Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2008 Issue

Books About Books and Some Interesting Tales from Oak Knoll

Oak288

Catalogue 288 from Oak Knoll Books.


By Michael Stillman

From Oak Knoll Books we have received their latest undertaking in the field of "Books about Books." Catalogue 288 includes over 450 items related to the book arts, printing, collecting, selling, bibliography, and such. There are also items interesting for their non-book arts content, though they may be examples of artistic design or printing. Those of you familiar with Oak Knoll will know what type of material to expect. Here are a few samples of what they have for you this time.

Here is a work that combines artistic etchings and printing with a massive pictorial biography of one of America's greatest heroes - Abraham Lincoln. Bernhardt Wall began his career as a commercial artist and illustrator, designing thousands of comic postcards. However, a trip out west led him to a career of etching more serious subjects - cowboys, Indians, and western scenery. This in turn kindled an interest in history. By 1930, Wall was a respected historian, artist, and now fine printer and binder as well. Wall used his facilities and talents to undertake several projects, none so massive and spectacular as Following Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865. Originally planned as a 15 volume series, it expanded to 60 volumes, and finally to 85. Wall was aware this was not going to be a profitable undertaking, but his printing facilities enabled him to produce this massive series anyway. The 85 volumes include 8-16 plates of Lincoln and his times per volume, with textual explanations. Volume 1 ran off his press in 1931, but it was not until 1942 that the last volume was completed. Supposedly, there were 76 sets, but it seems unlikely that anything like this number of complete sets was produced. Oak Knoll has only been able to locate two other complete copies, and a letter from an early owner of this set indicates it is the only complete one (obviously untrue since at least two others exist, at Harvard and the Lincoln Museum). However, this is set #1. It comes with one of the two ancillary volumes and lots of loose ephemera related to the set and its creator. Item 330. Priced at $19,500.

Writing a book is not easy, what with issues like writer's block and all, but few have it as difficult as did Thomas Doner. Item 97 is his 1878 (probably second edition) book, Eleven Years a Drunkard or the Life of Thomas Doner. Having Lost Both His Arms Through Intemperance, He wrote this Book with his Teeth as a Warning to Others. Try that sometime and you will see it is not easy. Doner was a Civil War veteran, but that was not the source of his affliction. After the war, he worked for the railroad, and evidently after having too much to drink, slipped under a moving a train. That was all he needed to become a crusader against intemperance. $125.

Item 25 is an oxymoron: 47 Unpublished Letters from Marcel Proust to Walter Berry. How can you have a publication of unpublished letters? Walter Van Rensselaer Berry was an American lawyer and diplomat who spent much of his life in France, regularly promoting French causes to Americans and vice versa. He became friendly with a number of writers, and as the number of unpublished letters suggests, a very good friend of Proust. It was published in 1930, after both had died. $350.

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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