Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2017 Issue

Literary Classics from Whitmore Rare Books

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Catalogue 14 from Whitmore Rare Books.

Whitmore Rare Books has published their Catalogue 14. Whitmore features literary classics, with quality of condition of primary importance. Most of the books would be described as fiction, though there are subsets within, such as numerous children's books, along with plays and poetry. A few reach outside of the categories of fiction, such as Plato, Thoreau, Audubon and Jim Thorpe. Here are a few selections from the 89 classics offered in this newest Whitmore catalogue

 

Speaking of Mr. Thorpe, many people consider Jim Thorpe the greatest athlete of the 20th century. Considering the potential names on that list, such a consideration is an amazing honor. Thorpe was a Native American, highly uncommon in the field of sports, particularly a century ago, whose all around athletic skills were phenomenal. Naturally, he had to deal with a fair amount of racial discrimination along with the challenges faced in competition. He would play professional football, baseball, and basketball, but his greatest achievements came at the 1912 Olympics where he captured the decathlon and pentathlon. Item 64 is Jim Thorpe's History of the Olympics. It was published in 1932 and contains the official stamp of the Olympics Village in Los Angeles. This copy was signed by approximately 50 of the athletes who participated in the 1932 Olympics, as well as Jim Thorpe himself, who dated his signature July 23, 1932. Priced at $6,500.

 

There are few American novels that have such status as classics as this one. Item 60 is John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939. It is the all-too-real fictional account of the Joad family, who make their way from the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma to the difficult life of farm laborers in California during the Depression. It served as a notice to America of the desperate conditions many of its laborers and farm workers faced. The book was the best selling novel of 1939 and was a major factor in Steinbeck's winning the Nobel Prize in 1962. The year after it was published, it became one of most honored films as well, with Henry Fonda in the lead role. This copy is not only in near fine condition, but is also an uncommon inscribed one. Steinbeck inscribed it to Barrett Kiesling, who built a sizable collection of inscribed first editions. Kiesling was for twenty years the Publicity Director of MGM and wrote a book about films (Talking Pictures). A few of Steinbeck's books were made into films, explaining the contact between Steinbeck and Kiesling, who knew many of the notable Hollywood personalities of the era. $22,500.

 

Next up is another inscribed book, with a Christmas card which explains the very friendly inscription by Truman Capote to someone he evidently did not know. The book is One Christmas by Capote, published in 1983 (first trade edition). The recipient was Richard Boolootian, who not only was unfamiliar to Capote but unfamiliar to me as well. I'm not sure who he was. Here is the inscription: "for Dick, who is very special – please look after my dear little Joanne for me, love, Truman." Joanne was entertainer Johnny Carson's second wife. The marriage did not end well. For the next decade, Joanne Carson and Truman Capote became very close friends. He eventually moved into her home, where he died in 1984. On the Christmas card, Joanne Carson writes to Boolootian, "While Truman was here in August signing his Christmas books, he asked me who were the people that were very special to me. He signed this book for you." Carson signed the card "Joanne" after drawing a heart in red. Item 6. $1,000.

 

This next title is a children's book that ended up being one of the more controversial titles of the twentieth century, though its author could hardly have imagined that would be the case. Published in 1899, the book is The Story of Little Black Sambo, written by Helen Bannerman. She could have avoided the controversy if only she had not chosen to mention the boy's skin color. Bannerman was a Scottish lady who married a physician who worked in the Indian Medical Service. She moved with him to India, where they resided for many years. It was while she was there that she wrote about Sambo, who was actually an Indian boy, not an African one. It is the well known tale of Sambo's being chased by Tigers, giving them his clothes to spare his life, whereupon the tigers fight over who looks best and eventually chase each other until they turn into something akin to pancake mix. Sambo is depicted as a clever hero, and Bannerman's illustrations were not offensive. Unfortunately, the book was regularly pirated, and frequently illustrated in America with stereotypical, demeaning images of black people. The result was the name "Sambo" came to be a derogatory term for blacks, with Bannerman's tale considered a racist portrayal. If only she hadn't specified his skin color... Item 2. $5,750.

 

This book has a rather pedestrian title for one of such great significance: A Yankee in Canada, With Anti-Slavery and Reform Papers. It is a collection of essays by Henry David Thoreau, edited by Ralph Waldo Emerson and other of Thoreau's friends, published in 1866, four years after he died. Among the essays Thoreau describes a journey to Quebec and what he found, but that is not what makes this collection important. Rather, it is an essay entitled Civil Disobedience, previously published in a magazine but here for the first time in book form. This essay espouses Thoreau's view that when government orders are wrong, they should not be blindly followed. Rather, we should follow our conscience, and disobey when necessary. This is not only true with despotic governments, Thoreau maintains, but with democratic ones as well, as the majority can still be wrong. Thoreau would apply his principles when he refused to pay his taxes as, at the time, they were still be used to enforce slavery. He was briefly jailed until friends paid them for Thoreau. The principles Thoreau here described would become an inspiration for some of the greatest leaders in the years ahead, including Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Item 63. $2,500.

 

Whitmore Rare Books may be reached at 626-297-7700 or info@whitmorerarebooks.com. Their website is www.WhitmoreRareBooks.com.

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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