Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2007 Issue

Twenty-Five New Acquisitions from John Michael Lang Fine Books

Alang

Recent Acquisitions from John Michael Lang.


By Michael Stillman

John Michael Lang Fine Books
has issued a catalogue of 25 new Recent Acquisitions. It offers a mixed bag of unexpected material, with no discernable theme beyond their recent acquisition-ness. Lang manages to come with some unusual items, so these catalogues are always worth a look. Here are some examples of what we found this time.

Here is an item appropriate for any aviation or automobile collection that you almost certainly do not have. It is a spiral bound report from 1944 by three Boeing Corporation engineers on the feasibility of developing a flying car. I kid you not. Can you imagine an air traffic controller's job if they had to deal with millions of these too? This privately published item is entitled A Treatise on Aviation's Missing Link, and its engineer-authors were John Holmes, Edward Goodrich, and David Holt. The project was apparently initiated by the engineers themselves on their own time, which may mean that Boeing didn't give them enough to do. The book includes specs on the "Roadable Airplane," designs, promotional materials, marketing considerations, manufacturing costs, and competition (which included the "Aerocar," flying Jeep, and helicopter). As Lang notes, "the project never got off the ground (so to speak)." Other than a copy in the Boeing archives, Lang has been unable to locate any other copies. Item 2. Priced at $2,000.

Item 18 is the ironically titled The Unpublishable Memoir, by A.S.W. Rosenbach, un-published in 1917. This is a series of short "bibliomysteries," written by "The Doctor," as Rosenbach was known. Dr. Abraham Rosenbach was a Philadelphia bookseller who sold the greatest material to the greatest book collectors of the first half of the 20th century. This copy is inscribed to Michael Monahan, a writer, poet, and editor of The Papyrus. Lang describes Rosenbach as "the greatest bookseller of all." Who are we to argue with this assessment? $150.

Item 13 is the oldest book in this collection, and one of the older ones you will find. It is Satyrarum Hecatostichon, by Francisci Filelfo (Philelfi). This is a group of 15th century Italian satires published in Milan. This first edition was published by Christopher (Christophoro) Valdarfer in 1476, barely two decades after the invention of the printing press. It was another Valdarfer printing, of Boccaccio's Decameron, which brought a record price at auction in 1812 at the Duke of Roxburghe's dispersal sale (the record stood for several decades). The famed Roxburghe Club was formed after that sale, and a toast was raised to Valdarfer at the time. This Valdarfer comes at a much more manageable price. $7,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <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.
  • <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> George Washington ADS, One of the Earliest in His Hand, A Survey from 1752, the Same Year He Inherited Mount Vernon.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Rare JFK Signed Check & Transmittal Letter During Campaign for 1956 VP Nomination, Both BAS Slabbed; Possibly A Unique Combo!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Daniel Boone Signed Receipt as VA Delegate; During His 1st of 3 Terms, Boone Was Kidnapped by British Forces Gunning for Gov. T. Jefferson & Other Legislators.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Benjamin Franklin Signed Receipt for “Pennsylvania Gazette,” Important & Beautifully Displayed
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Lincoln & His Civil War Cabinet: 8 Signatures, Beautifully Presented!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> G.A. Custer ALS from Fort Lincoln, Dakota Territory to Capt. Yates, Who Also Died at Little Bighorn, Re: Acquiring “good horses” from Kentucky for 7th Cavalry.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Jefferson Davis ALS: “the negroes are humble and generally inclined to cling to their masters…neither crop or stock could be protected from their thieving” – Incredible!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Lee Harvey Oswald Signed Letter: “if we finally get back to the states…maybe we’ll…settle in Texas,” Warren Commission Exhibit.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Babe Ruth First Edition Biography Signed Just Months Before His Death, Excellent Signature!
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> “B Arnold” ANS on Pre-Revolutionary War Promissory Note Dating From His Days as a New Haven Merchant
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Bob Dylan Signed LP “Blonde on Blonde” with Jeff Rosen COA.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Marilyn Monroe & Joe DiMaggio Signed Checks, Handsomely Displayed.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions