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>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Charles Loupot, <i>Les Cigarettes Mekka,</i> 1919. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Plinio Codognato, <i>Cicli Fiat,</i> circa 1910. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> L.N. Britton, <i>Warning! Consider the Possible Consequences,</i> c. 1917. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Leonardo Bistolfi, <i>Première Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs Modernes,</i> 1902. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Paquet Pernot / Biscuits Pernot,</i> 1910. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Francesco Nonni, <i>Font Meo / Acqua Minerale Naturale,</i> 1924. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Frederick Winthrop Ramsdell, <i>American Crescent Cycles,</i> 1899. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> <i>Be a Tight Wad! Own Something!</i> designer unknown, 1925. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Candido Aragonese de Faria, <i>Chamonix–Mont–Blanc,</i> c. 1910. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> W.E.J., <i>Irishmen Avenge the Lusitania,</i> c. 1915. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <center><b>Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books<br>Fine Art<br>Antique Engravings & Lithographs<br>Works on Paper<br>Accepting bids until August 7</b>
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Maitres Affiches by MUCHA - Papier a cigarettes Job. 202. $5,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> De Bry - Map of the West Indies (including Florida, Cuba, Jamaica, Bahamas, Parts of Central & South America, Sea Monsters, Ships). $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gould - Short-billed Toucan (Ramphastos Brevicarinatus). $5,000 to $8,000.
    <center><b>Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books<br>Fine Art<br>Antique Engravings & Lithographs<br>Works on Paper<br>Accepting bids until August 7</b>
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Redoute, Folio - Pale Iris - Iris flavescens. 375. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gillray - Light Expelling Darkness or The Sun of the Constitution. $200 to $500.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gerard - Wild Hemp or Weed, Cannabis. 708. $150 to $450.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Shaw & Nodder - Head of The Dodo. 165. $100 to $300.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Your Own Sylvia:<br>Sylvia Plath’s letters to Ted Hughes and other items,<br>Property of Frieda Hughes<br>9 to 21 July 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Family photograph album ("The Hughes family Album"), 1957-1962. £30,000 to £50,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Typed letter signed, to Ted Hughes, on "my own private doctrine", with a poem, 5 October 1956. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Pen and ink portrait of Ted Hughes, [1956]. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Your Own Sylvia:<br>Sylvia Plath’s letters to Ted Hughes and other items,<br>Property of Frieda Hughes<br>9 to 21 July 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. Joint autograph letter signed, to William and Edith Hughes, March 1960. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Photographic portrait by David Bailey, inscribed by Plath, 1961, and another press photo. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Tarot de Marseille. Deck of cards owned by Sylvia Plath. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Pair of gold wedding rings. £6,000 to £8,000.

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