We have received a new catalogue from Type Punch Matrix. I can only say it is a catalogue as it has no title, number, or description. Providing a description isn't easy as there is a variety, but I wouldn't quite call it a miscellany either. There are concentrations in areas of human rights, women and minorities, and photographs, literature, education, science, music. There is a thread here even though it is hard to explain. So, rather than try, we'll just go to some selections. I will say you are almost certain to find material of great interest whatever your tastes.
We begin with a science book, but it is more notable for its one, lone photograph. It was a pioneer. The title is Remarks on Some Fossil Impressions in the Sandstone Rocks of Connecticut River, by John C. Warren, and photograph by George M. Silsbee. The date is 1854, which is why it is a pioneer. It was the first American science book to contain a photograph, and only the second American book of any sort with a photo. It was published just after the first (but in the same year), Homes of American Statesmen. Warren was a surgeon and best known as the first to perform surgery with the use of ether to make the pain tolerable (in 1845). Warren noticed some fossils in a rock during construction near his home. He also understood the remarkable power of photography to capture appearances more accurately than anything before, so he had Silsbee photograph the fossil and included a salt print of it in each copy of the book. There were various footprints in the fossil, including those of birds and turtles, but one in particular he could not positively identify. He describes it as “Footsteps of an unknown animal...probably a reptile or mammal,” but “perhaps it is safer to believe...that it was an animal of a construction now not existing.” Indeed it was. It wasn't identified until 1893 when a dinosaur fossil was discovered nearby. This copy was inscribed by Warren to his fellow surgeon Franklin Bache, Benjamin Franklin's grandson. Item 62. Priced at $7,500.
In the 1950s, segregation was the rule in the South. In the North, it was the defacto rule in some areas, such as housing, but not so much in most public places. In an area close to the border, it was not as clear. Item 11 is a pair of colorful movie posters from theaters in Milford, Delaware, from the 1950s. One theater highlights Meet Danny Wilson starring Frank Sinatra. They welcomed black patrons, even emphasized comfort to their black audience, but not together with whites. It says, “Comfortable Balcony for Colored.” The other theater also advertised the “Shore's Most Comfortable Balcony,” while listing several films including Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis' Sailor. It also listed a midnight showing of Burlesque in Harlem with “Pigmeat and Markham.” Pigmeat Markham was actually one person, a comedian popular on the black circuit mid-century featured in this filming of a live performance by various artists in Harlem. Markham did not have much of a white following and it is unlikely that this show would have appealed to a white audience, making you wonder whether they filled the balcony with patrons while leaving the downstairs empty. $1,750.
Next is a novel by a woman who lived in two worlds, Japan and America. She was born in Japan, daughter of a Samurai just as that system was breaking down, meaning her father's status had tumbled shortly before her birth. She grew up expecting a normal life for a Japanese woman, a follower of traditional ways, but an arranged marriage was made for her to an American in Cincinnati. Her novel is A Daughter of the Nohfu, published in 1935. It tells of her life in both worlds. Etsu Inagaki Sugimato wrote several books about life on both sides. After her husband's death, she went back to Japan with her daughters, only to return to America to educate them, such opportunities being limited in Japan in the first half of the twentieth century. Item 49. $1,500.
Some people today deny the existence of the Holocaust, think Nazis aren't so bad after all. General, later President Eisenhower had no such delusions. After entering Germany and bringing about the surrender of the Nazis, he went to the concentration camps to see what had happened with his own eyes. After witnessing the results of their atrocities, he proclaimed “let the world see,” and brought in photographers to record what had happened so there could never be any doubt. The result was a series of photographs by the Army Signal Corps documenting the horrors. Their photos were then spread out to the press so everyone could bear witness. There were some fine people among the skeletal humans who managed to survive long enough to be liberated, but not on both sides. Item 60 is a collection of 26 8”x10” photos taken inside various concentration camps and elsewhere. Though many copies were made at the time, these photos are uncommon today, only a few institutions having significant numbers. $8,000.
Dust jackets can be the most important part of a book in terms of value these days. It may seem odd, but it's much easier for a book to stay in top condition than a dust jacket. But, here is a case where the dust jacket is a dominant feature because it appears to be a one-and-only. The book is Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, published in 1969, now a children's classic. This is a first edition in its dust jacket, but it is the only known copy with a complete jacket. The others are all price-clipped. The unclipped price is $4.25. Apparently what happened is that the publisher decided to put it out at a lower price - $3.95. It appears that they price-clipped every copy before it was released. The result was that even the author's copy is price-clipped. This one escaped the scissors as it belonged to an employee of World Publishing who kept it in his personal collection. Item 73. $40,000.
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