New Material from Bauman Rare Books
Some new gifts from Bauman Rare Books.
By Michael Stillman
We find ourselves a bit late with this catalogue, a December Holiday Catalogue, so we will pretend it was really meant for Presidents' or Valentine's Day and review it anyway. It is an outstanding assortment of top shelf material from Bauman Rare Books of New York and Philadelphia. Bauman is more of a generalist, offering material across a wide spectrum of fields with excellence in condition and importance being the common threads which run through the material they offer. These are books fit for a president or a very special Valentine. Here are a few of the new items Bauman is offering.
Robert E. Lee managed to come out of the Civil War better than most who lead the defeated side. He was treated with dignity and respect by the victorious Union forces. Though surrendering at Appomattox in the spring of 1865, by fall his concerns were focused on such things as ordering furniture. Item 102 is a signed letter from Lee dated November 1, 1865, and there is some real irony here. In it, Lee writes about furniture he is ordering, "The difficulty with me is not that it is not handsome enough, but I fear it is too handsome for my present condition, judging from the price... I do not want furniture too handsome or costly for my position...but wish it good and genteel. Neither do I think it right to spend too much money on furniture right now." It is odd to hear Lee, whose decisive military leadership kept the much larger Union forces at bay for so long, sound so indecisive when it comes to ordering furniture. Even McClellan probably could have ordered furniture more decisively. Lee's letter is priced at $14,000.
Now for balance, item 10 is the Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant. This is the two-volume set from 1885-6, completed shortly before the General and former President died. The biography did much to restore his tarnished reputation. While Grant established an excellent reputation by finally confounding Lee, that reputation was seriously tarnished by the corruption which surrounded him during his presidency. If his presidential career was bad, his post-presidential career as an investor was worse yet, forcing the dying Grant to complete this book so that his family would have enough money to get by. In this he did succeed, the book being very popular while reminding people of what had made Grant great in the first place. This copy comes with a note from Grant's physician concerning his health approximately two months before he died, and page 16, with hand corrections, of Grant's December 5, 1870, State of the Union speech. $16,000.
Item 90 is another Grant document, but an odd one. It is a lengthy manuscript pardon for a horse thief, signed by Grant as President in 1871. Evidently, presidents had more time for relatively trivial matters in those days. It's hard to imagine a president signing pardons for car thieves today. $5,500.
New Material from Bauman Rare Books
The Grand Canyon by Thomas Moran.
Here is an appropriate item for anyone with a spare $40,000 now that Super Bowl time has arrived. From a year ago, it is Super Bowl XL Opus. This monstrous work is filled with photographs and articles from noted sportswriters about the first 40 Super Bowls. Don't try to read this book in bed. Bauman notes that it weighs a massive 88 pounds. One more thing: it is signed by football stars such as Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Roger Staubach, Emmitt Smith, John Elway, Tom Brady, and many more. In fact, it was signed by every living Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award winner. Item 158. A must for the serious football fan!
This book did not make Sinclair Lewis popular with all of the evangelists of his day, but it provided a cautionary tale for those too easily swayed by a commanding voice. The book is Elmer Gantry, about a womanizing preacher who uses his speaking ability to pull off his fraud. Though published in 1927, one might relate this tale to the careers of some recent preachers whose morals were exposed in a most painful fashion. Item 103 is a copy of Lewis' classic inscribed to Carmel Myers, a star of silent films whose career faded with the age of talkies. $8,000.
As a movie star, Ms. Myers undoubtedly must have seen Sunset Strip. Now you, too, can go back in time and visit the Strip. Item 138 is Every Building on Sunset Strip, by photographer Edward Ruscha. It is literally what the title says. An accordion fold-out, it opens to 27 feet in length, and displays every gas station, motel, parking lot, apartment, and everything else on that famed boulevard in 1966. $5,000.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was a literary figure long before becoming the subject of song. In 1939, Montgomery Ward asked advertising copywriter Robert L. May to create a Christmas booklet to be given to children visiting their department store Santa. The result is the booklet of the same name, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Rudy has been guiding Santa's sleigh on foggy Christmas Eves ever since, though it took a song to garner recognition for the bright-nosed caribou. Item 249. $1,800.
Item 123 is a chromolithograph from Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon of Arizona from Hermit Rim Road. In this case, a picture is worth a thousand words, so instead of further describing it, just click the thumbnail picture on this page to see it in full. $13,800.
Bauman Rare Books is found online at www.baumanrarebooks.com, telephone 212-751-0011.