Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2019 Issue

Lives from the Past Rediscovered by Langdon Manor Books

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Catalog 7 of the extraordinary.

Langdon Manor Books, purveyor of "the extraordinary history of the every day," has issued their Catalog 7. The material they offer, often archives, come from "ordinary" people, but no one is ordinary, and often these people are truly remarkable. Most are no longer living, but they lived interesting lives, and what they created and collected generally touches their most significant times. What we see here is fascinating, at times uplifting, at other times dark and foreboding. This is life. Here are a few examples.

 

We begin with a lengthy letter from a California Gold Rush prospector and entrepreneur, an optimistic tome with an unexpected, rather than happy, ending. Miles Palmerton sent this approximately 1,400-word letter home from Sacramento in 1851. He had come from Saratoga, New York. Palmerton writes that he started by owning a store in Fiddletown (west of Sacramento), abandoned it with $600 in his pocket, bought a claim, which he traded "for a horse and rode him out of the diggins for some better place." He next purchased a claim for a quartz mine with some partners, hit a vein, and sold shares in the mine. Palmerton noted, "That is the way with mining, a man may work a year and not more than make his board and then in a week make up for the whole year." He said he wouldn't sell his share for $5,000, and yet he quickly turned to looking for gold. "I believe there will be more gold taken out this summer than there has been taking for the last two years... There is gold all through the earth." Next, Palmerton writes of the wonders of California. "We can have vegetables fresh the year round in the valleys. We have no winters here. It is the greatest country for stock I ever saw...there is the prettiest valleys here I ever saw." He continues in that vein until returning to the other. "I will know in a few weeks how our vein will turn out and I will let you know if it proves to be rich and extensive. We have enough claimed for 100 fortunes." He did not let them know. The family never heard from Miles again. A note has been written on the margin in a different hand - "Last letter from Miles P - fate unknown - thought murdered. Item 13. Priced at $575.

 

Next we have a collection of over 100 lantern slide glass transparencies from Frank E. Moore's production of the Song of Hiawatha. Longfellow's poem was first turned into a performance at the turn of the century by Louis Olivier Armstrong. He put together a large cast of American natives, and created a play based on the poem which toured America and later spent six months in London. Armstrong came up with the idea while on a camping trip with Longfellow's daughters. He discontinued the show around 1905, but not too long thereafter, Moore came up with his own version. He too gathered a large cast of Indians from various tribes, east and west, but rather than have them speak, they simply acted while a narrator read the poem. They toured, performed traditional dances, wore native clothes, often pitched teepees along a stream and performed to audiences on the other side. These images were copyrighted in 1908 and appear to be taken from the show. In 1912, Moore used his show to create the first film using a cast of entirely Native Americans. It had a cast of 150. Parts of it have been lost, but the Library of Congress has an abridged version. Here is a clip from YouTube. We don't know when the performances were discontinued, but the latest reference Langdon Manor found came from 1914. Item 33. $4,500.

 

There is another Native American archive offered, but this one is too extensive to describe in a short review. It was compiled by Frank S. Cummings, an engineer from California who became friendly with Harry Goulding. Goulding had set up a trading post and lodge in Monument Valley, near the Arizona-Utah border and adjacent to Navajo land. Goulding succeeded in convincing John Ford to shoot several of his western movies in Monument Valley. Cummings was riding with Goulding one day when he stopped to give a ride to some Navajos making a long trek on foot back home. It was the start of a long friendship between Cummings, an amateur anthropologist, and various Navajo and other natives. This archive mainly comes from 1950 through the middle 1960s. It consists of over 1,000 photographs and slides, 17 hours of audiotape, and several hours of videos. The tapes contain numerous interviews, in English and native languages, many of aged tribe members recounting stories that went well back into the 19th century. They tell of forced movement, battles with both whites and Utes and other tribes, and the hardships of ordinary life they faced. The photograph on the cover of this catalogue is one of the thousand-plus in the collection. If this is of interest to you, you should contact Langdon Manor for more information as it is unlikely there is anything else quite like this. Item 32. $55,000.

 

This next photo album is not of an ordinary person. It documents a major trip by a President of the United States, to promote an idea that proved to be ahead of its time for his country. In September 1919, President Woodrow Wilson headed west on a trip to convince the American public to support the formation of the League of Nations. The Great War had been won, and Wilson believed the League could serve as a deterrent against future wars, providing a place to reconcile differences while providing for mutual defense of its members. However, the idea had much opposition, particularly from Republicans, who believed America would be giving up too much of its sovereignty. So, off went Wilson on a strenuous tour. This album documents his time in Seattle on September 13. The album has 118 leaves, each with a photograph printed on it. The President is seen on arrival, in a parade through the streets of Seattle, on ships in the harbor, along with numerous other photographs of ships, sailors, and other events of the day. Whatever success Wilson had with the public did not transfer to the Senate and he could not get America to join the League of Nations. Meanwhile, Wilson returned to the White House later that month exhausted, and on October 2, suffered a stroke. For the remainder of his term, Wilson was limited in his activities and many believe his wife was effectively President for the rest of his presidency. Item 71. $1,200.

 

The worst race riot in Arkansas history, perhaps the country, took place at this time. Black sharecroppers were meeting to consider organizing. The area around rural Elaine was 10-1 black, but white landowners held all the cards. They determined what the back farmers received for their cotton, and forced them to buy from overpriced plantation stores. The farmers were always in debt. A pair of deputized white men arrived at the meeting, shots were fired under unknown circumstances, one of the whites killed. Rumors were spread, with the help of the local press, that the blacks planned to kill all whites in the area. Five hundred to 1,000 whites, from the area and elsewhere arrived, and the killing started. By the end on October 1, 1919, 100-240 black people had been killed. Five whites died. Local and federal officials began arrests. They arrested 285 blacks, no whites. A total of 122 were indicted, 73 charged with murder, 12 convicted and sentenced to death. Eventually, six had their convictions overturned in state court, six by the U. S. Supreme Court. An account of this event from something other than a southern white perspective can be found in this rare book from 1920, The Arkansas Race Riot, by Ida B. Wells-Barnett. She was born a slave, became a journalist and founding member of the NAACP. She tells the real story, including of the beatings and electric shocks inflicted on the black prisoners. Item 5. $20,000.

 

That item tells the horror story in words. This simple photograph tells the story of racism in one horrible image. It is of Frank Embree of Fayette, Missouri, on July 22, 1899. He was accused of raping a white girl. Embree said he was innocent. He did not get a fair trial. He didn't get any trial. As too often the case, a mob abducted him from jail, and whipped him over 100 times. That is when this photograph was taken, his hands in shackles, clothes removed. Then the crowd, said to be of 1,000 people, lynched him. A few of those people can be seen behind Embree. In these days, when racism seems to have become more acceptable again, this photo is a stark reminder of where it can go. Item 4. $1,350.

 

Langdon Manor Books may be reached at 713-443-4697 or LangdonManorBooks@gmail.com. Their website is found at www.langdonmanorbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Walt Whitman. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> First edition, first issue, SIGNED in block letters by Whitman. 1855. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Isaac Newton's copy of John Greave's <i>Pyramidographia,</i> London, 1646. $50,000 to $70,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Colonel John Mosby. Robert E. Lee's autograph letter to Samuel Cooper reporting on Mosby's exploits, with Cooper's autograph note ordering his appointment to Major.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Gyula Halasz Brassai. Large archive of autograph and typed letters, over 260, to his family including his wife Gilberte, 1947-1978. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Archive of drawings and letters from Harper Lee to Charles Carruth, including an inscribed first edition of <i>To Kill a Mockingbird.</i> $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> VESALIUS, ANDREAS. 1514-1564. <i>De humani corporis fabrica libri septem.</i> Basel: Johannes Oporinus, June 1543. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. 1578-1657. <i>De motu cordis & sanguinis in animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Leiden: Joannis Maire, 1639. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> BERENGARIO DA CARPI, GIACOMO. 1460-1530. <i>Isagogae breves perlucide ac uberrimae in Anatomiam humani corporis.</i> Bologna: Benedictus Hectoris, 15 July 1523. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790. <i>Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America…</i> London, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> BENIVIENI, ANTONIO. 1443-1502. <i>De abditis nonnullis ac mirandis morborum et sanationum causis.</i>Florence: Filippo Giunta, 1507. $8,000 to $12,000
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Greco (Gioachino). <i>Primo modo del gioco de Partito…</i> Manuscript, France, 1624 or 1625. A collection of partiti, or 'chess problems' by one of the most important figures in the history of chess. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Herodotus. <i>Historiae,</i> translated into Latin by Lorenzo Valla and edited by Antonio Mancinelli. Venice, 1494. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Darwin (Charles). Autograph Letter signed to his cousin Reginald Darwin, Down, Beckenham, Kent, 27th March 1879. £12,000 to £18,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Nicolay (Nicolas de). <i>The Navigations, peregrinations and voyages, made into Turkie,</i> first edition in English, Imprinted at London by Thomas Dawson, 1585. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Saint-Exupéry (Antoine de). <i>The Little Prince,</i> number 66 of 525 copies signed by the author, 1943. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Catlin (George, 1796-1872). Tuch-ee, A Celebrated War Chief of the Cherokees, watercolour, [circa 1834]. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Genetics.- A collection of c.300 pamphlets on genetics comprising many of the major contributions from the first half of the 20th century. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> India.- Rajasthan.- Kota School (probably late 18th c.). Elephant in a landscape with chains around his feet, brush and black ink with opaque pigments. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Commelin (Caspar). <i>Horti medici Amstelaedamensis plantae rariores et exoticae,</i> first edition, 48 finely hand-coloured engraved plates, Leiden, F.Haringh, 1706. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Plague-water and cookery & medical recipes.- Jackson (Mrs Sarah). Medical and cookery recipes, manuscript in several hands, title and 134pp., 1688-1755. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Vernet (<i>After</i> Joseph, 1714-1789). <i>[Vues des ports de France],</i> sixteen plates (of 18), etchings and engravings by Charles Nicolas Cochin fils and Jacques Philippe Le Bas, [c.1760-1780]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Detmold (Edward Julius, 1883-1957). Parrots and Butterflies, watercolour. £2,500 to £3,500.
  • <b>Koller Auctions: Books & Autographs. March 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Koller Auctions, Mar 26:</b> Jacques Gamelin. <i>Nouveau recueil d'osteologie et de myologie, dessine d'apres nature...</i> 2 parts in 1 vol., large folio, 82 copper plates. CHF 12,000 to 18,000
    <b>Koller Auctions, Mar 26:</b> Melchior Pfintzing. <i>Die geverlicheiten und einsteils geschichten des loblichen streytparen...</i> 118 woodcut engravings, first edition. CHF 30,000 to 50,000
    <b>Koller Auctions, Mar 26:</b> Book of hours. Handwritten Latin text on vellum. With 17 large miniatures, Flanders, c.1460. CHF 70,000 to 90,000
    <b>Koller Auctions, Mar 26:</b> Maria Sibylla Merian. <i> Dissertatio de generatione et metamorphosibus insectorum Surinamensium,</i> 72 copper plates, Den Haag, 1726. CHF 60,000 to 90,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Princess Diana, group of 6 ALS to the editor of British Vogue, 1989-92. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Joseph Brant, Mohawk Chief, ALS, writing with news after pledging support to King George III against the American rebels, 1776. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Ulysses S. Grant, photograph dated & signed as President, portrait by Brady, 1875. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Alexander Graham Bell, ALS, accepting an invitation to tea during his only trip to Japan, 1898. $1,000 to $2,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Nikola Tesla, signature & date on his monogrammed correspondence card, 1935. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Richard Wagner, ALS, concerning his opera Rienzi, 1869. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, autograph note signed, requesting the address of Yvette Guilbert, 1895. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Claude Monet, ALS, to painter Harry Lachman, complaining that his vision has not improved, 1920s. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Friedrich Hölderlin, autograph manuscript, unsigned, 7 lines quoting Michael Denis's <i>Ossians und Sineds Lieder.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Guestbook for Lüchow's restaurant, over 400 signatures, including W.H. Auden, Grace Kelly & drawings by Charles Addams, NYC, 1950-56. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> George Washington, lottery ticket, signed, 1768. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Vaslav Nijinsky, postcard dated & signed, showing a drawing of him in <i>Schéhérazade,</i> 1916. $2,500 to $3,500.
  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Books & Illustrated Art including Cartoons. March 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Silver Binding.- [Torah], German 13 Loth silver binding, hinged clasp, 12mo, Sulzbach, 1805. £2,500 to £3,500.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Picasso (Pablo). Minotaure vaincu, plate 89 from La Suite Vollard, etching, dated 29 May 1933, pencil, plate 190 x 265 mm, Paris, A. Vollard, 1939. £5,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Dali (Salvador) & Alighieri (Dante). <i>La Divina Commedia,</i> 6 vols, NUMBER 478 of 2,900 copies, 100 numbered colour lithograph plates by Salvador Dalì, folio, Verona, 1963-1964. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Books & Illustrated Art including Cartoons. March 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Miniature Sepher Torah Nevi'im U'Kethuvim, prepared by Menachem M. Scholz, original cloth, housed within original gilt tooled metal case, with magnifying glass inset, 33x25 mm, Warsaw, c. 1880. £1,200 to £1,800.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Scarfe (Gerald). ‘Men of Snow’ [Tony Blair, William Hague & 'Robin' Cook], original ink, watercolour & gouache drawing, signed, 600 x 435 mm, n.d. with 2 others (3). £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Francklyn (Gilbert), Paine (Thomas). <i>Rights of Man…</i>, FIRST EDITION [and] <i>Rights of Man. Part the Second…,</i> Printed for J. S. Jordan, 1791-92, [and 1 other]. £700 to £1,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Books & Illustrated Art including Cartoons. March 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Chagall (Marc). Le Jeu des Acrobates (Acrobats at Play), HORS COMMERCE PROOF, lithograph, from The Lithographs of Chagall, 320 x 240 mm, André Sauret, 1963. £1,800 to £2,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar 28:</b> [Harris (John)]. <i>The History of The Old Woman who had Three Sons Jerry, James, and John…,</i> 12mo, J. Harris, 1815. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Royal Binding.- Staël-Holstein (Germaine de). <i>De la littèrature considerée dans ses rapports avec les institutions sociales…,</i> 2 vols, second edition, Crapelet, Paris, [1801]. £400 to £600
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Books & Illustrated Art including Cartoons. March 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Ancient History.- La Baune (Jacques de). <i> Panegyrici Veteres,</i> Paris, 1676. [with] Wesseling (Petrus, ed.). <i> Vetera Romanorum itineraria…</i> £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Edward (Gibbon). <i> History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire…</i> Multiple editions and languages [English and French]. £300 to £400
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Curtis (William). <i> Flora Londinensis,</i> FIRST EDITION, 2 vols in 3. 119 hand-coloured plates of 454. £500 to £700

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