Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2010 Issue

Film and Literature from James Pepper Rare Books

Literature, mystery, and film are featured by James Pepper Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

James Pepper Rare Books has reached Catalogue 190 in their series, with the focus, as always, on material related to film, literature and mystery. Many of the items are signed or inscribed, and the catalogue is filled with names you recognize. The dates for these items mostly range from the era of silent movies to the year just completed. Here are a few samples.

Fans of science fiction/fantasy writer Ray Bradbury will be most interested in this issue of Imagination! The Fanmag of the Future With a Future! (actually, it didn't have a much of a future). Imagination! was published by the Los Angeles' Science Fiction Society in 1938, edited by the legendary promoter of the science fiction genre Forrest J. Ackerman. This otherwise forgotten "fanmag" is noted for publishing the first work of the noted fantasy writer Ray Bradbury. That was in the January issue, Bradbury being all of 17 years old at the time. Item 13 is a copy of the September issue, and the now more mature (18) Ray Bradbury, writing under the thinly disguised penname "Oswald Bradbury," contributes his piece Mathematica Menace. As with his earlier work, Bradbury was paid nothing for his efforts, but he must have impressed Ackerman enough that the latter funded Bradbury's own "fanmag" published the following year. Priced at $650.

Item 136 is a murder mystery, but not a fictional one. It is an autobiographical account of the famous Sam Sheppard murder trial and its aftermath. Sheppard was a Cleveland physician accused of murdering his wife in 1954. He was a logical suspect as he was carrying on an affair with his nurse. However, there were also numerous holes in the case. That didn't much matter as the trial went on in a carnival-like atmosphere, grabbing headlines like the later O.J. trial, only with a different outcome for the defendant. Local newspapers convicted him before trial, and the names of prospective jurors were publicly announced, assuring all would hear from the public in advance. One reporter quoted the trial judge as saying, "It's an open and shut case . . . He is guilty as hell." Sheppard was convicted and spent the following 12 years in jail before securing a retrial by order of the U.S. Supreme Court. A verdict of not-guilty was rendered in his second trial. Sheppard's post-prison years were rocky, and he died only four years later, an alcoholic, suffering from liver failure. Dr. Sam's book, published after his conviction was overturned in 1966, is entitled Endure and Conquer. My Twelve-Year Fight for Vindication. $300.

Some books are informative, teaching us something we did not know. For example, did you know that Satan Was a Lesbian? That's the title of this 1966 literary classic, which is attributed to Fred Haley on the cover but Monica Roberts on the title page. We will assume that at least one (if not both) of these names is a pseudonym, though we are not sure which. It really doesn't matter. It's not like we're talking about Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain here. This book is noted more for its cover art than its writing anyway. A horned, red Satan looks down with an evil smile at a less than feminine looking woman who wields a whip at a defensive male in a business suit, while a scantily dressed more feminine looking blonde looks on. Pepper notes that this type of lesbian pulp fiction was actually aimed more at a male audience. Item 69. $300.

Walter Annenberg was a very successful newspaper and magazine publisher of the second half of the 20th century. It provided him with great wealth, particularly as he cashed out in the 1980s. Along the way, he made many influential friends, including presidents and other notable people, such as film director George Cukor. Annenberg had seen a clever quote Cukor had made, "I seem to be a friend of every dead person in the world." He whipped off this letter to Cukor on February 12, 1968, reassuring him, "I heartily add that there are many live people who admire George Cukor enormously. You may safely deduce that I am in the forefront of such a group..." This letter is item 6. $150.

James Pepper Rare Books may be reached at 805-963-1025 or pepbooks@aol.com. Their website is www.JamesPepperBooks.com.

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

Rare Book Monthly

  • 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
  • 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
  • Manuscript Masterpieces from the Schøyen Collection
    London auction, 11 June
    BROWSE NOW
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Holkham Hebrew Bible. In Hebrew, decorated manuscript on vellum [Toledo, 2nd quarter 13th century]. £1,500,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Crosby-Schøyen Codex. In Coptic, manuscript on papyrus [Upper Egypt, middle 3rd century / 4th century]. £2,000,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Geraardsbergen Bible. In Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Southern Netherlands, late 12th century]. £700,000–1,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now : Jean de Courcy (fl. 1420). The Chronique de la Bouquechardiere. In French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1480]. £200,000–300,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The ‘Catherine de Medici’ Hours. In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1485]. £120,000–180,000
  • 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.

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