Rare Book Monthly
Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2006 Issue
The Latest Material from Wessel and Lieberman
British Columbia certainly is a worthy province for settlement, but the province's first Chief Forester, Martin Grainger, may have been stretching the welcome mat a bit in 1929. He evidently sent an invitation to emigrate to T.E. Lawrence, resulting in the newest of items for collectors of Lawrence of Arabia. Perhaps he felt that after those years of wandering around the baking deserts of the Arabian peninsula and such garden spots as Iraq, Lawrence would like to retire to the cool and damp climate of the Canadian Pacific. He didn't. Lawrence spent most of the remainder of his motorcycle accident shortened life in the British Royal Air Force. Perhaps B.C. was too nice a place for someone noted for a penchant for masochism. Item 85 is An Invitation to British Columbia: A letter from T.E. Lawrence to Martin A. Grainger. This is a 2005 limited (50 copies) first edition facsimile of a previously unpublished letter from Lawrence in 1929, responding to Grainger's suggestion he retire to B.C. $250.
Item 100 should bring back memories for those of you...make that us...old enough to remember Ozzie and Harriett's America. This is, Our Big Book: Sally, Dick and Jane; Think and Do Book; and Fun With Our Family. Do you remember Dick and Jane? They were the repetitive kids who used to say things like, "run, Spot, run," over and over and over again, and then a few more times. I'm not quite as cognizant (that's a word Dick and Jane never used) of Sally's role, but I believe she was a baby sister of these two dimwitted, boring children. They lived in an idyllic world, suburban heaven, where nothing ever went wrong, during the '50s and '60s. They disappeared when we lost our innocence in the riots and war of the late '60s. Then again, they never really existed outside of their mythological suburban home and the schools who pretended that everyone's home life was like Dick and Jane's. The way we weren't. Dick and Jane's Big Book includes sixteen large color cards (20 1/2 x 19 1/4) taken from the "Think" and "Fun" books. $650.
The catalogue includes a trilogy of important Oregon works. Item 133 is Ross Cox's Adventures on the Columbia River, an account of living in this as yet unsettled land, published in 1832. $1,250. Item 135 is a Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the Years 1811...1814 or the First American Settlement on the Pacific. This is the 1854 first English language translation of Frenchman Gabriel Franchere's work. $350. Item 139 is Adventures of the First Settlers on the Oregon or Columbia River by Alexander Ross. This 1849 book recounts an earlier expedition financed by John Jacob Astor to establish the fur trade. $1,750.
Item 131 is an obscure overland travel, The Life and Adventures of E.S. Carter... Carter traveled west in 1852, spent three years in Oregon, searched for gold in California, and spent five years wandering through New Mexico. This is a rare book, as most copies of this 1896 printing were apparently lost in a fire. $2,250.
Here is a book that will run chills down the spine of any Californian: List of Recorded Earthquakes in California, Lower California, Oregon and Washington Territory compiled from published works and from private information. This item was published in 1887, a reminder that this sort of activity was going on long before the San Francisco and other earthquakes wreaked their havoc on the Golden State. Item 136. Prepared by Edward Holden. $350.
You will find Wessel and Lieberman Booksellers online at www.wlbooks.com, phone number 206-682-3545.