Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2017 Issue

A Belated Christmas Catalogue from Peter Harrington

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A slightly late Christmas catalogue.

We are slightly late on this, but not by much. Peter Harrington recently produced a catalogue for Christmas 2016. The material isn't particularly Christmasy, so it's fine for January 2017 too. In fact, it isn't particularly anything, other than excellent copies of solid books. The topics and types vary widely, so anything may show up. Here are a few selections.

 

Here is a book which has nothing to do with Christmas, by a writer who is associated with nothing else. Well, that is assuming his name is familiar at all. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is one of the biggest selling songs ever recorded. The song was written by Johnny Marks and recorded by singing cowboy Gene Autrey for Christmas 1949. However, Rudolph was already ten years old at the time, which is something like 50 in reindeer years. Rudy first came to life as a giveaway book at Montgomery Ward in 1939. Robert L. May, an advertising copy writer at Ward's, was asked by his boss to create a story to be used as a promotion for the coming Christmas. It was very popular, though the book has largely been forgotten (as has Ward's) while Rudolph lives on, thanks to Marks' version as a song. By the way, Marks was May's brother-in-law. None of this has much to do with item 274 other than to tell you who Robert L. May was. The following year, May created another book, this one titled Benny the Bunny Liked Beans. Unfortunately, May's brother-in-law never put this one to music, so the story is an obscurity. But, you can still get a copy from Harrington. Priced at £675 (British pounds or approximately $844 U. S. dollars).

 

Sometimes an author becomes so associated with one character, or set of characters, that we forget that he had a successful writing career that involved anything else. A. A. Milne's name immediately brings up images of Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends, but to most people, probably little if anything else. However, before (and after) his Pooh days, Milne wrote plays, poems, and occasional novels. One of those novels was a mystery/detective novel, published in 1922, a few years before Pooh Bear made his debut. The real Christopher Robin, Milne's son Christopher Robin Milne, was still only two years old in 1922, so he probably hadn't developed his full collection of inspirational stuffed animals yet. The mystery novel is entitled The Red House Mystery, and it is one of those where a group of people are gathered in a house and one is found dead. One of the others in the party becomes an amateur detective, eventually solving the mystery. Item 136. £6,500 (US $8,178).

 

This next book is not a piece of great literature, but like many great books, it was controversial in its time. Item 5 is Hollywood Babylone, by Kenneth Anger, published in 1959. Evidently, "Babylone" is how the French spell "Babylon," since this book, despite its Hollywood topic, is in French. It would later be published in English, but the French edition is the first. Indeed, it was first published in English in 1965 and quickly banned. It would not be until 1975 that Americans could read the book (unless they understood French) as that's when the second English edition was published, and allowed to be sold. This is a tell-all, scandal book, revealing the terrible secrets of Hollywood stars from 1900 through the 1950's. At the time the second English edition was published, the New York Times reviewer said of it, "If a book such as this can be said to have charm, it lies in the fact that here is a book without one single redeeming merit." In other words, it is the kind of book we like to read. Besides which, this edition is in French, and anything written in French is classier than something in English. £875 (US $1,100).

 

To balance the non-children's book written by a notable children's book author, we have some actual children's books by such an author. And these books, like the one above, have the added classiness of being in French. Item 21 is a set of first editions of the first four Babar books. Babar is the French-speaking elephant, who came to prefer green clothes, but went around pretty much naked when young. He went off to visit the big city after the unfortunate passing of his mother. When he returned to elephant land, he brought back a knowledge of human civilization and values (along with the French language) to share with his fellow pachyderms. They made him king because humans are so much more civilized than elephants (never mind that a human shot and killed his mother). The four books are Histoire de Babar (1931), Le Voyage de Babar (1932), Le Roi Babar (1933), and Les Vacances de Zephir (1936). The author was Jean de Brunhoff, who died the year after Zephir was published at the age of 37. There were two more of his Babar books published posthumously, but after a hiatus of several years, his son, Laurent, picked up the series, with the vast majority of Babar titles written by the son. Laurent is 91 years old today, lives in New York, and may still add more books to the series. We hope so. £3,750 (US $4,717).

 

The German bombing of London during the Second World War, begun in September 1940, was meant to be a prelude to a land invasion. That invasion never happened, the bombing not softening up Britain as the Germans anticipated. However, at the time this handbill was printed in 1941, such a land invasion was still a distinct threat. It was at this time that the Ministry of Information published this sheet, with Winston Churchill's inspirational advice and practical guidance, headed Beating the INVADER. A message from the Prime Minister. Churchill explains that if and when the attack begins, it will be too late to go. Therefore, it will be everyone's duty to "STAND FIRM!" In those places where no fighting is occurring, nor rifle fire can be heard, everyone needs to follow "the second great order and duty, namely 'CARRY ON'." Keep calm and carry on, in a bit more detail. Item 215. £850 (US $1,069).

 

Peter Harrington may be reached at 020 7591 0220 (USA 011 44 20 7591 0220) or mail@peterharrington.co.uk. Their website is www.peterharrington.co.uk.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <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].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <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>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750

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