Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2023 Issue

Baedeker and Other Travel Guides from Shapero Rare Books

Baedeker and other guides.

Shapero Rare Books has issued their Winter 2022 edition of Baedeker & General Travel Guides. This is their fifth catalogue of Baedeker and other guides which obviously is a testament to their popularity. Most are not expensive, making them collectible to people of less-than extraordinary means, and travel is an increasingly popular pastime these days. Prices for most guides are in the double to low triple digits though most are quite old, 19th to first half of the 20th century. While the bulk of the guides come from Baedeker, there are also a substantial number of guides from John Murray along with a selection of miscellaneous guides.


Baedekers were first published by founder Karl Baedeker in 1827 although it was the middle of the century before they began to expand rapidly. A German family firm, its early guides were in the German language and intended for German tourists, primarily visiting other countries of Europe. In time, they would add French and English editions, to reach tourists from those and other European countries. The destinations also expanded, to encompass parts of the Middle East, Russia, Asia, and North America. The 20th century started out strong, but two world wars, where Germany was at war with most of the travel destinations, and French and English tourists weren't going to be visiting Germany, badly damaged the firm. The Second World War was the most impactful, the guides never reaching quite the previous level of popularity. The family did start them up again after the war and it continued to be run by the Baedeker family until the 1980s. It has had various other owners since.


The Murray Handbooks were published by the London publisher John Murray. Popular during the 19th century, they were only printed in English and were aimed at the British market. Many of their guides were intended for internal travel, with detailed guides to specific locations in England.


Next, we have a few specific examples of the guidebooks offered.


We begin with what signaled a very tough time coming for Baedeker, along with the whole world. It was the calm before the storm – the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. It was the one last time the nations of the world would get together in peace before the war, though the rumblings of hate and war were in the air with Hitler's appearance. This is the first and only edition in English of Germany at this time, expanded to show neighboring areas, and when Nazi names appeared on almost everything, streets, plazas, and such. They were named after the likes of Hitler, Goering, and other such beasts. This copy contains the Olympic pocket insert “Reichsportfeld.” Item 28. Priced at £300 (British pounds or approximately US $362).


For those looking to cross the Atlantic when the only way was a long boat ride, there is United States with an Excursion to Mexico. Published in 1893, this is the first edition of the guide to the U. S. It was written by J. F. Muirhead, the English editor of the Baedeker Guides. It was the first Baedeker originally written in English. Muirhead would stay with Baedeker until 1913 when World War I made the German-English connection unfeasible. He later published his own guides. Item 89. £500 (US $603).


This was Baedeker's first foray into English. It was designed to assist the English in visiting Europe. It is a guide to the Rhine from Switzerland to Holland. Northern Germany, including Berlin, are covered along with a side trip to Copenhagen. Published in 1861, there would be 18 more editions of this guide with the last coming in 1926. Item 42. £4,000 (US $4,843).


Next is what Shapero describes as “the rarest title ever published by Karl Baedeker.” It's not rare because it is particularly old but because it was created for a limited audience. It was published in 1944 for use by the Nazi TODT, also known as OT. This was a civil and military engineering organization. It was headed and named for Fritz Todt, who started by building the autobahn before the war and then was moved to major war projects during the war. OT, Organization Todt, was responsible for engineering numerous projects in captured lands from France to the Soviet Union. It also built the Siegfried Line and concentration camps. The OT used forced labor, mostly war prisoners from captured lands, some from concentration camps. This guide, OT-Fuhrer Italien, was published in 1944, by which time the organization was headed by Albert Speer, Todt dying in a plane crash in 1942. It covers Italy, mostly taken from preexisting sources. It is rare because it was only given to senior front line workers, not to the public. Item 173. £10,000 (US $12,125).


This is one of those other guides. It comes from America, specifically, Philadelphia. It's title is The Traveller's Guide through the United States of America, Canada, etc. It's from a time when cross-country travel was very difficult – 1853. This is the first edition of this guide, which was published from 1851-1861, to include travel to California. California was a popular destination in the Gold Rush days. The primary mode of travel described in this guide was via railroad but that wouldn't have worked to go to California, the transcontinental railway still years away. The primary routes were by ship, either around the Horn or briefly overland over the Isthmus of Panama. Numerous train schedules between various destinations is provided, including miles, times, and fares. Other modes of transportation were steamships and canals, or you might go over roads by carriage. Tourist attractions in the East are also described. This is the third edition of the guide that was written by Wellington Williams. He previously wrote some of the Appleton guides. Item 300. £1,500 (US $1,801).


Shapero Rare Books may be reached at +44 (0)20 7493 0876 or rarebooks@shapero.com. Their website is www.shapero.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
  • Fonsie Mealy’s
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    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: U.S. / European Shipping Archive 1800-1814. The Widow Bermingham & Sons Collection. €7,000 to €10,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Bunreacht na hÉireann. Constitution of Ireland. An important copy of the First Printing of De Valera’s new Constitution, approved in 1938. Signed by the Constitution Cabinet. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: A Rare Complete Run of the Cuala Press Broadsides. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
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    & Collectors’ Sale
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    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Grose (Francis). The Antiquities of Ireland, 2vols. folio London (for S. Hooper) 1791. Magnificent Hand-Coloured Copy - Only 25 Copies. €3,000 to €5,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Cantillon (Richard). Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General, Traduit de l'Anglois, Sm. 8vo London (Fletcher Gyles) 1756. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Gregory, (Lady Augusta). Spreading the News: The Rising of the Moon: The Poorhouse (with Douglas Hyde). Being Vol. IX of the Abbey Theatre Series. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Lavery (Lady Hazel). A moving series of three A.L.S. and a Telegram to Gen. Eoin O'Duffy, July-August 1927, expressing her grief at the death of Kevin O'Higgins. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Dampier (Wm.) Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde, ou l'on descrit en particulier l'Isthme de l'Amerique…, 2 vols. in one, Amsterdam, 1698. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Howell (James). Instructions for Forreine Travel Shewing by what Cours, and in what Compasse of Time…, London, 1642. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
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    & Collectors’ Sale
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    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 8vo, L. (Bloomsbury) 1999, First Edn., First Printing of Deluxe Collectors Edn. Signed. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: James (Wm.) A Full and Correct Account of the Military Occurrences of The Late War Between Great Britain and The United States of America. 2 vols. Lond. 1818. €650 to €900.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: The Laws of the United States, Published by Authority, 3 vols. Philadelphia (Richard Folwell) 1796. €600 to €800.
  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.

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