Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2007 Issue

Books About Books, with History and Travel, from Oak Knoll

Oak283

There is travel and history in Oak Knoll's latest catalogue.


By Michael Stillman

Catalogue 253 in the long-running series from Oak Knoll Books recently arrived. Oak Knoll specializes in "books about books" and bibliography, but there is a sizable number of unexpected works inside for one of Oak Knoll's numbered catalogues. They have many 18th and 19th century American travel books, first or other early editions. In fact, there are many more antiquarian books here than in the usual Oak Knoll catalogue. So, we will take a look at a few of these in particular, with the note that you will also find plenty of the typical Oak Knoll books, such as limited editions from fine presses, available as well.

Item 71 is a fascinating travelogue from a revolutionary Frenchman who came to America in 1788. Jacques Pierre Brissot de Warville was handed the keys to the Bastille prison after its storming, and went on to be a leading diplomat and creator of foreign policy during the first years of the French Revolution. He came away from his visits to America impressed, a strong supporter of the freedoms the new nation offered. The only major downside was slavery, but Brissot was an optimist. He saw the slave trade being eliminated in many states, a time limit installed for all states, freedom established in some, and believed dissatisfied slaves in the South could escape to the backcountry or Spanish Florida, which would force their masters to treat them well so they would stay. Meanwhile, repulsion by a large percent of the population would make the institution marginal. If only it had been so easy as Brissot imagined. And, if only the French Revolution had gone so well too. Eventually, the freedom-defending Brissot would be caught in the excesses of the Revolution, and like so many others, he was sent to the guillotine in 1793. His book is New Travels in the United States of America. Performed in 1788 (this is the first Irish edition from 1792). Priced at $400.

Herman Melville is better known as a novelist than poet, but here is his first book of poems: Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War. During the latter part of his life, Melville turned to writing poetry. He was not particularly successful during his lifetime as a novelist, less so as a poet. However, the prestige of his novels grew in time, though his poetry is still awaiting recognition. This collection of poetry was published after the Civil War, and Melville makes his sympathies known in his dedication, to "the memory of the Three Hundred Thousand who in the War for the Maintenance of the Union fell devotedly under the Flag of their Fathers." Item 199. $600.

Item 213 is a travelogue for Colorado during its first gold rush -- Rambles in the Rocky Mountains: with a Visit to the Gold Fields of Colorado. This book was published in 1864, six years after the discovery of gold, but two decades before production really took off. Author Maurice Morris was a former Postmaster-General of Jamaica, who managed to find his way to Colorado despite the Civil War, and wrote of his experiences for his countrymen back in England. $275.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Christie’s London, 13 July:</b> Bartolomeo Caporali, attributed to (fl.1442–1503). <i>The Flagellation,</i> historiated initial ‘D’ cut from an illuminated Missal on vellum [Perugia, c.1485–90].
    <b>Christie’s London, 13 July:</b> Frate Nebridio (1460s – 1490s). <i>The Last Supper,</i> historiated initial from an antiphonal, illuminated manuscript on vellum. Lombardy, probably Cremona, c.1470s. £15,000 to £25,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 13 July:</b> Lewis David de Schweinitz (1780–1834). Fungorum Niskiensium Iconum, an album of mycological watercolours. Niesky, Germany, c.1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 13 July:</b> Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727). <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica,</i> edited by Edmond Halley (1656–1743). London, 1687. £350,000 to £400,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 13 July:</b> Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616). <i>El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha.</i> Madrid, 1605. £300,000 to £400,000
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Scott Joplin, <i>Treemonisha: Opera in Three Acts,</i> New York, 1911. Sold March 24 — $40,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Louisa May Alcott, autograph letter signed, 1868. Sold June 2 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Anne Bradstreet, <i>Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, full of Delight,</i> Boston, 1758. Sold June 2 — $21,250.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The Second Impression,</i> London, 1632. Sold May 5 — $161,000.
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    <b>Swann:</b> John Bachmann, <i>Panorama of the Seat of War,</i> New York, 1861-62. Sold June 23 — $35,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Bronte, <i>Jane Eyre,</i> first edition, London, 1847. Sold June 16 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Elihu Vedder, <i>Simple Simon, His Book,</i> 1913. Sold June 9 — $12,350.
    <b>Swann:</b> Frederick Catherwood, <i>Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan,</i> London, 1844. Sold April 7 — $37,500.
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    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 1805 TN Supreme Court Book, John Overton and Hugh White Opinions. $800 to $900.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> TN Lunsford Bramlett Archive, incl. Polk White House Invitation, 8 Items. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Civil War Archive, incl. Gen. Bate on Death of Polk, Capture of Nashville. $2,000 to $2,400.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 5 Dickens 1st Ed. Books, incl. Edited by Author. $800 to $1,000.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Charles Dickens, 5 Christmas Books, 1st Eds. $800 to $1,000.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 2 Slave Documents, Nashville TN & North Carolina. $700 to $900.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 3 Maurice Sendak Signed Items, incl. Nutcracker, Pierre. $500 to $600.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 7 Phillip Roth Hardcover Books, incl. Author Signed, 1st Eds. $500 to $550.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 6 Kurt Vonnegut Hardcover Books, incl. Author Signed, 1st Eds. $400 to $500.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 3 Edward Gorey Items, incl. Print + 2 Books. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Josef Albers, INTERACTION OF COLOR, 1963. $800 to $900.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Henri Matisse Jazz Portfolio for MOMA, 1st Ed., 1983. $600 to $800.

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