Category Archives: Gift Ideas

A How-To Guide for Buying Antiquarian Books as Christmas Presents

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Here we present to you a (bit of a tongue-in-cheek) guide for buying Christmas gifts this holiday season… in an antiquarian fashion, of course!

1. Know your Subject.

Not your book subject, that is. We mean your audience, your gift taker, the subject of your love, attention and wallet. They may not be readers! (We hope they are, but in all fairness not everyone is as book obsessed as we are – you catch my drift?) If they are readers, you likely know the genre they prefer. If they aren’t self-professed bibliophiles, perhaps you can deduce what they might enjoy from their other interests. Are they political? Perhaps they might enjoy a set of pamphlets on Communism from the 1970s! Are they classicists? Well then perhaps a Dickens would suit them (given that you also provide a box of some wonderful Twinings tea along with it.) Get to know your subject, I mean friend, in an unconventional way!

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2. Know your Books!

So you aren’t an expert antiquarian book hunter and gatherer… so what? That is what we booksellers are here for! Not only do we find exceptional items for our customers and even put together collections for them, but we are experts in our chosen fields. So what does that mean? Well, if you’re stuck pick up the phone and give us a call! It doesn’t hurt to ask the opinions of those surrounded by unique items every day.

3. Know your Budget.

We know, better than most, how easy it is to be lured to certain items in the antiquarian book world. A beautiful piece of incunabula catches your eye and BAM! Suddenly you have taken a second mortgage out on your house! (Just kidding. We hope.) But when it comes to gifts for others, it is always a good idea to think about how much that friendship is worth to you before beginning your search for that perfect item.

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4. Know your Bookseller.

We booksellers are often elusive beings. For some, we exist on their computer when they order a book and it arrives (very well packaged, if it has been purchased from Tavistock Books) on their doorstep. But don’t just assume that when you order a book online it will come the way you want it. Feel free to do a bit of research on your bookseller! Go to their website, see where they are located… give them a call and ask about their shipping process or their opinion on your gift. We guarantee that not only will you have a better story to tell your gift recipient than “Oh, I found this online.” but you will also meet some spectacular bibliophiles in the process!

5. Enjoy the Process of Giving!

Don’t miss one of our favorite quotes by one of our favorite authors… “A day wasted on others is not wasted on one’s self.”

You thought we were going to go with a Christmas-y Dickens quote, didn’t you? We love to surprise!

Oh fine, and here’s this one just to warm the cockles of your bookish hearts…

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

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Some New Treasures at Tavistock

It’s finally the after-California-craziness time of year (though the Sacramento fair IS coming up again in March…) and boy did we find some neat new items while exhibiting at the Pasadena and Bay Area Fairs! We always like to feature a few new, great (in our humble opinion) things after we get a large amount of stuff catalogued, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the books!
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This 1918 1st edition “Oriental Cook Book” states in the preface ““we believe we have finally evolved a book which gives, in designedly limited compass, the most representative, meritorious and easily adaptable methods of food preparation that are known and practiced all over the Orient…” – which they decidedly must have, as this Cook Book widely used and popular at the time. Though the book itself is not what we would consider unique, the Dust Jacket our volume has decidedly is! See more here>
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This 1907 Albumen Stereoview set shows something we don’t see every day in Tavistock Books – 101 images of turn of the last century Italy! Beautiful views of local civilians, ruins, and Italian rooftops can be seen throughout – all captioned in many languages and housed in the original publisher’s case. See it here>
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This 1st edition of Gold Mines of the Gila was written in 1849 by Charles W. Webber ,”a former Texas Ranger who, fascinated by tales of gold and quicksilver in the country north of the Gila River, wrote this lurid tale of border life to promote an expedition into the area. He succeeded in organizing the ‘Centralia Exploring Expedition to California via the Valleys of the Pecos, to Gila and the Colorado of the West.’ The expedition, however, suffered cholera on the lower Rio Grande and the loss of horses at Corpus Christi. As a result, the project was abondoned and Webber never reached California” (Camp). A sad tale, to be sure, but an amazing early written account of the west! See it here>
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Our “Challenge to Death” is the 1935 1st US edition of a group of works by some of the most famous British authors at the time. With contributions from Rebecca West, Julian Huxley and Vera Brittain, how could you go wrong? As the original Dust Jacket blurb states, “fifteen of the outstanding writers of Great Britain give this book – their best and sincerest thought – to the cause of peace, in this dark hour of destruction. They are the voice of the best that is in England.” A wonderful homage to art in a confusing time at the beginning of WWII. See it here>
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The Camp Dodger was the official news publication of the 88th Infantry Division of the United States Army. Beginning in early 1919, an Overseas version of the publication began to be printed, with help from local French ladies in the area! This photograph shows 5 women and one man running the press for the soldiers stationed in France during WWI. See it and learn more here>
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This presumably handmade late 19th, early 20th century receipt portfolio is fashioned from a piece of plain leather, with a thin belt of leather extending down the center of the interior to hold in the receipts. Our research indicates that the shop for which these receipts were written was owned by a Morris Truesdale of New York, a shoemaker who later seems to have managed a shoe factory in town. The receipts often list a combination of dry goods (sugar, rice, tea, molasses, etc), boots and/or shoes, clothing (shirts, overalls), fabric, and more, and most appear to have been compiled over the course of several months or longer. A unique find, as we can locate no other portfolios of this kind on the market or in available records, and only one business record (1894) for M. Truesdale. See this fantastic item here>
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The Latest and Greatest from Tavistock Books

The fall book fair season has slowed to a crawl, but the elves at Tavistock Books have been working overtime, cataloguing away! Presented here are a few notable new items at Tavistock Books, ones found at recent fairs such as Sacramento and Boston – and carefully picked out by Vic & Kate (you know, the Tavistock elves) to present to you here! Keep an eye out for our upcoming catalogue, as well… this one containing reconsidered (reexamined, re-catalogued, and, in many cases, repriced) albums & archives. You wouldn’t want to miss even more fun and interesting items coming your way this holiday season!

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This 1826 broadside called “The Sorrowful Lamentation of John Oliffe and John Sparrow” details the pitiful tale of two men in the early 1800s and their shameful tendencies toward the stealing of farm animals! Both men lay under the sentence of death – Oliffe for horse-stealing and Sparrow for sheep stealing! This Very Good copy of this broadside is even more special as it is unique – we find no copies of it on OCLC. See it here> 

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A rare item of local California history is up for grabs! This promotional booklet on Ben Lomond, a mountain in Santa Cruz named after a similar mountain in Scotland. This item, printed circa 1907, is not found in Rocq, nor on OCLC (though a reproduction is held by the Santa Cruz Public Library). This 70 page booklet is invaluable “number of views which will serve to give the reader a general but necessarily very much limited idea of the surpassing beauties of this favorite locality of mountain homes.” [t.p.]. See it here>

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This spectacularly colorful calendar marks a great year – 1901! Each of the 7 pages are chromolithographed with diverse scenes, such as the “1st Canadian Contingent Embarking at Quebec” or a “Relief of Ladysmith”. This calendar was issued as a Canadian Souvenir of the War in South Africa (Second Boer War) – once again, we find no copies listed on OCLC. See this colorful item here> 

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Nothing like a good booklet on a hospital founded in the 1840s as a center for consumption and diseases of the heart to make you feel glad for your lot this holiday season! The hospital, now called the Royal Brompton Hospital, was to be financed entirely from charitable donations and fund raising. At its opening, some of the hospital’s most famous patrons included singer Jenny Lind, Charles Dickens and even Queen Victoria (who gave £10 a year, apparently). Once again, we find no copies of this booklet detailing the patrons of the establishment on OCLC. See it here> 

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Another early item we have available is this Catalogue of the Officers and Students at Fryeburg Academy for 1852-1853. Fryeburg Academy was one of the very first schools built in Maine, and it was also one of the first schools in the continental United States to accept women! This preparatory school still known as one of the finest schools in the nation, and only one known copy of this booklet found on OCLC. See it here>

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Our Remarks on the Present Condition of the Navy and Particularly of the Victualling is a piece from 1700 written by John Tutchin, a radical Whig controversialist and political journalist. In 1704 after accusing the British Navy of supplying food for the French Navy, Tutchin was arrested and imprisoned (again, having been so previously) for his beliefs and outspoken nature, and died from injuries sustained being beaten in prison. Interested? See it here>  

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Look no further… than the Latest Items at Tavistock Books!

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Does the name Victoria Lucas ring a bell to you? She’s a super famous poet! We recently wrote a blog about her, even. Not ringing with understanding yet? Hmm… she also struggled with depression her whole life and wrote some of her most famous poems at the peaks of her despair. Here’s a hint if you’re STILL confused… Victoria Lucas is her pseudonym. That’s right, ladies and gents – it’s Mrs. Sylvia Plath. And here we offer a 1st edition of her novel “The Bell Jar”! See more here>

 

 

 

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We can’t get enough of Plath around here… have you ever read her Journals? Get on that as soon as possible! But first, perhaps you’d like to spend some time with a 1st edition of her, arguably, most famous book of poetry – published, unfortunately, in 1965, two years after her death. Interested? See it here>

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 8.16.35 AMFun fact about poet Wallace Stevens – winner of the Pulitzer Prize for one of his books of poetry! He loved to visit Key West (which is evident in much of his poetry) and while there, he encountered writers and poets Robert Frost and Ernest Hemingway… both of which he argued with each time! Did I say argued? Ernest Hemingway beat him to the curb outside, is what I meant. Nevertheless, Wallace was an important figure on the poetry scene, even if only for a while! His poem “The Man with the Blue Guitar” we offer here>

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A collector of cookery items and menus knows that it is difficult enough to find a menu in good shape from the beginning of the 20th century. How about a menu in VG condition… from the trenches of WWI? We wouldn’t lie to you! This menu even has a graphic illustration of soldiers confronting each other in the war. Check it out here>

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“We Pointed Them North: Recollections of a Cowpuncher” is one of the best books depicting cowboy life that we have in our inventory today! Though born in England, “Teddy Blue” Abbott was a cowboy from a young age – once his parents moved him to Lincoln, Nebraska and his father let him try his hand a herding cattle! But oh, we shouldn’t tell you the entire story, should we? Read his memoirs here>

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We love our cookbooks here at Tavistock Books… Ever wish you could make Pea Fritters or Rice Coquettes? This book is the cookbook for you! Our “Cookery in the Golden State” is a 1st edition published in Sacramento in 1890… by our good old Unitarian Ladies! Somewhat scarce in the trade, this book will meet all your cookery collection needs! Try the recipes here>

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It is always a wonderful thing when you meet someone who truly and desperately loves where they are and what they are doing. Too often we are too apt to complain about where we’ve decided to settle! Not for Mabel Dodge Luhan and her beloved Taos, New Mexico. Her “Winter in Taos” describes her simple life from season to season, in an almost stream-of-conciousness style. She connects with the earth and finds great “pleasure in being very still and sensing things”. Find out about Luhan’s deep connection with the “deep living earth” here>

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This is not your average manuscript book… this is a book of a pharmacy’s ledger of prescriptions… from 1874! Essentially an apothecary recipe book containing innumerable medicinal formulas with ingredients and dosage instructions from an unnamed apothecary in the Boston Area at the end of the 19th century. Truthfully, we would note this as an invaluable primary source for medicinal recipes used by the US medical community in the 1870s. Forget WebMD… check it out here>

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Come to Pasadena, for There You’ll See…

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We are exhibiting at the Pasadena ABAA Fair! If you have a chance to come check out Booth 418 while you’re there (February 12th-14th at the Pasadena Convention Center), here are some of the goodies you can hope to find. See anything else on our site you’d be interested in perusing? Shoot us an email! We’d be happy to bring it down just for you.

Check out this 1st edition, inscribed copy of Clara Barton’s “Story of My Childhood” – published in 1907. Now housed in a custom red quarter-leather slipcase with marbled paper boards… As Barton is perhaps the most well-known nurse in American nursing history (organizing the American Red Cross and all), this is a must-have for any nursing collection! See it here>

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 10.00.15 AMAn attractive, Near Fine set of Forster’s “The Life of Charles Dickens” – all first editions! Published between 1872 and 1874 by Chapman & Hall, these volumes are beautifully set in early 20th century three-quarter green morocco bindings and green cloth boards. Love Dickens? Look no further than here>

 

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 10.00.50 AMFor the celebrity groupie in the Southern California crowd… we have a scarce cookery book published in 1936. “Favorite Recipes of Famous People” contains favorite recipes of, according to its compiler Felix Mendelsohn, “famous chefs and maitres, by stage folk and screen stars, by newspaper men, columnists, opera stars, musicians and leading household economists, in fact by glamorous personalities in every walk of life.” This cookery book only shows 4 holdings on OCLC! Get it while it’s hot>

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 6.46.50 PMA book fair wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of library history! Have you seen our Catalogue of the Milford Library yet? This is a rare 19th C. catalogue from this small-town free library, formed in 1868. OCLC records no holdings of this edition (can you say “Score”?), noting only a sole holding of the library’s 1870 catalogue. The 3 page introduction provides a succinct history of earlier attempts at establishing local lending-library societies, etc. Interested? It is available to see here>

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 10.04.45 AMThis Hardy Boys title, “The Short-Wave Mystery”, number 24 in the series, is in, according to Carpentieri’s reference, it’s “most collectible” format. This 3rd printing of the title has a frontis by Russell H. Tandy and is bound in maroon cloth with black topstain and pictorial endpapers. Colorful pictorial Dust Jacket is included! Are you a collector of children’s series books? Contact us – we can bring many! See “The Short-Wave Mystery” here>

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 6.39.30 PMWho doesn’t love a good restaurant menu? Especially one where a big-mouth bass tells you to eat him! Check out this menu from New York’s McGinnis of Sheepshead Bay – “The Roast Beef King” (but also “Famous for Sea Food”). In 1943, a Roast Beef, Spinach and Mashed Potato dinner cost $1.45. Oh, the good old days… Drool & giggle here>

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 10.05.13 AMAnd last but not least – our Fine Printing item! This broadside is a 1934 printing from San Francisco’s Grabhorn Press – one of only 100 copies. “To Albert Bender – Saint Patrick’s Night 1934″ was written by Ella Young to Albert Maurice Bender, and has a woodcut headpiece by Valenti Angelo at the top. See it here! 

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Collecting Antiquarian Bibles (What Better Time to Discuss than at Christmas?)

By Margueritte Peterson

The Bible is the most common English-language book in the world, so it would hardly seem like an ideal focus for rare book collectors. But the history and variety of Bibles make collecting them a diverting and challenging occupation—especially because one can often start a lovely collection without spending too much money.

Image source: tntoday.com

                   Image source: tntoday.com

Finding Your Focus

The sheer number of editions of the Bible can make it difficult to choose a scope for your collection. Many amateur collectors start out with their own family Bibles and simply collect other Bibles that catch their fancy. As you get more serious about building your Bible collection, it’s important to decide on a specific direction because the array of Bibles and editions is dizzyingly diverse; in their oft-cited bibliography, Frederick Moule and Thomas Herbert identified over 239 different editions of the English Bible…and those were all printed before the King James Version was first published in 1611.

A few common ways to focus a Bible collection:

  • Version: The King James Version is undoubtedly the most famous, with multiple revisions over the centuries. Before it appeared, there were nine other major versions. And after the King James Version appeared, numerous other versions have been published. Many collectors choose to focus on one specific version.
  • Language: The Bible has been published in over 400 languages, and almost always in translation. After all, the original texts of the Bible were in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, and historically very few people have been proficient in all three. A collector might look for different versions of the Bible in a single language, such as German, or try to collect Bibles in as many languages as possible.
  • Publication location: The Bible is a difficult book to print, due to both its length and its many textual features like numbered verses. It wasn’t uncommon for sections of the Bible to be printed in a given location, followed by the New Testament, and finally the entire Bible. The famous Bay Psalms book (1640), which included a novel translation of the Psalms, was the first volume published in the United States. The first complete American Bible didn’t appear until over fifty years later, in 1663, and it was John Eliot’s Algonquin translation.
  • Errors: It should come as no surprise that some Bible editions include scandalous or entertaining errors. The so-called Wicked Bible of 1631 says “Thou shalt commit adultery,” while King David exclaims in a 1702 edition, “Printers have persecuted me without a cause.” One could easily build an entire collection of these error copies!
  • Annotation: Bibles often served as repositories for family records, such as family trees and dates of birth, christening, marriage, and death. These annotations can be fascinating for those interested in genealogy or those who simply love that personal connection to the Bible’s original owners. Still other versions of the Bible include published maps and annotations, which can be fascinating in their own right.

 

With Bibles, “Old” Has a Whole New Meaning

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Our holding of a 1576 1st edition thus, New Testament. Someone had some thoughts on the writing!

In 1526, William Tyndale published the first complete translation of the New Testament. The book was deemed heretical, and almost all known copies were destroyed. The first English edition of the Old and New Testaments was published nine years later. Given that Bibles have been published for so many centuries, the word “old” takes on a whole new meaning. In the world of rare and antiquarian books, we usually think of a book that’s more than sixty years old as an antique. But a Bible isn’t really “old” until it’s been around for two full centuries.

Serious collectors generally consider Bibles published in Europe before 1700 the most collectible. And because Bibles were often used regularly, they’re not often in pristine (or even very good) condition. When you collect antiquarian Bibles, be prepared to embrace dog-eared copies filled with marginalia.That said, value isn’t always directly tied to age. Some 100-year-old Bibles are more valuable than others that are twice that age.

 

Bible Collecting Resources

Collecting rare books of any sort requires discernment and research. The same holds true for Bibles. The volumes below are exceptional resources for the collector of Bibles:

  • Frederick Moule and Thomas Herbert’s Historical Catalogue of the Printed Editions of Holy Scripture is the most commonly used and cited bibliography among Bible collectors. It has gone through muliple reprints and includes bibliographic details on Bibles in 600 languages.
  • Margaret Thorndike Hill’s The English Bible in America encompasses American Bibles published between 1777 and 1957. It’s the preferred bibliography for collectors of American Bibles.
  • P. Marion Simms’ The Bible in America delves into notable versions of the Bible in the histor of the United States.
  • See Christopher de Hamel’s The Book: A History of the Bible for an illustrated survey of Bibles, starting with the earliest manuscripts.
"Newly Translated out of Ye Original Tongues..." Are we sure about that? Check out our holding here!

“Newly Translated out of Ye Original Tongues…” Are we sure about that? Check out our holding here!

Some reference works may actually even find their way into your collection. For example, Thomas Wilson’s Christian Dictionary is useful to the scholarly collector…and a new somewhat scarce title.

 

Related Rare Books & Ephemera

Children in the Woods

Theodore Beza’s New Testament

Holy Bible Printed by His Majesty’s Special Command

Book of Isaiah, Translated into Navajo Dialect

Illustrated Scripture History for the Improvement of Youth

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New News from Tavistock Books!

First off, we’d like to wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year from Tavistock Books! Whether you are a customer, colleague, pure bibliophile, or my mother and father, we have appreciated your attention and custom this past year and wish you all the best of luck in 2015! There are a lot of things happening around here in the near future, and we thought we’d send out this update from TB to keep you in the loop.

Most importantly! Upcoming Antiquarian Book Fairs:

Later this January and early February features the annual California book fairs – the 48th California International Antiquarian Book Fair to be held in Oakland, CA (right near us! Check it out here: http://sfbookfair.com/) from February 6th to the 8th, and the Pasadena Book, Print, Photo & Paper Fair the previous weekend (at the Pasadena Convention Center, January 31st & February 1st). The fairs are a great chance to meet with like-minded book-loving folk from all over the United States, and both fairs will be host to a handful of international booksellers as well. Tickets are available for purchase online as well as at the fairs. Come on out and support your local booksellers! OR ELSE.  

A Recent Acquisition:

Why yes, you can purchase me! Please, sir, I need a new home.

Why yes, you can purchase me! Please, sir, please, I need a new home.

Beaumont, Francis [1585? - 1616]. Fletcher, John [1579 - 1625]. Massinger, Philip [1583 - 1640] – Bush attributed to.  BEGGARS BUSH.  A Comedy.  [bound with] The MAID’S TRAGEDY.  London:  Printed for J. T. And Sold by J. Brown at the Black Swan without Temple-Bar. 1717.  56; 64 pp.   Typographical ornaments to t.p.  4to: A – G^4; A – H^4.  8-1/2″ x 6-1/8″.   Early full leather boards, with modern respiniing to style.  Renewed eps.  Raised bands.  Red leather title label in second compartment; author label in 4th compartment.  Date gilt stamped at spine base. Wear & staining to boards, with front paste-down showing faint evidence of prior damping.  Paper aged, with foxing & staining.  Running title occasionally closely trimmed.  An About Very Good – Very Good copy.

Bush: 1st edition thus, the unaltered version (NCBEL I, 1712; Tannenbaum 7).  Maid: 1st edition thus (NCBEL I, 1711; Tannenbaum 293).   Regarding Bush, authorship attributed to Fletcher & Philip Massinger by John H. Dorenkamp in his 1967 edition of the play. The play is one of several works of English Renaissance drama that present a lighthearted, romanticized, Robin Hood-like view of the world of beggars, thieves, and gypsies; in this respect it can be classed with plays of its own era like The Spanish Gypsy, Massinger’s The GuardianSuckling’s The Goblins, and Brome’s A Jovial Crew… Yet the play also contains serious aspects that have caused it to be classified as a tragicomedy by some commentators; ‘Through mixed modes Beggars Bush exhibits serious sociopolitical concerns to earn a classification that at first seems incongruous — a political tragicomedy’” (Clark, The Moral Art of Phillip Massinger, p. 116). Click on the picture to see more!

Lists & Blogs on the Horizon:

Dame Agatha Christie

              Dame Agatha Christie

And folks, despite an upcoming busy schedule for us here at Tavistock Books, we still want to take a little time to give you a short overview of what to expect in your inboxes from us in the near future. Our monthly Tavistock Books newsletter will go out next Tuesday, January 13th. January 21st will be a large blog on the English crime author Agatha Christie, the best-selling novelist of all time (according to the Guinness Book of World Records).  A list of Select Book Fair Highlights featuring a few of the items that we will be presenting at the California fairs will be announced on the 27th of January, closely followed by a small recap blog of the Pasadena Book Fair on February 3rd. Then look out on the 11th of February for our monthly newsletter once more with a large feature on the Oakland ABAA fair front and center!

We do hope to see you all at the California Book Fairs later this month and early next – just remember, these are the biggest book fairs on the west coast of the United States! Feel free to contact us with any questions – and definitely stop by the Tavistock Books (Pasadena Booth #L1 & Oakland Booth #100) booths to say hi!

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