Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2009 Issue

Part Two of the Lawrence Urdang Maritime Library from Ten Pound Island Books

Tenpound184

Part II of the Laurence Urdang collection.


By Michael Stillman

The Ten Pound Island Book Company has issued its second catalogue composed primarily of material from the Laurence Urdang collection: Maritime List 184. Lawrence Urdang was the lexicographer who created the first dictionary composed with the aid of a computer, the 1966 Random House edition. Late in his life, he began work on a maritime dictionary. To find every seafaring word and phrase he could, he began collecting maritime books, hundreds of them. They range from modern to centuries old. Urdang did not live to see his maritime dictionary completed, though he lived to be 81. However, he did leave numerous computer files, so perhaps someone else will one day complete his project. For now, the books from his collection are available to the next generation of maritime collectors.

Last month, we published a review of the first Urdang catalogue. Click here to see it. Here are some items from the second catalogue.

Item 22 presents a sad tale of what can happen when you fail to pursue the enemy to the utmost in war, at least as of a few centuries ago. It is The Trial of the Admiral John Byng, at a Court Martial... published in 1757. This is an account of Byng's court martial. John Byng was the son of an admiral himself, who rose in naval ranking without seeing much action. At the outbreak of the Seven Years War, he was sent with a small fleet of ships to bring reinforcements to the British island of Minorca in the Mediterranean. The French, who were much closer to Minorca, were in the process of overrunning this British outpost. Byng was not given a great set of ships or the number of men he really needed. Off the coast of Minorca, he was met by some French ships and a skirmish ensued. After an indecisive engagement, Byng chose to retreat for repairs and reinforcements, rather than chasing the French. Unfortunately for him, the Articles of War provided the ultimate penalty for those who did not do their utmost to pursue the enemy. Byng was convicted, and despite his standing, was executed by firing squad. Priced at $350.

It was not war or shipwreck that was the major threat to sailors in the New World. It was disease. One of the unpleasant side effects of visiting new lands is the opportunity to share new diseases. Item 74 is William Hillary's Observations on the Changes of the Air and Concomitant Epidemical Diseases in the Island of Barbados. This is a second edition from 1766. It includes a treatise on "putrid bilious fever," better known today as yellow fever, which was found in the West Indies and became a terrible killer. Other illnesses covered include lead colic (a form of lead poisoning) and hepatitis. $350.

One bad disease deserves another. Item 95 is An Essay on Diseases Incidental to Europeans in Hot Climates. With Methods of Preventing Their Fatal Consequences, by James Lind. This is the first American edition, published in 1811. Lind was an 18th century British physician who conducted trials to determine ways to reduce health risks at sea. He is best known for his work on scurvy, and while he didn't quite get it right (he thought acids were the cure), his belief led to using citrus fruits which contain the needed vitamin C. Lind also emphasized the need for cleanliness and good ventilation on ship, and discovered that sea water could be made potable through evaporation. $500.

Item 31 is a copy of Walker's Manly Exercises, by "Craven" (Donald Walker). This is an early edition (1835) of a popular book first published in 1834. Of note, it is the first book on rowing, although it covers many manly ways of exercising, such as swimming, running, skating, gymnastics, and boxing. We assume this book was targeted at the leisure class, since most people were engaged in subsistence farming at the time and would not have needed to find ways outside of their labors to get exercise. $250.

You may reach the Ten Pound Island Book Company at 978-283-5299 or tenpound@shore.net. Their website is www.tenpound.com.

You will find many of Ten Pound Island's books listed in "Books For Sale" on this site. Click here.

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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