Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2018 Issue

Fine Literature from Whitmore Rare Books

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Catalogue 17.

Whitmore Rare Books has released their Catalogue 17. There is not a specific title defining the type of material to be found, but we will give it a working title of fine literature. There is much in the way of fiction, some nonfiction, some poetry. It is filled with important works, and while the twentieth century is most represented, others go back as far as the sixteenth. Many copies come with author signatures or inscriptions. The condition of these books is generally as good as you are likely to find. Here are a few samples of what is offered.

 

We begin with the story that jump-started one of America's greatest literary careers. Samuel Clemens, who would write as Mark Twain, started his career as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi. When the Civil War dried up river traffic, he moved to Nevada, tried his hand at gold mining in Nevada City, and when that failed, worked for the local newspaper. From there, he moved on to San Francisco, writing now his avocation. It was there that he wrote the title piece for this collection of short stories. It was published in a national weekly newspaper, and its popularity was such that it it led to this collection, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches, published in 1867. It relates an old miner's tale of a fellow miner who liked to bet on anything. When the miner claimed his frog could out-jump any other, another man said he did not have a frog with which to compete. The miner generously offered to find him a frog, and while he did, the stranger filled the miner's frog's mouth with buckshot. The outcome was preordained. That frog couldn't jump. Offered is a copy of the first edition, first issue. Priced at $10,000.

 

Next we have a story of life in Africa during the waning days of the colonial period. The title is Out of Africa, and the writer was "Isak Dinesen." That was a pen name for Karen Blixen, a Danish woman who moved to British East Africa, now Kenya, in 1913 to join her soon-to-be husband in developing a coffee plantation, not far from Nairobi. The first years went well enough, but it did not last. The marriage broke down, and after the divorce, she was in charge of running the farm. Then droughts came, coffee prices declined, and the debts mounted. In 1931, she was forced to sell, and moved out of Africa, back to Denmark, where she wrote and published this book in 1938. Item 12. $450.

 

This is the scarce first edition of a desert classic, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, by T. E. Lawrence, more commonly known as Lawrence of Arabia. Lawrence was serving with the British military in what is today Jordan during the First World War when the British decided it would be a good idea to join forces with Arab rebels. Arabia was then controlled by the Ottoman Turkish empire, which was aligned with Germany against Britain and its allies. Fighting an Arab revolt in their empire would force the Turks to pull troops away from the greater war effort. Lawrence worked closely with the Arabs in planning the revolt, which successfully threw off the Ottoman rule (to be replaced by European colonial rule - not part of Lawrence's plan). This first edition, the subscribers' edition, was privately printed in just 170 copies. Each came with a unique binding, being very costly to produce (Lawrence lost a lot of money on it). Other than an abridged version, Lawrence allowed no reprints during his lifetime. The book itself is part history, part adventure, an autobiography that covers more than just the life of T. E. Lawrence during the war. This copy is inscribed by Lawrence to his attorney, with his "apologies for the troubles it is going to bring him." Item 30. $87,500.

 

Paperbacks are not usually the most desirable of editions, but Whitmore has a selection of them from a personal collection that was quite special. Kurt Enoch was involved in the creation of several paperback publishers, including Signet, Penguin, and the New American Library. Enoch bet on the idea that people would appreciate affordable reading copies of great (and mediocre) books and won. For his own collection, Enoch had the writers inscribe their paperback editions to him. In the process, he developed a collection of over one thousand signed paperback books, with signatures from the likes of Faulkner, Capote, Nabokov, Rand, Tennessee Williams, and Henry Miller. Item 53 is the inscribed paperback of Erskine Caldwell's Tobacco Road: A Three Act Play. Published in 1952, this look at the extreme poverty of southern sharecroppers during the Depression became an enormously successful Broadway play. $750.

 

Next we will turn to poetry, an epic poem with an enduring opening - "A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Its loveliness increases, it will never pass into nothing." The poem is John Keats' Endymion, based on the mythical Greek romance between a young shepherd and the Moon Goddess. It is a tribute to their youthful beauty, but tempered by the fact that the Goddess would stay young forever, while the shepherd would grow old and die. Similarly, the poet will die too, but the beauty of his work lives on. Sadly, that would prove all too true for Keats, just 22 years old when this poem was published in 1818. Along with others in his family, he was stricken with tuberculosis, living only to the age of 25. His recognition as a major poet would develop after his lifetime. Item 26. $8,500.

 

Whitmore Rare Books may be reached at 626-297-7700 or info@whitmorerarebooks.com. Their website is www.WhitmoreRareBooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Koller Auctions: Books & Autographs. March 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Koller Auctions, Mar 26:</b> Jacques Gamelin. <i>Nouveau recueil d'osteologie et de myologie, dessine d'apres nature...</i> 2 parts in 1 vol., large folio, 82 copper plates. CHF 12,000 to 18,000
    <b>Koller Auctions, Mar 26:</b> Melchior Pfintzing. <i>Die geverlicheiten und einsteils geschichten des loblichen streytparen...</i> 118 woodcut engravings, first edition. CHF 30,000 to 50,000
    <b>Koller Auctions, Mar 26:</b> Book of hours. Handwritten Latin text on vellum. With 17 large miniatures, Flanders, c.1460. CHF 70,000 to 90,000
    <b>Koller Auctions, Mar 26:</b> Maria Sibylla Merian. <i> Dissertatio de generatione et metamorphosibus insectorum Surinamensium,</i> 72 copper plates, Den Haag, 1726. CHF 60,000 to 90,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Princess Diana, group of 6 ALS to the editor of British Vogue, 1989-92. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Joseph Brant, Mohawk Chief, ALS, writing with news after pledging support to King George III against the American rebels, 1776. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Ulysses S. Grant, photograph dated & signed as President, portrait by Brady, 1875. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Alexander Graham Bell, ALS, accepting an invitation to tea during his only trip to Japan, 1898. $1,000 to $2,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Nikola Tesla, signature & date on his monogrammed correspondence card, 1935. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Richard Wagner, ALS, concerning his opera Rienzi, 1869. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, autograph note signed, requesting the address of Yvette Guilbert, 1895. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Claude Monet, ALS, to painter Harry Lachman, complaining that his vision has not improved, 1920s. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Friedrich Hölderlin, autograph manuscript, unsigned, 7 lines quoting Michael Denis's <i>Ossians und Sineds Lieder.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Guestbook for Lüchow's restaurant, over 400 signatures, including W.H. Auden, Grace Kelly & drawings by Charles Addams, NYC, 1950-56. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> George Washington, lottery ticket, signed, 1768. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 21:</b> Vaslav Nijinsky, postcard dated & signed, showing a drawing of him in <i>Schéhérazade,</i> 1916. $2,500 to $3,500.
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Greco (Gioachino). <i>Primo modo del gioco de Partito…</i> Manuscript, France, 1624 or 1625. A collection of partiti, or 'chess problems' by one of the most important figures in the history of chess. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Herodotus. <i>Historiae,</i> translated into Latin by Lorenzo Valla and edited by Antonio Mancinelli. Venice, 1494. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Darwin (Charles). Autograph Letter signed to his cousin Reginald Darwin, Down, Beckenham, Kent, 27th March 1879. £12,000 to £18,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Nicolay (Nicolas de). <i>The Navigations, peregrinations and voyages, made into Turkie,</i> first edition in English, Imprinted at London by Thomas Dawson, 1585. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Saint-Exupéry (Antoine de). <i>The Little Prince,</i> number 66 of 525 copies signed by the author, 1943. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Catlin (George, 1796-1872). Tuch-ee, A Celebrated War Chief of the Cherokees, watercolour, [circa 1834]. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Genetics.- A collection of c.300 pamphlets on genetics comprising many of the major contributions from the first half of the 20th century. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> India.- Rajasthan.- Kota School (probably late 18th c.). Elephant in a landscape with chains around his feet, brush and black ink with opaque pigments. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Commelin (Caspar). <i>Horti medici Amstelaedamensis plantae rariores et exoticae,</i> first edition, 48 finely hand-coloured engraved plates, Leiden, F.Haringh, 1706. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Plague-water and cookery & medical recipes.- Jackson (Mrs Sarah). Medical and cookery recipes, manuscript in several hands, title and 134pp., 1688-1755. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Vernet (<i>After</i> Joseph, 1714-1789). <i>[Vues des ports de France],</i> sixteen plates (of 18), etchings and engravings by Charles Nicolas Cochin fils and Jacques Philippe Le Bas, [c.1760-1780]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar 28:</b> Detmold (Edward Julius, 1883-1957). Parrots and Butterflies, watercolour. £2,500 to £3,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Walt Whitman. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> First edition, first issue, SIGNED in block letters by Whitman. 1855. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Isaac Newton's copy of John Greave's <i>Pyramidographia,</i> London, 1646. $50,000 to $70,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Colonel John Mosby. Robert E. Lee's autograph letter to Samuel Cooper reporting on Mosby's exploits, with Cooper's autograph note ordering his appointment to Major.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Gyula Halasz Brassai. Large archive of autograph and typed letters, over 260, to his family including his wife Gilberte, 1947-1978. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Archive of drawings and letters from Harper Lee to Charles Carruth, including an inscribed first edition of <i>To Kill a Mockingbird.</i> $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> VESALIUS, ANDREAS. 1514-1564. <i>De humani corporis fabrica libri septem.</i> Basel: Johannes Oporinus, June 1543. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. 1578-1657. <i>De motu cordis & sanguinis in animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Leiden: Joannis Maire, 1639. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> BERENGARIO DA CARPI, GIACOMO. 1460-1530. <i>Isagogae breves perlucide ac uberrimae in Anatomiam humani corporis.</i> Bologna: Benedictus Hectoris, 15 July 1523. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790. <i>Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America…</i> London, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> BENIVIENI, ANTONIO. 1443-1502. <i>De abditis nonnullis ac mirandis morborum et sanationum causis.</i>Florence: Filippo Giunta, 1507. $8,000 to $12,000

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