Travels And More From
The 19th Century Shop
Recent Acquisitions plus Travel and Exploration from the 19th Century Shop
The 19th Century Shop offers its most recent catalogue of important books and ephemera titled "Recent Acquisitions plus Travel and Exploration." This is a hard catalogue to describe since it covers a wide range of material. What we can say is that all of the items are significant, and then proceed to a few examples.
P.T. Barnum wrote two autobiographies. The second was, naturally, more complete as he had lived longer by then. It was published in 1869 under the title Struggles and Triumphs; Or, Forty Years' Recollections of P.T. Barnum. Written by himself. This one is a presentation copy, containing the following inscription: "To Miss Nancy Fish with kind regards of her friend P.T. Barnum New York April 7 1871." Nancy's father had been so impressed by Barnum's earlier autobiography that he began a correspondence from his home in England, and later came to America at Barnum's invitation to follow his tours. It was then that John Fish showed Barnum some of his daughter's letters. Barnum began a correspondence with Nancy, and this copy was given to her, probably after their first meeting. Three months after Barnum's wife of 44 years died in 1873, the 69-year-old Barnum married the 24-year-old Miss Fish. They would stay together for the remaining 18 years of the old showman's life. Priced at $5,800.
Alfred Dinsdale produced the first work entirely about television in the English language. Published in 1926, Television / Seeing by Wireless covered the work of British inventor John Baird. Baird succeeding in transmitting the first televised moving images, and the first color images. His system was used to create sporadic televised events for the BBC, including the 1931 Epsom Derby. However, the system developed by Marconi and others would replace Baird's mechanical system by 1937. Still, this work, with the ghostlike image of a televised human face on its cover, is one of the most important works ever on this new medium. $3,800.
Sometimes a harmless book can be transformed into something horrible. This item is an 1899 German schoolbook, Deutsche Grammatik... by Dr. F. Willomitzer. What makes this book horrific is the student's signature within: Adolf Hitler. This is a school text the young monster would use somewhere between the ages of 11 and 15. It includes some of his marginal notes and highlights, perhaps something which would offer insights into the horrors to come. Inquire for price.
Travels And More From
The 19th Century Shop
One of Francis Frith's 1850s photographs of Egypt
No one would do more to save humanity from the atrocities of the aforementioned schoolboy than the author of The Second World War. That would be wartime British leader Winston Churchill. Churchill not only led his nation through that war, he then used his own knowledge plus the British archives to write one of the most important histories of it. This 6-volume set is signed by Mr. Churchill. $7,500.
Julia Ward Howe was an antislavery activist who, with her husband, served on the U.S. Sanitary Commission, trying to improve prisoners' conditions during the Civil War. At one point, she went to visit a Union army camp, and heard the soldiers singing "John Brown's Body," a Union rallying song. Feeling it needed a deeper set of lyrics, the next morning she wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic, a poem to be set to the tune of "John Brown." In February, 1862, it was published in the Atlantic Monthly, and it would become the new rallying cry for the Union and the Civil War's most famous song. Offered is a copy of the song's first printing in the Atlantic. $500.
William Sydney Porter, better known to most of us as O. Henry, may be the most famous short story writer ever. Porter grew up in North Carolina, but headed to Texas as a young man, generating experiences which would provide material for many later works. He held a variety of jobs, including bank clerk, then publisher of the magazine "Rolling Stone" (not the current magazine of that title), and reporter for the Houston Post. However, while working as a reporter in Houston, charges of embezzlement from his time as bank clerk in Austin were leveled. Porter escaped to South America, but returned when his wife became very ill. Porter was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison. It was during this period he began writing his short stories, which he published in various periodicals under the name "O. Henry" to shield his identity. Once released in 1901, he moved to New York. He would write and publish around 300 of his stories before he died in 1910 at the age of 48. The 19th Century Shop offers an autographed manuscript of a story that is not one of those 300. The Charity that Ended at Home is an unpublished tale of Henry's. It is typical O. Henry in that it follows a plot of unexpected twists and turns and concludes with a surprise ending. $15,000.
Francis Frith was a British merchant who took a great interest in photography during its early days. He became so interested that he sold his business, and from 1856-1860, made several trips to Egypt and the Holy Land. His work provides us with some of the earliest photographic records of the wonders of this part of the world, in some cases preserving antiquities which since have disappeared or fallen to ruin. His Photographs of the Holy Land... is a three-volume work from 1863 containing 111 photographs. $27,500.
Christian Schultz provided one of the earliest comprehensive reports about the interior of America in Travels on an Inland Voyage through the States of...in the Years 1807 and 1808. Schultz crossed through upstate New York and western Pennsylvania before traveling down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, a journey of near 6,000 miles. It is regarded as one of the best sources of information about this area at the time. This copy is one of the few which includes all five of the original folding maps. $5,500.
The 19th Century Shop may be found online at www.19thcenturyshop.com or reached by phone at 410-727-2665.