The Latest from Bauman Rare Books
New Acquisitions from Bauman Rare Books.
By Michael Stillman
We have received a catalogue of New Acquisitions from Bauman Rare Books dated April 2006. Bauman's offerings generally cover a wide spectrum of fields. What they have in common is that all are first tier items. These are not the obscure or unknown authors and personalities, but the household names and important personages of the times. We will provide a few samplings from this catalogue, but this is just to get a sense of the type of material available. You will need the catalogue to fully appreciate all that Bauman has acquired.
Here is one of the greatest books ever published, made even more remarkable by the fact that it appeared less than four decades after the invention of printing. Item 2 is Das Buch der Croniken, better known as the Nuremberg Chronicle, by Hartmann Schedel, published in Nuremberg in 1493. This monumental book aimed to cover nothing short of the entire history of the world, from the creation up to what was then the present. People from Adam and Eve and Noah to Charlemagne, St. Augustine, and Dante get their due. Even the mythical Pope Joan makes an appearance. Cities from Nineveh to Rome to Paris and Nuremberg are covered. But not even that was enough. It also describes the future, that is, the end of times. Included are 1,809 woodcut illustrations along with maps of Europe and the world, plus a two-page illustration of the destruction of Jerusalem. This is a particularly rare and desirable copy as it has been colored by a contemporary hand. As for Pope Joan, whose image was defaced in most copies, her portrait is untouched, and while her biography was crossed out, it is still legible. Priced at $365,000.
Item 101 reflects the fear of every young person who dreams of becoming famous. That fear is someone will dig up some memorabilia from your childhood and display it for strangers to see. Well here we go. It is a valentine decorated by an obviously quite youthful Ernest Hemingway. On one side, it displays a child's drawing of a leafless tree and the words, in a very youthful hand, "This is my Valentine." On the other side is written "Ernest Miller Hemingway." Papa's mama kept scrapbooks of his youthful creations, and this was once a part of one. $8,800.
Item 69 is the ironic My Life on the Plains. Or, Personal Experiences with Indians, by George Armstrong Custer. Of course it does not include Custer's most notable experience with Indians, but he did not live long enough to write about that one. This book was published in 1874, two years before his fateful encounter at the Little Big Horn. $4,500.
Here is another ironic item: Herbert Hoover's first inaugural speech. The new president speaks of the nation's liberation from widespread poverty. He notes that economic policy should "establish more firmly stability and security of business and employment and thereby remove poverty still further from our borders." Hoover concludes, "The questions before our country are problems of progress to higher standards; they are not the problems of degeneration." "Ours is a land...filled with millions of happy homes;
blessed with comfort and opportunity."
The Latest from Bauman Rare Books
A valentine from a very youthful Ernest Hemingway.
Poor Hoover could not have imagined what was about to happen. His greatest concern seemed to be disobedience to the law, particularly with regard to Prohibition. This problem would quickly be pushed to the backburner as Hoover tried to cope with the biggest economic catastrophe the nation had ever seen. Item 103 is a printing of this address, taken from a copy of Davis Lott's Inaugural Addresses of the American Presidents (pp. 215-223) and signed by Hoover. $1,800.
Speaking of the nation's 31st president, most people are not aware that in an earlier life, he was a translator. Item 104 is a copy of De Re Metallica by Georgius Agricola, translated by Herbert Hoover. Hoover was a mining engineer in 1912 when this book was published. Actually, his wife, a Latin teacher, did most of the translating from Latin to English, but the future president provided annotations. This copy contains an inscription from Hoover. $3,200.
Almost half a millennium ago, he predicted everything that has happened since. He also predicted everything that hasn't happened. It seems that Nostradamus predicted everything you want to believe he predicted. The sixteenth century seer had the good sense to keep his predictions vague enough so that everything that has happened can be said to have been predicted by him. Of course, it's much harder to tell what he projects for the years ahead, but undoubtedly once hindsight becomes available, we will know that he predicted the future correctly as well. Item 146 is The True Prophesies or Prognostications of Michael Nostradamus. Published in 1672, this edition came about a century after his predictions, but this is still the first edition of Nostradamus in English. $10,500.
Benjamin Franklin was a man of many talents, but he was no Nostradamus. In 1760, he published The Interest of Great Britain Considered. In it, he sought to calm fears that the growing American colonies might one day unify and rebel against their colonial leader. Says Franklin, "...can it reasonably be supposed there is any danger of their uniting against their own nation, which protects and encourages them, with which they have so many connections and ties of blood, interest, and affection, and which 'tis well known they all love more than they love one another? In short, there are so many causes that must operate to prevent it that I will venture to say, an union amongst them for such a purpose is not merely improbable, it is impossible." Franklin was no seer in 1760, for sixteen year later he would be one of the leaders of the movement which made the "impossible" reality. Item 87. $9,500.
You will find Bauman Rare Books online at www.baumanrarebooks.com, telephone 800-992-2862.