Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2018 Issue

Social Movements from Lorne Bair Rare Books

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Social movements from Lorne Bair Rare Books.

Lorne Bair Rare Books recently published their Catalog 29. Bair specializes in material related to social movements, or as they say, "American (and un-American) social movements." "Un-American" could refer to social movements outside of the U.S., but generally it refers to the label put on groups from the left by those on the right. Think of the House Un-American Activities Committee. You can find something in here from the radical right, but the topics listed give away from which side of the spectrum most of this material emanates. Here they are: African American History & Literature; Radical, Social & Proletarian Literature; Radical History & Social Movements; Women's History & Literature; and Graphics, Art & Photography. Now, some specific examples of movement literature and art mostly from the late 19th and 20th centuries.

 

We will start with an iconic image of Jim Crow at its worst, a gruesome lynching in 1930. Lynchings are almost synonymous with the South, but this one occurred much farther north, in Indiana. Indiana was a hotbed of Klan activity in the 1920s. On August 6, 1930, a crowd estimated at 4,000 white people gathered around the jail in Marion, Indiana. They were after three young black men, accused of killing a white man and raping his girlfriend. They came with a rope. They overpowered the Sheriff, broke open the cells with a sledgehammer, and dragged out and beat Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, before hanging them from a nearby tree. Later, they dragged the third man to the tree and tied a rope around his neck, but returned him to the jail when someone called out that he was innocent. He eventually was convicted as being an accessory to murder and given a four year sentence. The other two, obviously, never received a trial. The girlfriend later recanted the rape claim. Lawrence Beitler was a local professional photographer. Normally, he did portraits and weddings and the like, but this night, he took his camera out to the scene a few hours after the lynching. Shipp and Smith were still hanging from the ropes, and part of the crowd was still milling around. Beitler's photograph is horrific, showing both the hanging bodies and part of the crowd. Some look happy, others eye the camera without notable expressions. One man points to the bodies. No one looks upset. That is almost as terrifying as the sight of the corpses. We don't know how Beitler felt about the scene, but it appears to have been more of a business opportunity to him. He sold thousands of these photographs at 50 cents apiece. Item 3. Priced at $1,500.

 

Item 45 will be a favorite for those who like left-leaning folk singers. It's a copy of American Favorite Ballads: Tunes and Songs as Sung by Pete Seeger, published in 1961. Seeger was a compatriot of Woody Guthrie, a voice for the poor and working people. He was one of the four founders of the Weavers in 1948, who skyrocketed in popularity, only to be shot down and practically banned from performing during the Red Scare of the early 1950s. Seeger would go on to have a long singing career, continuing to be a voice for the forgotten up until his death in 2014 at age 94. Seeger inscribed this songbook "For Fred - who knows all these songs already." Of course he did. Fred was Fred Hellerman, one of the other founders and the last surviving Weaver when he died in 2016. $750.

 

George Washington would have been horrified to see his name associated with this group. Item 67 is a broadside headed, George Washington Birthday Exercises - Mass Demonstrations For True Americanism at Madison Square Garden Monday, February 20, 1939. This self-styled "Pro-American Rally" was put on by the German American Bund, little more than a front organization for the Nazis. It is addressed "To All American Patriots: The increasingly violent, malicious and poisonous attempts to silence and cripple the German American Bund by lying press and radio propaganda... prove that the communistic and other subversive, Jewish-Marxist powers directing these persecutions are in mortal fear of the Bund's reaching and enlightening those Americans still in the dark concerning the red scourge!" It goes on to say "The Bund is an Organization of American Citizens unequivocally committed to the Defense of the Flag, Constitution and Sovereignty of these United States..." The broadside claims that "100,000,000 Aryan (White Gentile) Americans" are "the Only means of preserving Independence and the Christian Culture and Civilization of the Country today!" This stuff sounds so eerily and frighteningly similar to words spoken today. What was it Santayana said about those not learning from history being doomed to repeat it? $1,250.

 

Now we get to see the handiwork of the Bund's "pro-American" friends. Item 71 is an album titled Conc. Camp Dachau, published by the International Office for the Former Concentration Camp Dachau after the war. The album was assembled by The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, and it documents what went on at this concentration camp. It contains 41 images of the facilities and grounds at the camp, liberated prisoners, the crematory, and "a staggering number of corpses." It also contains photos of the Nazi officers at their subsequent trials. Text is written in English, French, Polish, and German, so that many will understand. $1,000.

 

The Communists were noted for many things, but fine press work wasn't one of them. Indeed, life was supposed to be austere, dull, and undistinguished, the basic everyone is the same philosophy where there was little wealth to be shared among people other than party leaders. At least, that was life in the mother country, the Soviet Union. However, this broadside, published in the Stalin era, was printed in America. It came from the Alameda County Committee (Oakland, California), Communist Party. It is headed A Re-Declaration of Independence On July 4th, 1937. It was hand-printed in only 50 copies. It is an anti-fascist, pro-working class declaration, saying, "This day we declare our independence of the old-line politicians, and highly resolve to build a People's Democracy, free of the taint of greed and exploitation." Item 63. $850.

 

This is a very strange take on baseball and other trading cards. Item 103 is a collection of 25 trading cards of 25 Japanese Class A war criminals, photographed at Sugamo Prison, 1946-1947. These were reputedly sold on behalf of the prisoners to generate pocket change to buy cigarettes and personal items. The cards also have a word or two listing the prisoners' sentences, such as "Life," "20 Years," or "Hanged." The most notable inmate depicted in Hideki Tojo, Japan's Prime Minister during the Second World War, who was hanged in 1948. $1,500.

 

Lorne Bair Rare Books may be reached at 540-665-0855 or info@lornebair.com. Their website is www.lornebair.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>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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