The First Catalogue from Yesterday's Muse Books
The first catalogue from Yesterday's Muse Books.
This month we have the opportunity to review the first catalogue from Yesterday's Muse Books. While this is the first catalogue for the upstate New York bookseller, the firm has been in business since 2003. In 2008, founder Jonathan Smalter opened a shop to go along with the online business. That bookstore may be found in Webster, New York, just outside of Rochester.
This first catalogue has the simple, descriptive title, Catalog 1. That title comes with a bit more explanation - An Eclectic Assortment of Decorative and Collectible Literature, History, and Curiosities, with emphasis on Castles, Utopian Fiction, and Winston Churchill. Certainly, a catalogue that combines utopian fiction with Winston Churchill is eclectic. Perhaps opposites attract. However, there is much more in this catalogue than even that title implies. Among the many other fields well represented are Americana, children's books, literature, Charles Dickens, architecture, very early books, and art. And, there is more. Here are a few selections from the first catalogue for Yesterday's Muse.
Item 11 is a look at Oregon in the days just before settlers began traveling the famed trail. The title is Ten Years in Oregon, written by Daniel Lee and Joseph Frost and published in 1844. They did not go there to settle the area, nor trade in furs. They were missionaries. Lee and his missionaries accompanied the Wyeth expedition of 1834, otherwise consisting of traders and trappers. Their aim was to convert the natives of the Northwest. Their account covers their journey and mission, and discusses their primary financier, the wealthy John Jacob Astor. Priced at $225.
F. Scott Fitzgerald published his first novel (This Side of Paradise) in 1920, and it was an immediate success. Less well known is that in the same year, he also published a collection of short stories. Item 80 is that collection of stories, Flappers and Philosophers, a third printing of the first edition. $300. A fifth printing of the first edition of This Side of Paradise is also offered (item 79. $500) as is a first edition, first state of The Great Gatsby (item 81. $2,500). The Fitzgerald items do not have dust jackets.
If you are looking for wisdom, at least in regards to political and governmental affairs, a great place for Americans to start is with the father of their country. Fortunately, George Washington wrote a lot over the course of his life. From 1834-1837, historian, scholar, Unitarian minister, and Harvard President Jared Sparks compiled 12 volumes of the first President's manuscripts, including letters, documents, messages and other written material. It was the most thorough look at Washington's writings up to that time. Sparks did receive some criticism for occasionally fixing up Washington's grammar and spelling, but the meanings were true. Item 7 is The Writings of George Washington. $850.
Who was the Portuguese Cicero? Stumped? Of course you are. His name was Jeronimo Osorio, and his name would not have been pronounced like the famous Indian Chief, since this “J” would be pronounced like an “H.” Osorio was a learned scholar, historian, churchman, and part of the court. In 1560, he was appointed Bishop of Silves, a position he held until his death in 1580. As for being the Portuguese Cicero, Osorio obtained that moniker as a result of his great fluency in Latin. Item 66 is one of those early books in this catalogue, Hieronymi Osorii Lusitani, Episcopi Silvensis, Paraphrasis in Isaiam, an edition published in 1584 (it was first published in 1579). $1,750.
The First Catalogue from Yesterday's Muse Books
Seth Parker's Scrap Book.
Item 142 is one of those pieces of utopian fiction: The Dream of Debs. The author is Jack London, the popular early 20th century American novelist. Eugene Victor Debs was, like London, a workers' advocate, socialist, and political agitator. However, while London turned more to writing fiction, Debs focused on political and union activities. Debs was a frequent presidential candidate, running five times between 1900 and 1920, and while he never came close to victory, he garnered millions of votes, and his influence on the labor movement far exceeded his electoral success. This book describes a utopian socialist society based on the views expressed by Debs. $125.
As the title promises, this catalogue does have several works relating to castles. Here is one that describes one of the most famous of all: The History of Nottingham Castle, from the Danish Invasion to its Destruction by Rioters in 1831, by John Hicklin, published in 1836. Nottingham Castle, familiar to all from Robin Hood, has been around a very long time. It was built shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 on orders of William the Conqueror. It was a wooden structure, more fortress than castle. By the next century, however, Henry II had it rebuilt of stone. Over the centuries, it would serve both as fortress and royal residence, and would be the subject of various battles between royalty jockeying for power. As time went on, Nottingham Castle, like most structures, would age and deteriorate. Finally, it would be mostly demolished during the English Civil War. That would not be its end. After the Restoration, it was rebuilt even grander than before. After this reconstruction was completed in 1678, it would again begin a slow slide, and in 1831, it was again destroyed, this time in rioting by the poor angered by the then owner's opposition to parliamentary reform. That is where this book leaves off, though the castle has since been resurrected from its ruins to be a historic museum today. Item 42. $475.
Yesterday's Muse Books may be reached at 585-265-9295 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Their website is found at www.websterbookstore.com.