Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2017 Issue

A Selection for the Fair from B & L Rootenberg Fine & Rare Books

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Some remarkable books for the fair.

B & L Rootenberg Fine & Rare Books recently prepared a catalogue of A Selection of Books and Works on Paper Exhibited at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair. There is a some remarkable content in this selection of slightly over 100 items. Anything may show up in this group, but we do note they are mostly a few centuries old, and there is much in the way of science or pseudoscience. Still, there are important items that don't fit that description, such as a first edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. You need to look for yourself, but here are a few samples.

 

We start with a how-to guide, though I'm not sure whether this is an item from science, medicine, or theology. Item 18 is Manuale Exorcistarum by Candido Brognolo. This 1651 guide is a manual for conducting an exorcism. It was written for clergymen so they could properly perform the procedure. Rootenberg explains, "the Author, who specialized in the process of identification and diagnosis of possessions of preternatural origin, analyzes the unmistakable signs of the possession, providing detailed descriptions of the symptoms of the presence of evil, detailed formulae for the recognition of the state of demoniacal possession, for the discovery of the demon's name, for the cause of the possession, and most importantly the step-by-step directions for the expulsion of the demons." Brognono also provides guidelines for what not to do, such as beating the possessed in a cruel and ferocious manner. This sounds like a very useful book. Priced at $4,500.

 

Here is a man who church authorities must have believed needed a good exorcising of his demons - Galileo. Galileo was permitted to write a book comparing the Copernican theory of a heliocentric solar system to the traditional, church accepted earth centered model, so long as he didn't advocate for Copernicus' theory. Galileo wrote such a book, his famous Dialogo, a dialogue between persons representing the competing viewpoints. However, it took little imagination to recognize that Galileo was advocating Copernicus' position. Church authorities saw right through it and the great astronomer was put on trial. He was convicted, and while spared the typical brutal punishments of the day, he was in effect placed on house arrest for the rest of his life, and denied the right to speak his views. Item 41 is a first edition, first issue of Galileo's Dialogo, published in 1632. $40,000.

 

While biblical authority was the common explanation for why Galileo was wrong, some attempted to marshal scientific evidence against his theory as well. One such man was Jacques Grandami, a physicist and astronomer friendly with many scientists of his day, but also a Jesuit father. Item 45 is his book, Nova demonstratio immobilitatis terrae petita ex virtuta magnetica, published in 1645. Clearly, Grandami had already reached his conclusions and looked for scientific evidence to back those preconceived notions, rather than to reach an objective conclusion. Nonetheless, it was at least an effort. Grandami was familiar with magnetism and conducted experiments with magnetic spheres in water which led him to believe that magnetic spheres do not rotate. He was well aware that the earth was a giant magnetic sphere, so therefore, he concluded, the earth cannot spin on its axis and create an illusion that the sun is revolving around the earth. The sun must actually be doing that. $12,000.

 

Years after Grandami's refutation, actually more than two centuries later, Rev. Christopher Alderson had some more creative explanations for the motion of the sun and many other matters of scientific importance. Upset by such things as acceptance of the theory of evolution, Rev. Alderson was ruminating on these issues when suddenly it came to him. Actually, the answers were sort of delivered to him. They came from Moses. Alderson described them in The Aldersonian-Mosaic system of creation, or, the supposed cause of Earth’s rotation on her axis, or the day and night motion of our planet; and also of other divine, wise and benevolent physical laws, clearly seen in God’s creation within our world and the solar system, published in 1880. Alderson explained that he called it the Alderson-Mosiac system rather than just the Mosaic system as he didn't want Moses to be blamed for any errors of calculation he made. I'm sure Moses would have appreciated the concern. Alderson explains all the major issues of science of the day, including that the earth is enclosed in a glass sphere, the moon is inhabited, the sun is not a separate body but electricity reacting with the earth's atmosphere, and light does not travel at nearly so high a speed as has been calculated. Who knew that Moses was crazy? Item 1. $550.

 

Item 66 includes nine issues of the French scientific journal Comptes rendus hebdonadaires des sciences de l'academie des sciences, from 1846. One of them contains a major astronomical discovery – Recherches sur les mouvements d'Uranis, by Urbain Le Verrier. What Le Verrier concluded by calculating the movements of Uranus was that there must be another planet out there. He concluded this strictly from applying mathematical formulas to those movements. Newton's law of gravity explained how Uranus should move, but astronomers found slight variations. Using his formulas, Le Verrier calculated Uranus must be experiencing the pull of an otherwise unknown and unseen planet to experience these variations. He further calculated where that planet must be, and then sent a notice to a Berlin observatory telling them where to look. Voila! They discovered Neptune. $6,500.

 

B & L Rootenberg Fine & Rare Books may be reached at 818-788-7765 or blroot@rootenbergbooks.com. Their website is www.rootenbergbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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

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