Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2006 Issue

Books About Books, Bibliography and the Oak Knoll Fest


Illustration by Joan Hassall.

Here is the story of another master forger. Mark Hoffman made a name for himself in Mormon circles by creating historic documents, some of which raised questions about the foundations of the faith. His most notable document was the so-called "Salamander Letter," which showed Mormon founder Joseph Smith involved in folk magic. As so often happens with a life of crime, questions arose and the tumbling of Hoffman's house of cards led him to commit two murders. Item 311 is Salamander, the Story of the Mormon Forgery Murders, by Linda Sillitoe and Allen Roberts. Today, manuscript dealer Hoffman resides at the Utah State Penitentiary, where he shall remain for eternity. $35.

Now for an unusual title, The Snouters, from the Life of the Rhinogrades, by Harald Stumpke (say, his name is unusual too). Snouters are technically members of the family of Rhinogrades, animals that have well-developed snouts. Some can actually walk upon them; others catch food with their snouts. They are apparently somewhat akin to elephants, but with far more developed noses. They lived only on a Pacific island, but unfortunately, they accidentally perished as a result of atomic bomb testing. Sadly, so too did Professor Stumpke, their discoverer. Of course, if you believe any of this, you are quite gullible. "Stumpke" was Gerolf Steiner, a German zoology professor, who invented the entire natural history spoof. However, the story is entertaining enough for the work to have been translated into several languages. Item 445 is in English, published for the American Museum of Natural History in 1967. $17.50.

Joan Hassall was one of the more notable illustrators of the 20th century, most noted for her wood engravings. While her work is well known, its creator is more obscure. Item 276, edited by Brian Lee, will help correct that shortcoming. The book is Dearest Joana, a Selection of Joan Hassall's Lifetime Letters and Art. Published in 2001 (Ms. Hassall died in 1988), it includes letters to family and friends over much of her life. Sixty of her wood engravings plus other art is pictured. This is from a limited edition of just 40 copies. $1,350.

The final catalogue section contains bibliographies. They run from the familiar, such as bibliographies of famous authors, events, and presses, to the obscure, such as Books on Poultry and Cockfighting... or The Lighter Than Air Society Collection (balloons). If you are looking for a bibliography on any subject, no matter how obscure, give Oak Knoll Books a call. They just might have it. Their phone number is 302-328-7232. The website is www.oakknoll.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Focus On Women:<br>At Auction June 1, 2023</b>
    <b>Swann June 1:</b> Sojourner Truth, <i>Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a Northern Slave,</i> first edition, Boston, 1850. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann June 1:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Pride and Prejudice,</i> London, 1817. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Swann June 1:</b> Cindy Sherman, <i>Secretary,</i> gelatin silver print, 1978; printed 1993. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Swann June 1:</b> Fanny Stevenson, Archive of Photographs & Letters, 1866-1904. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann June 1:</b> Charlotte Perkins Gilman, <i>The Forerunner,</i> Volumes I-VII; Family Association Set; Four Volumes Signed or Inscribed by the Author, New York, 1909-16. $3,000 to $5,000.
  • <b><center>Sotheby's<br>The Joanne Woodward & Paul Newman Collection<br>26 May - 12 June</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 26 – Jun. 12:</b> "Cool Hand Luke" | Paul Newman Academy Award® Nomination Plaque. USD$2500 - $3500
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 26 – Jun. 12:</b> "Hud" | Bound presentation script incorporating photographic stills. USD$1000 - $1500
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 26 – Jun. 12:</b> "The Long, Hot Summer" | Movie Poster. USD$1000 - $1500
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 26 – Jun. 12:</b> Joseph Heller | "Catch-22," inscribed to Woodward & Newman by author. USD$500 - $800
    <b><center>Sotheby's<br>The Joanne Woodward & Paul Newman Collection<br>26 May - 12 June</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 26 – Jun. 12:</b> George H. W. Bush | Typed Letter Signed, Issuing a "Pardon" to Paul Newman. USD$1500 - $2000
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 26 – Jun. 12:</b> William Jefferson Clinton | Inscribed Color Photograph. USD$1000 - $1500
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 26 – Jun. 12:</b> Ken Kesey | Typed letter to “Paulnewman,” asking for further compensation for "Sometimes a Great Notion". USD$1000 - $1500
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 26 – Jun. 12:</b> "They Might Be Giants" | Costume sketches by Edith Head. USD$1000 - $2000

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