Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2017 Issue

The Arctic World from Patrick McGahern Books

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The Arctic World.

Patrick McGahern Books has released their Catalogue 250, The Arctic World Including Newfoundland & Labrador, Voyages, Canoeing, Fur Trade & Travel. This is a milestone catalogue for McGahern, whose first dates back to 1969. This is an appropriate catalogue for winter, as much of the territory covered by the books herein are from the land of endless winter. Intrepid adventurers braved the elements to explore these distant and often barren lands to bring these books to us. We can be grateful to be able read about, rather than experience, these intemperate climes. Here are a few samples.

 

Item 22 recounts one of the innumerable futile attempts to locate a Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific north of Canada. The book is A Voyage to Hudson's-Bay, by the Dobbs Galley and California, in the Years 1746 and 1747, for discovering a North West Passage... This exploration was captained by William Moor, while the author of this 1748 account was Henry Ellis, the mission's hydrographer and surveyor. A century earlier, several such expeditions were attempted without success. Thomas James came back to report that no such passage could exist from Hudson Bay. The result was that attempts to locate such a route ceased for a century, only to be started again in the next century. Moor's expedition returned with the same conclusion as James – that no such route existed. It would halt most explorations for another century, when the British again began numerous searches for a passage, except this time through a route farther north than Hudson Bay. Ellis does provide much information about the still little known Esquimaux natives and other subjects of natural history. Priced at CAD $2,200 (Canadian dollars, or approximately $1,645 U.S. dollars).

 

In the 19th century, explorations to find a Northwest Passage became more sophisticated. Late in the 18th century, James Cook attempted to find a passage by starting from the Pacific, to no avail. In the 1820's, the British decided to double their chances by sending ships from both the Atlantic and Pacific, hoping they would meet each other. In 1824, Franklin and Parry were sent out on separate expeditions to find the passage from the Atlantic. F. W. Beechey was sent the following year to meet them from the Pacific. Item 9 is a Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's Strait, to co-operate with The Polar Expeditions... This account was written by Captain Beechey and published in 1831. He had learned that Parry turned back, but that Franklin was still moving forward. Beechey awaited his arrival in Kotzebue Bay through the summers of 1826 and 1827, sending a smaller boat east to look out for him. Finally, in late August, winter approaching, he turned back. Neither knew that Beechey and Franklin had come within 160 miles of each other before Franklin, now moving forward very slowly and likewise apprehensive of coming winter ice, turned back. While the Northwest Passage was Beechey's main objective, he also visited Hawaii and numerous other Pacific islands, the California coast, and met John Adams, the last survivor of the mutiny on the Bounty, on Pitcairn Island. CAD $10,000 (US $7,480).

 

Once explorers had discovered new lands, the missionaries were never far behind. Here is a book with a title I will not attempt to pronounce: Jesusjb Krijstusib ajokertutingita piijariakarnerpangoningit. A Summary of Christian Doctrine. This is a religious text in the Inuit language. The Moravians set up a mission in Labrador in 1771. They are still active in the area. This book was published, maybe, in 1867. Item 48. CAD $300 (US $224).

 

This one is a bit of a head-scratcher. It is an insurance policy from The Manufacturers Fire and Marine Insurance Company of Boston to William Lewis in the amount of $8,000. Insured was the W. A. Farnsworth, a whaler plying the waters off Alaska. The policy covered the ship from August 1, 1877, to November 5, 1878. This policy was a good investment. At midnight on September 15, 1877, the Farnsworth hit a piece of ice 50 miles off the Alaska coast. Within 20 minutes, she sank. Fortunately, all the men were able to get into the lifeboats and were later rescued by another whaler. But, here is the mystery. The document is dated October 20, 1877. That's just over a month after the boat sank. What the? Perhaps it reiterated a previously purchased policy? Maybe the parties did not yet know of her fate? The latter is most unlikely by this time with the telegraph and Pacific railroad in operation. Item 7. CAD $250 (US $198).

 

When one challenges the elements in the far north there is always grave risk. Three men, led by John Hornby, took on those challenges in 1926, and all paid the ultimate price. Hornby had made many trips to the Arctic, including those where he took limited supplies for long stays, choosing to live off the land. That is what he did in 1926, taking his 18-year-old cousin Edgar Christian and Harold Adlard along. They settled into a cabin along the Thelon River in the Northwest Territories. They had expected to feed off the winter Caribou migration but missed it. The result was they ran out of food. All three died of starvation. Edgar Christian kept a diary, which he left behind. He was the last of the three to die, passing sometime after June 1, 1927. His diary was first printed in 1937 under the title Unflinching. A Diary of Tragic Adventure. Item 15 is a copy from the third printing in 1947. CAD $150 (US $112).

 

Patrick McGahern Books may be reached at 613-230-2277 or books@mcgahernbooks.ca. Their website is www.mcgahernbooks.ca.

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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