Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2008 Issue

Books Related to the Polar Regions from Aquila Books

Polar books from Aquila Books.


By Michael Stillman

Now available from Aquila Books of Calgary, Alberta, Canada is Catalogue 108. Aquila specializes in books and ephemera relating to the polar regions of the globe. Most of these, naturally, concern travels and expeditions, since few people would want to live permanently under such brutal conditions. It is hard to imagine how people could journey to such hostile climes a century and more ago, when so little was available to protect them from the elements, and to help them escape if things went wrong. But they did, and their stories are incredible. Here are some of the works available in this latest catalogue from Aquila Books.

Item 80 is the 1910 first trade edition of Robert Peary's The North Pole. Its Discovery in 1909 Under the Auspices of the Peary Arctic Club. Peary is generally believed to be the first person to reach the North Pole, although he has his share of doubters that he actually attained that location. It is not necessarily a question of honesty so much as the accuracy of his instruments in properly locating the Pole. However, Peary did have a large ego, which has made a few people suspicious. Actually, Peary was one of six people to make the final assault on the Pole, but since he was the expedition leader, and the others included a black man (Matthew Henson) and four Inuit natives, the others did not receive much recognition during that era. This copy includes an inscription to "my friend Governor Aram J. Pothier." Pothier served seven nonconsecutive terms as Governor of Rhode Island between 1909 and 1928. Priced at $800.

For centuries, explorers attempted to find a Northwest Passage that would enable European nations to reach Asia without traversing the circuitous routes around Africa or South America. One of the most notable of those explorers was Sir John Franklin. Item 35 is an 1818 account by him of his second journey, Narrative of a Second Expedition to the Shores of the Polar Sea, in the Years 1825, 1826, and 1827, by John Franklin... This was Franklin's most successful mission, as half of his men died on the first, and all (Franklin included) on his third. During this expedition, Franklin was able to chart much of the northern coast of North America. Spreading out from the Mackenzie delta, they surveyed from Alaska to the Coppermine River, as well as surveying Great Bear Lake. $2,750.

The voyage of the Belgica was a combination disaster and success. Commanded by Adrien de Gerlache, it was the first voyage to Antarctica undertaken solely for scientific purposes. It was also the first to winter over in the Antarctic latitudes, though this was not part of the plan. The crew was not well prepared, and many were either put off or abandoned the expedition before making the final departure from South America. The crew experienced terrible deprivations after being locked in by ice, not making their escape until a year later. Nevertheless, they made many discoveries during their long entrapment. Among those to participate in this expedition were Roald Amundsen, who would later be both the first to reach the South Pole and the first to find a Northwest Passage, and Frederick Cook, who would claim to be the first to reach the North Pole, though few believe his claim today. Item 61 is the rare 1904 German edition of the account by the mission's second in command, Captain Georges Lecointe: Im Reich Der Pinguine (In Penguin Country). $1,750.

Rare Book Monthly

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    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
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  • Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Piccolomini's De La Sfera del Mondo (The Sphere of the World), 1540.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Vellutello's Commentary on Petrarch, With Map, 1525.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Finely Bound Definitive, Illustrated Edition of I Promessi Sposi, 1840.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Rare First Edition of John Milton's Latin Correspondence, 1674.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Giolito's Edition of Boccaccio's The Decamerone, with Bedford Binding, 1542.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of the First Biography of Marie of the Incarnation, with Rare Portrait, 1677.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Aldine Edition of Volume One of Cicero's Orationes, 1540.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Bonanni's Illustrated Costume Catalogue, with Complete Plates, 1711.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: An Important Incunable, the First Italian Edition of Josephus's De Bello Judaico, 1480.
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    Leland Little, Apr. 26: An Incunable from 1487, The Contemplative Life, with Early Manuscript.
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    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 546. Christoph Jacob Trew. Plantae selectae, 1750-1773.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 70. Thomas Murner. Die Narren beschwerung. 1558.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 621. Michael Bernhard Valentini. Museum Museorum, 1714.
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    Auction 151
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    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 545. Sander Reichenbachia. Orchids illustrated and described, 1888-1894.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1018. Marinetti, Boccioni, Pratella Futurism - Comprehensive collection of 35 Futurist manifestos, some of them exceptionally rare. 1909-1933.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 634. August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof. 3 Original Drawings, around 1740.
    Jeschke Jadi
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    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 671. Jacob / Picasso. Chronique des Temps, 1956.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1260. Mary Webb. Sarn. 1948. Lucie Weill Art Deco Binding.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 508. Felix Bonfils. 108 large-format photographs of Syria and Palestine.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
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    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 967. Dante Aligheri and Salvador Dali. Divina Commedia, 1963.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1316. Tolouse-Lautrec. Dessinateur. Duhayon binding, 1948.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1303. Regards sur Paris. Braque, Picasso, Masson, 1962.
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: McCarthy (Cormac). Cities of the Plain, N.Y., 1998, First Edn., signed on hf. title; together with Uncorrected Proof and Uncorrected Advance Reading Copies, both signed by the Author. €800 to €1,000.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Stanihurst (Richard). De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis, Libri Quattuor, sm. 4to Antwerp (Christi. Plantium) 1584. First Edn. €525 to €750.
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Smith - Classical Atlas, Lond., 1820. Bound with, Smiths New General Atlas .. Principal Empires, Kingdoms, & States throughout the World, Lond. 1822. €350 to €500.
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Mc Carthy (Cormac). Outer Dark, N.Y. (Random House)1968, Signed by Mc Carthy. €250 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Three signed works by Ted Huges - Wodwo, 1967; Crow from the Life and Songs of the Crow, 1970; and Tales from Ovid, 1997. €200 to €300.
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    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Procter (Richard A.) Saturn and its System: Containing Discussions of The Motion (Real and Apparent)…, Lond. 1865. First Edn. €160 to €220.
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