Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2019 Issue

American Radicalism from Lorne Bair Rare Book

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Three Centuries of American Radicalism.

Lorne Bair Rare Books has issued their Catalog 30. Three Centuries of American Radicalism. This is not your typical Bair catalogue. It's a massive production, 500 items all fully described and illustrated. All the usual suspects for radical literature are to be found, Utopian societies, anarchism, the I.W.W., socialism, communism, counterculture, labor and unions, radical literature, crime and punishment, African Americana, Latino, women's movements, LGBTQ, pacifism, free thought, and the environment. As you might guess, these are predominantly radical movements of the left, but Bair provides some balance, mostly in a section obviously tongue-in-cheek headed "American Exceptionalism." These are people who felt that their race, ethnicity, orientation, religion, gender - anything but intelligence - made them exceptional. Some of it sounds disturbingly similar to thoughts that once seemed to have been discarded, but have again become more acceptable to express these days. Here are a few of the many expressions of radical views to be found in this thick catalogue.

 

We begin with a book that didn't have quite the negative connotations to its title in its time as it would have had later on - The Communistic Societies of the United States; From Personal Visit and Observation. The visitor/observer/author was Charles Nardhoff and the publication date 1875. In that era, a "communist" was not a supporter of Russia. These were communes, cooperative societies that flourished in various locations in the 19th century but eventually proved unsustainable. Such a level of subordination of individual interests to the group has never been a great fit with the American character. Nordhoff looks at such well-known communal societies as those of Bethel, Aurora, Amana, Oneida, Zoar, and the Shaker communities. This copy bears the bookplate of Frederic Rowland Marvin, a clergyman, physician, prolific writer of essays, stories, medical theories, and verse covering a wide array of subjects, or, as Bair describes him, "author of several undistinguished volumes of essays and verse." Item 7. Priced at $350.

 

Here is an obscure piece of communist propaganda aimed at American soldiers during the time of the Russian Revolution. Near the end of World War I, America sent around 5,000 soldiers to northern Russia, the North Russia Expeditionary Force, or familiarly, the Polar Bear Expedition. They were sent at the request of Britain and France to guard Allied war supplies from both the Germans and the Bolsheviks. They fought the latter, who issued this circular to discourage American soldiers. It is titled, Capitalst [sic] America, Socialist Russia. The unnamed authors describe themselves as "...some of us born Americans, some Russians who have been in America..." The circular claims the conflict is devised by "tzars Morgan, Rothchild [sic] and Rockefeller" and encourages the Americans to "do the decent thing...by breaking the discipline that drives you to this crime against your own kind the working class." Many of the American soldiers did become disenchanted with their role once the war against Germany ended, but it was less likely because of Bolshevik propaganda than because no one could really explain what they were doing up there in the cold any longer. They came in 1918, but were withdrawn in 1919, which dates this circular. Item 127. $1,250.

 

Next we have a magnificent color poster, 15 3/8" x 25" from 1906 promoting a book, and this one will appeal not just to the radical left, but those of more plain liberal or moderate sympathies. It proclaims boldly, The Jungle By Upton Sinclair. At the bottom, it lists the publisher, "Doubleday, Page & Co. New York." The rest is devoted to a ferocious-looking lion, sitting on top of a steer's skull, stylized factory smokestacks in the background. The artwork came from graphic artist Charles Edward Hooper. Sinclair was a radical leftist, a supporter of such causes, though not many are aware of this any more. His book was meant to be an attack on the miserable working conditions of immigrant laborers in Chicago's meatpacking industry. However, readers were stunned by something else they learned from Sinclair's book, just how grossly unsanitary conditions were in the plants. After all, this was the food they were eating. As Sinclair later observed, "I aimed for the public's heart but by accident I hit it in the stomach." Item 244. $8,500.

 

Here is a very rare item, a mimeograph copy of a speech given by Martin Lither King at the NAACP convention in San Francisco in 1956. Bair has only located three other copies of this first publishing of King's speech, which did much to put him in the national spotlight. The title is The Montgomery Story. It recounts the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which King notes began with Rosa Parks refusing to give up her bus seat to a later arriving white passenger. King points out that the protesters were subject to violence and death threats by the "reactionary element of the white community," along with false arrests and imprisonment by local officials. It only made the black community stronger, he responded. King also gives credit for the philosophy of nonviolence to Gandhi, who he ways "...was able to free his people from the political domination, the economic exploitation and the humiliation inflicted upon them by Britain." Item 356. $12,500.

 

Opposition to America joining the Second World War on the side of the Allies notably came from the right, the pro-Nazi German-American Bund, the America First Committee and its spokesman Charles Lindbergh. Both had their share of pro-German, antisemitic supporters. However, early on there was also strong support for nonintervention by the far left as well. At that point, Hitler and Stalin had divided up Poland and had signed a non-aggression pact. American supporters of both Germany and the Soviet Union did not want America intervening on behalf of England and its allies. Item 143 is a pamphlet published by the American Peace Mobilization in 1940, headed Can The People Win Peace? The APM, which was funded by the U. S. Communist Party, argues for peace. However, it would quickly change its tune when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, thereafter immediately demanding America join the effort against Germany. The Right would continue arguing for peace until Pearl Harbor, when their opposition quickly became untenable with an angry American public. $125.

 

This next item is a communiqué headed New Morning - Changing Weather. It is not from some meteorological society. It comes from the Weather Underground, previously known as the Weathermen, and they weren't into forecasting the weather. This was a highly radical, though short-lived 1970s group of primarily white youth, radical as the Black Panthers but not eligible for that group for obvious reasons. Their means of protest was blowing up buildings. They saw it as bringing the violence of war they believed America was imposing on other nations home, particularly during the era of the Vietnam War. They would blow something up and then issue a communiqué. However, they did forewarn of planned attacks and avoided detonations when there would be people around. Only three people were killed by the Weathermen, and that was three of their own members in an accidental explosion. This communiqué was different from most in that it didn't accompany a bombing. It acknowledges that its bombing didn't amount to much more than a "bee sting," but that it still had an effect in that now "the world knows that even the white youth of Babylon will resort to force to bring down imperialism." Item 181. $250.



It's time to give the other side its due. Item 312 is The Peril of Hunkey Hollow, by "Senah Nedra" (actually, Rev. Arden Haynes). Haynes was the pastor of the First Christian Church of Brownsville, Pennsylvania. This 1926 book sounds somewhat familiar today as it is anti-immigrant, except in those days, the despised immigrants came from the east and west, rather than the south. "Hunkey" originally referred specifically to Hungarians, but came to mean anyone of Eastern European origins. In the preface, Haynes refers to the peril caused by the existence of "such places as 'Hunkey Hollow,' 'Little Italy,' and 'China Town.'" He warns that a generation of a thousand alien workers will lead to "a second generation of ten thousand alien workers growing up in our midst, in a matter ten times more serious." Evidently, those immigrants must have been quite prolific, averaging ten children per family. This copy contains an inscription from "The Author." $450.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Harriet Tubman Cabinet Card by H.S. Squyer, Auburn, NY, 1892. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Scarce <i>Events of the Tulsa Disaster,</i> First Edition, 1922. $4,000 to $6,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Unpublished CDV of Frederick Douglass by Benjamin F. Smith, 1864. $3,000 to $5,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> California Imprint of <i>President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation</i> Broadside, 1864. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> John C.H. Grabill Cabinet Card of Buffalo Soldier Wearing Buffalo Coat, ca 1886. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare <i>What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking,</i> 2nd Cookbook Published by African American. $6,000 to $8,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Frederick Douglass Walking Stick, 1888. $3,000 to $5,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Only Known Slave Narrative Published Independently in California, <i>Life and Adventures of James Williams.</i> $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare First Edition of History of Black Literature, Abbé Grégoire <i>De La Littérature des Nègres</i>. $2,500 to $3,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> African American Soldier and Medal of Honor Winner Christian A. Fleetwood CDV, PLUS. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries Pennant, 1910 Reno, Nevada. $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Joe Gans Photograph at 1906 Goldfield, Nevada Fight by Percy Dana. $600 to $800
  • <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.
  • <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>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €

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