Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2020 Issue

Discoveries and Curiosities from Zephyr Used & Rare Books

Discoveries & Curiosities.

Zephyr Used & Rare Books has issued a selection of Discoveries & Curiosities: A Catalogue. “Discoveries and curiosities” means just about anything. There are some books, though rarely expensive classics. They may be more along the lines of mysteries and other entertaining works from the first half of the twentieth century. Most of the items aren't full-length books but are ephemeral in nature, broadsides, printed catalogues or advertising material, the type of things people encountered everyday. People saw this type of material everyday when it was new, but they are not the sort of items that are often kept, so it is surprising and exciting to find it all these years later. Here are a few examples.

 

We expect to see concern about the environment and natural resources to be expressed in political campaigns today, but it is perhaps somewhat surprising to see it a focus of a campaign poster during the Depression. People had more immediate concerns in those days, such as finding a job or even finding something to eat. Nonetheless, the Roosevelt campaign published this poster to promote his 1936 reelection. It is headed, Our Wealth of Earth and Water. It claims, “For the first time the Federal Government is waging a nation-wide campaign to stop waste and exploitation of our natural resources. Under the New Deal our precious heritage of land and river and forest is being saved for future generations.” The broadside warns of the dangers of the dust bowl and touts the administration's programs such as the Soil Conservation Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Rural settlement Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. It also features a cartoon from Clarence Batchelor, who won a Pulitzer Prize for a cartoon the following year. Item 181. Priced at $125.

 

This may not quite be a conservation movement, but the federal government was involved in encouraging young people to use the land many years before the New Deal era. Item 4 is a set of seed samples from the popular “School Garden” movement early in the century. The government provided seeds for schoolchildren to plant, believing this contact with the land would be healthy for all concerned. This School Set of Seeds was provided by the Bureau of Plant Industry of the Department of Agriculture, circa 1905. They explain there is “nothing better fitted for the healthful development of children...opportunity for spontaneous activity in the open air, and...engenders habits of thrift and economy, develops individual responsibility, and respect for the rights of others...” This set includes its seed samples, all given both their common and Latin names. They range from edible vegetables such as wild rice, onions, asparagus, and buckwheat to items like Bermuda grass and milkweed. It is believed that by 1906 there were 75,000 school gardens in the United States, and the concept was heavily promoted during World War I to increase the food supply. I don't know whether any of these seeds will still sprout since it's been over a century now, but if so, you might get some historic, non-genetically engineered crops. $1,900.

 

Item 113 is an extensive archive of dress designs and other material from fashion designer Rena Rowan Damone. She designed women's and girls' clothes for some of the finest names in fashion such as Oleg Cassini. She was also a co-founder of the popular clothing brand Jones New York. At the same time, she also created fashions for stores with not quite so high fashion a reputation, notably Sears. Today, Sears may be a long-faded name in retailing barely hanging on, but this archive is filled with designs from the 1960s when they were still America's largest retailer. Along with the designs, the archive includes over 3,000 fabric samples. The archive is held in 25 volumes. Rowan Damone featured many full-length dresses, but she was also creating fashions with higher hem lines and brighter colors in the 1960s. Rena Rowan Damone, who died in 2016, was the fifth and final wife of 1940s-1950s singer/crooner Vic Damone, very popular in his day before being displaced by rock and roll. $5,500.

 

There are some books you really wouldn't publish today. We have become more sensitive to the feelings of others. In 1934, there wasn't a heck of a lot of sensitivity. Item 50 is a book by Walter Bodin and Burnet Hershey, It's a Small World: All About Midgets. Illustrated. This book is supposed to tell readers about the secret life of small people. The public's curiosity was peeked by the use of such people in carnival sideshows, circuses, and films. Small people are shown with some of the celebrities of the day, including actors Charlie Chaplin, William S. Hart, and Tom Mix. There is even such a picture with President Harding. Famous small people are also pictured, including Tom Thumb, who appeared for years in P. T. Barnum's shows. $125.

 

Here is another subject which is not seen quite so positively as it once was – consumption of alcohol. The amount of drinking of hard liquor in the home or out is not quite so prevalent today as it once was. Item 126 is “Cheerio!” A Book of Punches and Cocktails. How to Mix Them, and Other Rare, Exquisite and Delicate Drinks. It was written by Charles, former bartender at Delmonicos. Charles has some harsh words for those opposed to the consumption of alcohol. He writes, “Today, the art of creating exquisite drinks to match exquisite moods is gasping on its death-bed, and the dull ogre, Puritanism, supplanting the Skeleton, sits gloating by the bed-side, waiting eagerly to hear the last death rattle.” The hyperbole can be explained. The year was 1930 and the nation was still living under the yoke of Prohibition. Add to that the Great Depression had just started and perhaps it is understandable that people wanted to drink. Nonetheless, Charles needn't have been quite so concerned. Just three years later, Prohibition was repealed. $300.

 

Zephyr Used & Rare Books may be reached at 360-695-7767 or zephyrbook@gmail.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
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    Starting 10AM CST
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    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [RUTH, George Herman “Babe” (1895-1948)]. Signed photograph. Circa 1930s. 191 x 248 mm. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HARRISON, Benjamin. Document signed (“Benj Harrison”) as governor of Virginia, certifying the service of Daniel Cumbo, a Black Revolutionary soldier. $6,000 to $9,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: ONE OF THE FIRST PRINTED ANNOUNCEMENTS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
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    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: FIRST PRINTING OF LINCOLN’S IMMORTAL GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HIGHLY IMPORTANT MORMON ARCHIVE. ALLEY, George. Archive of 23 Autograph Letters Signed by Mormon Convert George Alley to His Brother Joseph Alley. $10,000 to $20,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [AVIATION]. [ARMSTRONG, Neil A.] Aviation Hall of Fame Gold Medal MS64 NGC, Awarded to Neil Armstrong in 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
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    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: NEWLY DISCOVERED FIRST PRINTING OF "WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE... " FROM THE ONLY NEWSPAPER ACTUALLY ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN LINCOLN’S SECOND INAUGURAL PROCESSION. $4,000 to $8,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: THE MOST IMPORTANT GEORGE WASHINGTON DOCUMENT IN PRIVATE HANDS; GEORGE WASHINGTON’S COMMISSION AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF, 1775, ONE OF ONLY TWO ORIGINALS. $150,000 to $250,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: A VERY RARE ACCOUNT OF BLACKBEARD’S DEATH AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PIRATE ITEMS EXTANT. $3,000 to $5,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
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    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: EDISON, Thomas. Patent for Edison’s Improvements on the Electric-Light, No. 219,628. [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent Office], 16 September 1879. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [VIETNAM WAR]. The original pen used by Secretary of State William P. Rogers to sign the Vietnam Peace Agreement, Paris, 27 January 1973. $10,000 to $15,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: SONS OF LIBERTY FOUNDER COLONEL BARRÉ ANNOTATED TITLE-PAGE, “WHICH OUGHT TO ROUSE UP BRITISH ATTENTION”. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • Sotheby’s
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    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 546. Christoph Jacob Trew. Plantae selectae, 1750-1773.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 70. Thomas Murner. Die Narren beschwerung. 1558.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 621. Michael Bernhard Valentini. Museum Museorum, 1714.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 545. Sander Reichenbachia. Orchids illustrated and described, 1888-1894.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1018. Marinetti, Boccioni, Pratella Futurism - Comprehensive collection of 35 Futurist manifestos, some of them exceptionally rare. 1909-1933.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 634. August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof. 3 Original Drawings, around 1740.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 671. Jacob / Picasso. Chronique des Temps, 1956.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1260. Mary Webb. Sarn. 1948. Lucie Weill Art Deco Binding.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 508. Felix Bonfils. 108 large-format photographs of Syria and Palestine.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 967. Dante Aligheri and Salvador Dali. Divina Commedia, 1963.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1316. Tolouse-Lautrec. Dessinateur. Duhayon binding, 1948.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1303. Regards sur Paris. Braque, Picasso, Masson, 1962.
  • Fonsie Mealy’s
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: McCarthy (Cormac). Cities of the Plain, N.Y., 1998, First Edn., signed on hf. title; together with Uncorrected Proof and Uncorrected Advance Reading Copies, both signed by the Author. €800 to €1,000.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Stanihurst (Richard). De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis, Libri Quattuor, sm. 4to Antwerp (Christi. Plantium) 1584. First Edn. €525 to €750.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Fleischer (Nat.) Jack Dempsey The Idol of Fistiana, An Intimate Narrative, N.Y., 1929, First Edn. Signed on f.e.p. by Rocky Marciano. €400 to €600.
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Smith - Classical Atlas, Lond., 1820. Bound with, Smiths New General Atlas .. Principal Empires, Kingdoms, & States throughout the World, Lond. 1822. €350 to €500.
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: [Mavor (Wm.)] A General Collection of Voyages and Travels from the Discovery of America to the Commencement of the Nineteenth Century, 28 vols. (complete) Lond., 1810. €300 to €400.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Mc Carthy (Cormac). Outer Dark, N.Y. (Random House)1968, Signed by Mc Carthy. €250 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Three signed works by Ted Huges - Wodwo, 1967; Crow from the Life and Songs of the Crow, 1970; and Tales from Ovid, 1997. €200 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: The Garden. An Illustrated Weekly Journal of Horticulture in all its Branches, 7 vols. lg. 4to Lond. 1877-1880. With 127 colored plates. €200 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Procter (Richard A.) Saturn and its System: Containing Discussions of The Motion (Real and Apparent)…, Lond. 1865. First Edn. €160 to €220.
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