A Summer Miscellany from Bauman Rare Books
A Summer Miscellany from Bauman Rare Books.
By Michael Stillman
Bauman Rare Books of New York and Philadelphia, has issued a catalogue of Summer Miscellany. A catalogue of miscellany is hard to describe, as it may contain just about anything, which this one does. It includes over 800 works of fiction and nonfiction, art, science, history, politics, poetry, photography, humor, and just about anything else you can imagine. These are all significant items and highly collectible, although they will suit a wide range of collections. Here are a few items to be found, but with the caution that they are just miscellaneous, as it is impossible to provide a representative sample when so many types of books are represented.
Item 144 is a first edition of what has to be one of the greatest speeches ever given. It is from Winston Churchill, A Speech by the Prime Minister....in the House of Commons, August 20th, 1940. England stood alone at the time, most of its allies in Western Europe overrun by the Germans, America still well over a year from entering the fray. To anyone else it might have seemed hopeless, but to Churchill, it was Britain's finest hour. Despite the enormous bombardments inflicted by Germany's superior forces, now entrenched just across the channel, Churchill was defiant, inspiring his people while reassuring them that the Royal Air Force would eventually inflict a crippling blow to Germany's internal infrastructure, making its capture of foreign lands irrelevant. It was his tribute to the work of that Air Force which resulted in the speech's most famous line, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." Not only were the British people indebted to these flyers, but so was the whole world, Americans included, though most of us may not have recognized this fact at the time. This first edition is priced at $1,450.
Here is an item from a signal event it American history -- it is a typed, signed dissenting opinion in the case of Bush v. Gore by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The majority would cut off any further vote counting, assuring victory to George W. Bush. Whatever your politics, it is undeniable that America, and the world, would be a far different place if Gore, the winner of the greatest number of popular votes, had become president instead. Item 341. $975. Item 731 is a signed dissent by another of the dissenters, Justice John Paul Stevens. Item 731. $1,500.
Now for something a bit lighter: I Love Her, That's Why! by George Burns with Cynthia Lindsay. This is a first edition of George Burns' 1955 autobiography, with the "her," naturally, being his wife and partner in comedy, Gracie Allen. Ms. Allen was noted for her strange logic, with Burns playing the straight man. They had already been on the radio for almost two decades when they broke into television in 1950, and by 1955, when this autobiography was published, they were at the height of their career. Allen would retire a few years later, while Burns would continue performing until the 1990s. Say ‘Goodnight,' Gracie. This copy is inscribed by Burns and signed by Allen. Item 111. $500.
A Summer Miscellany from Bauman Rare Books
Winston Churchill rallies his people during the War's darkest days.
Here is an autobiography by a man whose logic was even more twisted than Gracie Allen's, except that he was paid for serious work, not to be a comedian. Item 52 is Casey at the Bat. The Story of My Life in Baseball, by Harry Paxton. This is a biography of Casey Stengel, baseball player and manager, most noted for his years managing in New York. He spoke "Stengelese," kind of a forerunner to the logic now more widely attributed to one of his players, Yogi Berra, although his "logic" was often more obtuse and difficult to follow. If the public couldn't always follow Stengel's speech, his players could. In twelve years, from 1949-1960, his Yankees won an incredible ten pennants and five World Series. However, the Yankees retired him after the 1960 Series when his team lost in seven games to Pittsburgh. They thought he was too old. Still, in 1962, the expansion New York Mets hired him to manage their truly pathetic team, and for four more years, Stengel entertained the fans with his observations, though his wretched teams finished tenth and last each year. It was not Stengel's fault. This book was published in 1962, his first year with the Mets, and includes an inscription from the master, "Study at school and then get a bonus and join the NY Mets." $850.
For those who collect in the field of Communism and the split that developed in Russia after the death of Lenin, there is The Revolution Betrayed, by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky, once the second most powerful man behind Lenin, lost a power struggle to Stalin after Lenin's death, eventually being exiled. From his last exile, in Mexico, he wrote this stinging critique of Stalin's rule, published and signed by Trotsky in 1937. Stalin responded to the critique in typical Stalin fashion, dispatching agents to neatly implant an ax in Trotsky's skull. Item 759. $4,200.
For all of you surfers, here is the first novel about your sport, Kelea: The Surf-Rider. This was not written by the Beach Boys or their contemporaries, but goes all the way back to 1900. The author is Alex Twombly. Item 739. $950.
Bauman Rare Books may be reached online at www.BaumanRareBooks.com or at 215-546-6473.