Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2018 Issue

The Arctic from Patrick McGahern Books

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Arctica.

One thing you can count on from Canadian bookseller Patrick McGahern Books is catalogues that are cool. Actually, more than that – they are cold. This is true of their number 261, Arctica. It is filled with explorations and other visits to the land of endless winter. Even when the sun shines 24 hours a day, it is cold. And yet, people continued to make the trek, or voyage, to these far northern lands in the 19th century, long before reliable winter heating, supplies, or transportation could be counted upon. Here are a few of their tales, and other items from the Arctic.

 

It was long a hope of the British to find a Northwest Passage, a shorter route to Asia that did not require going all the way around the southern tip of South America or Africa. It was an elusive goal. The early attempts were made heading west, through Hudson Bay. By the 17th century, reports were that no such route existed. After a century of discouragement, they tried again. Item 13 is an account of the 18th century attempt, under the leadership of Capt. William Moor, A Voyage to Hudson's-Bay, by the Dobbs Galley and California, in the Years 1746 and 1747, for discovering a North West Passage... This account was written by the hydrographer and surveyor, Henry Ellis, and published in 1748. The expedition proved conclusively that there was no route through Hudson Bay, discouraging further investigations for almost another century, when explorers began looking for a more northerly route. Ellis' book also provides much information about the area, particularly the native population, of which little was known at the time. Priced at CA $2,000 (Canadian dollars, or approximately $1,554 in U. S. dollars).

 

John Ross led one of the early attempts to find a Northwest Passage in the 19th century by traveling well north of Hudson Bay. His account can be found in A Voyage of Discovery made under the Orders of the Admiralty, in His Majesty's Ships Isabella and Alexander, for the purpose of Exploring Baffin's Bay, and Inquiring into the probability of a North West Passage, published in 1819. Ross rediscovered Baffin Bay and confirmed the reports of William Baffin's discovery two centuries earlier. However, when he attempted to continue west through Lancaster Sound north of Baffin Island, he was turned back by a range of mountains. Or at least he thought he was. Ross named them the "Crocker Mountains," but unless you visit under the right atmospheric conditions, you will not see these mountains. They were but a mirage. Others on the trip so informed Ross, but he was unconvinced and returned to England. The result was that the admiralty never gave him another command. Ross sailed to the Arctic waters twice more, but these times under private sponsorship. Item 50. CA $7,500 (US $5,828).

 

Item 49 is an autograph document signed by Sir John Ross. It may be a little hard to decipher unless you read Swedish. Ross served as British Consul to Stockholm from 1839-1846. That was a good place to serve for someone who appreciated cold weather as much as Ross evidently did. It lists some stolen items, including gold, silver and china, and their values. It was signed by Ross in 1839. CA $150 (US $116).

 

Item 59 is Travel and Adventure in the Territory of Alaska, formerly Russian America – Now Ceded to the United States – and in various other parts of the North Pacific. This is a publisher's presentation copy of the first edition, published in 1868, of a book written by Frederick Whymper. Alaska may have been U.S. territory when the book was completed, but not when Whymper arrived. Whymper was part of the Russian-American Overland Telegraph Expedition of 1865-1866. That is itself an odd story. When the initial attempt to run a telegraph cable from America to Europe under the Atlantic failed, Western Union got the idea to take a route that required fewer miles underwater. The route from America to Europe requiring the shortest distance underwater runs from Alaska to Siberia. Unfortunately, it also requires far more overland coverage through some very harsh climates. The route ran from San Francisco through Oregon and Washington, British Columbia, Russian Alaska, under the Bering Sea, across Siberia, and on to Moscow. From there it could hook up with existing cables east to Europe. However, the plan was abandoned when a cable was run successfully under the Atlantic. Nevertheless, Whymper got to see Alaska, including its takeover by America, the Yukon, and eastern Russia. CA $450 (US $349).

 

There was a way to see the north without enduring the hardships and cold. You could view this two-hour illustrated lecture – All about Alaska the Klondike Gold Fields and the Wonderful Talking Machine. Item 5 is a large broadside on pink paper which featured the machine that "Talks Laughs Plays Sings." Today we would call it a phonograph, but in 1898, before the Victor Talking Machine Company started producing the machines for the public, this was still an amazing invention. As the poster explains, "The reproduction of the voice in either song or speech is so natural and the articulation so distinct that anyone would believe it a human being except that they knew the difference, and its reproduction of instrumental music is phenomenal." It continues, "Special arrangements have been made for magnifying the sound, so that all may hear the entire concert while comfortably seated in any part of the hall." These were the days before electronic amplification, so they had to use the technology of a megaphone to make the sound heard. Meanwhile, "50 Magnificent Views" would be "Projected from the Magic Lantern." We have come a long way in a relatively short period of time. This poster has room to add the date, place, and price of the performance but they have not been filled in. CA $900 (US $699).

 

Patrick McGahern Books may be reached at 613-230-2277 or books@mcgahernbooks.ca. Their website is www.mcgahernbooks.ca.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Sotheby’s New York<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts Online<br>Ending December 17</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s Online, Now - Dec 17:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies…</i> The Second Impression. 1632. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Online, Now - Dec 17:</b> GEORGE CURZON, 1ST MARQUESS CURZON OF KEDLESTON. “Curzon Tiger Hunt.” [India: circa 1901]. 120 albumen photographs. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Online, Now - Dec 17:</b> (CASSADY, NEAL). Kerouac, Jack. <i>On the Road.</i> New York: Viking Press, 1957. Inscribed. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Online, Now - Dec 17:</b> VEGA, JOSEPH PENSO DE LA. <i>Confusion de Confusiones. Dialogos curiosos entre un Philosopho agudo, un Mercader discrete...</i> Amsterdam, 1688. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Online, Now - Dec 17:</b> RACKHAM, ARTHUR — [WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE]. "The Moon Like to a Silver Bow New-Bent in Heaven," original illustration for <i>A Midsummer Night's Dream.</i> $12,000 to $18,000
  • <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> KNIGHT, HILARY. The Original Portrait of Eloise that Hung at the Plaza Hotel. $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> WARHOL, ANDY. "Iced Lemon Delight," an Original Watercolor Presented to Hilary Knight's cat, Phoebe $8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> SENDAK, MAURICE. <i>Where the Wild Things Are.</i> PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED with drawing to Hilary Knight in the month following publication. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> NOLAND, KENNETH. Original circle painting, untitled, acrylic and ink on cloth, for cover of monograph $8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> TOULOUSE-LAUTREC. <i>Histoires Naturelles,</i> 1899. With 22 original lithographs. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>A Collection of Poems,</i> [1711]. The first authoritative and complete collected Sonnets.$15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> LONDON, JACK. <i>The Call of the Wild.</i> 1903. First edition, first state jacket. $2,000 to 3,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> FROST, ROBERT. Autograph Manuscript of "Build Soil," 12 pp, 1932-1936. $15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> GOULD, GLENN. Glenn Gould's extensively annotated copy of Bach's Goldberg Variations $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> PLATH, SYLVIA. EARLY Autograph Letter Signed, about her beginnings as a writer, Northampton, MA, 1951. $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> HOUDINI, HARRY. A collection of 11 cast iron shackle and lock items from Houdini's personal collection. $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> M4 ENGIMA MACHINE, with very rare RARE HYDRA KEY ENVELOPE. $400,000 to 600,000
  • <center><b>Doyle: Angling Books from the Collection of Arnold "Jake” Johnson<br>Online Only Auction ending Dec. 18</b>
    <b>Doyle, Arnold “Jake” Johnson Online-Only Auction, ending Dec 18:</b> WETZEL, CHARLES M. American Fishing Books. $400 to $600
    <b>Doyle, Arnold “Jake” Johnson Online-Only Auction, ending Dec 18:</b> BISSELL, ALFRED E., <i>In Pursuit of Salar.</i> $400 to $600
    <b>Doyle, Arnold “Jake” Johnson Online-Only Auction, ending Dec 18:</b> <i>The Settler and Sportsman in Anticosti.</i> $400 to $600
    <center><b>Doyle: Angling Books from the Collection of Arnold "Jake” Johnson<br>Online Only Auction ending Dec. 18</b>
    <b>Doyle, Arnold “Jake” Johnson Online-Only Auction, ending Dec 18:</b> CARLETON, HENRY GUY, <i>Advice to Young Anglers.</i> $300 to $500
    <b>Doyle, Arnold “Jake” Johnson Online-Only Auction, ending Dec 18:</b> ROBINSON, ROLAND EVANS, <i>Forest and Stream Fables. By Awahsoose the Bear.</i> $300 to $500
    <b>Doyle, Arnold “Jake” Johnson Online-Only Auction, ending Dec 18:</b> SAWADA, KEN, <i>The Art of the Classic Salmon Fly.</i> $300 to $500
    <center><b>Doyle: Angling Books from the Collection of Arnold "Jake” Johnson<br>Online Only Auction ending Dec. 18</b>
    <b>Doyle, Arnold “Jake” Johnson Online-Only Auction, ending Dec 18:</b> SOUTHARD, CHARLES ZIBEON, <i>The Evolution of Trout and Trout Fishing in America.</i> $400 to $600
    <b>Doyle, Arnold “Jake” Johnson Online-Only Auction, ending Dec 18:</b> SOUTHARD, CHARLES ZIBEON, <i>Trout Fly-Fishing in America.</i> $400 to $600
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Jean de Mandeville, <i>Reysen und Wanderschafften durch das Gelobte Land,</i> Strassburg, 1488. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> José González Cabrera Bueno, <i>Navegación Especulativa, y Práctica,</i> Manila, 1734. Sold for $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. Sold for $65,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Louise Bourgeois, <i>He Disappeared Into Complete Silence,</i> portfolio with complete text & 9 engravings, 1947. Sold for $413,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Erich Maria Remarque, <i>All Quiet on the Western Front,</i> first American edition, Boston, 1929. Sold for $9,375.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Sir William Russell Flint, gouache & watercolor illustration for Homer's <i>Odyssey,</i> 1924. Sold for $22,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Kurt Vonnegut, archive of 12 letters, signed to his family, 6 illustrated, 1930s-40s. Sold for $12,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Oscar Wilde, <i>Lady Windermere's Fan,</i> first edition, presentation copy, signed & inscribed, London, 1893. Sold for $27,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Emil Cardinaux, <i>St. Moritz,</i> 1918. Sold for $17,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> R.J. Waters, 3 panoramas of the San Francisco earthquake & fire, 1906. Sold for $21,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Album with 200 cartes-de-visite, including images by Felice Beato, John Thompson & F.W. Sutton, Japan & China, 1863-69. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. Sold for $40,000.

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