Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2019 Issue

Canadiana, Maps, Prints, and Rare Books from Patrick McGahern Books

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Canadiana and more.

Patrick McGahern Books has released their Catalogue 271. Canadian Rare Books, Maps and Prints, Rare and Antiquarian Books. While Canadiana is McGahern's specialty, it should be noted that the Rare and Antiquarian Books section contains material with no connection to Canada. Travels into the interior of Africa are about as far from Canadiana as I can imagine, and a travel guide to Ireland, while physically closer, is still well outside the field. The majority of the items do still pertain to this northern land. Here are a few examples.

 

We will begin with an item that is of importance to both sides of the border, Canada and the United States, but comes from England. This is the official British printing of a Treaty Between Her Majesty and the United States of America, for the Settlement of the Oregon Boundary Signed in Washington, June 15, 1846. The nations had earlier resolved the border on the eastern half of the continent, but the border along the old Louisiana Territory remained in dispute. Britain claimed the Oregon Territory, today's Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, was theirs. America, chanting the "54 40 or fight" slogan, thought the border should be much farther north, encompassing much of today's British Columbia. Americans were prepared to fight for the land, but with President Polk more interested in grabbing land from Mexico, and unprepared to fight on two fronts, he decided to reach a compromise with the British. The British, in turn, recognizing the reality of American immigration into the territory as a result of the Oregon Trail, were also willing to settle the dispute. This is the treaty that set the border between the two countries in the Pacific Northwest. Item 11. Priced at CA $1,200 (Canadian dollars, or approximately $884 in U.S. funds).

 

Here is a title that describes the beginnings of another historic event, A Trip to Newfoundland; Its Scenery and Fisheries; with an Account of the Laying of the Submarine Cable, by John Mullaly, published in 1855. Leaving aside the scenery and fisheries, this is an account of a major event in communications. Mullaly was part of the team involved in laying a cable between Cape Breton, off the coast of Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. Enabling people in Newfoundland to communicate with Cape Breton islanders was not the aim. This cable would allow communications to run all the way from Newfoundland to New York and beyond. But, not even that was the aim. The next step was to lay a cable under the Atlantic all the way from Newfoundland to Ireland, the first attempt to enable electronic communications from Europe to America. This first attempt to lay a cable 85 miles from Cape Breton to Newfoundland in 1854 was unsuccessful, not a good omen considering the distance ahead. However, there was no quitting and the cable was completed in 1856, and a cable to Ireland was successfully put down in 1858. It worked for three weeks and then failed. It was not until 1866 that a cable was successfully laid on the ocean floor that continued to function for years, enabling transatlantic communications to become a reality. Item 24 CA $600 (US $442).

 

Next we have a pair of handwritten lettergrams concerning another misfortune off the coast of Nova Scotia. The writers were Susanna Lawrence and her brother-in-law James Lawrence, who were sailing on the RMS Columbia from Halifax to Boston. They were written to their husband and brother, wealthy Bostonian Abbott Lawrence. On a foggy day, the Columbia ran into a rock ledge. The ship could not be saved, but miraculously, all 85 of the passengers and crew survived. Susanna Lawrence writes, "...little did I think as we distanced the wharf that all too soon the beautiful, finely built 'Columbia' would be a total wreck, and your father, mother & sister taken from her at the risk of their lives within two hours." Susanna's eight-page letter goes on to describe their stay in Halifax. The letter from Abbott's brother, James, who apparently went to Halifax to arrange their passage back to Boston, reassures, "Here we are rollicking about having a grand time. We have finished talking about shipwrecks, almost, and are enjoying dinner & parties as if we were residents of this magnificent city..." Rather than looking "forlorn & destitute," as shipwrecked people normally do, James assures that "all appear to be happy as possible." The Lawrence family was among the founders of the very successful textile industry of New England, the city of Lawrence, Massachusetts, named for them. The Columbia was one of the first ships of the Cunard Line, but despite this early setback, it went on to achieve great success as well. Item 13. CA $500 (US $368).

 

John J. Bigsby had an unusual combination of careers. He was a physician and geologist. He received his medical degree in Edinburgh and was sent by the British Army as a medical officer to Canada in 1818. He remained for eight years. After a typhus outbreak, he was sent to Upper Canada, along the western Great Lakes, to deal with the epidemic. Along the way, Bigsby developed a deep interest in geology. As a result, he was also commissioned to study the geology of the area. That would continue as he served on the boundary commission, which mapped out the national border along the Great Lakes to Lake of the Woods. Bigsby returned to England in 1826 where he continued his geological studies. In 1850, he wrote this book, which was not so much about geology or medicine as about his experiences in Canada and its customs and people. The title is The Shoe and Canoe, or Pictures of Travel in the Canadas. He describes the squalid condition of Indians living in the cities, elegant hearse sledges with chiming bells to mark a winter funeral, and numerous anecdotes from Quebec to Lake Superior. Item 2. CA $2,000 (US $1,470).

 

Here is one of those books with no connection to Canada. Item 47 is Proofs of Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe, carried on in the Secret Meetings of Free Masons, Illuminati, and Reading Societies. Collected from Good Authorities by John Robison. A. M. Professor of Natural Philosophy and Secretary to the Royal Society of Edinburgh. I might have thought his "good authorities" included Alex Jones, but this was published in 1797. McGahern describes this as "a classic eighteenth century work of conspiracy theory: a diatribe accusing Freemasonry of being infiltrated by the Illuminati Order..." Robison was a Scottish physicist, showing that even physicists can be given to flights of fancy. Then again, maybe the Illuminati really are responsible for all of our troubles. Item 4 is a second, "corrected" edition, published the same year as the first. CA $900 (US $661).

 

Patrick McGahern Books may be reached at 613-230-2277 or books@mcgahernbooks.ca. Their website is www.mcgahernbooks.ca.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini. June 27</b>
    <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini:</b> KENNEDY ONASSIS, JACQUELINE Typed letter signed to Oleg Cassini. $400 to $600
    <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini:</b> [CASSINI-KENNEDY FASHIONS] Important archives related to the development of fashions for Mrs. Kennedy… $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini:</b> [CASSINI-KENNEDY FASHIONS] Detailed ledger of the Kennedy White House years… $500 to $800
    <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini:</b> KELLY, GRACE. Four autograph letters to Oleg Cassini. $5,000 to $8,000
    <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini. June 27</b>
    <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini:</b> CASSINI, OLEG. Group of Kennedy-era original fashion sketches. $1,000 to $1,500
    <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini:</b> KENNEDY ONASSIS, JACQUELINE. Autograph letter signed to Oleg Cassini. $800 to $1,200
    <b>Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini:</b> CASSINI, OLEG. Fashion sketch titled “Mrs. Kennedy-Palais de Versailles-State Dinner.” $800 to $1,200
    Doyle, The Estate of Oleg Cassini: [CASSINI, OLEG - KENNEDY, JACQUELINE.] Group of approximately 130 original fashion designs… $800 to $1,200.
  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>The Library and Picture Collection of the late Martin Woolf Orskey<br>June 26</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Book of Hours. Illuminated manuscript, Flanders or northern France, c. 1450. With 12 full-page illuminated miniatures. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Zahrawi, Abu’-Qasim, al- (c. 936-1013). <i>Albucasis chirurgicorum omnium,</i> Strasbourg, 1532. The first comprehensive illustrated treatise on surgery. £3,000 to £5,000
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Milles, Thomas. <i>The Custumers Alphabet and Primer,</i> 1608. Gilt supralibros of 17th-century English bibliophile Edward Gwynn. £2,000 to £3,000
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>The Library and Picture Collection of the late Martin Woolf Orskey<br>June 26</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Guillemeau, Jacques. <i>Child-Birth or, the Happy Deliverie of Women,</i> 1st edition in English, 1612. The second midwifery manual printed in English. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Rabisha, William. <i>The Whole Body of Cookery Dissected,</i> 1st edition, 1661. Rare. Five copies in libraries. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Royal binding. <i>An Abridgment of the English Military Discipline,</i> 1678. Contemporary red goatskin gilt by Samuel Mearne for Charles II (1630-1865). £1,500 to £2,000
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>The Library and Picture Collection of the late Martin Woolf Orskey<br>June 26</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Pallavicino, Ferrante. <i>The Whores Rhetorick,</i> 1st edition in English, 1683. Rare anti-Jesuit satire. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>The Benefit of Farting,</i> 1st London edition, 1722. Teerink 19. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Edwards, George. <i>Natural History of Uncommon Birds</i> [and] <i>Gleanings of Natural History,</i> 7 volumes, 1743-64. Contemporary tree calf, 362 hand-coloured engraved plates. £8,000 to £12,000
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>The Library and Picture Collection of the late Martin Woolf Orskey<br>June 26</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Campbell, Patrick. <i>Travels in the Interior Inhabited Parts of North America,</i> 1st edition, 1793. Howes C101; Sabin 10264. Uncut in original boards. £5,000 to £8,000
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Hearne, Samuel. <i>A Journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's Bay, to the Northern Ocean,</i> 1st edition, 1795. Sabin 31181. Large-paper copy. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>June 26:</b> Edgeworth, Maria. <i>The Match Girl, A Novel,</i> 1808. £1,000 to £1,500
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ian Fleming, <i>Goldfinger,</i> first edition, inscribed to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE, London, 1959. Sold for $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Joseph Brant, Mohawk Chief, ALS, writing after pledging support to King George III against American rebels, 1776. Sold for a record $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Sonia Delaunay, <i>Ses Peintures</i> . . ., 20 pochoir plates, Paris, 1925. Sold for a record $13,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Diana, Princess of Wales, 6 autograph letters signed to British <i>Vogue</i> editor, 1989-92. Sold for $10,400.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alexander Hamilton, ALS, as Secretary of the Treasury covering costs of the new U.S. Mint, 1793. Sold for $12,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Benjamin Graham & David L. Dodd, <i>Security Analysis,</i> first edition, inscribed by Graham to a Wall Street trader, NY, 1934. Sold for $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> George Barbier & François-Louis Schmied, <i>Personnages de Comédie,</i> Paris, 1922. Sold for $9,375.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli,</i> Paris, 1897. Sold for a record $13,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ralph Waldo Emerson, <i>The Dial,</i> first edition of the reconstituted issue, Emerson’s copy with inscriptions, Cincinnati, 1860. Sold for a record $3,250.
  • <b>Christie’s Paris:</b> Blaise Cendrars and Fernand Léger, <i>La Fin du monde filmée par l’ange N.-D.,</i> Paris, Editions de la Sirène, 1919
    <b>Christie’s Paris:</b> André Breton, <i>Second manifeste du Surréalisme,</i> Paris, Editions Kra, 1930
    <b>Christie’s Paris:</b> Paul Eluard and Pablo Picasso, <i>La Barre d’appui,</i> Paris, Editions « Cahiers d’Art », 1936
    <b>Christie’s Paris:</b> Blaise Cendrars and Fernand Léger, <i>La Fin du monde filmée par l’ange N.-D.,</i> Paris, Editions de la Sirène, 1919
    <b>Christie’s Paris:</b> Hans Bellmer, <i>Die Puppe,</i> Paris, G.L.M., 1936
    <b>Christie’s Paris:</b> Salvador Dali, <i>La femme visible,</i> Paris, Editions Surréalistes, 1930

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