Fine Books from James Cummins Bookseller
Catalogue 104 from James Cummins Bookseller.
By Michael Stillman
James Cummins Bookseller has issued Catalogue 104. The catalogue has no other title as it, like many of Cummins' catalogues, does not have a specific topic. Instead, it contains varied items brought together by their significance and generally excellent condition. This is a catalogue for anyone who collects finer material, as whatever your subject matter of choice, it may well be found here.
Eight years after Charles Darwin published the book for which we all remember him, he released The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication. This is a long book that eventually leads to a second theory Darwin had, as he grappled with explaining the mechanism of the evolution whose existence he had shown through observation. With the limited tools available at that time, Darwin was forced to speculate, the ability to observe genes and DNA still being a long way off. Darwin came up with a theory called "pangenesis," where small particles which he called "gemmules" spread around the body, and were passed on to future generations. To Darwin, this explained not only the passing on of characteristics, but some animals' ability to regenerate limbs, and generation-skipping traits. Darwin was not so on-target with this theory, but again, he was working from an absence of observable data in trying to explain genetics in 1868. Item 34. Priced at $1,250.
Item 29 is a complete set of the most notable voyages of the 18th century - the three trips of Captain James Cook. Cook brought back an enormous number of discoveries from the Pacific, including mapping of much of previously almost unknown Australia, the discovery of Hawaii, and information about the North American Pacific Northwest, while laying to rest the theory of the existence of a massive southern continent. What Cook failed to bring back was himself, being killed by angry Hawaiian natives on his third and, naturally, final voyage. The set includes nine volumes, all three voyages represented by first editions. Published in 1773, 1777, and 1784. $75,000.
Item 82 is another complete set of first editions, but that is about all it has in common with Cook's voyages. These are A.A. Milne's four "Pooh" books, When We Were Very Young, Winnie the Pooh, Now We Are Six, and The House at Pooh Corner, published 1924-1928. These are exceptional copies of the children's classics that have lost none of their appeal eighty-something years later. $15,000.
Fine Books from James Cummins Bookseller
Illustration of the just opened London and Birmingham Railway.
Item 15 is a great find for railroad buffs: Drawings of the London and Birmingham Railway, by John C. Bourne, with an Historical and Descriptive Account, by John Britton F.S.A. This is early railroad material, as its 1839 date attests. The work illustrates and describes this great engineering feat of the 1830s, the construction of the first railroad from London to the north. The line was opened in 1838, and merged with a larger railroad company in 1846. $9,000.
Item 77 is a large collection of autographs related to Abraham Lincoln. This is not your usual collection of Lincoln and his cabinet ministers or close family. It is dozens of autographs of people with more obscure connections to the Civil War President, autographs not likely to be easily found today. Included are all eight of the other members (with Lincoln) of the "Long Nine," 1830s Sangamon County, Illinois legislators who succeeded in bargaining their way to enough votes to move the state capital to Springfield. There is a signature from Mary Owens, to whom Lincoln proposed, but who apparently put on a substantial amount of weight while back home in Kentucky, repulsing Lincoln. He then managed to convince her life would be miserable in Springfield. There are signatures from his uncle Mordecai Lincoln, his father-in-law, sister-in-law, and the man who performed his marriage. There is even the autograph of John McNamar, who was engaged to Ann Rutledge, by legend, at least, Lincoln's first love (she died at age 22). Other names include his schoolteacher, a couple of Springfield saloonkeepers (did Lincoln hang out in bars?), the man who married Lincoln's parents, a partner of Lincoln in a store, a Lincoln step-brother, the minister who buried his son Eddie, the man who nominated him at the 1860 Republican convention, and many, many more. $8,000.
James Cummins Bookseller may be reached at 212-688-6441 or email@example.com. Their website is www.jamescumminsbookseller.com.