Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2017 Issue

Updating a Personal Collection

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Images bring the collection to life.

I write from time to time about my collection relating to the Hudson Valley of the State of New York.  I’ve been collecting for sixty years and continue to be surprised by my changing interaction with this subject.  I could say “evolving” but this seems to understate the speed with which my options for collecting change.

 

A book collector from an early age I soon learned about some forty-plus titles I should focus on.  That a collection might include more than books was dismissed as requiring the complex alchemy of knowledge and opportunity.  As to opportunity it was suggested I offer to clean out attics and garages as well as plan each year to get to the annual library fair early because sometimes interesting material might be sitting on the five-cent table but would quickly disappear.  I would do all these things but found the occasional auction more interesting and profitable.

 

As to resources I was ordered to buy a copy of Howes’ Usiana and did so.  The cost, $6.00, would turn out to be an investment that separated the 10 year old that I was from the hoi polloi.  Knowledge was for the collector of books, it turned out, the friend of intuition for the material found rarely exactly lined up with the descriptions in reference books.  You could think but you also had to feel.

 

In time ephemera began to emerge as the glue between the bricks.  Paintings were also occasionally available but were difficult to acquire because often a bidder or two might decide to buy them no matter what and my budget through high school was limited to what I could earn.

 

With a job during and after college I began to have some cash and in the late 1960’s bought a framed portrait for $40 that, even today, faces our grand piano.  It has aged well and come to anchor the collection I started then that has gradually broadened from books to manuscripts, maps, ephemera, money, furniture, objects and paintings.  A collecting focus that began as a list of 44 titles has become an intensely focused view of Ulster County that today includes roughly 5,000 items.  Go figure.

 

Collecting today of course is not the collecting it was when I was a kid.  All collectors of a certain age see the world as “before” and “after” the Internet.  With the Internet came the dawn of a new world, albeit one that, for years, clung stubbornly to the old model, mimicking bookshops even as they began to fold.

 

In that time I came to understand that I was collecting books because they were the closest I could get to collecting what I really wanted, which was to intensely collect the history of Ulster County.  So, for the past ten years that’s what I have focused on – and learned that the internet has permitted obscure fields to be aggregated into very larger and consistent searches.

 

As to what this changing perspective has translated into here are some purchases I made over the past year.  The material is eclectic and yet also precisely within the field I now pursue, a New York State county that most would pass by:  Ulster and nearby places.

 

1. Poughkeepsie.  A large lithograph I wrote about in February, 2017.  It’s by Edwin Whitefield and dated 1852.  It’s a minor gem.  It was advertised in the Newtown Bee.

 

2. An Auction Poster.  Beautifully printed, 20" w x 28" h.  Announcing the postponement of an auction on the road between High Falls and Mohonk.  Visually appealing. 

 

3. The Toll Roads of Ulster County in 1824.  An absolute gem.  Roads would become public but were often private in the early 19th century. 

 

4. A Map of the then border between Ulster and Albany Counties in 1765.  Unique.

 

5. Early Stickley Furniture.  A trestle desk, a sideboard, and a table and chairs.

 

Altogether, very special.


Posted On: 2017-12-12 00:25
User Name: CRMaps

Did you ever expect to see an Ulster County landmark on a c1858 map of North Carolina?
http://blog.ncmaps.org/index.php/pearce-mockup-map-of-nc/


Posted On: 2017-12-18 02:59
User Name: adminb

Thank you for the link. It's very strong/ Bruce


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Adams (Richard). <i>Watership Down,</i> FIRST EDITION, author inscription on front free end paper, folded map tipped in, original boards, dust-jacket. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bowles (John). <i>Several Prospects of the Most…la Ville de Londres, avec des Remarques Historiques fort Succinctes, qui les Regardant,</i> 20 double page engraved plates only, of 23, 1724. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Auden (W.H.). <i>Our Hunting Fathers,</i> FIRST SEPARATE EDITION, 1 of 22 copies, COPY B OF 5 PRINTED ON NORMANDIE, original patterned wrappers, Cambridge, for Frederic Prokosch, 1935. £800 to £1200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Barrie (J. M.) & Attwell (Mabel Lucie, illustrator). <i>Peter Pan & Wendy,</i> FIRST EDITION, 12 chromolithograph plates, publisher's blue cloth, original printed dust jacket, [c.1920]; and 3 others (4). £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bartolozzi (Francesco). Genius Calling Forth the Fine Arts to Adorn Manufactures and Commerce; Agriculture (Husbandry Aided by Arts and Commerce), glazed and framed. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> A collection of engraved caricatures, including Gillray ([James]) Tales of Wonder!, 1802; Rowlandson (Thomas) Sports, Smock Racing, 1811;Irish Jaunting Carr, 1814. £400 to £600
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bennett (Charles H, illustrator). <i>Æsop’s Fables,</i> 1875; Buchanan (Robert). <i>Ballad Stories of the Affections,</i> [1866]; Douce (Francis), The Dance of Death, 1833. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Chinese Illustrations. A group of 6 Cantonese rice paper illustrations, depicting scenes of torture with different instruments, gouache, c.340 x 220mm, original wrapper boards preserved, [c. 1800]. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Dulac (Edmund). <i>The Queen of Romania, The Dreamer of Dreams,</i> 5 coloured plates, [1915]; and others illustrated by Edmund Dulac. £300 to £400
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    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Fronth (Per). Xingu Chronicles, the portfolio, comprising 30 plates, photogravues in colours, each signed, dated and titled in pencil, each numbered 10/35, on wove paper, 790 x 600 x 60mm, 1997. £300 to £400
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Pasternak (Boris). <i>Doctor Zhivago,</i> FIRST ENGLISH EDITION, original red publisher’s cloth, pictorial dust jacket, 4to, Collins & Harvill Press, 1958. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> 13 sepia photographs of visitors to the Thermes Nationaux d’Aix-les-Bains, c. 150 x 105mm, c.1890 (12). £300 to £400
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
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    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
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    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
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    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
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