Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2004 Issue

Oak Knoll Offers Titles from<br>The H.P. Kraus Reference Collection

Oakknoll

Oak Knoll offers items from the reference library of H. P. Kraus.


By Michael Stillman

Oak Knoll Books is noted for its catalogues of books about books. This month they have put together a particularly noteworthy one. Oak Knoll purchased much of the reference material available at last fall’s H.P. Kraus auction, and it is this material which highlights their 254th catalogue, “From the Reference Library of H.P. Kraus.”

H.P. Kraus was one of the most important booksellers in New York for over half a century. Emigrating from Europe just before the War, Mr. Kraus set up shop in the 1940s, and his store was at the forefront of American bookselling until it closed last year following the death of his widow.

Quality and importance were the hallmarks of material Kraus carried. His bookshop was truly the place to find the best of the best. What particularly distinguished Mr. Kraus was his research. He put together one of the best private reference libraries ever assembled. The volumes in that library far exceeded the number of books he had for sale. After the shop was closed, the library was put up for sale at Sotheby’s. One of the largest buyers at that sale was Oak Knoll. This is not surprising since Oak Knoll is America’s premier dealer in bibliographies and similar reference material. However, while much of that material was sold in combined lots at the auction, buyers may select the individual titles of interest to them from the Oak Knoll catalogue.

Much of what H.P. Kraus offered for sale was European and very early, so this was reflected in his reference library. There is a heavy concentration of titles in German and French, as well others in Italian and Spanish. Some will seem a bit esoteric to most collectors. However, for those with interests in specialized collections, this reference material will be of great interest. And just a note before moving on: this catalogue also includes related items not from the Kraus library. Kraus items include a commemorative book label which indicates they came from the Kraus collection.

While this material is focused on research rather than entertainment, we’ll start with an exception. Item 130 is John Payne Collier’s Notes and Emendations to the Text of Shakespeare’s Plays from Early Manuscript Corrections in a Copy of the Folio, 1632, in the Possession of J. Payne Collier, Esq. F.S.A. Forming a Supplemental Volume to the Works of Shakespeare by the Same Editor. Collier was a 19th century Shakespearean scholar and his finding of contemporary notations on Shakespearean plays must have excited great interest at the time. It included changes in lines and directions for many of Shakespeare’s plays. The problem was that it was all a fake. Collier forged the notes in apparent attempt to assure a “correct” understanding of Shakespeare. When published in 1853, Collier’s claims immediately drew their critics, but Collier prevented anyone from obtaining more than a cursory look at the “corrected” folio. However, when the Duke of Devonshire, the book’s possessor and Collier’s patron, died in 1858, the book was passed on to the British Museum. A full examination then revealed the notes were made in a hand contemporary with Collier rather than Shakespeare, and the truth was finally established. Priced at $275.

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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