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

  • <center><b>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>Timed auction, April 29</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1032. RATZER, BERNARD. Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1011. [BROADSIDE]. Life, Last Words and Dying Confession, of Rachel Wall... $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1055. BEATON, CECIL. Scrapbook prepared by Cecil Beaton over the period 1935-1944, with some later inclusions. $800 to $1,200.
    <center><b>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>Timed auction, April 29</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1051. ADDAMS, CHARLES. Original drawing "I hope the power doesn't go out until after Masterpiece Theatre." $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1037. The Campaign Speeches of Nixon of Kennedy, inscribed to William Safire by Richard Nixon and secretarially for John Kennedy. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1036. Celebration of the Commencement of Work on Rapid Transit Railroad. March 24th 1900, one o'clock, City Hall Park, New York. $200 to $300.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1005. 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers signed baseball including Jackie Robinson. $3,000 to $5,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Doyle<br>Stage & Screen<br>Auction April 28</b>
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 12. OKLAHOMA! Celeste Holm's vocal score for Oklahoma! inscribed by Richard Rodgers. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 20. WILSON, DOOLEY. Fine inscribed photograph to Celeste Holm with Casablanca reference. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 79. Original production script of the Broadway musical CATS with notes written by Claude Tessier. $600 to $900.
    <center><b>Doyle<br>Stage & Screen<br>Auction April 28</b>
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 139. STEPHEN SONDHEIM. Autographed musical manuscript signed for "Broadway Baby" from Follies. $500 to $800.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 180.<br>Cecil Beaton. Headdress for Liza at the Ball, from My Fair Lady, circa 1962. $700 to $900.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 177.<br>Cecil Beaton. Set Design for The Gainsborough Girls, 1951. $2,000 to $3,000.
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    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 165. Rare state of Jefferys' influential map of New England in contemporary color (1755). $8000 to $9500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 177. Mouzon's foundation map of the Carolinas (1775). $10000 to $13000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 183. Very rare first state of De Fer's map of the Lower Mississippi Valley (1715). $20000 to $25000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 253. Scarce Scottish edition based on Ellicott's plan of Washington, D.C. (1796). $2400 to $3000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 313. Stunning view of Philadelphia by John Bachmann (1850). $3250 to $4250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 338. Rare Civil War map based on Bucholtz map of Virginia (1862). $9500 to $12000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 667. First map to accurately show Luzon in Philippines (1590). $6000 to $7500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 682. Rare map of Shanghai International Settlement published just after WWI (1918). $7000 to $9000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 738. Coronelli's superb map of the Pacific showing the Island of California (1697) Est. $2400 - $3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 743. A cornerstone piece in the mapping of Australia and New Zealand (1726) Est. $6000 - $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 781. An uncommon signature during Jefferson's Governorship of Virginia (1779) Est. $9500 - $11000
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
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