A Variety of New Acquisitions from Bauman Rare Books
By Michael Stillman
Bauman Rare Books recently issued a catalogue of New Acquisitions from December. This is not material that can be pigeonholed into some particular category, but what it does have in common is that it is all top shelf. Bauman offers a selection of important and highly collectible work, much of it signed, that runs the gamut from politics to history, science, arts, literature, poetry, children's books, Americana, and more. Here are a few items from this latest collection.
Item 190 must be Nirvana for collectors of signed books. It is called Liber Scriptorum, published in two volumes, 28 years apart. The book was published by the Author's Club of New York, formed to assist young writers. To raise funds, each of the club's members contributed a story, poem, essay or the like, which was never to be published elsewhere. Just 251 copies of the first edition were printed. There were 213 contributors, and 204 of them signed volume 1. The most prominent were Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, and Andrew Carnegie. The book was printed in 1893 by Theodore de Vinne. The book sold for $100, a lot of money in those days (but not to Carnegie). Profits were $10,500. Despite the plan, Twain's Californian's Tale, first published here, was republished later. The Club planned to publish the second volume on the 25th anniversary of the first, but because of the War, it was delayed until 1921. It follows the same format as number one. Priced at $8,500.
The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway, is one of the most collectible of modern firsts. The book launched Hemingway into iconic status. This copy comes in the rare first issue dust jacket, which Bauman notes is one of the two most prized dust jackets of 20th-century American literature (the other being The Great Gatsby). Item 6. $75,000.
Item 8 is a rare piece of correspondence between President Abraham Lincoln and General George McClellan. In 1861, Congress authorized the appointment of an additional aide-de-camp for all major generals. McClellan, commander of the Union forces, was so entitled, and so he requested the appointment of Richard Irwin as his aide. Offered is McClellan's letter, endorsed by Lincoln: "Let the appointment within requested be made. A. Lincoln." Of course, the relationship between these two would deteriorate as Union forces struggled, and Lincoln would remove McClellan from command for being too cautious and timid. McClellan would in turn challenge Lincoln for the presidency as the Democratic nominee is 1864, but Union victories before the election doomed McClellan's chances. $31,000.