The Latest Material from Wessel and Lieberman
Latest acquisitions from Wessel and Lieberman.
By Michael Stillman
This is our first catalogue from Wessel and Lieberman Booksellers of Seattle, Washington. It is their catalogue 37, and since it consists of recently acquired material, it does not fit into any specific category. And so, you will find literature, bibliography, poetry, art, inscribed books, Americana, science, just about anything. However, we will note that, perhaps because of their Northwest location, there are some very important titles for those who collect Oregon and the travels that brought settlers to that territory. We will give you a few samples of the various items presented, but with the caveat that we can only cover a small portion of the subjects Wessel and Lieberman handle.
Item 53 is the first volume from the Bronte sisters, a talented but star-crossed family if ever there was one. The two eldest of five sisters and their mother died when the children were young, but sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne created a make-believe world about which they wrote stories in their youth. Then, in 1846, the three collaborated to publish a book of poetry using assumed names. That collection, Poems, by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, was a flop, reportedly selling only two copies. However, a year later, Charlotte would experience a major success with "Jane Eyre." The unsold copies of the 1846 collaboration were then given a new title page and reissued in 1848. Tragically, Emily died that year, and Anne the next. Their only brother also died in 1848, leaving Charlotte the sole survivor of six children. She published two more books and then married in 1854, but a year later, she too died during childbirth. At the age of 38, she lived longer than any of her siblings. A final work was published posthumously. The 1848 second issue of the Bronte sisters' first edition of poetry is priced at $2,500.
If you'd like to read up on the Civil War, here is the perfect opportunity. Item 61 is The War of the Rebellion. The Official Records of the Union & Confederate Armies and Navies. This set includes 159 volumes and was published from 1880 until, who knows, maybe it is still being published today (actually, the final date appears to be 1927). If there is something that was left out of this official record published at the behest of the Secretary of War, you will never know, because you could not possibly read all of it. However, you will definitely impress your friends with your erudition if they see this set parked on your shelves. $3,500 (that's just $22 per volume).
Item 49 is an early promotional booklet for the province of British Columbia. It is entitled Settlers, Prospectors, and Tourists Guide or Travels through British Columbia, by Newton Chittenden. This was published in 1882, displaying the wonders of a new land just being opened up by the Canadian Pacific Railway. It claims the area holds the capacity to sustain a large population. $1,150.
The Latest Material from Wessel and Lieberman
Dick and Jane from their atypical "typical" American household.
British Columbia certainly is a worthy province for settlement, but the province's first Chief Forester, Martin Grainger, may have been stretching the welcome mat a bit in 1929. He evidently sent an invitation to emigrate to T.E. Lawrence, resulting in the newest of items for collectors of Lawrence of Arabia. Perhaps he felt that after those years of wandering around the baking deserts of the Arabian peninsula and such garden spots as Iraq, Lawrence would like to retire to the cool and damp climate of the Canadian Pacific. He didn't. Lawrence spent most of the remainder of his motorcycle accident shortened life in the British Royal Air Force. Perhaps B.C. was too nice a place for someone noted for a penchant for masochism. Item 85 is An Invitation to British Columbia: A letter from T.E. Lawrence to Martin A. Grainger. This is a 2005 limited (50 copies) first edition facsimile of a previously unpublished letter from Lawrence in 1929, responding to Grainger's suggestion he retire to B.C. $250.
Item 100 should bring back memories for those of you...make that us...old enough to remember Ozzie and Harriett's America. This is, Our Big Book: Sally, Dick and Jane; Think and Do Book; and Fun With Our Family. Do you remember Dick and Jane? They were the repetitive kids who used to say things like, "run, Spot, run," over and over and over again, and then a few more times. I'm not quite as cognizant (that's a word Dick and Jane never used) of Sally's role, but I believe she was a baby sister of these two dimwitted, boring children. They lived in an idyllic world, suburban heaven, where nothing ever went wrong, during the '50s and '60s. They disappeared when we lost our innocence in the riots and war of the late '60s. Then again, they never really existed outside of their mythological suburban home and the schools who pretended that everyone's home life was like Dick and Jane's. The way we weren't. Dick and Jane's Big Book includes sixteen large color cards (20 1/2 x 19 1/4) taken from the "Think" and "Fun" books. $650.
The catalogue includes a trilogy of important Oregon works. Item 133 is Ross Cox's Adventures on the Columbia River, an account of living in this as yet unsettled land, published in 1832. $1,250. Item 135 is a Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the Years 1811...1814 or the First American Settlement on the Pacific. This is the 1854 first English language translation of Frenchman Gabriel Franchere's work. $350. Item 139 is Adventures of the First Settlers on the Oregon or Columbia River by Alexander Ross. This 1849 book recounts an earlier expedition financed by John Jacob Astor to establish the fur trade. $1,750.
Item 131 is an obscure overland travel, The Life and Adventures of E.S. Carter... Carter traveled west in 1852, spent three years in Oregon, searched for gold in California, and spent five years wandering through New Mexico. This is a rare book, as most copies of this 1896 printing were apparently lost in a fire. $2,250.
Here is a book that will run chills down the spine of any Californian: List of Recorded Earthquakes in California, Lower California, Oregon and Washington Territory compiled from published works and from private information. This item was published in 1887, a reminder that this sort of activity was going on long before the San Francisco and other earthquakes wreaked their havoc on the Golden State. Item 136. Prepared by Edward Holden. $350.
You will find Wessel and Lieberman Booksellers online at www.wlbooks.com, phone number 206-682-3545.