Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2009 Issue

Left of Center from Lorne Bair Rare Books

Lieutenant Calley mask on the cover of Lorne Bair's Catalog 8.


By Michael Stillman

This month we received our first catalogue from Lorne Bair Rare Books of Winchester, Virginia. Lorne Bair has been a bookseller for the past 15 years and is a member of the ABAA and Virginia and nearby Washington (D.C.) antiquarian bookseller organizations. Recently published is Bair's Catalog 8 and it is filled with their specialty, books related to radical and other leftist movements and causes over the years. There are books pertaining to socialism and anarchism, equal rights movements for blacks, women and gays, much on the labor movement and workers' rights, utopian communities, prison reform, and the Spanish Civil War. Items range from the abolition movement to the Vietnam War. While most of these works come from the left, Bair does provide some balance, so you will also find a few racist pieces, KKK and John Birch points of view represented. For those who like their politics removed from the safe center, Lorne Bair Rare Books has items you will appreciate. Here are some examples.

Item 20 is a plea involving one of the most noted of civil rights cases, that of the Scottsboro Boys. The Scottsboro Boys were eight black teenagers, accused, convicted, and sentenced to death for raping two white women when all were traveling on a freight train. Evidence was sorely lacking, but in 1932 Alabama an accusation of a black man raping a white woman was as good as a conviction. The defendants were lucky to avoid being lynched before their convictions were issued. Their case went to the U.S. Supreme Court twice, and was struck down twice, once for ineffective counsel, once for failure to include blacks on the jury. During the height of this legal confrontation, this plea was issued: Mr. President: Free the Scottsboro Boys! It includes contributions from two of the Scottsboro mothers plus a preface from the great novelist Theodore Dreiser. It was published in 1934. After a couple of overturned convictions and death sentences, some of the defendants were released, others pleaded guilty for reduced sentences, and eventually all were freed. The last still subject to possible arrest was pardoned in 1976 by Governor George Wallace of all people, though at a time when he was beginning to repent for his earlier segregationist views. Priced at $250.

Item 12 is one of the stranger Utopian pieces: Secret Enemies of True Republicanism. Most Important Developmments [sic] Regarding the Inner Life of Man and the Spirit World, in Order to Abolish Revolutions and Wars and to Establish Permanent Peace on Earth... Nice sentiments from the author and Benedictine monk Andreas Smolnikar, but it appears the good monk may not have had both feet on the ground. He had become infatuated with the ideas of fellow German immigrant J.A. Etzler, who developed plans for a machine that could cultivate 20,000 acres of land for less than $1 an acre and with the labor of only 3 or 4 men. That's a stretch by today's standards, but with only the benefit of mid-19th century technology, he should have known better. Smolnikar apparently built the machine, but it immediately broke down. One of his followers, George Karle, had a vision revealing how it could be fixed, but drowned before repairs could be made. Smolnikar pinned the blame for Karle's death on Mormon founder Joseph Smith, even though Smith was dead, explaining Karle died as a result of "the instrumentality of the departed Mormon prophet Joe Smith, not directly but by the instrumentality of a cow." Makes perfect sense. The book was published in 1859. $1,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000

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