Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2017 Issue

Americana, the West, Literature, & Much More from Back of Beyond Books

61141918-6195-4e09-9d4e-c09356190696

The Southwest and much more.

Back of Beyond Books has released their Rare Book Catalogue No. 18. I believe it must be their most extensive collection yet, 360 items of varied interest. Back of Beyond is a specialist in material related to the American Southwest, their home, and there are many items here pertaining to that specialty. However, there are many other fields represented, not all of which we normally find in their catalogues. Other subjects include the broader Western Americana, Mormons, Native Americana, Americana in general, literature, Wallace Stegner, Mountaineering, Pocket Maps, Sheet Music, and Miscellaneous, to cover everything else. This is definitely a something-for-everyone catalogue. You will find fascinating books and ephemeral writings no matter what your taste. Here are a few samples.

 

We will begin with a classic Southwest discovery item. John Wesley Powell led the first expedition to ride the Colorado River rapids all the way to the Grand Canyon. Powell headed two expeditions along the Green and Colorado Rivers, issuing his official report in 1875. He then had another 20 years to think about it, and in 1895, wrote a more detailed account. This second one is titled Canyons of the Colorado, privately printed in Meadville, Pennsylvania, in a small run in 1895. A large section of the Colorado River Powell first explored was dammed up half a century ago to create a giant reservoir – Lake Powell. Item 25. Priced at $9,750.

 

So, what made Powell do the things he did? Edward A. Spitzka wished to find out, which explains this bizarre archive of early 20th century material. Spitzka was a brain anatomist who somehow convinced Powell to leave him his brain for study. In those days, it was believed that studying the features of physical brains could reveal why the people they inhabited behaved as they did. Everything from presidential assassins to Einstein had their brains examined after they died (some should have had them examined before). This archive contains nine pencil drawings of Powell's brain, letters from prominent people who knew Powell describing his traits or specific anecdotes, typed and manuscript copies of Dr. Spitzka's report, two copies of the offprint of his article, and other material that will help you better understand John Wesley Powell's brain. Item 28. $4,500.

 

Western Monthly Magazine began publishing in 1833, a successor to The Illinois Monthly Magazine, the first literary journal in that then frontier state. The publisher was James Hall, who moved to Illinois in 1820 and worked as a lawyer, publisher, and writer. At some point he moved to Cincinnati, explaining the magazine's name change. The Western Monthly Magazine was published from 1833-1837. If Hall's name is familiar, he was the same James Hall who is known for one of the greatest early books about America's natives, the three-volume 1836-1844 set he wrote with Thomas McKenney, illustrated by Charles Bird King, History of the Indian Tribes of North America. A first edition of that will cost you a pretty penny (copies have sold for over $100,000). You don't have to be so rich to buy the magazine. Back of Beyond is offered bound copies of the first three volumes of Western Monthly Magazine, covering the years 1833-1835. Of particular note is it contains the first piece of fiction written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Isabelle and Her Sister Kate, and Their Cousin (we don't know whether Isabelle could shimmy like her sister Kate). Miss Beecher moved to Cincinnati in 1832 to be with her father, President of the Lane Theological Seminary. She joined the Semi-Colon Club, of which Hall was also a member. So was Salmon Chase, future Governor and Lincoln cabinet secretary, and one Calvin Ellis Stowe, who would become her husband. Item 224. $300.

 

Item 274 is American's Dream; Or, the Partial Downfall of Liberty, and its Ultimate Triumph over Tyranny, by "Thomas Theseer." It was published in 1861, at the outbreak of the Civil War, and you might assume the attack on liberty was slavery, or from a southern point of view, abolition. No, in 1861, if Mr. Theseer is to be believed, the real threat was Catholics. In his world, Catholics were paying off politicians to get their way. The cover features an image of a fearsome four-headed dragon, the faces being the Pope, Archbishop Hughes of New York, Secretary of State William Seward, and newspaper publisher/politician Thurlow Weed. The piece is an anachronism. In the mid-1850's, the Know-Nothing Party sprung practically out of nowhere with its virulently anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant platform. They made a serious run at the presidency in 1856, with a former President, Millard Fillmore, carrying their banner. However, the impending doom surrounding the practical inevitability of civil war quickly erased their particular agenda from the forefront of public consciousness. No one was worrying that much about the Pope in 1861 as their sons were being carted off to die in distant fields; nobody, that is, but Mr. "Theseer." $750.

 

Are you suffering from, well.... anything? Dr. Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People will cure it. Headaches, "female problems," paralysis, anemia, rickets, rheumatism, pimples, kidney disease, hysteria, "change of life," even tuberculosis. It contained some iron so the medicine may have been somewhat helpful in relieving anemia, or palesness. Quoting Mary Kilcline Cody from her article A Paler Shade of White, "Europeans could always rely on the Pink Pills to alleviate the pressures of bearing the white man's burden." As for the rest of the illnesses, good luck. By the way, we can thank Canada for producing this example of medical quackery. Item 322 is a 32-page pamphlet explaining the pills' miraculous cures, circa 1898. $50.

 

Here is an interesting product about which I can find virtually nothing. It is an unillustrated poster, promoting, in concise language, Wild Bill Hickok's Sober Gum. The entire explanation says it "will straighten you up and kill all trace of alcohol on the breath / Fine for morning after / Try it now / Guaranteed." Why don't they make this stuff any more? Is there no longer a need? It sounds like Wild Bill was onto something. However, it is dubious he was promoting this very useful product or receiving his deserved royalties. The undated poster notes that it was printed by the Allied Printing Trades Council of St. Louis, a union organization. The council was formed in 1893. Wild Bill died in 1876. Item 226. $250.

 

Back of Beyond Books may be reached at 435-259-5154 or andy@backofbeyondbooks.com. Their website is www.backofbeyondbooks.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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