Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2008 Issue

Six Hundred Children's Books from Aleph-Bet

Aleph89

Six hundred more children's books from Aleph-Bet.


By Michael Stillman

Aleph-Bet Books has issued their Catalogue 89 of Children's Books and Illustrated Books. That "and" in the title should be read quite literally, as most of these items are both children's and illustrated books, rather than one or the other. Unlike "adults'" books, illustrations are crucial to most children's books, much of the reason these items are so popular among the children emeritus who become book collectors. The amusing fantasies and captivating images still draw us in long after we have, at least in theory, grown up. Here are a few of the 600 items, each with both description and picture, that Aleph-Bet is presenting in this latest catalogue.

The logical starting point for children's books is the ABCs. Aleph-Bet offers a whole host of alphabet books. Here's one for those whose favorite toys are cars: Motor Goose Rhymes for Motor Ganders. Each letter is accompanied by two automotive related illustrations and a parody of some old Mother Goose rhyme updated to an automotive scene. For example, "B stands for Breakdown / They happen every day / If you're far from home / For a tow you have to pay." We've all had cars like that, though breakdowns were probably more commonplace in the year this book was published - 1905. Item 7. Priced at $250.

Item 22 is an alphabet book designed to get kids onto a lifetime habit of consuming sugar: Alphabet Book of Coca-Cola. Every letter comes with a rhyme encouraging kids to drink Coke, as if they needed more encouragement. "V is for Value / Though the dollar's depressed / A nickel still buys / The drink that is best." The dollar is still depressed, but you won't be buying Cokes for a nickel anymore, as you could in 1928. $875.

Not all alphabet books were meant to encourage bad habits. Here is one intended to stop a bad habit: ABC Way to stop smoking Cigarettes. Author Conrad J. Dammann enunciated the dangers of cigarette smoking and how tobacco companies deceive the public long before the Surgeon General did. In 1950, he advised "A stands for "ABANDON" / So, abandon cigarettes." Dammann suggests reaching for a candy, preferably a longer lasting hard candy, when the urge to smoke arises. Recognizing the drawback of this solution, he explains, "You'll gain weight, - but tobacco's loss is your gain." Item 19. $250.

Item 47 employed a most unusual alphabet. You might think it was something from Russia or eastern Europe from the look, but actually it is the Deseret alphabet. This alphabet was developed by Mormon linguists with the encouragement of Brigham Young in the early days of their settlement of Utah. While it looks difficult if not incomprehensible, it was meant to simplify English for the young, as well as Mormon immigrants from other countries not very familiar with English. The Deseret letters are merely English sounds, creating phonetic spellings much easier to read than the convoluted standard English with silent letters and others with multiple sounds. For all its logic, Deseret never caught on. Church leaders soon discovered that the cost of reprinting the world's books in this new language was economically unfeasible. It was abandoned after Young's death. Only four books were printed in the new language, and this is one, the first part of the Book of Mormon, published in 1869. $475.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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