Spring 2018 Collector’s Corner Highlights

Here are a few particularly interesting books that we’ll have available for the sale this spring. It’s an embarrassment of riches: we have SO MANY treasures!


For this sale we have a lovely copy of The Diverting History of John Gilpin from the 1880s, written by William Cowper and illustrated by Randolph Caldecott.

It’s easy to see why Caldecott’s name looms so large: his illustrations are technically precise, extraordinarily detailed, and suffused with quiet mirth. Snapping dogs! Flapping geese! A tumbling toddler! There’s a lot here to love.

We also have an early edition of Caldecott’s The Milkmaid available.

We are happy to have a first edition / first issue of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Dred; A Tale of the Great and Dismal Swamp, her follow-up to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Because some readers had tried to dismiss Cabin as mere exaggeration, Stowe included detailed appendices of citations with Dred to prove the book’s plot was based on real events.

We also have a first edition of Stowe’s Palmetto Leaves, her memoirs of life in Florida, where she retired after the end of the Civil War.

Do you ever wish Downton Abbey had been written using classic science fiction tropes?

If you do, you’ve found the perfect book: this first American edition of The Inheritors by Joseph Conrad and Ford M. Hueffer (aka Ford Madox Ford). At its heart is a mysterious, beautiful, nameless woman and the frustrated writer who is fascinated with her.

“You really wish to know where I come from?”

I expressed light-hearted acquiescence.

“Listen,” she said, and uttered some sounds. I felt a kind of unholy emotion. It had come like a sudden, suddenly hushed, intense gust of wind through a breathless day. “What– what!” I cried.

“I said I inhabit the Fourth Dimension.”

She claims that the Fourth Dimensionists will inherit the earth. If the established, fusty aristocracy will not give way and allow them to inherit it?

What then . . . ?

We have a beautiful, bright copy of this imaginative science fiction novel from Rudyard Kipling, With The Night Mail: A Story of 2000 A.D., the first edition published in book form after the story ran serially in McClure’s Magazine in 1905.

On the front cover is a dirigible, picked out in clean, clear silver and gold, that Kipling describes in more detail, and with more relish, than he does any mere human character. We don’t normally characterize Kipling as a forefather of the Steampunk genre, but he was clearly in love with this particular work. His enthusiasm even led him to create pages and pages of fake ads for blimp-related goods and services.

In 1929 silent-film actress Joan Lowell published an autobiography, Cradle of the Deep, detailing a childhood spent adventuring around the South Seas as a sea captain’s daughter. It was almost immediately proved to be bunkum (by, among other things, statements from her former neighbors, who remembered her actual childhood in Berkeley, California). Humorist Corey Ford published this spoof within months, Salt Water Taffy. Tucked into this copy of Taffy are a few publicity photos from the publisher, Putnam’s. Note that the stock model in the photo bears a striking resemblance to Lowell.

It’s worth noting that even though Cradle of the Deep was proven to be a work of fiction, RKO Pictures made a “documentary” based on the work, 1934’s Adventure Girl. Lowell starred in it. It was her last picture before she left the industry to get married … to a sea-captain, with whom she had a few real-life seafaring adventures.

An era is ending: see where it began.
The organization that publishes Our Bodies, Ourselves has announced that, after nearly fifty years and nine editions, the most recent print version of the book will be its last.

We have a copy of the very first book to bear that name, barely more than a pamphlet: staple-bound, paper wrappers… revolutionary.

Note that the very first printing was titled Women and Their Bodies: the new title Our Bodies, Ourselves was adopted to better convey the book’s “by women, for women” focus.

Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes is as much a poem and a sculpture as it is a story.

To create this book, Foer took the text of Bruno Schultz’s 1934 short-story collection Street of Crocodiles and carefully stripped away words until he had built an entirely new story from the material of Schultz’s. Each page is intricately die-cut, forming an elaborate lacework.

Foer’s story was adapted in 2015 into a ballet by choreographer Wayne McGregor, composer Jamie xx, visual artist Olafur Eliasson and the Paris Opera Ballet. Jamie xx’s score used an algorithm to transform the text into music, with the result being reminiscent of the work of Philip Glass.

Comes bundled with a copy of the original Street of Crocodiles.

The Green Bag
Volume One, 1889
Edited by Horace W. Fuller

The Green Bag billed itself as “A Useless but Entertaining Magazine for Lawyers,” and was marked by a breezy, often humorous tone. We have the very first bound volume, which covers the year 1889: Louis Brandeis writes on Harvard University; Seymour D. Thompson complains about common errors and deficiencies in law reporting; and lawyers muse on whether Jack the Ripper, should he ever be caught, might be able to plead insanity in hopes of reducing his sentence.

Fittingly, the book’s leather is a deep, rich green.

Two-By-Fours
by Charles Schultz and Kenneth Hall
1965

Hall shares musings about two-, three-, and four-year-olds that are sweet and serious in equal measure, “designed to help parents, grandparents, and other adults understand the small child, particularly as he relates to the church.” Schultz’s illustrations take Hall’s message of understanding and buoy it with gentle humor.

Signed by Schultz.

A feast for the senses: this cookbook presents some of the incredible food that made Salvador and Gala Dalí’s dinner parties the stuff of legend. With recipes from such leading Paris restaurants as Lasserre, La Tour d’Argent and Maxim’s, a special section on aphrodisia, and bespoke illustrations from Dalí himself, Les Diners de Gala is at once an
artwork, a practical cookbook, and a delicious morsel of multisensory
pleasure.