New Titles at Bauman Rare Books
Some new acquisitions at Bauman Rare Books.
By Michael Stillman
Bauman Rare Books recently issued a catalogue of New Acquisitions for April 2007. It is also labeled "Catalogue Karnak," which must refer to something, though I know not what. The Egyptian temple by that name? Johnny Carson's Karnak the Magnificent? Actually, Carson spelled his Carnac with a couple of "C's," but this is a logical explanation. There are certainly many magnificent items in this collection of varied books and manuscripts. It is all exceptional material, such as these samples drawn from the 158 items now available.
Do you enjoy viewing works of art? How about 2,000 of them? Item 2 is The Iconic Dictionary of the Most Important Painters and Sculptors. This is a 12-volume, large folio set published in Philadelphia in 1912, filled with reproductions of the works of European masters. Only 26 lettered copies of this magnificent set were produced, this one being copy "K." Priced at $32,000.
You might think the British would have learned something from their colonists' misadventures in Salem, but no, they had to learn the hard way. Item 140 consists of two pamphlets from 1712 by Francis Bragge, Witchcraft Further Display'd... and A Full and Impartial Account of the Discovery of Sorcery and Witchcraft... Impartial? These pertain to the witchcraft trial of Jane Wenham, and Bragge had little doubt of her guilt. Like the Salem "witches," Mrs. Wenham was accused of sending children into spells as well as causing the death of livestock. She apparently once made a threatening statement that implied she had other ways to get back at people, and supposedly manufactured some magic potions out of corpses. I'm just reporting what they said. You decide. However, she was only tried on one count -- speaking with the Devil, who took the form of a cat. As anyone who owns a cat knows, they can be diabolical creatures. As ridiculous as this sounds, a jury of her peers, who must have been even loonier than she, convicted Mrs. Wenham. She was sentenced to death, but the skeptical Judge sought a pardon from Queen Anne, which was granted. Judge Powell is noted for his comment at trial, when it was related that Mrs. Wenham could fly --"there is no law against flying." The pamphlets are priced at $4,200.
Here is another case of the English not listening to their colonial brethren -- the 1776 bound edition of 12 volumes of The Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle. The August edition includes one of the earliest British printings (perhaps the first) of the Declaration of Independence. There it was for King George to see, but he sent his troops off on a losing effort anyway. Item 28. $8,800.
New Titles at Bauman Rare Books
Mona Lisa, still young and mysterious in 1912.
For balance, let's pick on the Americans. Item 16 is a manuscript ledger book from 1764-66 for Charleston, South Carolina mercantile firm Hogg and Clayton. They traded many items. Unfortunately, one of those was humans. They made several purchases from Middleton, Liston and Hope, one of the largest importers of slaves. There is a purchase of 10 "boys and girls" for £140 each, 31 for a total of £4,000, and another 34 "Negroes" for £140 each. On July 26, 1766, the firm noted net proceeds from sales of slaves as £13,800, with gains of £5,919. Anything for money. $15,000.
Here is a man well-known on both sides of the Atlantic -- Sir Walter Raleigh. Raleigh arranged the first British settlement in America, at Roanoke Island. Actually, he formed two there, though he did not stick around himself. The first disbanded in failure, returning to England. The second group was isolated from England for several years, and when contact was finally made, the settlers had disappeared. It is known as the "Lost Colony," and the colonists' fate remains unknown. Raleigh was also an explorer, writer, and court favorite (at times) of Queen Elizabeth. After her death, things did not go so well. King James threw him into the Tower of London, where he was imprisoned for many years. Finally released from prison to conduct an exploration in South America, some of his men attacked the Spanish outpost at San Thome. Raleigh swore he had nothing to do with it, but the Spanish ambassador demanded his execution and King James complied. Item 110 is a collection of four Raleigh essays, Judicious and Select Essayes and Observations... published in 1650, 32 years after his death. Among them is his Apologie, in which he blames his crew for the unauthorized raid on San Thome, describing them as "the very scumme of the world: drunkards, blasphemers." Unfortunately for Raleigh, his Apologie was not accepted. $3,500.
Bauman Rare Books may be found online at www.baumanrarebooks.com, telephone 215-546-6466.