Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2018 Issue

Medical Books, Ancient Artifacts, Japanese Interest and More from James Tait Goodrich

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Medical books and more.

James Tait Goodrich Antiquarian Books and Manuscripts has issued Catalogue Z-80 MMXVIII A.D. The subtitle provides more specificity: History of Medicine and Science, Pre-Columbian Artifacts, Medical Instruments and Antiques, Japanese and Oriental Books and Samurai Swords. The great majority of items are medical related, including some ancient artifacts and Japanese material, but not all. Samurai swords might be a stretch to call medical unless being used for a quick amputation. Since there is little of recent vintage here, you would be well advised not to follow the medical advice and teaching to the T, but they will show you how medical science evolved to where we are today. Here are a few samples from this catalogue.

 

We begin with a work that was definitely ahead of its time. The title is Tractatio Med. Curiosa, de Ortu & Occasu Transfusionis Sanguinis. The author was Georg Abraham Mercklin, the publication date 1679. It is a treatise on transfusions, a practice not successfully introduced until the 19th century. At this early date, experimenting was not limited to human to human but animal to human as well. We know how that worked out. Indeed, Mercklin expresses grave reservations on the efficacy of the procedure. As we now know, matching blood type is essential for successful transfusions, but it wouldn't be until almost two centuries later that these differences were understood. The success of a transfusion versus a bad reaction would have seemed random. The frontispiece displays three images of transfusions, two from humans, one from a sheep. The practice ended up being outlawed in some places, and otherwise shunted aside for over a century before again being seriously considered. This copy of Mercklin's work is bound with De aequilibrio mentis & corporis commentatio by Johann Melchois Verdries (1726), a German professor of physics and medicine. Item 184. Priced at $2,500.

 

Certainly one of the most important developments in medicine, even if it didn't actually heal anyone, was the invention of anesthesia. Surgery without it seems unimaginable today. Ether was first used in 1846, and a year later, James Young Simpson came back with this improvement. He found chloroform to be less irritating than ether. Item 255 is Simpson's Account of a new anaesthetic agent as a substitute for sulphuric ether in surgery and midwifery. He first applied it to a woman who had a history of difficult childbirth. However, despite its obvious benefits, Simpson encountered opposition to its use from conservative clergymen and physicians. They felt it ran counter to their biblical belief that labor pains were God's ordained punishment for Eve's sins, and ran a campaign to convince others to oppose this practice. Simpson had to turn to the non-scientific argument that God had put Adam to sleep while performing rib surgery upon him to create Eve. He was the first anesthetist. The objections diminished after Queen Victoria used chloroform to give birth in 1853. My best guess is that the righteous clergy and physicians who opposed anesthesia during childbirth were all men. Item 255. $5,500.

 

Here is another message for obstetricians that seems as obvious today as the one before, but also was rejected by many of I. P. Semmelweis' contemporaries. The title is Offener Brief an sammtliche Professoren der Geburtshilfe (open letter to all professors of obstetrics), published in 1862. Semmelweis' request was small. Wash your hands. He used chlorinated lime as a disinfectant when cleaning his hands, and he herein passionately urges other obstetricians to take similar steps. For the most part, they ignored his silly idea. Item 252. $2,950.

 

Item 147 is a handwritten medical consultation from three physicians who attended Victor Hugo on May 20, 1885. The handwriting is that of Germain Sée, while Sée, Emile Allix, and Alfred Vulpian have signed it. It reads (in French), "The night was rather agitated and disturbed by two bouts of oppression. This morning there is a sign of pulmonary congestion on the right side." Hugo was 83 years old by then and there wasn't much the doctors could do for him. He died two days later. Hugo was the great French writer known for such novels as Notre-Dame de Paris and Les Misérables. The letter is accompanied by a carte de visite photo of Hugo. $1,250.

 

That is nothing if you collect signatures of 19th century French physicians. Item 39 is a document from the Académie Royale de Médicine, dated 1846. It contains the names of 123 French physicians, all members of the Académie, along with their signatures. Goodrich has identified 30 of them and has biographies available on them. Item 39. $3,250.

 

Next is an item that feels distressingly applicable to our times. The title is Punch-Drunk Syndrome. The chronic trauma of encephalopathy of boxers. This book by Macdonald Critchley was published in 1949. At that time, boxing was more popular than it is today, and many boxers ended up "punch drunk," not performing mentally quite as they had before. While boxing no longer makes headlines very often for its adverse effects, the subject in recent years has become a major issue of debate with football players. They too suffer from the trauma of repeated blows to the head and often end up diminished as a result. This item is still timely. Item 74. $395.

 

James Tait Goodrich Antiquarian Books and Manuscripts may be reached at 845-359-0242 or James.Goodrich@Einstein.yu.edu.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>November 12-13, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> MACHIAVELLI, Niccolò. <i>Nicholas Machiavel's Prince. Also, The life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca…</i> Translated by Edward Dacres. London, 1640. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> FILSON, John. <i>The Discovery, Settlement and present State of Kentucke: and An Essay towards the Topography, and Natural History of that important Country…</i> Wilmington, Del.: James Adams, 1784. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> ELUARD, Paul. <i>Un poeme dans chaque livre.</i> Paris: Louis Broder, 1956. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>November 12-13, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> LEWIS, James Otto. [<i>Aboriginal Port Folio.</i> Philadelphia: Published by the Author, 1835-1836]. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> [ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS]. BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin. [Southern Netherlands (Ghent or Bruges), c.1460]. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> MORE, Thomas, Sir. <i>The Workes ... wrytten by him in the Englysh tongue.</i> Edited by William Rastell. London, 1557. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>November 12-13, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. MORRIS, William. <i>Love is Enough.</i> Hammersmith: The Kelmscott Press, 1897. $5,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> LINCOLN, Abraham. Autograph endorsement signed as President (“A. Lincoln”), 24 February 1863. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> WASHINGTON, George. Address panel with autograph free frank signed ("G:o Washington"), as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, 5 August 1777. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>November 12-13, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> GOREY, Edward. <i>The Beastly Baby.</i> N.p.: The Fantod Press, 1962. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> FROST, Robert. Photographic reproduction signed and inscribed ("Robert Frost”), to R.V. Thornton, 1955. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Nov. 12-13:</b> GOREY, Edward. <i>The Bug Book.</i> New York: Looking Glass Library, 1959. $500 to $700.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Book of Hours with Illuminated Miniatures, France, mid-15th century. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Conradus de Alemania [Halberstadt the Elder], <i>Concordantiae Bibliorum,</i> Strassburg, 1474. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Christopher Marlowe, <i>The Jew of Malta,</i> London, 1633. Earliest extant edition of this antiauthoritarian Elizabethan play. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b><br>Sir Isaac Newton, <i>The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy,</i> first edition in English, 2 volumes, London, 1729. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> John Rae, <i>Narrative of an Expedition to the Shores of the Arctic Sea in 1846 and 1847,</i> first edition, London, 1850. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Philip Pittman, <i>The Present State of the European Settlements on the Mississippi…,</i> first edition, London, 1770. $10,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Cyanotype of an anatomy class at Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1895. $300 to $400.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 27:</b> Equine veterinary formulary, manuscript on paper, East Earl, Pennsylvania, circa 1860. $400 to $600.
  • <b>Christie’s, Nov 3 :</b> REGAMEY, Felix (1844-1906). Unique drawing showing Verlaine and Rimbaud in London, September 1872. €70,000 to 100,000
    <b>Christie’s, Nov 3 :</b> LABORDE, Alexandre de (1773-1842). <i>Voyage pittoresque et historique de l’Espagne.</i> Paris : 1806-1820. €20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Christie’s, Nov 3 :</b> BOCCACE, Jean (1313-1375). <i>Il Decamerone…</i> Venise : Gabriele Giolito di Ferrari, 1542.<br>€ 12,000 to 15,000
    <b>Christie’s, Nov 3 :</b> LAMBERT, Yvon (1936). Full collection of writings from <i>Une rêverie émanée de mes loisirs.</i> Paris : 1992 - 2018. €50,000 to 70,000
    <b>Christie’s, Nov 3 :</b> JOUVE, Paul (1878-1973) -- KIPLING, Rudyard (1865-1936). <i>La Chasse de Kaa.</i> Paris : Javal & Bourdeaux, 1930. €2,000 to 3,000

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