Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2009 Issue

Literature and Americana from James Cummins Bookseller

Cummins101

Literature and Americana from James Cummins Booksller.


By Michael Stillman

James Cummins Bookseller recently published Catalogue 101. This selection of 280 items is divided into three segments: 20th Century Literature, 18th and 19th Century Literature, and Americana. This includes many items from names you know well, particularly among the literary works, with a few that are obscure, but perhaps witnessed important events. Here are a few of the 280 items we found in this new catalogue.

Item 162 describes an invented land, discovered by an imaginary traveler: Amazonian Republic, Recently Discovered in the Interior of Peru, by Ex-Midshipman Timothy Savage. This work by an unknown author was published in 1842, and has been described by some as the first American feminist fantasy. The book starts out as if it might be real, with "Savage" traveling from Lima inland, where he is captured by Indians, then rescued by the "Amazons." His strong rescuers are, naturally, women, based on earlier serious beliefs of Amazon tribes headed by large, powerful women. As the book develops in its description of the government of the Amazons, it becomes clear that it is a satire of governmental institutions in the United States. $800.

Here is a book by a strong woman who was also quite real: Mae West. West was not a natural beauty, but created such a sexy image that no one noticed. To generate such a role for herself onscreen, she wrote a script in which to feature her charms. It first appeared, with her in the leading role, on Broadway. She then converted the playscript into a novel, Diamond Lil. A Powerful New Novel of the Underworld. This is that novel, published to go along with the film, renamed She Done Him Wrong, which featured West, Cary Grant, and Noah Beery. It was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Picture in 1932. Item 70. $750.

Item 167 is an archive of over 40 letters from Harriet Beecher Stowe's daughter, Georgiana "Georgie" Stowe Allen to her husband, Rev. Henry Freeman Allen. Georgie was playful and mischievous, but also subject to mood swings and depression. She is said to be part of the inspiration for her mother's character of Topsy. Perhaps she, too, grew like Topsy. She ended up having a very difficult life, becoming addicted to morphine after receiving it during childbirth, and never was able to overcome her addiction. She died as an invalid at the age of 44, her mother by her side. These letters were written to her husband over two decades, at times when he was away, and they reflect both the excitable and darker sides of her life. They also contain numerous references to her famous mother. $3,000.

The first issue is generally the most desirable, but here is a last issue that is perhaps the most notable of all. Harriet Beecher Stowe would certainly have appreciated this moment. It is the last issue of William Lloyd Garrison's The Liberator. Garrison was the fiery abolitionist who spent decades agitating for an end to slavery. He began publishing his journal in 1831, and it would make him one of the most hated men in the South. That didn't bother Garrison, who continued publishing it for the next 35 years. However, by December 29, 1865, when this last edition was published, it was needed no more. Slavery had been abolished, and the Civil War won. Liberation was achieved. Garrison signs off with a "farewell" written by African-American abolitionist William Cooper Nell, along with his own valedictory, and a discussion of the pending constitutional amendment which would outlaw the evil institution once and for all. Item 222. $1,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Sergio Trujillo Magnenat, <i>Bogotá 1938 / IV Centenario / Juegos Deportivos Bolivarianos,</i> 1938. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>McQueen Drives Porsche,</i> designer unknown, 1970. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>Joe Bridge, <i>Bignan / A Des Ailes,</i> 1921. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Graham Simmons, <i>The Army Isn’t All Work,</i> 1919. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Je ne fume que le nil,</i> 1912. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>Attack of the 50 ft. Woman,</i> designer unknown, 1958. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Raymond Tooby, <i>Festival Guiness / Have You Tried One Yet?,</i> 1952. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Francisco Tamagno, <i>Terrot & Co. / Dijon / Cycles Motorettes,</i> 1909. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>A. Hori, Oakland / General Motors, circa 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines!,</i> circa 1918. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <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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