Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2017 Issue

A Selection for the Fair from B & L Rootenberg Fine & Rare Books

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Some remarkable books for the fair.

B & L Rootenberg Fine & Rare Books recently prepared a catalogue of A Selection of Books and Works on Paper Exhibited at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair. There is a some remarkable content in this selection of slightly over 100 items. Anything may show up in this group, but we do note they are mostly a few centuries old, and there is much in the way of science or pseudoscience. Still, there are important items that don't fit that description, such as a first edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. You need to look for yourself, but here are a few samples.

 

We start with a how-to guide, though I'm not sure whether this is an item from science, medicine, or theology. Item 18 is Manuale Exorcistarum by Candido Brognolo. This 1651 guide is a manual for conducting an exorcism. It was written for clergymen so they could properly perform the procedure. Rootenberg explains, "the Author, who specialized in the process of identification and diagnosis of possessions of preternatural origin, analyzes the unmistakable signs of the possession, providing detailed descriptions of the symptoms of the presence of evil, detailed formulae for the recognition of the state of demoniacal possession, for the discovery of the demon's name, for the cause of the possession, and most importantly the step-by-step directions for the expulsion of the demons." Brognono also provides guidelines for what not to do, such as beating the possessed in a cruel and ferocious manner. This sounds like a very useful book. Priced at $4,500.

 

Here is a man who church authorities must have believed needed a good exorcising of his demons - Galileo. Galileo was permitted to write a book comparing the Copernican theory of a heliocentric solar system to the traditional, church accepted earth centered model, so long as he didn't advocate for Copernicus' theory. Galileo wrote such a book, his famous Dialogo, a dialogue between persons representing the competing viewpoints. However, it took little imagination to recognize that Galileo was advocating Copernicus' position. Church authorities saw right through it and the great astronomer was put on trial. He was convicted, and while spared the typical brutal punishments of the day, he was in effect placed on house arrest for the rest of his life, and denied the right to speak his views. Item 41 is a first edition, first issue of Galileo's Dialogo, published in 1632. $40,000.

 

While biblical authority was the common explanation for why Galileo was wrong, some attempted to marshal scientific evidence against his theory as well. One such man was Jacques Grandami, a physicist and astronomer friendly with many scientists of his day, but also a Jesuit father. Item 45 is his book, Nova demonstratio immobilitatis terrae petita ex virtuta magnetica, published in 1645. Clearly, Grandami had already reached his conclusions and looked for scientific evidence to back those preconceived notions, rather than to reach an objective conclusion. Nonetheless, it was at least an effort. Grandami was familiar with magnetism and conducted experiments with magnetic spheres in water which led him to believe that magnetic spheres do not rotate. He was well aware that the earth was a giant magnetic sphere, so therefore, he concluded, the earth cannot spin on its axis and create an illusion that the sun is revolving around the earth. The sun must actually be doing that. $12,000.

 

Years after Grandami's refutation, actually more than two centuries later, Rev. Christopher Alderson had some more creative explanations for the motion of the sun and many other matters of scientific importance. Upset by such things as acceptance of the theory of evolution, Rev. Alderson was ruminating on these issues when suddenly it came to him. Actually, the answers were sort of delivered to him. They came from Moses. Alderson described them in The Aldersonian-Mosaic system of creation, or, the supposed cause of Earth’s rotation on her axis, or the day and night motion of our planet; and also of other divine, wise and benevolent physical laws, clearly seen in God’s creation within our world and the solar system, published in 1880. Alderson explained that he called it the Alderson-Mosiac system rather than just the Mosaic system as he didn't want Moses to be blamed for any errors of calculation he made. I'm sure Moses would have appreciated the concern. Alderson explains all the major issues of science of the day, including that the earth is enclosed in a glass sphere, the moon is inhabited, the sun is not a separate body but electricity reacting with the earth's atmosphere, and light does not travel at nearly so high a speed as has been calculated. Who knew that Moses was crazy? Item 1. $550.

 

Item 66 includes nine issues of the French scientific journal Comptes rendus hebdonadaires des sciences de l'academie des sciences, from 1846. One of them contains a major astronomical discovery – Recherches sur les mouvements d'Uranis, by Urbain Le Verrier. What Le Verrier concluded by calculating the movements of Uranus was that there must be another planet out there. He concluded this strictly from applying mathematical formulas to those movements. Newton's law of gravity explained how Uranus should move, but astronomers found slight variations. Using his formulas, Le Verrier calculated Uranus must be experiencing the pull of an otherwise unknown and unseen planet to experience these variations. He further calculated where that planet must be, and then sent a notice to a Berlin observatory telling them where to look. Voila! They discovered Neptune. $6,500.

 

B & L Rootenberg Fine & Rare Books may be reached at 818-788-7765 or blroot@rootenbergbooks.com. Their website is www.rootenbergbooks.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>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Documents, The Library of Dawson Turner<br>4 March 2020</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Beck (Henry). <i>London Underground Transport,</i> 1934. Iconic original poster. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Turner (Dawson, 1775-1858). ‘Journal of a Three Weeks' Tour, with Thos. Phillips’, 1815. Unpublished illustrated manuscript. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Sander (Frederick). <i>Reichenbachia,</i> 4 volumes, 1st edition, 1886-95. Ex libris Sir David Salomons (1797-1873). £3,000 to £5,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Documents, The Library of Dawson Turner<br>4 March 2020</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Mary I, Queen of England (1516-1558). Illuminated grant of arms on vellum to John Hombreston, 1554. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Restoration London. Album of important autographs, c.1660-90. Including a letter from Sir William Petty to John Evelyn. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Levellers. <i>The Womens Petition to Over Cromwell,</i> 1651. Extremely rare broadside, 2 copies in libraries. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Documents, The Library of Dawson Turner<br>4 March 2020</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Catherine of Siena. <i>Lettere devotissime,</i> Venice, 1562. Ex libris Giacomo Castelvetro (1546-1616), with marginalia. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Kane (Brig. Gen. Richard, 1666-1732). ‘A Plan of the Town, Mountain and Bay of Gibraltar’, 1712. Pen and ink and watercolour. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Costa (Emanuel Mendes da). <i>A Natural History of Fossils,</i> 1st edition, 1757. £600 to £800.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Documents, The Library of Dawson Turner<br>4 March 2020</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Blaeu (Johannes). <i>Britannia Anglo-Saxonum,</i> c.1646. £700 to £1,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Donne (John). <i>Devotions,</i> 1st edition, 1624. Contemporary vellum gilt, £700 to £1,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Baden-Powell (Robert). <i>Scouting for Boys,</i> 1st edition, 1908. £800 to £1,200.

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