Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2017 Issue

Magnificent Books, Manuscripts & Photographs from the 19th Century Shop

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Magnificent Books & Photographs.

The 19th Century Rare Book & Photograph Shop has released a catalogue of Magnificent Books & Photographs. We might add that the catalogue is magnificent as well, but nothing less would make sense for the type of material found within. There are books and photographs, as one would expect, along with numerous manuscripts. The names are largely familiar – Lincoln, Roosevelt, Hamilton, Jefferson, Shakespeare, Twain, Wilde, Locke, Whitman, Poe, Newton, Darwin, Watson & Crick, Armstrong, Freud, Muybridge, and many more. Others are related to such things as places rather than specific people. These are amazing items, for collectors at the top end of the market. Here are a few.

 

We begin with a remarkable photographic portrait, one which includes Abraham Lincoln in what may have been the last happy days of his life. It was taken in Springfield, in 1860, before his journey to lead his country through four years of terrible strife. Five years later, he returned in a casket. This picture shows Lincoln standing on the porch of his Springfield home. It is the only house he ever owned. Standing next to Lincoln is his third son, Willie, with his youngest, Tad, mostly obscured by a post. Willie would return to Springfield the same way as his father, dying at the age of 11, while Tad outlived Abe, but died shortly after his 18th birthday. There was much tragedy ahead for this family, but it was not apparent on what looks to have been a nice day. Priced at $18,000.

 

Next is a photograph of the grisly conclusion to the sad Lincoln history. It is a gallows, with a group of people standing on it. Four of them were about to be executed. They were Mary Surratt and three men, all convicted of participating in the assassination of Lincoln or attempts to assassinate the Vice-President and Secretary of State the same day. The trial took seven weeks, and the verdict had to go to President Johnson for approval. He approved it on July 5, 1865, and to the surprise of the defendants, they were hanged the next day. In the photographs, attendants are in the process of putting hoods over the heads of the soon-to-be executed. $20,000.

 

Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain (we'll call him Twain for convenience) is noted for his many humorous stories, but he could be serious on occasion. We can see some of the serious side, humor intermingled, in The Love Letters of Mark Twain. It's hard to imagine that Twain wanted his love letters published, but he had little say in the matter. He had been dead for 39 years when they were published in 1949. The letters span the years of Twain's romance with his beloved wife Livy, from their initial courtship in 1868 until her death in 1904. Livy had rejected his initial entreaties, so he wrote her of his disappointment. In a plaintive cry, he says he can accept her decision since his life has had its share of "grief, disaster & disappointment." "So, I shall bear this last & bittersweet, even though it break my heart." It worked. A couple of months later, they were engaged, and married in 1870. This book has been signed by Twain, both as Twain and Clemens. You might wonder how Twain signed a book 39 years after he died. Good question. Many years earlier, Twain had signed numerous blank leaves for a planned book, but he died before it could be published. Harper & Brothers had these sheets hanging around all these years when Love Letters was published. One was tipped in to each of the 155 copies printed. $12,500.

 

If there was a sense of being a bit overdramatic in that entreaty, this next Twain writing is dark and filled with the deepest despair. It was very real. In 1896, his daughter Susy, just 24 years old, died. Twain suffered multiple tragedies in his later years, outliving his wife and three of his four children. Twain wrote this manuscript in 1902 of In Memory of Olivia Susan Clemens, 1872-1896. It was perhaps a catharsis for the despondent Twain. He intended it to be printed only for private circulation. He wished no one but his closest friends ever to see it. Ultimately, that private edition was never printed. Herein, Twain laments an apparent meaninglessness of life. He writes, "...men are born, they labor and sweat & struggle for bread, they squabble & scold & fight, they scramble for little mean advantages over each other; age creeps upon them, infirmities follow; shames and humiliations bring down their prides and their vanities; those they love are taken from them & the joy of life is to aching grief: the burden of pain, cares, misery grows heavier year by year; at length ambition is dead, pride is dead, vanity is dead, longing for release is in their place; it comes at last, the only unpoisoned gift earth ever had for them & they vanish from a world where they were of no consequence, where they achieved nothing, where they were a mistake & a failure & a foolishness, where they have left no sign that they have existed; a world which will lament them a day & forget them forever. Then another myriad takes their place." Very dark. No humor here. Eventually, this memorial was published posthumously as part of Twain's Autobiography in 1924. Price on request.

 

There are but a few finalists for the most important science text ever written. This is one of them: Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. This is Isaac Newton's Principia, a first edition, published in 1687. This copy is the first state, or English edition (some copies were printed for distribution in England, others for Europe). Printing and the Mind of Man best expressed its significance with, "Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler had certainly shown the way, but where they described the phenomena they observed, Newton explained the underlying universal laws." Up to that point, it was believed that the laws governing what went on in the sky were different from those that applied on earth. Newton established that they were the same, with gravity and the laws of motion being the forces that determined what went on throughout the universe. $850,000.

 

Who was the earliest born person to have his likeness preserved in a photograph? It is unclear as birth dates in the 18th century were often uncertain, but this man is one of if not the first born. Baltus Stone was a veteran of the American Revolution, and not even one of its younger participants, when he was photographed 1846. He was a common man, one who described himself in 1820 when applying for a veteran's pension as an indigent day labourer unable to work because of decrepitude and infirmity. The inscription on the photograph gives his date of birth as 1744. His obituary listed 1743, his pension application 1754, a family bible as 1747. Other than a slave with an uncorroborated birth year of 1737, 19th Century was unable to find anyone else who was photographed with a birth year listed prior to 1745. Stone died a few months after this daguerreotype was taken. $50,000.

 

There is much more of importance and interest to be found here. There is a Shakespeare Second Folio, Curtis' massive North American Indian photographs, Poe's Raven and Other Poems, the earliest photograph of John D. Rockefeller (as an 18-year-old bookkeeper), the first printed sheet music of the Star Spangled Banner, a Darwin family photo album, pre-earthquake photographs of San Francisco buildings by a Vanderbilt family owner, a large photograph of 19th century Siamese twins Chang and Eng, and much more.

 

The 19th Century Rare Book & Photograph Shop can be reached at 410-602-3002 or info@19thshop.com. Their website is found at www.19thshop.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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.

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