Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2010 Issue

Travel, Science and History from Helen R. Kahn

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All types of explorations are found in Helen Kahn's latest catalogue.


By Michael Stillman

Helen R. Kahn and Associates has released their 78th catalogue, Voyages & Travels, History & Natural History, Science & Technology. This is a catalogue filled with books about explorations, be they geographical, scientific or other, mostly antiquarian, though some being of a more recent vintage. The areas visited are as large as the world, and the languages employed varied, including English, French, Latin, German, and others of European origin. Now, we will look at a few of the books offered.

We start with what is described as an "exceptionally fine" copy of the account of one of the most exciting, and ultimately mysterious of voyages. Shortly after the time of Cook, the French navigator Jean-Francois de la Perouse set out on one the longest of travels. He left France in 1785 with two ships, on a mission to survey the various lands of the Pacific and to find a Northwest Passage from the west. He would travel to the Northwest coast of America, unsuccessfully seek the Northwest Passage from Alaska, come back to Hawaii, then to China, the Philippines, Korea, Japan, and western Russia. From there, he sent his journals back home over land. Then it was on to the Samoan Islands and Australia, where he put in to Botany Bay on January 25, 1788. He sent his most recent notes back home again and headed east. He was never heard from again. Despite missions sent to locate him, the fate of La Perouse and his men remained a mystery for 40 years. Finally, another explorer found remains of his ships that had been wrecked in the reefs off of Vanikoro. Fortunately, we have an account of all but his last days as La Perouse sent his journals back home ahead of him. Item 45 is a first edition of the Voyage de La Perouse Autour du Monde... a four-volume large paper first edition with the atlas, published in 1797. Priced at $35,000.

Pierre-Francois Charlevoix was another French explorer, though his primary occupation was that of a Jesuit missionary. Charlevoix came to New France (now known as the United States and Canada) in 1705 and again in 1720. He would travel around the Great Lakes region and the Mississippi River, all the time observing and taking down accounts of the Indian tribes he met and settlements he visited. He also attempted to learn from them whether there was a route to the Pacific, though that would have to wait until the end of the century and Mackenzie's journey across Canada. Item 15 is a 1744 first edition of the three-volume Histoire et Description Generale de la Nouvelle France... by Charlevoix. $17,500.

Not all adventures are terribly pleasant, as Robert Adams can attest. Adams was a sailor from Hudson, New York, who sailed out of Gibralter on the not-so good ship Charles in 1810. It was washed ashore by dangerous currents along the coast of North Africa. The captain was killed while the crew was made slaves. Adams was taken eastward and passed along to various masters. At one point, he became only the second or third westerner to visit the mysterious city of Timbuctoo. Eventually, he was ransomed by a British consul in Morocco, and returned to London where he wrote this book: The Narrative of Robert Adams, A Sailor, who was wrecked on the western coast of Africa, in the year 1810, was detained three years in slavery by Arabs of the Great Desert... published in 1816. Item 1. $1,700.

Item 42 is Alaska and the Polar Regions. Lecture of Gen. Thomas L. Kane before the American Geographical Society...May 7, 1868. Kane was a remarkable man, and this interest in the newly purchased territory of Alaska is just a sidelight to his career. It was likely spurred on by the career of his brother, Elisha Kane, who served on two of the unsuccessful expeditions attempting to find the lost Arctic explorer John Franklin. Kane was an active abolitionist who rose to the rank of General during the Civil War. He suffered several battlefield wounds and illnesses that finally forced him from active duty after Gettysburg. However, where Kane is best remembered is Utah, as he was probably the greatest outsider friend ever of the Mormons. He frequently defended them against a hostile government, assisted in their migration west, helped form the Mormon battalion during the Mexican War, worked to defuse tensions during the Utah War between the government and Mormon settlers, and served as a personal attorney and good friend of Brigham Young. $400.

Helen R. Kahn and Associates may be reached at 514-844-5344 or hrk@hrkahnbooks.com. The website is www.hrkahnbooks.com.

You will find many of Helen R. Kahn'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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