Angling, Sports, and More from James Cummins Bookseller
Frederick Halford was one of the more notable anglers of the late 19th, early 20th centuries, an advocate of the dry fly, or floating fly, as opposed to the sunken fly. This is an esoteric debate to outsiders, but was a raging controversy among anglers. Regardless of your position, it can be safely said that Halford left a lasting impression on the face of fly fishing. Item 65 is Halford's manuscript for An Angler's Autobiography. It consists of 244 pages of easily legible handwritten text signed by Halford, plus the nine-page manuscript for William Senior's introduction, and comments Senior made on the main text. Evidently Senior was less an advocate of the dry fly, at least in certain locations, than was Halford. $30,000.
Halford kept a scrapbook of press releases and reviews of his books. Item 71 is the scrapbook he kept for three of his works published between 1897 and 1910. Some of these reviews cover the dispute between Halford and G.E.M. Skues, advocate of the wet fly. One writer labeled Halford "the Autocrat of the River-Side." Halford became increasingly dogmatic in his views as he grew older. $6,000. Item 72 is a second collection of newspaper articles about Halford, but he did not keep this one. It is headed In Memoriam F.M.H. 1914, and it is a compilation of obituaries and recollections prepared for his family after the famed angler died of pneumonia on board a ship off the English coast. $9,000.
Dame Juliana Berners was evidently an accomplished angler, but her spelling wasn't so good. Item 12 is an 1827 edition of her book, The Treatyse of Fysshynge with an Angle. $300. She actually lived many centuries earlier, which may explain her strange spelling. I know nothing about The Deep Sea and Coast Fisheries of Ireland... but its author had a most uncommon name - Wallop Brabazon. Item 22. $650.
Turning to natural history, item 269 is a second octavo edition of John James Audubon and Rev. John Bachman's The Quadrupeds of North America. Audubon is better remembered for his birds, but this follow up book is another masterpiece. Unfortunately, Audubon died before the octavo edition was published, but his sons and Rev. Bachman saw it through to completion. The second edition was published in 1856, five years after Audubon died. $15,000.
Item 273 is one of only four known copies of the earliest college baseball broadsheet. It describes the July 1, 1859, meeting between teams from Amherst and Williams, held in neutral Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Using rules that allowed for 13 players per team, Amherst walloped Williams 73-32 in 26 innings. However, Williams was not content to just play baseball, so they also challenged Amherst to a chess match, to afford a "trial of the mind as well as muscle." What were those minds thinking? Amherst beat them at chess too. The Amherst chess team was greeted with a storm of cheers by their fellow students on return, and was taken with bands playing by their fellows to the President's house. Sort of like what happens to collegiate chess teams today. $20,000.
Item 283 is Basketball. Its Origins and Development, by James Naismith. Naismith was the instructor at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts, who set up two peach baskets one day and invented the game. This book was published in 1941, the fiftieth anniversary of his invention, two years after Naismith died. $2,500.
For football fans (American football, that is), what could be better than The Autobiography of Knute K. Rockne? This is the 1931 Notre Dame edition of the famed Notre Dame coach's biography, number 1,928 of 2,400 copies and signed by Mrs. Rockne. Rockne tragically died that year in a plane crash. The film version of Rockne's biography helped establish the acting career of Ronald Reagan. Item 350. $800.
James Cummins Bookseller is located on the internet at www.jamescumminsbookseller.com. Telephone number 212- 688-6441.