"May blessings be upon the head of Cadmus, the Phoenicians, or whoever it was that invented books." -Thomas Carlyle
Welcome to my virtual book collection. Since collecting actual books is somewhat cost-prohibitive, I've begun to amass all of the books I would love to have if I had the means. Some are new, lots are old, all are unique or beautiful or unusual or in some other way have captured my fancy. Enjoy browsing!
Special Collections: Fine Bindings ~ Fairies and Fairy Tales ~ Terror and Madness ~ Poetry ~ Food, Drink and Apothecary ~ Science Fiction ~ Illuminations, Lettering and Hand-Coloring ~ Magic ~ Supernatural and Occult ~ Alchemy ~ Science and Technical ~ Maritime ~ Costumes ~ Humor ~ Children's books ~ Legend of King Arthur ~ Americana ~ 18th Century ~ 19th Century Authors and illustrators: Edgar Allan Poe ~ Jules Verne ~ Edmund Dulac ~ Kay Nielsen ~ Arthur Rackham ~ Edward Gorey ~ Charles Dickens ~ H.P. Lovecraft ~ William Hope Hodgson ~ Mark Twain ~ Lewis Carroll ~ Salvador Dali ~ George Cruikshank ~ Emily Dickinson ~ Geoffrey Chaucer ~ H.G. Wells
15 Stories by William Hope Hodgson
Madison: Strange Company, 1988
Each Individually Bound 15 white stiff paper bound deckle edged pamphets. Front covers have a facsimile signature of the author printed in blue on the front. Each pamphlet housed in an envelope printed with the title & a small illustration of a ship. Signed by R. Alain Everts on the title page of each pamphlet. The 15 pamphlets are “Fifty Dead Chinamen All in a Row”, “From the Tideless Sea”, “Homeward Bound”, “Old Golly”, “Sea Horses”, “The Baumoff Explosive”, “The Goddess of Death”, “The Heaving of the Log”, “The Mystery of the Ship in the Night”, “The Phantom Ship”, “The Riven Night”, “The Room of Fear”, “The Valley of Lost Children”, “The Ways of the Heathens” (misprinted on the envelope as ‘The Way of the Heathens’) & “The Terrible Derelict”. Most stories originally published in the early 1900’s.
B-A Note: Someone had better hide my credit card. I need these. But it did remind me that I had this entry on Hodgson in the queue over at Book-Aesthete: Contemporary that needed to be published.
Moby-Dick, or, The Whale.
Herman Melville. Arion Press, San Francisco, 1979.
(Initial publication 1851)
Printed in blue and black on handmade paper bearing a whale watermark. 100 woodcut illustrations by Barry Moser. Folio, full blue Moroccan goatskin, spine slightly but evenly darkened, joints and ends lightly rubbed; internally clean; blue cloth slipcase, unevenly faded and with some surface marks.
One of 250 unnumbered copies of the first trade edition of the Arion Press edition, designed by Andrew Hoyem. One of the greatest achievements in modern bookmaking.
“Warmest climes but nurse the cruellest fangs: the tiger of Bengal crouches in spiced groves of ceaseless verdure. Skies the most effulgent but basket the deadliest thunders: gorgeous Cuba knows tornadoes that never swept tame northern lands. So, too, it is, that in these resplendent Japanese seas the mariner encounters the direst of all storms, the Typhoon. It will sometimes burst from out that cloudless sky, like an exploding bomb upon a dazed and sleepy town.” ~Chapter cxix
HEART OF THE ANTARCTIC AND THE ANTARCTIC BOOK
Ernest Shackleton. London: William Heinemann, 1909.
Rare first edition, Special Limited Large Paper Issue of Shackleton’s fascinating account of the British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-1909, number 62 of only 300 copies printed. First and only edition of The Antarctic Book, with the signatures of every member of the shore party, including Shackleton. With 16 mounted color plates, photographic frontispieces and over 200 additional illustrations including drawings and photographic plates. Three folding maps and a folding panorama enclosed in the rear pocket of Volume II.
The Wreck of the Rothsay Castle
Joseph Adshead. London, Hamilton, Adams, and Co., 1834
Second edition. Small 8vo. Original flower stamped black cloth with gilt title on spine. Frontispiece, title vignet, 1 map and 3 plates. (4), XI, 1 blank, errata slip, 322, 1 blank, (2) pp.
A circumstantial narrative of the wreck of the Rothsay Castle steam packet, on her passage from Liverpool to Beaumaris, August 17, 1831; comprising interesting and, for the most part, original personal details of the survivors; and other particulars never before published; the whole corrected and rendered as indisputably authentic as possible, under the inspection of some of the individuals who were unhappy involved in the calamity.
B-A Notes There is quite a bit of information out on the web about this wreck, not all of it consistent. Some of the key details are:
- The ship was a steam-powered paddle boat, designed for river travel, not to withstand the harsh Irish sea. She was also old and run down.
- She carried no distress signals, so although there was help nearby at several ports there was no way to call out to them.
- The launch was delayed by two hours, which “caused the steamer to miss the tidal window at the mouth of the Menai Straits” (Coflein)
- I have contradictory information about whether the ship was overcrowded (one source says 93 passengers, another says 150)
The ship struck the Dutchman’s Bank multiple times, throwing passengers into the sea with each strike. Only 23 passengers survived. I think this book, with personal details and accounts of the survivors, would be a fascinating read.
The wreck itself is in fairly shallow waters (about 8M) and mostly covered by sand.
Moby Dick, or, The Whale
Herman Melville. NY: The Artist’s Limited Edition, 1975.
Illustrated with paintings by LeRoy Neiman. Preface by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Folio. 509 of 1500, signed by Neiman & Cousteau. Morocco, slipcase.
Bartholomew Sharpe and William Hack, ed. c.1655-1708].
‘To the Serene Mai.ties of Charles; the second. King of great Britaigne, France and Ireland. This following Journall of our transactions in the South Seas is humbly presented by your Ma:ties ever loyall Subiect B:Sharpe’ [London: c.1682]. Manuscript journal of Bartholomew Sharpe from April 5, 1680 to January 28th 1681/2, ink on paper, Dedicatory title set in a floral wreath, attributed to the hand of William Hack
An important surviving journal use to gain a pardon from Charles II for the buccaneer Bartholomew Sharpe. This unpublished manuscript is a fair transcript possibly in Sharpe’s own hand, listed as J8 in Ringrose, Howse and Alexander, “A Buccaneer’s Atlas,” in Basil Ringrose’s South Sea Waggoner (1992) p 262. It forms a “clean” and shortened version of the famous Journal kept by the English Buccaneer “Captain” Bartholomew Sharpe on his 3 year foray along the coasts of Central and South America, carefully omitting all mention of piracy, ransom and plunders against the Spanish (which would be a treasonable offence as Britain was not at war with Spain).
Journael ofte gedenckwaerdige beschrijvinge van de Oost-Indische reyse
Willem Ysbrantsz Bontekoe.. Amsterdam, Joost Hartgers, 1648
One of the most compelling and entertaining travel accounts of Dutch literature. Bontekoe details his eventful 8-year voyage to the East Indies. The vivid description of his ship accidently exploding in the Sunda Strait, killing almost a third of the crew, no doubt made a huge impression on his readers.
With 2 title-pages, both with large woodcut title vignette with two ships on both titles, and double-page engraved plate with 6 views of the ship at fire and in a storm, the islands St. Mary, Samatra and Princes eyland, and an image of flying fishes
Ernest Shackleton. William Heinemann, 1919.
First edition, new impression, half-title, colour frontispiece, plates and maps (one large folding), one plate loose, publisher’s pictorial cloth silver-gilt
Fully illustrated manual in manuscript on shipsignalling in use by the Dutch navy
(No pl., end 18th century). 8vo. Contemporary half calf, gilt spine with red morocco title label lettered in gold, boards covered with 18th century-decorated paper. Hundreds of smal signalling flags, all coloured by hand. 188 lvs.
Beautiful 18th-century signalling manual in manuscript, with hundreds of different flags and banners, describing the meaning and messages of the individual flags and banners, as well as the innumerable complicated and detailed combinations.
The South Polar Times
Vol. 3 Only, NUMBER 254 OF 350 COPIES, edited by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, printed in blue and red, half-title, chromolithographed plates and illustrations, publisher’s cloth gilt, original colour-printed view on upper cover, g.e., head of spine slightly frayed [Taurus Collection 42; Spence 1094], 4to, Smith, Elder, 1914
From Abe Books: “The contents of the 3 volumes are exact reproductions of “South Polar Times,” a lively and unique journal which was originally issued during the expeditions and written on its only typewriter. Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874-1922), who was a third officer aboard the Discovery, created and edited the monthly journal to entertain himself and the crew during the long months of isolation and to document the lives and work of the small colony. Volumes I & II cover the “British National Antarctic Expedition,” generally known as the “Discovery Expedition,” Vol. III recounts parts of the “Terra Nove Expedition,” officially known as the “British Antarctic Expedition 1910.”
Interior image of Vol. 3 from Abe Books:
A narrative of the Briton’s voyage, to Pitcairn’s Island.
John Marriott Shillibeer. Taunton: Pr. for the author by J.W. Marriott, 1817.
“Uncut copy, first edition — privately printed for the author, and preceding the London first of the same year — of one of the earliest accounts of the aftermath of the Bounty mutiny and the fate of the mutineers. Shillibeer was a lieutenant of the Royal Marines aboard the HMS Briton, which sailed to Pitcairn Island and also made stops at Valparaiso, Lima, the Marquesas, and the Galapagos Islands, all of which are described here. “
Aquatilium Animalium Historiae
Salviani (Ippolito), Rome, 1554
Engraved title incorporating portrait of Salviani and Pope Marcellus II’s coat-of-arms within architectural border with marine motifs (slightly frayed and repaired to verso), 76 engraved plates only (of 81)
It is generally believed that Nicolas Beatricetto designed the title and some of the illustrations, whilst the illustrations are by Antoine Lafrery. Ippolito Salviani (1514-1572) studied medicine in Rome, where he also developed an interest in natural history and in particular ichthyology. Under the patronage of Cardinal Cervini, later Pope Marcellus II, his studies were developed and financed, not only on the coast of Italy but also in other Mediterranean and Northern European regions. Cervini died before the work was printed however, and the work was dedicated instead to Pope Paul IV.
DUGUAY-TROUIN.- (OZANNE, Nicolas-Marie). Recueil des combats de Duguay-Trouin les campagnes de Duguay-Trouin. 1806. “Naval Battles and Corsairs” Two first editions bound together:
Ad 1: The copper engravings depicting the naval battles of Duguay-Trouin are by Jeanne François Ozanne, after designs by her brother Nicholas Ozanne. The maps were engraved by Drouet. The illustrations contain page reference which pertain to the officail authorized edition of the Memoirs. Paris, 1740. The Ozanne’s were from a family of engravers, originally from Brest. They worked maily with maritime themes. The sister, Marie Jeanne married the engraver Yves Marie Le Gouaz, who published this series of plates. Ad 2: Rare first edition of Yves Marie Le Gouaz’s finely engraved sea-battle prints after drawings by Ozanne. They show a title-print showing a fishing boat before the entrance to the port at Jean-Bart’s native Dunkerque, seventeen views of his conquests of Dutch, Spanish and English ships from 1675 to 1696, and a view of his Channel crossing in a small row boat after escaping from an English prison in 1689.More images at the link.
Pioneers of Discovery by Robert Finch
Sailing Alone Around the World
Captain Joshua Slocum. New York: The Century Co., 1900.
First edition, first printing. Original blue cloth stamped in silver and green. Illustrated throughout in black & white.
“Nova Scotia born, with family roots in New England, Captain Slocum commanded some of the finest tall ships that ever sailed the seas. On April 24, 1895, at the age of 51, he departed Boston in his tiny sloop Spray and sailed around the world single-handed, a passage of 46,000 miles, returning to Newport, Rhode Island on June 27, 1898. This historic achievement made him the patron saint of small-boat voyagers, navigators and adventurers all over the world.” ~Excerpt from the Joshua Slocum Society International.