Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2010 Issue

Uncommon and Unusual Works from Peter Masi Books

Masi204

Uncommon items from Peter L. Masi Books.


By Michael Stillman

Peter Masi Books has published Catalog 204 of uncommon and obscure items with easy to afford prices. Masi specializes in pamphlets and promotionals from various organizations, obscure ephemeral works you probably never would find if you went looking for them. He has neatly organized them by subject, some of which are agriculture, art, astronomy, automotive, computers, cooking, etiquette, medicine, natural science, paleontology, religion, sex, and women. There are lots of others too. There are many listed by state, particularly those of the Northeast (Masi is located in Massachusetts). We will take a look at a few of these uncommon items.

The name "Francis Parkman" is generally associated with adventure and American historical writing, and in particular with an account of travel on the Oregon Trail. One would not expect to see the name on such a tenderhearted book as An Offering of Sympathy to the Afflicted, Especially to Parents of Bereaved Children... Nevertheless, here it is. There's an explanation. "Francis Parkman" was also the name of the famous historian's father, a clergyman from Boston. He was the writer of this book, originally published in 1930 when the better known Parkman was seven. Item 291 is a second edition from 1833. Priced at $15.

Are you sick of all the politics and constant electioneering, where the defeated candidates immediately begin attacking the victors and start campaigning for the next election the very next day? Why can't candidates work together for the good of the country, like they used to? Wait a minute. What is this? Item 15 is The Degradation of Our Representative System and Its Reform, by J. Francis Fisher, published way back in 1863. Writes Fisher, "Hardly is one election closed, before plans are laid for another. The defeated party at once begins the assaults upon the newly elected member, & both prepare with increased animosity for a new contest." Turns out politicians have always been politicians. $25.

Item 259 is a menu for a 1935 Testimonial Banquet Tendered to Rev. A. Santolini at Rossini's Restaurant in Savin Rock (Connecticut). The menu was printed by Maturo Bros., the toastmaster was a Mr. Di Cenzo, and speakers included the names De Cicco, Caviglio, and Sartori. The meal consisted of antipasto, minestrone, mezzo pollo, insalata, and gelati. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this probably took place in an Italian neighborhood. $10.

Item 510 is a helpful exposition, Beyond Birth Control: The Christian Experience of Sex. This 1968 book was written by Sidney Cornelia Callahan. The mother of six covers such topics as celibacy, control, and family planning. $10.

Item 379 represents one half of a medical debate: An Open Letter to Eugene Grissom, M.D., LL.D., &c, Superintendent of the Asylum for the Insane at Raleigh, North Carolina, by William A. Hammond, M.D. Seems Dr. Hammond, a former U.S. Surgeon General, was displeased with Dr. Grissom's opposition to the use of mechanical restraints in insane asylums. According to Masi, Hammond responds by "thoroughly trouncing his critic's qualifications & suggesting he was better suited as an inmate than superintendent." Published in 1878. $25.

Item 317 is a happy piece put out by the American Tract Society circa 1840 for children. The title is The Uncertainty of Life, and the Certainty of Death. Page 1 is an image of a deathbed with a minister and weeping woman. This is the kind of book children had to read in the days before Dr. Seuss. $8.

No need to describe item 462 in any detail as the title says it all: A Revision of the Ordovician Bryozoan Genera Batostoma, Anaphragma, & Amplexopora. Richard Boardman's 1960 pamphlet was published by the Smithsonian. Your tax dollars at work. Actually, I sort of understand what this book is about, having taken a course in geology long ago. $10.

For those interested in rainfall in the nation's capital, item 125 is A 27-Day Period in Washington Precipitation. Published in 1944. $8. For those not comfortable with such rounding, author C.G. Abbot later followed up with On the 27.0074-Day Cycle in Washington Precipitation. Yes, this is also a Smithsonian title. Item 126. $15.

For those who can remember all the way back to when cars were as unimaginative as they are today, item 142 is Ford Motor Cars, a catalogue of the company's 1913 models. Those models consisted of versions of the Model T. There was no need for color in this brochure. $75.

Peter L. Masi Books may be reached at 413-367-2628 or masibook@verizon.net.

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

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>iGavel Auctions<br>Antiquarian and Other Books<br>September 14 – October 12</b>
    <b>iGavel Auctions, Sep. 14 – Oct. 12:</b> Athanasius. <i>Illustrium Virorum Opuscula,</i> Paris, 1500. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>iGavel Auctions, Sep. 14 – Oct. 12:</b> <i>The New Testament of Jesus Christ, Translated Faithfully into English,</i> Rheims, John Fogny, 1582. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>iGavel Auctions, Sep. 14 – Oct. 12:</b> Stith, William. <i>The First History of Virginia printed in America,</i> [Williamsburg, 1747]. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <center><b>iGavel Auctions<br>Antiquarian and Other Books<br>September 14 – October 12</b>
    <b>iGavel Auctions, Sep. 14 – Oct. 12:</b><br>S. Bonaventure. <i>Commentarius in Secundum Librum Sententiarum Petri Lombardi,</i> Venice, 1477. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>iGavel Auctions, Sep. 14 – Oct. 12:</b> Juvenalis, Junii. <i>Satyrae,</i> with the commentary of Domitius Calderinus, Venice, 1475. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>iGavel Auctions, Sep. 14 – Oct. 12:</b> Horatius Flaccus, Quintus. <i>Opera.</i> Ed. with commentary of Christophorus Landinus, Florence, 1482. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <center><b>iGavel Auctions<br>Antiquarian and Other Books<br>September 14 – October 12</b>
    <b>iGavel Auctions, Sep. 14 – Oct. 12:</b> Scotus, Duns. <i>Quaestiones in Quattuor Libros Sententiarum,</i> 1476-1477. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>iGavel Auctions, Sep. 14 – Oct. 12:</b> Polidori, John. <i>The Vampyre, A Tale,</i> Paris, 1819. $1,000 to $2,000.
    <b>iGavel Auctions, Sep. 14 – Oct. 12:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom's Cabin,</i> Vol. I and II, 1852, and a Later Edition, 1885. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <center><b>iGavel Auctions<br>Antiquarian and Other Books<br>September 14 – October 12</b>
    <b>iGavel Auctions, Sep. 14 – Oct. 12:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>iGavel Auctions, Sep. 14 – Oct. 12:</b> Book of Hours, Illuminated Vellum, Calendar of Months, 15th century. $600 to $900.
    <b>iGavel Auctions, Sep. 14 – Oct. 12:</b> <i>Picturesque,</i> America, Europe, Palestine, and Russia, 1872-1885. $400 to $600.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> C.F. Payne, <i>Micawber—Imitating Norman Rockwell's "Triple self-portrait,"</i> acrylic, watercolor & colored pencil, 2002. Sold June 2021 for $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Jane Russell, archive of letters written during a whaling voyage, 1840s. Sold July 2021 for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Guild of Women Binders, exhibition binding of A.F. Pollard’s <i>Henry VIII,</i> London, 1902. Sold July 2021 for $12,350.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Robert Frost, <i>Collected Poems,</i> author’s presentation copy, signed, with entirety of <i>Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening</i> inscribed, NY, 1930. Sold June 2021 for $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> James Joyce, <i>Ulysses,</i> deluxe limited issue, signed, London, 1936. Sold June 2021 for $21,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Mercator [family], <i>[World and Continents],</i> 5 double-page maps, Amsterdam, c. 1633. Sold June 2021 for $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> George Schlegel, <i>New York, Taken from Central Park,</i> hand-finished color-tinted lithograph, 1874. Sold June 2021 for $11,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolaus Copernicus, <i>De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium,</i> second edition, Basel, 1566. Sold April 2021 for $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Book of Hours, Use of Utrecht, illuminated manuscript, c. 1435-45. Sold April 2021 for $60,000.
  • <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>& Works on Paper<br>30th September 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 30:</b> Bible, English. The Holy Bible, Second Folio edition, the "Great She Bible", engraved More-Speed 1611 map of Canaan, Robert Barker, 1613-11. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 30:</b> Galilei (Galileo). <i>Opere,</i> 2 vol., first collected edition, Bologna, Heirs of Dozza for Carlo Manolessi, 1656-1655. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 30:</b> Venetian choirbook.- Single leaf from a 13th century Venetian antiphonal, with large decorated initial, manuscript on vellum, Venice, [c.1260]. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>& Works on Paper<br>30th September 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 30:</b> Petrarca (Francesco). <i>Rerum vulrgarium fragmenta,</i> decorated manuscript on paper, Italy, [second half of the 15th century]. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 30:</b> New York School of abstract expressionists.- Abbott (Mary Lee). [Sketch book of original artwork], [New York], 1945. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 30:</b> Contemporary colouring.- Nitzschewitz (Hermannus). <i>Novum beatae Mariaevirginis psalterium,</i> Zinna, Press of the Cistercian Monastery, 1493. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>& Works on Paper<br>30th September 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 30:</b> Shakespeare source book.- Montemayor (Jorge de). Diana of George of Montemayor: translated out of Spanish into English by Bartholomew Yong, first edition in English, B[ishop]., 1598. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 30:</b> Milton (John). Poems of Mr. John Milton, Both English and Latin, Compos'd at several times, first edition, state with "S" in "S. Pauls" in imprint, 1645. £12,000 to £18,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 30:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Power and the Glory,</i> first edition, 1940. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>& Works on Paper<br>30th September 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 30:</b> Crowley (Aleister). View of the Tyrrhenian Sea, probably from the hill behind the abbey of Thelema, Cefalù, Sicily, charcoal, [1921]. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 30:</b> Fleming (Ian). <i>Casino Royale,</i> first edition, 1953. £12,000 to £18,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 30:</b> China.- Thomson (John). <i>Illustrations of China and Its People,</i> 4 vol., first edition, 96 photographic plates, 1873-74. £15,000 to £20,000.

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