Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2004 Issue

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

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

  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: U.S. / European Shipping Archive 1800-1814. The Widow Bermingham & Sons Collection. €7,000 to €10,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Bunreacht na hÉireann. Constitution of Ireland. An important copy of the First Printing of De Valera’s new Constitution, approved in 1938. Signed by the Constitution Cabinet. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: A Rare Complete Run of the Cuala Press Broadsides. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Grose (Francis). The Antiquities of Ireland, 2vols. folio London (for S. Hooper) 1791. Magnificent Hand-Coloured Copy - Only 25 Copies. €3,000 to €5,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Cantillon (Richard). Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General, Traduit de l'Anglois, Sm. 8vo London (Fletcher Gyles) 1756. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Gregory, (Lady Augusta). Spreading the News: The Rising of the Moon: The Poorhouse (with Douglas Hyde). Being Vol. IX of the Abbey Theatre Series. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Lavery (Lady Hazel). A moving series of three A.L.S. and a Telegram to Gen. Eoin O'Duffy, July-August 1927, expressing her grief at the death of Kevin O'Higgins. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Dampier (Wm.) Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde, ou l'on descrit en particulier l'Isthme de l'Amerique…, 2 vols. in one, Amsterdam, 1698. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Howell (James). Instructions for Forreine Travel Shewing by what Cours, and in what Compasse of Time…, London, 1642. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 8vo, L. (Bloomsbury) 1999, First Edn., First Printing of Deluxe Collectors Edn. Signed. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: James (Wm.) A Full and Correct Account of the Military Occurrences of The Late War Between Great Britain and The United States of America. 2 vols. Lond. 1818. €650 to €900.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: The Laws of the United States, Published by Authority, 3 vols. Philadelphia (Richard Folwell) 1796. €600 to €800.
  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.
  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: RARE AUTOGRAPH OF AMERICAN NAVAL HERO CAPTAIN JAMES MUGFORD. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A SIGNED HART CRANE BROOKLYN BRIDGE POSTCARD TO EDWARD DAHLBERG. $600 - $800
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY THE "QUEEN OF WALL STREET," HETTY GREEN. $700 - $900

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