Tag Archives: rare books

Rare Books and Manuscripts Galore! We Get a Low-Down of Last Week’s RBMS Conference from Our Very Own Attendee!

Vic, how many years have you attended RBMS for now?

My first RBMS Conference, then called the Preconference for the conference precedes the big ALA event, was in San Francisco, 2002.  I was the local ABAA rep to the RBMS Local Affairs committee, and helped with things like stuffing the book bag, helping arrange the ABAA hosted reception, etc.  The conference hotel was the Fairmont, which is a lovely hotel at the top of Nob Hill.  I confess I don’t remember too many specifics of the conference itself, just have an overall impression of enjoying the week.

IMG_3096What are some of your most favorite past locales where it has been held?

Having just returned from Miami, I can definitely say that locale was one of my favorites, though one prior that does stick out was a number of years ago [2009] when the conference was held in Charlottesville, VA to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the event.  Always like travelling to Charlottesville.  Another that comes to mind was that of 2013, which was held in Minneapolis.  The reason this one is memorable is because, even though I was registrered, I had to cancel at the last minute, as I contracted a bout of pleurisy [as you may also remember!].  Ouch!


Could you give us a walk-through of this weekend, or a typical RBMS weekend? Conferences, showcases – give us the low-down!

The week is filled with sessions & panels, etc., etc.  As you might imagine, as one of the trade, not all issues germane to the librarian community has relevance to my work, however, by better understanding those issues important to my institutional clientele, I can better serve them, which is my job.  The bookseller showcase is an adjunct to the conference, which provides the curators attending the conference an opportunity to sample the wares of my colleagues & discuss with those exhibiting booksellers their needs/wants.


What have you learned at this past RBMS? What conferences did you attend and who struck you as a phenomenally great speaker?

 

The Chairman of Florida's Welcome Committee!

The Chairman of Florida’s Welcome Committee!

The individual that immediately comes to mind, Pellom McDaniels, was a speaker this year at the Thursday afternoon panel [“A Broad and Deep Look at Outreach”] held at the University of Miami.  The intent of the session was “to demonstrate the myriad ways special collections and archives can engage and interact with multiple constituencies.”  This fellow from Emory was high energy, engaged & enthusiastic.  And you could tell from his presentation, that he had achieved the goal of “engaging & interacting”.  It was good to see that, at least in his case, special collections was reaching out beyond the reading room, and showing the community the wonders that lie behind the mahogany doors.

 


Why do you do the RBMS showcase? Is it to sell? Or is it rather to meet new people? 

The intent of the showcase is to provide an opportunity for both the bookseller & the librarian communities to interact.  It is most definitely NOT a bookfair.  Remember, the booksellers are there as an adjunct to the conference, in other words, the showcase is not the main event.

 

Some of the usual suspects...

Some of the usual suspects…

Would you recommend attending RBMS to other booksellers? What about newbie booksellers? Librarians?

If institutional clientele are part of your business model, or you wish to add them to your customer list, then yes, the showcase provides an *opportunity* to do this.  Granted, it’s not the only way, just one way, especially if you are a new ABAA member, it’s one way to do so.  As for the librarian community, if your responsibilites include collection develeopment, then yes, meeting and talking with the exhibiting booksellers can help you with this facet of your job.  Afterall, if you’re fishing [for books], why not cast a wide net?

In summary, this past week was a great one-  both from a program perspective, as well as a venue.  The Biltmore Hotel is a grand old lady, whose elegance if fading somewhat, but she still outshines many younger models.  Next year’s conference will be in Iowa City.  While certainly it’ll be different than Miami, I have no doubt it too will be a success.

IMG_3070

Share

Unique? A List for June

Unique.

A compelling word, and one that certainly can, and should, stand on its own, though frequently we find unnecessary modifiers employed to make the unique even more so, if such is at all possible…  more unique, highly unique, uniquely unique….  you get the drift.

So with this in mind then, and without modifying hyperbole, we issue this list for June, wherein each of the 60 items displays an aspect of uniqueness… whether by definition, inscription or perhaps being the only copy on the market.  As is our practice, the list is eclectic in nature-  from air to water, original art to original mss, from Nevada to Massachusetts.  Temporally, the items reach back to the 1770s, and continue on until the mid-20th C.  Prices range from $75 to $7500.

Winning Independence: An Illustrated Address Describing the “Parlor Profession”

Bryant_Winning_ProfessionNiles Bryant, the President & Founder of the Niles Bryant School of Piano Tuning, and enjoys some recognition in the music world for his 1906 publication, Tuning, Care and Repair of Reed and Pipe Organs, which was reissued in 1968 by Vestal Press. “Through the profession of piano tuning, I offer you indestructible resources, good fortune and permanent independence.” So Bryant opens this publication, which is a promotional piece for the profession of piano tuning, and even more specifically, the advantages of attending his school to learn the profession, as well as to puff his invention, “The Tune-a-Phone”. This publication is tot located on OCLC, nor found in the NUC. Details>>

Mr. Thackeray, Mr. Yates, and the Garrick Club Affair

Yates_Thackeray_Garrick_Club_AffairThe notorious quarrel between two of England’s most popular authors began with Yates’ critical review, in Town Talk, of Thackeray’s English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century. Thackeray, as might be expected, was a bit affronted at what he viewed as a slanderous insult by this fellow member of the Garrick Club; believing much of Yates’ information came from club meetings, he took his grievance to the club committee. The committee sided with Thackeray and instructed Yates to apologize. Yates refused and was forcibly barred from club premises, subsequently bringing charges against the club Secretary.

Charles Dickens, absent from London as this brouhaha was brewing, returned to find all in full force. He offered to mediate, though primarily siding with Yates, which Thackeray viewed as treachery. The ill feelings between the two did not abate for years, until shortly before Thackeray’s death in 1863. (More about the Garrick Club Affair>>)

Herein Yates recounts the history and evidence of the disagreement, with, not unexpectedly, a bias to his own case. This copy was presented to Edward Bradley, presumed to be the Victorian novelist, who wrote under the pen name Cuthbert M. Bede. Known in Wise facsimiles (cf Todd 425c), the first edition, as here, has been just twice at auction in the last 30+ years, the last being 1977. It’s a rare piece of Dickensiana; this is the first time we’ve ever been able to offer the item. Details>>

Willow Park Water Cure, and Hygienic Institute

On March 1, 1853, John Henry Hero established the Willow Park Water Cure, with himself as proprietor and attending physician, for the treatment of chronic diseases through the “water cure.” Treatments of Swedish movements, light gymnastics, Turkish baths, and inhalations were also employed, to considerable success–though this success did not come without a personal price; as Hero writes in this circular “Friends, it is no small matter, to be thirteen years, day and night, surrounded by sick, nervous, irritable people, demanding our care and sympathies.” Hero seeks a change, and it is to this latter Hero addresses himself in this circular’s holograph letter: “I intend to convert / my Institution into a School / for young Ladies.” Later in the year, Dr. Hero did found the Willow Park Seminary for young women “where the Physical as well as the Intellectual facilities [were] faithfully and equally attended to.” OCLC does not record this particular broadside, though two others are found, each in one copy only. Details>>

Hero_Willow_Park_Water_Cure

BF Keith’s Grand Educational Demonstration

BF_Keith_Grand_Educational_DemonstrationClaude Grahame-White was the Glamour Boy of early aviation, somewhat of a playboy, with no engineering background whatsoever, Grahame-White became enamored of flying when, in 1908, he saw the Wright’s demonstrate their invention to the French crowds at Camp d’Auvours. Within a relatively short time, self-taught, Grahame-White soloed without a formal lesson. He quickly made a name for himself as a dashing aviator. In 1910, JV Martin of the Harvard Aeronautical Society, invited him to compete in the first Boston-Harvard Meet. With the promise of a $50,000 retainer & expenses, Grahame-White accepted. Grahame-White won that one, and others, as he thrilled spectators with his races & aerial exhibitions such as that announced in this “One-man Show” program.

This rare survivor lists the diverse aerial stunts to be performed by Grahame-White during the day… “With the Bleriot Monoplane” includes a dive from 4000 feet “with engine stopped.” “With the Farman Biplane,” the twelve planned events include “Aerial switchback flying”; “The corkscrew glide [spin?] from a high altitude”; and  “Knocking down ninepins placed on the ground, without alighting.” With this sort of exhibition, and his dashing and flamboyant personality, the handsome Grahame-White gave the new aviation field, previously dominated by engineers, something that had been lacking to date: a ‘sexy’ nature. Details>>

Salesman’s Album with Sixty Photographic Images of Indian Motorcycles

This a presumed company-issued production, no doubt targeted for those who already owned an Indian Motorcycle franchise, or generated for traveling company reps, allowing prospective buyers, such as police departments, to view the entire product line. We find no bibliographical record of another such album being offered, and believe the album to have been produced in limited numbers. 

Salesmans_Album_Indian_Motorcycles

 In 1940, Indian sold nearly as many motorcycles as its major rival, Harley-Davidson. At the time, Indian represented the only true American-made heavyweight cruiser alternative to Harley-Davidson. Indian’s most popular models were the Scout, made from 1920 to 1946, and the Chief, made from 1922 to 1953. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt in 1953. Today, the vintage cycle enjoys much popularity amongst enthusiasts, with models from the era displayed herein being offered for five-figure sums. A fascinating and well-preserved original photograph album, which visually documents the late ’30s and early ’40s Indian Motorcycle company, and its impressive product line, as existed during the company’s heyday. Details>>

Correspondence, Including LaGuardia’s Wedding Invitation

Correspondence_Fiorello_LaGuardiaFiorello LaGuardia, or “Little Flower,” is widely regarded as one of the best mayors in New York City history, whose tenure redefined the office. He was the 99th mayor of the “Big Apple”, serving his populace from 1934 to 1945. For those twelve years, the 5’2″, sometimes belligerent, chief executive dominated life in New York City as if he was 7″2′. Unlike many politicians today, he fulfilled many of his pledges, especially the ferreting out of corruption in the city’s government. Such earned him a reputation for placing the city’s interests ahead of political considerations, and in the same vein, although technically a Republican, he worked closely with the New Deal administration of President Franklin Roosevelt to secure funding for large public works projects. These federal subsidies enabled New York City to create a transportation network the envy of the world, and to build parks, low-income housing, bridges, schools, & hospitals. Furthermore, he achieved the unification of the city’s rapid transit system, a goal that had long eluded his predecessors, and he reformed the structure of city government by pushing for a new City Charter. LaGuardia presided over construction of New York City’s first municipal airport on Flushing Bay, later to become his namesake. As a result of all his efforts, LaGuardia’s psychological effect on New York City was nothing short of profound, restoring faith in city government by demanding excellence from civil servants. Details>>

The Life of The Right Honourable Arimanes, Typhon, Thammuz, Beelzebub, Ashmodaus, Sammael, Daemon, Lucifer the Great, of the Dark Infernal Empire Count of Sheol and Gehenna, Baron of Hades &c., &c., &c

Life-Right_Honourable_Beezlebub_LuciferThis eighteenth-century codex is an entirely holograph history of Lucifer, wherein the anonymous author tells us in his Preface, “Lucifer … is a spiritual being. That is true; but far from being considered here in that light, he is represented plainly terrestrial. He is not the Lucifer as Vondel, Milton and Klopstock described him, but exactly as he is shown in magick lanthorns for the amusement of the spectators. … My Lucifer is of Ethereal breed and Ether is and remains material. …. mine is of a persian and chaldean race.”

Though the volume bears no date, it bears the Pro Patria “Maid of Dort” watermark, circa 1760′s. Affixed under the holograph title is an extracted woodcut image [ca 1550, cf. Sebastian MŸnster's "Cosmographia" (1544)] of the ‘God Deumo (Demus or Deumus) of Calicut.’ The volume has a full vellum binding and yapp edges. Details>>

 

Thanks for reading! Love our blog? Subscribe via email (right sidebar) or sign up for our newsletter--you’ll never miss a post.

Share

Top Ten Blog Posts of All Time

This month has been a big one here at Tavistock Books! We celebrate our 25th anniversary, along with the one-year anniversary of fearless Aide-de-Camp Margueritte Peterson. We’re also proud that this month we hit the 10,000-visitor mark for our blog. To recognize this occasion, we humbly present the top ten blog articles of all time. Hope you enjoy reading!

Dickens_Great_Expectations_Confederate_Edition1. The Two Endings of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations

When Charles Dickens finished Great Expectations and sent it off to his publishers, he was quite pleased with himself. Then he showed a copy to friend and fellow author Edward Bulwer-Lytton, who, according to Dickens, “was so very anxious that I should alter the end…and stated his reasons so well, that I have resumed the wheel, and taken another turn at it.” The book’s dual endings present complications for critics and collectors alike. Read More>>

2. Why Did Charles Dickens Write Ghost Stories for Christmas? 

For the Victorians, Christmas wasn’t complete without a great ghost story! Charles Dickens certainly catered to this preference with his beloved Christmas Carol and a number of other Christmas tales. But why ghost stories? The holiday–once forbidden by Oliver Cromwell–has its roots in pagan rituals, which included telling “winter’s tales,” that is, ghost stories. Read More>>

Edith_Cavell_Crime_Des_Barbares3. Edith Cavell: Nurse, Humanitarian, and…Traitor?

Edith Cavell quickly earned a reputation as an excellent nurse, and during World War I she found herself with another set of duties. Along with other nurses, Cavell was recruited by the British Secret Intelligence Service to collect information about the Germans. She eventually put that mission aside, preferring to funnel British and French soldiers to neutral Holland. Cavell raised suspicion, and the Germans arrested her for treason. Cavell was convicted and executed, a move that provided plenty of fodder for British and American propaganda machines. Read More>>

4. Alexander Pope’s Legacy of Satire and Scholarship

History has not always been kind to Alexander Pope, and neither were his contemporary critics. The poet published his earliest extant work at only twelve years old and went on to found the Scriblerus Club alongside celebrated authors John Gay and Jonathan Swift. Thanks to the guidance and support of Swift, Pope was able to do what few authors of the era managed to accomplish: he made a comfortable living with the pen, mostly due to his ingenious translation of Homer’s Iliad. Read More>>

5. A Brief History of Propaganda

Propaganda has existed for ages; the Behistun Inscription, written around 515 BCE details King Darius I’s glorious victory. But the Catholic Church gave us the word itself and formalized the use of propaganda, most notably when Pope Urban II needed to bolster support for the Crusades. The literacy boom of the nineteenth century actually drove the production of more propaganda, as politicians had to sway the opinions of a more informed public. World War I saw the first large-scale propaganda production. Britain even enlisted its best authors, like AA Milne, to create pro-war propaganda. Read More>>

6. Charles Dickens Does Boston

Charles Dickens’ first trip to America began promisingly enough; he was immediately mobbed by adoring fans. Dickens fell in love with Boston, declaring the city “what I would like the whole United States to be.” But the trip turned sour when the young author insisted on addressing the issue of international copyright law at every turn. He was also appalled by the way slavery was practiced in the South and by Americans’ lack of social graces. Dickens documented his impressions of the United States in American Notes, which immediately alienated his Continental readers. Read More>>

Beardsley-Salome-Wilde7. Oscar Wilde, Dickens Detractor and “Inventor” of Aubrey Beardsley 

We remember Oscar Wilde just as much for his oversize personality as we do for his authorial excellence. Wilde’s ego often led to strange relationships with fellow authors, most notably Bram Stoker, Charles Dickens, and Aubrey Beardsley. Wilde lost a love to Stoker, railed against Dickens’ sentimentality, and claimed that Beardsley had Wilde to thank for his career. For rare book collectors, Oscar Wilde epitomizes the way that single-author collections can (and should) include works by other authors. Read More>>

8. The Six Hoaxes of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe called his time “the epoch of the hoax,” and the horror writer couldn’t have been happier about it. Poe was a great lover of hoaxes, even attempting several himself. He forged a note from a supposed lunar inhabitant and penned a fake journal from an explorer. Poe even undertook one hoax to dissuade people from going West during the Gold Rush. But Poe’s efforts only proved that he should have stuck to poetry and fiction; he hardly convinced anyone that his hoaxes were real. Read More>>

George-Isaac-Robert-Cruikshank

From ‘The Cruikshankian Momus’ by Isaac, Robert, and George Cruikshank

9. George Cruikshank: “Modern Hogarth,” Teetotaler, and Philanderer

George Cruikshank followed in his father’s footsteps, building a reputation as a preeminent illustrator of his time. Political from the beginning of his career, Cruikshank was openly racist and patriotic. He adopted an incredibly moralistic tone about drinking. That uncompromising campaign for temperance ultimately became a wedge between Cruikshank and Charles Dickens. After Cruikshank’s death, however, his wife discovered that he’d been leading a secret life–and had fathered eleven children with the family’s former servant. Read More>>

10. The Millerites an the Great Disappointment

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church arose from a great failure. The nineteenth century saw a revival in millinarianism, the belief that a drastic event or movement would suddenly change the course of society as outlined in the book of Revelation. William Miller stepped forward as a sort of prophet, arguing that Jesus would certainly return in 1843 or 1844. His followers, called the Millerites, embraced his predictions–until the days passed and nothing happened. They broke into a number of different sects, one of which developed into the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Read More>>

 

Share

25 Books Celebrating 25 Years in Business

Tavistock_Books_Catalogue_25_Years

25 years ago this month, in May 1989, Tavistock Books came into being-  without capital, without business plan, without significant inventory.  A rather inauspicious debut… and to be honest, one I never really expected to survive 25 months, much less 25 years.  But here we are, in May of 2014, a surviving, if not actually thriving, antiquarian book shop, on Webster Street in Alameda, with a [sometimes] open door, and a decidely lazy shop dog one must step over to browse the shelves.

Also one year ago this month, the firm hired Margueritte Peterson, its first full-time employee, who, by accepting our modest job offer, fulfilled a personal desire to join our quaint trade, and so journeyed from Florida to California to take-on the not-inconsiderable tasks as my Aide-de-Camp.

With these thoughts in mind then, we issue our first full-color pdf catalogue, comprised of 25 items, selected from stock, which represent the firm’s subject specialities, as well as the overall eclectic & diverse nature of the Tavistock Books inventory.

Should you have queries regarding any of these 25, or other items you may find on our site, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We thank you for your attention, and we hope you enjoy browsing our catalogue, and/or the other listings found here on the website.

Share

Californiana: A List for April

The 1848 California Gold Rush represented one of the largest migrations in the history of the Americas. Over 300,000 people flocked to the state, both from elsewhere in North America and from overseas. The population swelled; San Francisco, for example, went from a sleepy town of 200 in 1846, to a bustling port city of over 30,000 in 1852. Meanwhile California would not officially become a state until September 9, 1850, following much heated debate from Congress.

Given the state’s rich history, it’s no wonder that California invites so much fascination from book collectors. The Book Club of California, founded in 1912, published over 100 works, most with some collection to the state. Its first publication was indeed California-centric: Robert Cowan’s A Bibliography of the History of California and the Pacific West (1914, with a second edition in 1933). Robert Greenwood was integral to the publication of two other bibliographies, California Imprints, 1833-1862 and An Annotated Bibliography of California Fictions, 1664-1970, published in 1961 and 1971 respectively. Numerous others come to mind, but we’d be remiss not to mention Gary Kurutz’ The California Gold Rush: A Descriptive Bibliography, 1848-1953. Published in 1997, this is a work of truly enviable scholarship. No other state seems to have garnered so much bibliographic attention.

With this in mind, Tavistock Books presents a list of Californiana, with 100 items related to this state anchoring the “left coast.” While the list has many titles that will cite the bibliographies noted above, this isn’t the list focus. Rather, the list offers printed and visual evidence that California is indeed a state that has long fascinated not only book collectors, but the American populace in general.

Items on the list range from the eighteenth to the 21st century. While many are historical in nature, you’ll also find original art, promotional travel pieces, the first California-published miniature, California fiction, and even on of the first California cookbooks. Prices range from $15 to $3,250.

We invite you to browse the entire list! Should you have queries regarding any of the listings, or other offerings you may find on our site, please contact us.

Selected Californiana

Discovery of California and Northwest America
Cabrillo_First_Voyage_Coasts_CaliforniaJuan Rodriguez Cabrillo and his pilot, Bartolome Ferrelo reached what is now San Diego in September, 1540. Cabrillo explored the entire outer coast of the peninsula before heading north to the Channel Islands, Monterey Bay, and Point Reyes. Published in San Francisco in 1853, Discovery of California and Northwest America was the first true work of California history to be published in California. This volume has early marbled paper wrappers (recently added) with a printed title label affixed to the front wrapper. It’s chemised and housed in a custom quarter-leather slipcase. Details>>

A Trans-Continental Newspaper
Trans-Continental_PullmanTranscontinental was “Published Daily in the Pullman Hotel Express between Boston and San Francisco.” The twelve issues of Volume I were printed over six weeks, from May 24 to July 4, 1870, while the Boston Board of Trade made the 3,000-mile trek to meet with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. They were printed on a Gordon Press in the baggage car, while the newspaper office was in the second car. The paper reported the normal business of the train, along with tidbits such as the Philadelphia Athletics’ victory over the Harvard Baseball Club. The Trans-Continental is generally regarded as the first newspaper printed on a moving train. Details>>

Business Directory of Oakland, Alameda, and Berkeley
Directory_Oakland_Alameda_BerkeleyPublished in Oakland in 1877, Business Directory of Oakland, Alameda, and Berkeley is not listed in either Norris or Welsh. Extremely rare, this California miniature has the distinction of being the “only known California directory in this format, the first East Bay directory, and the first Berkeley directory of any kind,” according to Quebedeaux, who calls this volume the “first California volume of any kind.” Bradbury refutes this claim, pointing out that Diamond History was also published in 1877 and comprises the latter portion of this volume. OCLC records only three institutional holdings, and there is only one sale record for this item, from PBA earlier this year, of an imperfect copy missing its title page. Details>>

California Recipe Book by Ladies of California
California_Recipe_BookThe first edition thus and the fourth edition overall, this copy of California Recipe Book was published in San Francisco in 1879. It was first issued in 1872. The fourth edition bears a note that the “compiler has added largely to the original edition, and our patrons will find many new and choice recipes.” Indeed, the fourth edition includes sixty recipes not found in the first. OCLC records only three institutional holdings, making this a very scarce edition of a seminal California cookery book. California Recipe Book is regarded as the second cookbook written by Californians and published in the state, vying for the title with How to Keep a Husband; Or, Culinary Tactics, also published in San Francisco in 1872. Details>>

Annual Report of the Inspectors of the State Prison
San_Quentin_Annual_Report_Inspectors_State_PrisonMade to the legislature of California on February 15, 1855, this report offers an interesting look at the early days of San Quentin, when the prison was not quite impregnable. It includes sections entitled “Register and Descriptive List of Convicts Under Sentence” and “Transcript of Received, Escaped, and Returned Prisoners Since the Inspection of State Prison Books.” The previous year, 75 of the 250 prisoners in San Quentin had escaped without recapture. The statistic alarmed Governor John Bigler, to write in a letter to the prison staff, “These escapes, permit me to remark, give great force to allegations, daily and publicly made, that the prison building is insecure, and that its management is not such as to fully accomplish the object of its erection, in prevention and punishment of crime.” This work is rare, not being listed in Cowan, Greenwood, or the Library of Congress online catalogue. OCLC and Melvyl record only one copy, and no copies have come to auction in at least 25 years. Details>>

Twelve Years in the Mines of California
Patterson_Twelve_Years_Mines_CaliforniaLawson B Patterson arrived in California in 1849 during the Gold Rush and was one of the few who stuck around after the rush ended. Patterson stayed to work the mines for a total of twelve years. Kurutz tells us that in addition to recounting Patterson’s own experiences, “much of this book is devoted to the discovery of gold, the gold region, its geology, advice to new miners, and the weather in 1853. Wheat goes a step further, saying that Patterson’s book contains “observations of permanent import.” This volume’s previous owners include JR Knowland of Oakland Tribune fame, and the ffep bears his PO signature. The book itself is square and tight, with bright gilt. Details>>

Banquet in Honor of the Hotel Men’s Mutual Benefit Association
Banquet_HMMBAThis 1910 West Coast journey of HMMBA members was well documented by George Wharton James in his commissioned work, “The 1910 TRIP Of The H.M.M.B.A. To CALIFORNIA And The PACIFIC COAST.” Herein, he remarks this dinner at the Palace was “the most unique and costly dinner ever devised for the HMMBA.” The hotel’s banquet room was presented as a “Mandarin garden decorated with a wealth of Chinese articles of art [loaned by the Sing Chow Co. the menu informs us], and enlivened with … the only Chinese actress in America .. a Chinese theatre and thirty pretty Chinese children with their mothers, a full Chinese orchestra, and a bill of fare as distinctively Chinese as the rest of the function, all aided and abetted by the wealthy Chinese merchants of San Francisco.” As to this souvenir menu, James praises it as “the most elaborate affair ever devised fro the association.” No copy of this item is listed in OCLC; it’s certainly rare. Details>>

Album of Hotel Del Monte
Hotel_Del_MonteHotel Del Monte was part of a luxury 20,000-acre resort established by railroad magnate Charles Crocker. The first hotel was completed in 1880, with the entire resort including the hotel, polo grounds, race track, tennis courts, parkland and golf course. Immediately popular, the hotel had to deny 3,000 potential guests its first six weeks of operation. Falling on hard times after WWI, the grounds were eventually sold to Samuel Morse, who eventually led to the development of the present day Pebble Beach facility, among others. The hotel itself now serves as an administration building for the Naval Postgraduate School. This album offers a rare photo-view book depicting the original hotel structure (destroyed by fire in 1887) and diverse associated resort grounds and buildings. Details>>

Browny the Golden Beaver
Browny_Golden_BeaverA rare WPA production, Browny the Golden Beaver was published in San Diego in 1938. Belle Baranceanu, who created the cover art, was to achieve some fame as an artist; she painted murals in the La Jolla Post Office and Roosevelt Jr. High School as part of the Public Works of Art Project during the Depression. Baranceanu’s work has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, Carnegie Institute, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Denver Art Musuem, among other locations. The book was illustrated with drawings by Beatrice Buckley. Details>>

 

Related Posts:
The California Gold Rush, Slavery, and the Civil War
Elias Samuel Cooper: Renowned and Controversial Surgeon

 

Thanks for reading! Love our blog? Subscribe via email (right sidebar) or sign up for our newsletter--you’ll never miss a post.

Share

Au Paris: Food, Wine, and Rare Books!

This month marked the 100th anniversary of Syndicat Nationale de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne, better known to the rare book world as SLAM. In conjunction with this momentous occasion, SLAM not only hosted the International Antiquarian Book Fair at Paris’ Grand Palais but also followed this by coordinating the 2014 ILAB Congress, April 13 to 16, whereat over 100 colleagues from around the globe gathered to celebrate not only their vocation, but also their avocation. Both the book fair and the Congress were fantastic events where numerous bibliophilic treasures were seen by all that attended. These bookish wonders aside, the collegiality alone would have made the trip worthwhile–though the exceptional food and wine cannot be discounted!

In honor of our Parisian adventure, Tavistock Books is pleased to present a list of books connected to France and French. Should you have a question about any item, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Voyage en Californie par Edouard Auger

Auger_Voyage_CalifornieEdouard Auger spent 1852 and 1853 in California for the Gold Rush. This first edition, published by Librarie Hachette in 1854, is inscribed by the author on the title page. It has a modern green quarter calf binding with marbled paper boards and endpapers. The original green printed wrappers are bound in. Details>>

Jeanne d’Arc

Monvel_Jeanne_DArcMaurice Boutet de Monvel published Jeanne d’Arc in 1896. It is his masterpiece, and Silvie calls the work “beautifully printed and exquisitely composed” in Children’s Books and Their Creators. Monvel is considered a leading figure in the Golden Age of children’s literature, alongside Caldecott and Greenaway. It is quite rare to find the book in its original dust jacket, as it is offered here. Details>>

Geschichte der Grossen Revolution en Frankreich

Schultz_Geschichte_Grossen_Revolution_FrankreichPublished in Berlin in 1790, this edition of Geschichte der Grossen Revolution en Frankreich features a hand-colored frontispiece and has the period dark brown plain paper wrappers. There’s a hand-inked title label to the spine. Details>>

Splendide Californie!

Splendide_CaliforniePublished by the Book Club of California in 2001, Splendide Californie! is truly a stunning item. It features impressions of the Golden State from French artists, ranging from 1786 to 1900. The book was designed and supervised by the Yolla Bolly Press. Details>>

Traite de la Gonorrhee et des Maladies des Voies Urinaires

TeyaudSexually transmitted diseases proved formidable opponents to medical professionals in the eighteenth century. Teyaud’s Traite de la Gonorrhee et des Maladies des Voies Urinaires offers a look at how these conditions were treated at the end of the century. Paris would later become a center for medical study, and American doctors frequently went there to study. Details>>

Theatre des Dames

Theatre_des_DamesA compilation of diverse theatrical pieces from 1792 to 1815, Theatre des Dames is bound in beautiful color printed silk onlays affixed to gold boards, with a floral motif panel on the spine. It includes eight copperplate engravings. OCLC records only four copies worldwide, and KVC adds a fifth. Details>>

Almanach de Kate Greenaway

Almanach_Kate_GreenawayA scarce French edition of this popular publication Almanach de Kate Greenaway was published in 1891. It features white glazed paper-wrapped color-pictorial boards with a yellow cloth spine. Color illustrations are by Kate Greenaway, printed by Edmund Evans. KVK shows no holdings at the expected institutions, and OCLC records only two holdings in the US. Details>>

Des Guerres d’Alexandre

Arrian_Guerres_AlexandreArrian was a public servant, military commander, and philosopher from the second-century Roman period. His account of Alexander’s life is arguably the most complete and most widely read, likely because he was able to use sources that have since been lost. This 1652 edition (the second edition thus) appears to be rather scarce; OCLC records one copy in Germany, and KVK notes another at the Bibliotheque Nationale. Details>>

 

Share

A Panoply of Primers

For centuries, children’s literature consisted almost exclusively of didactic texts designed to teach basic skills like reading and writing or to impart religious lessons. During the Middle Ages, the vast majority of these texts were still written in Latin. Hornbooks with the Lord’s Prayer and the alphabet were the most common forms of children’s literature in the 1400′s, and alphabet books began showing up in Russia, Denmark, and Italy during the following century.

In the 1600′s, the concept of childhood shifted: children were no longer thought of as miniature adults, but as separate beings with their own juvenile needs and preferences. Publishers began printing books exclusively for children, though these, too, were often didactic. The seventeenth century also saw the rise of Puritanism, which again shaped people’s views of children. They were viewed not as young innocents, but as moral savages who needed stringent moral instruction.

It was not until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that children’s literature came into its own as a genre. A Little Pretty Pocket Book (1744) by John Newbery is considered the first book published for children’s pleasure reading. As technologies improved and it got cheaper to produce books, the industry blossomed. Even as pleasure reading became popular, the publication of educational materials maintained its momentum. Literacy rates began to improve, increasing the demand for, and interest in, primers and similar educational pieces.

Today, collectors can build quite extensive collections around educational materials printed for children. The broadest category of these is the primer. The first known use of the word “primer” was in the fourteenth century. The term derives from the Latin primarium, meaning “primary,” and was the name for a layperson’s prayerbook. At the time, literacy was relatively uncommon, but people did need to read their prayers. This book was often the only one in a home, so it was used to teach children to read. Eventually the term broadened and referred to any small book intended to teach reading. Today a “primer” may refer to a short, introductory piece about a specific topic or to a brief, informative piece of writing.

A Selection of Primers

We’re delighted to offer a selection of primers in a variety of subjects and time periods. Should you have a question about an item, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

The London Vocabulary

Greenwood_London_VocabularyGrammarian James Greenwood published the first edition of The London Vocabularly, English and Latin in 1713. After working for years at the Hackney Academy, Greenwood opened up his own boarding school in Essex in 1711 and was later appointed surmaster of St. Paul’s School in London. He’s best known for his An Essay on Practical Grammar (1711), which received much positive praise from a number of scholars and critics, including Isaac Watts.  The London Vocabulary went through a number of editions, both English and American, of which this is the seventeenth English edition. Details>>

The Instructor

Fisher_InstructorA quite popular primer, George Fisher’sThe Instructor  appeared in numerous editions, both throughout the United Kingdom and in America. Like many educational books at the time, it purportedly offered an easier method of learning than other primers. And also like many educational books at the time, it reminds us of just how little people really knew about geography at the time, and that this truly was an age of exploration and discovery. In this Glasgow edition, printed in 1786, California is still an enigma: “Northward, on the Pacific Ocean, is New Mexico, and the island of California; but of these we know but little.” ESTC records five holdings of this edition. Details>>

The Young Child’s ABC

Anderson_Young_Childs_ABCWritten by Alexander Anderson and illustrated by Samuel Wood, The Young Child’s ABC (1806) contains a horn book-style alphabet and a syllabary. Letters are illustrated with objects in alphabetical order. This children’s chapbook was the first item published by Wood, who would go on to have an illustrious and prolific career in the trade. He had thousands of titles under his imprint. Although four copies of later editions have come to auction in the last three decades or so, none of this first edition have come to market. It’s quite rare in the trade. Details>>

A Book Explaining the Ranks and Dignities of British Society

Lamb_Ranks_Dignities_British_SocietyCharles Lamb is best remembered for his collaboration with his sister, Mary Lamb, on Tales from Shakespeare. But he also anonymously published A Book Explaining the Ranks and Dignities of British Society in 1805. The charmingly illustrated children’s book delineates the hierarchy of the nobility, clergy, army, navy, government & professions; with their history & origins, forms of address, order of precedence, honors, with their coronets & coronation robes described, etc.This is the second edition, published in 1809. The book has been occasionally at auction these last 30+ years, though not since 2003. It’s scarce in the trade. Details>>

Le Livre des Enfans

Livre_EnfansLe Livre des Enfans was published in Quebec in 1834. Illustrated with woodcuts, the work begins with two alphabets, which are followed by the usual primer material. The cover features a short verse by Racine. Le Livre des Enfans also includes thirteen pages of animal descriptions, such as Le Zebre, Le Cheval, and Le Hibou. It’s scarce in the trade. Details>>

The New England Primer

Howland_New_England_PrimerPublished around 1840, The New England Primer bears quite a drop title: Containing the Assembly’s Catechism; The Account of the Burning of John Rogers; A Dialogue Between Christ, A Youth, and the Devil; and Various Other Useful and Instructive Matter. With a Historical Introduction, by Rev. H. Humphrey, D.D. Rogers was a biblical translator and commentator, and the first English Protestant martyr under Mary I. He was burned at the stake for heresy in February 1555. This primer bears a frontis of Isaac Watts. Though this copy has some wear to its wrappers, it’s in good condition. Details>>

Girls’ and Boys’ Primer, Part II

Girls_Boys_PrimerGirls’ and Boys’ Primer, Part II was published around 1850 by Rufus Merrill in Concord, New Hampshire. The alphabet is illustrated with woodcuts. The primer features the usual material: alphabet, poems, and lessons in spelling and writing. This copy is in the publisher’s original buff paper wrappers with ornamental border to front and rear wrappers and the signature of “Eastman & Bogart.” Though there’s light wear and soiling to the wrappers, this is a very good copy. Details>>

A Farewell Present to a Female Scholar, on Going to Service

Farewell_Present_Female_ScholarsThanks to the Enabling Act of 1799, dissenters could teach without subscription to the Church of England. The London Sunday-School Union was formed in 1803 with the aim of educating poor children and became a very active publishing organization. One of its publications was A Farewell Present to a Female Scholar, on Going to Service (ca 1828). An apparently unrecorded little work, it offers counseling a young lady regarding her pending move to the world of ‘service,’ “a useful and important station in society ” and  outlines a number of ‘rules to live by’ follow, including “Fifthly- Always observe a respectful and obliging behaviour towards those with whom you live, and endeavor to go about your work with a cheerful air, as a pleasure rather than a burden to you.” It appears to have served as a sort of primer for young women entering domestic service. Details>>

Fleet Fact Book

Fleet_Fact_BookFleet Fact Book (ca 1906-1910) is separated into four sections: The “Dreadnaught” (2 text pages & 1 photographic image); Submarines (1 text page & 5 photographic images); Torpedo Boat Destroyers (1 text page & 2 photographic images); and The Fleet / Dreadnaught Types (1 text page summarizing the fleet strength, including ship types/numbers & 5 color postcard-type images of diverse dreadnaught types). In short, the volume offers a custom ‘primer’ for the Royal English Navy, ca 1910, with all indications the book created for the use of a senior Naval official, or senior political figure associated with the Royal Navy. Details>>

Puff and Dick

Puff_DickPictured are the main characters from this famous primary reader: Dick, Jane, Spot, Puff & Baby. This is a rare unused printed sheet of a tale from the highly-collected Dick & Jane reader series, published in the 1950′s. Details>>

 

 

Related Posts:
Chapbooks: Short Books with Long History
The Ins and Outs of Collecting Serial Fiction for Children
Randolph Caldecott: Legend in Children’s Literature

 

Thanks for reading! Love our blog? Subscribe via email (right sidebar) or sign up for our newsletter--you’ll never miss a post.

Share