Important Works Offered by Bauman Rare Books
Bauman Rare Books has some great gifts, for your friends or yourself.
By Michael Stillman
This may be a bit late for a November Holiday Catalogue from Bauman Rare Books, but as they say, this is better than never. Besides which, it is a very special catalogue, and surely some of the items offered are still available. For those who have not yet purchased your holiday gifts, you are in deep trouble, and you will need something as spectacular as the works in this catalogue to dig yourself out of that hole.
Like many Bauman catalogues, this one offers a large variety of items. Fields covered include literature, first editions, history, Americana, photography, music, science, early television, signed manuscripts, poetry, art, fine bindings and illustrations, children's books and more. Material is always top quality as well as being important. The descriptions are thorough so there will be no guesswork about the material. For those who collect on the higher levels, Bauman catalogues present some outstanding opportunities. Here are a few samples.
For those who collect Hemingway, item 95 is a classic signed letter from the author. In 1931, he received a request from publisher Paul Romaine, asking permission to include his short poem Ultimately in a publication he was putting together. Ultimately had originally been published in 1922. The befuddled Hemingway responded, "I cannot recall the poem in question so can't consent -- But if you will mail me a copy of it, airmail to this address, will wire you yes or no after reading it... If it is too lousy I will wire you no and you will understand my motives." Fortunately, the poem was good, or at least not too lousy, and Romaine was granted permission to publish. Item 95. Priced at $10,000.
For Americana collectors, here is a most important item. It is the Journal of the Proceedings of the Congress, Held at Philadelphia, May 10, 1775. This is the official printing of the journals of the Second Continental Congress. At the First Continental Congress, the colonists were still trying to resolve their issues with the British. By 1775, everything was breaking down. British attacks at Boston would lead the Congress to the brink of rebellion. With Bostonian John Hancock as president and the Adamses as members, it is no wonder they were becoming angry. Among the other delegates were Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, who would be appointed Commander in Chief. At one point they would say, "Our cause is just...the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will...employ for the preservation of our liberties, being with one mind resolved, to die Freemen rather than to live as slaves." Item 4, $60,000.
What comes earlier than even a first edition? For some books, there is a prepublication prospectus intended to drum up business. Item 7 is one for perhaps the most collectible and valuable literary work of the 20th century, James Joyce's Ulysses. The four page prospectus announces Ulysses by James Joyce will be published in the Autumn of 1921 by Shakespeare and Company" -- Sylvia Beach. Joyce's novel was first published in installments in England, but no printers were willing to take on the risk of publishing the book.
Important Works Offered by Bauman Rare Books
The prospectus for James Joyce's Ulysses.
In America, the editors of a serial publication that began printing chapters were arrested for obscenity. That led Sylvia Beach and the publishing arm of her Paris bookstore to offer to publish the work. The French were more open. Joyce did not believe it would sell more than a handful of copies, but Ms. Beach called for a print run of a thousand, and while it did not make it off the press until February of 1922, her expectations proved correct. The controversy surrounding the book made it a commercial success and Joyce quickly became a widely known author. The prospectus is priced at $8,800.
Many people probably believe Lewis and Clark were the first to cross the North American continent, but that honor belongs to Alexander Mackenzie. He recounts his amazing travels in Voyages from Montreal, on the River St. Laurence, through the Continent of North America, to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans; In the Years 1789 and 1793. It took until 1801 for Mackenzie to publish his report on these two great trips. On the first, he traveled up the Mackenzie River (you can guess who that was named for) all the way to the Arctic Ocean. On the second, he headed due west, following rivers, mountain trails, and overland, finally descending the Bella Coola River to the Pacific. Mackenzie's journey was across Canada, but Thomas Jefferson and Meriwether Lewis would read his book as they plotted the journey better known to most Americans. Item 123. $9,500.
Item 11 is The Will of General George Washington, by, naturally, George Washington, but published, naturally, posthumously in 1800. Washington, who had no children, divided his estate equally among 23 heirs, assuring no single one would ever fulfill a role as his successor. Washington was, after all, the father to all of his nation, not just a select few. However, what is even more noteworthy of his will was the freeing of his slaves. Wrote Washington, "Upon the decease of my wife, it is my will and desire, that all the slaves which I hold in my own right shall receive their freedom." Washington had provided the example to his countrymen of how to deal with the slavery issue, but their failure to follow his lead would inevitably result in the nation's most bloody conflict six decades later. $18,500.
For those seeking a connection to America's charismatic and mourned young president, John F. Kennedy, item 109 is a 13-paged typed speech, filled with Kennedy's hand annotations. It deals with foreign issues, particularly America's Cold War conflicts with the Soviet Union. The timing is most significant. The speech was prepared on June 14, 1960, as Kennedy was seeking his party's nomination for president. His stands on defense and foreign relations would be key to his successful election that November. $18,000.
We have just scratched the surface of this catalogue, but this should provide an idea of the level of material that is offered. Bauman Rare Books may be found online at www.baumanrarebooks.com, phone number 212-751-0011.