AE Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2008 Issue

Bernard Shapero Rare Books' Summer Sale Features 40% Discounts

Shapero40

All items are 40% off in Shapero's Summer Sale catalogue.


By Michael Stillman

Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books has issued a special catalogue, special for those looking to collect rare and unusual books at sharply discounted prices. This is Shapero's Summer Sale 2008, and everything in the catalogue has been marked down 40%. This sale is good only until October 1, 2008, so collectors should check through these items sooner rather than later. Here are a few of the varied books being offered on sale. Remember, the prices we quote are regular charges. Through October 1, you may reduce each of them by 40%.

Professionals have long determined to keep amateurs out of their field of expertise, sometimes to protect consumers from malpractice, other times to protect themselves from competition. In the 17th century, physicians regularly prescribed medicines based on remedies supplied in what was known as the "Pharmacopoeia" or "London Dispensatory." Patients were effectively prevented from using the book to treat themselves by the fact that it was printed in Latin. Only the most educated of Englishmen could read the language. Nicholas Culpeper sought to help ordinary people get around this monopoly by publishing an English translation, entitled A physical directory; or a translation of the Dispensatory made by the Colledg of Physitians of London... First published in 1649, this is a third edition from 1651, which includes additional information. Culpeper criticizes the physicians by comparing them to priests and lawyers, two other professions he held in similarly low regard: "The one deceives men in matters belonging to their soul, the other in matters belonging to their bodies, and the third in matter belonging to their estates." Item 28. Priced at £2,500 (British pounds, or roughly $4,627 in US dollars). Minus 40% through October 1.

Here is a book which was available prior to Culpeper's translation for those unable to afford the services of a physician: The method of physic, contaning the causes, signes, and cures of inward diseases in mans body, from the head to the foote. This is a 1624 sixth edition of Philip Barrough's guide first published in 1589. In a sign that medical progress was much slower in those days, the book remained in print essentially unchanged for a century. I cannot imagine anyone today relying on a century-old medical text. Item 9. £1,000. (US $1,850).

America, Salem, Massachusetts, in particular, is most closely associated with witch trials in the late 17th century, but England had its share. While they continued sporadically for several more decades, by the turn of the 18th century, most authorities had become quite suspicious of them. In 1700, Richard Hathaway accused Sarah Moredike of bewitching him. His most dramatic evidence, vomiting pins, convinced most of their neighbors, who rioted against poor Mrs. Moredike. She was brought to trial, but the jury acquitted her. Then, in 1702, the tables were turned, and Hathaway was brought to trial for fraud. Item 57 is an account of those proceedings, The tryal of Richard Hathaway, upon an information for being a cheat and imposter, for endevouring to take away the life of Sarah Morduck, for being a witch... Hathaway, who among his frauds was found to be holding pins he supposedly vomited in his pockets, was convicted. Item 57. £650 (US $1,203).

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