weber himself, the work published in 2010. With 432 pages and many illustrations (along with being signed by the author), you won't find a more detailed treatise on the subject. It contains essays on the history of the art and the challenges it entails, and a comprehensive dictionary of every artist and binder known to create fore-edge paintings. Finally, there is a section on Ms. C. B. Currie, perhaps the most prolific of all fore-edge painters, but about whom little is known. She probably painted close to 200 fore-edges in the early 20th century, working with bookseller Sotheran's and bookbinders, and her name is known because, unlike most who preceded her, she signed and numbered her paintings. However, virtually nothing is known of her personal life. $400.

 

Jeff Weber Rare Books may be reached at 323-344-9332 or weberbks@pacbell.net. Their website is found at www.WeberRareBooks.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: U.S. / European Shipping Archive 1800-1814. The Widow Bermingham & Sons Collection. €7,000 to €10,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Bunreacht na hÉireann. Constitution of Ireland. An important copy of the First Printing of De Valera’s new Constitution, approved in 1938. Signed by the Constitution Cabinet. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: A Rare Complete Run of the Cuala Press Broadsides. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Grose (Francis). The Antiquities of Ireland, 2vols. folio London (for S. Hooper) 1791. Magnificent Hand-Coloured Copy - Only 25 Copies. €3,000 to €5,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Cantillon (Richard). Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General, Traduit de l'Anglois, Sm. 8vo London (Fletcher Gyles) 1756. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Gregory, (Lady Augusta). Spreading the News: The Rising of the Moon: The Poorhouse (with Douglas Hyde). Being Vol. IX of the Abbey Theatre Series. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Lavery (Lady Hazel). A moving series of three A.L.S. and a Telegram to Gen. Eoin O'Duffy, July-August 1927, expressing her grief at the death of Kevin O'Higgins. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Dampier (Wm.) Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde, ou l'on descrit en particulier l'Isthme de l'Amerique…, 2 vols. in one, Amsterdam, 1698. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Howell (James). Instructions for Forreine Travel Shewing by what Cours, and in what Compasse of Time…, London, 1642. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 8vo, L. (Bloomsbury) 1999, First Edn., First Printing of Deluxe Collectors Edn. Signed. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: James (Wm.) A Full and Correct Account of the Military Occurrences of The Late War Between Great Britain and The United States of America. 2 vols. Lond. 1818. €650 to €900.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: The Laws of the United States, Published by Authority, 3 vols. Philadelphia (Richard Folwell) 1796. €600 to €800.
  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.
  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: RARE AUTOGRAPH OF AMERICAN NAVAL HERO CAPTAIN JAMES MUGFORD. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A SIGNED HART CRANE BROOKLYN BRIDGE POSTCARD TO EDWARD DAHLBERG. $600 - $800
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY THE "QUEEN OF WALL STREET," HETTY GREEN. $700 - $900

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