Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2019 Issue

Legal Books, Manuscripts, and Ephemera from the Lawbook Exchange

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Law books, manuscripts, and ephemera.

The Lawbook Exchange has released a new catalogue of Books, Manuscripts & Ephemera 15th to 20th Centuries with Many New Arrivals. This is a thick catalogue with over 150 items, each well described and illustrated. They range from the more legalistic types of treatises to accounts of sensational trials that everyone wanted to read about in their day. There is also a selection of very old law books, early printed editions of texts, some of which first appeared centuries before the invention of printing in manuscript form. This is an exciting collection of the law for both legal scholars and laymen fascinated by the workings of the law. Here are a few samples.

 

We begin with the earliest compilation of English case law, one that predates printing by a couple of centuries. However, this is the first printed edition, published in 1569. The title is De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Angliae... (on the laws and customs of England), the author Henry de Bracton. It was written between 1250 and 1256. De Bracton was an English jurist, and his work shows the influence of Roman law, but with an English character. De Bracton separated substantive from procedural issues, and while previous decisions did not yet constitute case law, he provided the reasoning behind prior cases, making their use as precedent a logical conclusion. This work is generally considered the best English legal work of the Middle Ages. Item 18. Priced at $12,500.

 

Fast forward five centuries and we have the most notable commentary on English law ever written. We can add American law as well, as it is an offshoot of English law, and item 12 is a first American edition of Commentaries on the Laws of England. The author was William Blackstone, and this work is generally just known as Blackstone's Commentaries. It was published in 1771-72. Even after the Revolution, Blackstone's Commentaries remained the premier law text in America, since there was no separate American law at the time. It continued to play that role through most of the 19th century. It comes in four volumes, the final one including the 839-name subscriber list, which included John Adams, John Jay, John Dickinson, and sixteen signers of the Declaration of Independence. $12,500.

 

Poetry is not always uplifting, as this miserable title painfully reveals: A Poem of the Depressing and Afflictive Death of the Rev. Josiah M. Muspratt. Who Was Killed in an Awful Manner; Being Caught Up in the Machinery of Whitesborough Factory, Carried Up to the Floor Above by His Arm, Where it was Drawn from his Body, From Whence He Fell Again to the Floor, Torn and Lacerated in the Most Shocking Manner; May 1827. Welcome to the industrial age, Rev. Muspratt. That title really makes you want to read more. Rev. Muspratt was a Methodist minister as well as Superintendent at a weaving mill in Whitesborough, New York. The poem describes him as a Christian martyr who sought to save the souls of the factory workers. This broadside is attached (on top of) another broadside poetic masterpiece: The Dying Words, Confession, And Execution of Jesse Straang, For the Murder of John Whipple, at Albany, August 27, 1827. No more squeezing the Charmin for Mr. Whipple. John Strang (misspelled here with an extra "a") fell in love with Mrs. Whipple, Elsie Whipple, a member of the prominent Van Rensselaer family. They conspired to kill Mr. Whipple. Elsie was acquitted, but Jesse was not so fortunate. His hanging was the last public execution in Albany. Item 21. $1,750.

 

Item 108 is a first edition of Reformacion der Stat Nuremberg. This is the reformed legal code of the city of Nuremberg. It was enacted in 1479, though this first printed edition was issued in 1522. Nuremberg was a cultural center during the Renaissance, and its code reflects its position, straightforward and humanistic. However, it is not the first printing of this important legal code that is the most notable feature of this book. Rather, it is the full-page frontispiece illustration in it. It is the first appearance of Lady Justice in a book, and the artist was Nuremberg's great artist-son, Albrecht Durer. It originally had been issued as a separate print a year earlier. Lady Justice is depicted on one upper corner of the image with a sword in one hand, the famous scales in another. Across from her is Charity, who pours out coins from a purse near her heart. $12,500.

 

Next is a broadside from the Jim Crow era in the South, a racist attack on another racist, as political candidates jockeyed for position as the more anti-black candidate. Item 20 is unattributed but lithographed by F. A. Hull in 1904. It is an attack on Judge Francis D. Winston's campaign for Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina. Its headline screams out, A Sample of Democratic White Supremacy in North Carolina. Judge Winston's Dream of Riding the District with George H. White the Negro of "Inflooence." It depicts Winston riding in a carriage with a grotesquely racist stereotype of former Reconstruction-era Congressman George H. White, the last African American after his retirement in 1901 to serve in Congress until 1928, and the last from North Carolina until 1992. It continues by quoting a supposed letter from Winston to White while running for judge in 1890 describing the "remote possibility" of riding the district with White as "a great pleasure." It concludes by asking "Are the people of North Carolina going to elect Judge Francis D. Winston Lieutenant-Governor?" A bit of history is necessary to understand what is going on here. Winston had once been a Republican, and as such, presumably of relatively moderate views. However, perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, he switched to the Democratic Party by 1896 on account of the fusion between the Republicans and the Populists, which also included blacks among their small farmers and laborers. Winston then led one of the "Red Shirt" campaigns, the Red Shirts being a racist terror organization similar to the KKK. Winston promoted a "white supremacist" agenda. The broadside ridicules Winston by treating his "white supremacist" talk as if referring to black Congressman George White, rather than the white race. Winston was elected. $1,850.

 

The Lawbook Exchange may be reached at 732-382-1800 or law@lawbookexchange.com. Their website is www.lawbookexchange.com.

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  • <b>Koller International Auctions: Books [and] Manuscripts & Autographs. June 15, 2020</b>
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> INCUNABULA -Fridolin, Stephan. <i>Schatzbehalter.</i> With 96 (including 5 repeated) full-page text woodcuts. Nürnberg, 1491.<br>€ 39 470 / 57 020
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> Kokoschka, Oskar. <i>Die Träumenden Knaben (The Dreaming Boys).</i> With 11 original lithographs. Vienne, 1908.<br>€ 35 090 / 52 630
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> Third Bessarion Master (active in Lombard in the third quarter of the 15th century). Leaf from a gradual, 1455-60.<br>€ 21 930 / 30 700
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> Picasso, Pablo - Delgado, José alias Pepe Illo. <i>La Tauromaquia o arte de torear.</i> With 26 original aquatints and 1 original etching by Picasso.<br>€ 21 930 / 35 090
    <b>Koller International Auctions: Books [and] Manuscripts & Autographs. June 15, 2020</b>
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> Linschoten, Jan Huygen van. <i>Itinerario, Voyage ofte Schipvaert naer Oost ofte Portugaels Indien…</i> Amsterdam, 1595.<br>€ 17 540 / 26 320
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> CHILDREN’S BOOKS - Meggendorfer, Lothar. <i>Nah und Fern. Ein Tierbilderbuch zum Ziehen.</i> With 8 coloured, lithographed plates.<br>€ 530 / 790
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> DANSE MACABRE - Bille, Edmond. <i>Une Danse macabre.</i> With 20 coloured woodcuts. Lausanne, 1919. Large folio.<br>€ 610 / 880
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> Dexel, Walter. A collection of 7 invitation cards from the Kunstverein Jena, each typographically designed by W. Dexel. Jena, 1924-1928. Each 10.5 x 14.8 cm.<br>€ 530 / 790
  • <b>Gonnelli:</b> Books & Graphics 26th – 27th – 28th May 2020.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 27th, Travel and exploration.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 27th, Musical books, autographs & printed music.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 26th, A collection of Piranesi’s etchings. € 50 to € 16000.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 28th, Books from XV to XX Century.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 28th, Hansel and Gretel and other stories by the brothers Grimm illustrated by Kay Nielsen. € 1000.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 28th, Artists’ books from Dalì, Marini & others.
  • <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>June 23, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [SUPREME COURT JUSTICES]. A very extensive collection of 203 letters, documents and signatures. A COMPLETE COLLECTION OF THE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES, JOHN JAY THROUGH WILLIAM REHNQUIST. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> ZATTA, Antonio. <i>Atlante Novissimo.</i> Venice: Antonio Zatta, 1775-1785. ONE OF THE FINEST WORLD ATLASES issued in Italy in the 18th century. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [CHICAGO HISTORY] -- [COLUMBUS, Christopher]. Monumental historiated and embroidered panel of the MADE FOR THE 1893 COLUMBIAN EXHIBITION IN CHICAGO. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>June 23, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [MONASTERY HILL BINDING]. AINSWORTH, William Harrison. <i>Historical Romances.</i> Philadelphia, n.d. A fine early exhibition binding by the Monastery Hill Bindery. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM]. New York: Tiber Press, [1960]. 4 volumes. LIMITED EDITION, number 119 of 200 COPIES, EACH SIGNED BY THE POET AND ARTIST. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> GRATIANUS, the Canonist. <i>Decretum.</i> Venedig: Petrus de Plasiis, 25 January 1483. Second quarto edition. FIRST PAGE ILLUMINATED BY A CONTEMPORARY ARTIST. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>June 23, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [ABOLITIONISTS]. <i>William Lloyd Garrison. The Story of his Life.</i> New York, 1885. ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS FROM SEVERAL NOTABLE ABOLITIONISTS neatly bound in throughout. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> ANSON, George. <i>A Voyage round the World, In the Years 1740... 1744.</i> London: John and Paul Knapton for the author, 1748. FIRST EDITION. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> Blank railroad ledger, "Compagnie des Chemins de fer de l'Ouest" (spine title). N.p., 1909. A MONUMENTAL 20th-CENTURY ART NOUVEAU BINDING. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>June 23, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [MINIATURE ROOM] -- [FLEMING, John (1910-1987)]. Miniature of his 57th Street Library and Gallery. JOHN F. FLEMING'S BARONIAL 57TH STREET GALLERY. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [SANGORSKI & SUTCLIFFE BINDING]. CHESTERTON, G.K. <i>Five Types: A Book of Essays.</i> London, 1910. LIMITED EDITION, number 3 of 30 copies on vellum SIGNED BY GEORGE SUTCLIFFE. $400 to $500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. <i>When Adam Delved and Eve Span....</i> [Ancoats Brotherhood, 1894-5]. LIMITED EDITION, one of 250 copies printed. $500 to $700.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States, pamphlet, 1862. Sold May 7 for $11,875.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. Sold May 7 for $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> E. Simms Campbell, A Night-Club Map of Harlem, in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. Sold May 7 for $27,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. Sold May 7 for $17,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. Sold May 7 for $5,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> The Black Panther: Black Community News Service, 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. Sold May 7 for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike, silver print, 1968. Sold May 7 for $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> March For Freedom Now!, poster for a protest on the 1960 Republican Convention. Sold May 7 for $17,500.

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