Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2019 Issue

Richard C. Ramer Old and Rare Books Celebrates a Half Century with a Fiftieth Anniversary Catalogue

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Fiftieth Anniversary Catalogue.

Richard C. Ramer Old and Rare Books has issued their Catalogue Eleven, Fiftieth Anniversary. Appropriately, it contains 50 items, well-described and illustrated. Ramer has specialized all these years in Portuguese and Spanish material, not limited to just what is happening in Portugal and Spain, but to their possessions, travels, and relations all over the world. Naturally, much of what they have to offer relates to the Americas. They have selected 50 of their finest items for this anniversary collection. Those who collect the Iberian Peninsula and its relationships around the world will enjoy this selection. Here are a few samples.

 

We begin with an account of an American (as in today's U.S.A.) expedition, written by the first native born son of the Americas to publish a book. His name is Garcilaso de la Vega, though he is most commonly known as "El Inca" (the Inca). That name was applied to distinguish him from his father, a Spanish captain and conquistador, while his mother was an Inca princess. Garcilaso was raised in Peru, much of the time with his Inca family, but left for Spain when he reached the age of 21. He never returned. He was able to adopt his father's family name through the help of an uncle. El Inca wrote several books, and he provides one of the best looks at Inca life prior to the arrival of the Spanish. He leaned of it from his mother's family. However, this, his first book, concerns events of which he could only learn from afar, the expedition of Hernando de Soto into what is now the southern United States. De Soto was the first European to enter this territory and the first to cross the Mississippi River. He landed in Tampa Bay in 1539 and proceeded north and then west by a route only partially known today. He appears to have traveled as far north as South Carolina before proceeding west through Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and across the river to Arkansas. De Soto was not an explorer like Lewis and Clark, seeking information about the continent. He hoped to find gold. He did not. They were lucky to get that far, as the demands he placed on the natives for food led to repeated confrontations and battles. De Soto took ill and died in 1542 on the west side of the Mississippi. The survivors tried to return to Mexico overland and got as far as Texas before food sources dwindled. They returned to the Mississippi, traveled downriver, and were rescued by sea. El Inca obtained his information about the expedition from survivors and others who heard stories second hand. The book is La Florida del Ynca, published in 1605. While based on fact, scholars caution that it contains exaggerations and misplaced details about their route. They consider it partly literature, partly history, rather than a true history book. Item 49. Priced at $150,000.

 

While El Inca was the first American-born author, his book was printed in Lisbon. The first printer in South America was Antonio Ricardo. Ricardo was granted permission by the Jesuits to print their texts in Lima, Peru. His first South American book came off the press in 1584. Ricardo had operated his press earlier in the Americas, Mexico City to be specific, but there was no printing on the South American continent prior to his move to Lima. Item 9 is Tercero cathecismo y exposicion de la Doctrina Christiana... This was the third or fourth book printed in South America, in 1585, the year after the first. This copy is signed by José de Acosta, one of the two Jesuits responsible for its production. It is a catechism, written in Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara. Quechua was the language of the Incas, Aymara was spoken in the Andes. $300,000.

 

This next book is an important medical text. Ramer describes it as the "first medical description of a yellow fever epidemic" and the "description of the first autopsy of a yellow fever victim." It was published in 1694, and there would be many more yellow fever epidemics and victims in the following couple of centuries. The author was Joao Ferreira da Rosa, the first European to treat the disease. While the book was published in Lisbon, da Rosa was a physician in Recife, Brazil. The book is presented in a question and answer format, and while it represents medical knowledge of the time, it asks some questions you would not want your doctor to ask today. For example, it asks whether it is better to bleed a patient from the arm or the foot. How about neither. This was the first appearance of yellow fever in South America, it having come from Africa where natives had developed some immunity to the disease. Those in Brazil had none. The title of da Rosa's book is Trattado unico da constituicam pestilencial de Pernambuco... Item 38. $45,000.

 

Next we have Views of South America by William Gore Ouseley, published in 1852. This is a two-volume elephant folio set. It comes with Description of Views of South America, from Original Drawings... also published in 1852. Among the images drawn by Ouseley are Rio, its mountains and churches, the British headquarters, Montevideo, Ouseley's home in Buenos Aires, and more. Despite his accomplished artwork, Ouseley's main occupation was not as an artist. Rather, he was a British diplomat, who served in various posts in the Americas during the nineteenth century. He also wrote books about the political institutions in the United States and the African slave trade, with notes on its suppression. Laid in to the book are four elephant folio leaves from a biography of Ouseley in Portuguese, including a photograph of him and his wife. Item 31. $35,000.

 

Also offered in the catalogue is the Robert Southey Collection. Southey, who lived from 1774-1843, was a prolific writer, known well in his time for his poetry. For 30 years, he was England's Poet Lauriate, one of the "Lake Poets" with Wordsworth and Coleridge. Along with his poetry, Southey was the author of several biographies and was a student of Portuguese and Spanish literature. Among these works is his History of Brazil. Ironically, despite his literary and historical achievements, the one work that Southey wrote with which everyone today is still familiar is The Three Bears. This collection contains 265 of his printed works (449 volumes), including presentation copies, early editions, and first American appearances. There are also printed collections of his letters, two autograph letters, and two manuscript fragments in Southey's hand. Price on request.

 

Richard C. Ramer Old and Rare Books may be reached at 212-737-0222 or rcramer@livroraro.com. Their website is found at www.livroraro.com. The bookseller maintains locations in New York and Lisbon.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, <i>El Ingenioso Hildalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha . . . Nueva Edición,</i> first Ibarra edition, Madrid, 1780. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Illuminated Prayer Book in Latin and French, France, 1530-40s. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin, France, mid-15th century. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b><br><i>Die Ernsthaffte Christenpflicht,</i> earliest known edition of the first complete Mennonite prayer book, 1708. $300 to $500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Georg Agricola, <i>De ortu & causis subterraneorum Lib V.,</i> first edition, Basel, 1546. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Frederick Ruysch, <i>Icon durae matris in concava [convexa] superficie visae,</i> with 2 mezzotints by Jan Ladmiral, first edition, Amsterdam, 1737. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, <i>Eine Neue Art von Strahlen,</i> Würzburg, 1895. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Pietro Carrera, <i>Il Gioco de gli Scacchi,</i> first edition, Militello, 1617. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> William Lithgow, <i>The Totall Discourse, of the Rare Adventures</i> [etc.], London, 1632. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Michel de Nostradamus, <i>The True Prophecies or Prognostications,</i> first complete edition in English, London, 1672. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Pseudo-Methodius, <i>De revelatione facta . . . beato Methodio,</i> Basel, 1504. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Hrabanus Maurus, <i>De laudibus sancte crucis opus,</i> Pforzheim, 1503. $1,000 to $2,000.
  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Autographs & Memorabilia. February 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Autograph album featuring signatures by prominent actors, politicians, musicians and authors, including Rudolph Valentino. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> An extremely rare working radio script for Crazy People No 29, the first series of <i>The Goon Show.</i> £600 to £800
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Manuscript prayer book, in German. 8vo, 1755 £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Italian Manuscript on Geometry, with diagrams, 18th century. £500 to £700
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Ornithology, Zoology & Voyages. February 27, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Thorburn (Archibald). Sparrowhawk, original watercolour & gouache, signed & dated lower right, 1917. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Burton (Sir Richard Francis). <i>Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah.</i> 3 vol., FIRST EDITION, 1855-56. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> [Mount (Richard) & Page (Thomas)]. <i>The English Pilot. Describing the Sea-Coasts…</i> 31 engraved maps, W. & J. Mount, T. Page, 1756 £4000 to £6000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Ornithology, Zoology & Voyages. February 27, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> D’apres De Mannevillette (Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Denis). <i>Le Neptune Oriental.</i> Paris & Brest, [1775 – 1781]. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Loring (Josiah). Terrestrial Globe Containing all the Late Discoveries and Geographical Improvements. Boston, Gilman Joslin, 1846, £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Shelley (G. E., Capt.). <i>A Monograph of the Nectariniidae, or Family of Sun-birds,</i> FIRST EDITION, by the Author, 1876-80. £4,000 to £6,000
  • <b>Bonhams: Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part VII (Online). March 6-14, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Albert Einstein A remarkable letter on God in English, one of his most eloquent and quoted, 1 p, July 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Benjamin Lincoln's commission as Major General in the Continental Army, February 19th, 1777. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Broadside. A Poem Upon the Bloody Engagement That Was Fought on Bunker's-Hill. 1775. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Early, full printing of the Star-Spangled Banner in The Yankee, October 7, 1814. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Paul Revere. Engraving, “The Boston Massacre Perpetrated on March 5, 1770," in <i>Massachusett's Calendar 1772.</i> $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams: Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part VII (Online). March 6-14, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Earliest known newspaper coverage of Babe Ruth, "a St Mary's schoolboy," Baltimore, April 4, 1914. $6,000 to $9,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Franklin, Benjamin. <i>The Independent Whig.</i> First Magazine Published in America, Philadelphia: Keimer, 1723-4. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Smith, Joseph. <i>The Book of Mormon.</i> Palmyra: Printed by E.B. Grandin for the Author, 1830. First printing. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Last Words of Joseph Smith. Autograph Letter Signed from a Mormon disciple, conveying a contemporary account of the Prophet's final words, Nauvoo, July 27, 1844. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> John Brown's Body. Autograph Letter Signed from the daughter of John Brown attempting to arrange the return of her father's body, North Elba, Essex Co, NY, November 29, 1859. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Powell Expedition. Autograph diary of Rhodes C. Allen kept during the Powell Expedition of 1868, June 29, 1868 - November 16, 1868. $20,000 to $40,000

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