50 Fine Books from Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books
Item 25 is the first London edition of the most important of American travel books. It is the Travels to the Source of the Missouri River...in the Years 1804, 1805, and 1806, better known simply as "Lewis and Clark." Not published until 1814 (this London edition was published the same year as the American first edition), the death of Meriwether Lewis delayed publication of this official account. Lewis and Clark explored the then virtually unknown northwestern territory of the Louisiana Purchase on behalf of President Thomas Jefferson. £18,000 (US $34,032).
Here is a less well-known American journey, but a significant one nonetheless, for it offers one of the rare looks at the country's native Indians before their customs were greatly influenced by the whites. It was written by the German Prince Maximilian, who explored America from 1833-1834. The German title is Reise in das Innere Nord-America in den Jahren 1832 bis 1834. Maximilian traveled up the Missouri River, stopping at various trading forts along the way. He encountered many Indian tribes, including the Sioux, Mandan, Crow, Cree and Blackfoot. The trip reached as far as Fort Mackenzie, near present day Sheridan, Wyoming, before Maximilian concluded it would not be safe to travel further. The German Prince returned home and wrote the text. Fortunately, Maximilian took artist Karl Bodmer along, and his illustrations do much to preserve Indian dress and culture in its still mostly untouched state. This first edition, four-volume set, published from 1839-1841, is priced at £125,000 ($236,312).
Another book with astounding images is Campi Phlegraei. Observations on the volcanos of the Two Sicilies as they have been communicated to the Royal Society of London, by Sir William Hamilton. Hamilton took Fabris, an artist from Naples, along on his explorations to draw the volcanos he observed. They climbed Vesuvius 22 times, often at great danger, to observe the eruptions in various stages. This dramatic book reveals what they saw. Item 21 is the first edition, published in 1776. £75,000 (US $141,790).
Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books may be found at www.shapero.com, +44 (0)20 7493 0876.