More Exceptional Works from Bauman Rare Books
The first catalogue for 2007 from Bauman Rare Books.
By Michael Stillman
Bauman Rare Books, of Philadelphia and New York, has issued a new collection of exceptional material. As we have come to expect, Bauman offers a variety of high-end material, ranging from literature, science, travels, Americana, poetry, art, sports, and religion, to various signed manuscripts, from Revolutionary War soldiers to John F. Kennedy. Bauman's catalogues befit the quality of the works they offer -- striking publications themselves, filled with photographs and thorough descriptions of the items presented. Here are a few samples from the January 2007 issue in their series of distinctive and important catalogues.
The catalogue starts with the last of the great 17th century Shakespeare folios, the fourth folio from 1685. Perhaps the greatest piece of western literature ever published, the folios preserved Shakespeare's plays, as many as seventeen of which might have been lost forever were it not for the folio editions. With the third folio, seven additional plays not found in the first two were added, though it appears that at most one of these was actually written by Shakespeare. In Shakespeare's time, plays were not regarded as literary works. They were meant to be performed, not read, so often they were never published, but performed from manuscripts. Fortunately, a few of Shakespeare's associates salvaged his plays, preserving them in the folio editions, the first of which appeared in 1623. A first folio sold at auction last year for over $5 million, putting it out of most collectors' reach. The fourth is hardly a budget item, but is not yet that expensive. Item 1. Priced at $185,000.
Item 24 may not be considered one of the greatest literary masterpieces, but it may well have had the greatest impact of any piece of American literature. In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin was first released. It was a stark attack on slavery, and it could not have come at a more significant time. America was desperately trying to find some sort of compromise between the irreconcilable -- slavery and freedom. The Compromise of 1850 had provided some respite, but abolitionists in the north and those who wished to spread slavery to the new territories from the south were pulling the attempted compromise apart. Into this divide Stowe comes along with her stunning depiction and indictment of slavery in a book which would be read by large numbers of Americans. Its publication would prove to be one of the important events of the 1850s that would push the nation to its inevitable split at the start of the next decade. Item 24 is a first edition of this work of enormous significance. $21,000.
Here is another first edition of monumental importance: On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection...by Charles Darwin, published in 1859. Darwin's theory of evolution was already two decades in the making, formed as result of his role as naturalist on the expedition of the Beagle during the 1830s. He was not unaware of the controversy his findings would generate. Darwin is still a controversial figure in some quarters today, but his findings opened the door to explanations of such things as similarities between species and the existence of fossils which had previously been difficult to explain. Item 35. $58,000.
More Exceptional Works from Bauman Rare Books
The just completed Eiffel Tower in an 1889 photograph.
Item 80 is the large folio publication La Tour Eiffel, printed for the opening of the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889. It was for this 100th anniversary celebration of the French Revolution that the Eiffel Tower was constructed. Once considered an eyesore, it has since become the most notable landmark in Paris, or at least the most visible. This publication includes eight photographs taken during the construction of the Tower, and is signed by Gustave Eiffel himself, inscribed to M. Thiriot, a financial officer. $10,000.
Item 5 unexpectedly joins two American leaders, Confederate General G.T. Beauregard and President Grover Cleveland. Beauregard was present for the start of the Civil War at Fort Sumter, and led successful attacks early in the war. However, he also clashed with Confederate President Jefferson Davis and others, diminishing his role. In the years after the ground war, he would engage in a war of words with his opponents, and this book, officially authored by Alfred Roman so as to be objective, was actually partly written by Beauregard. The title is The Military Operations of General Beauregard in the War Between the States, published in 1884. The old General would prove to be a moderate by post-war southern standards, supporting the vote for freed slaves. He would be an active member of the Democratic Party, which led him to support Cleveland's candidacy for the presidency. In 1884, Beauregard traveled from Louisiana to Albany, New York, to meet then Governor Cleveland. A contemporary newspaper clipping accompanying this book explains that he predicted to Cleveland he would carry the entire South, New York and Indiana, and probably Connecticut and New Jersey, and thereby capture the election of 1884. Beauregard had it right, and as a result, Cleveland just squeezed by Republican James G. Blaine. This copy of Beauregard's book includes an inscription to Governor Cleveland dated October 1884. $9,000.
Bauman Rare Books may be found online at www.baumanrarebooks.com, telephone 215-546-6466.