"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
The Excellency of the Pen and Pencil
Albert Durer. Thomas Ratcliff and Thomas Daniel, for Dorman Newman and Richard Jones, 1668.
The excellency of the pen and pencil, exemplifying the uses of them in the most exquisite and mysterious arts of drawing, etching, engraving, limning. Painting in oyl, washing of maps & pictures. Also the way to Cleanse any Old Painting…, engraved folding plate and illustration in the text, some full-page.
Three Vassar Girls Abroad
Elizabeth Williams Champney, Boston: Estes and Lauriat, 1883.
First edition, original pictorial boards, 4to, (front board creased, rear board lacking one corner, scattered soiling, extremity wear).
From the Vassar College Encyclopedia:
“Two years later, Champney finished the first of what would become a long series of “Three Vassar Girls” novels. Three Vassar Girls Abroad, illustrated throughout by Champ, recounts a lively tale of three Vassar students – Maud Van Vechten, the wealthy society girl; Barbara Atchison, the equally wealthy yet slightly eccentric West coaster; and Cecilia Boylston, the starving artist from Boston – on a leisurely romp across Europe. Over the next fourteen years, Champney produced ten more “Three Vassar Girls” volumes, situated everywhere from England to Switzerland to the Holy Land. Employing a “conversational” writing style, Champney managed both to entertain her young readers and to whet their intellectual appetites. In a typical “Three Vassar Girls” novel, the main characters tackle pertinent issues like bigotry and career development, while swooning over cute boys and attending garden parties.”
New Vollkommen Distillierbüch wolgegründter künstlicher Distillation, sampt Underweisung und Bericht, künstlich Abzuziehen oder Separieren, die fürnembste distillierte Wasser, …
BRUNSCHWIG, Hieronymus. Frankfurt am Main, heirs of Christian Egenolff, 1597.
Folio. 17th-century vellum. With title-page in red and black, woodcut publisher’s device above colophon at end, well over 300 woodcuts in the text, fraktur type, and 10 woodcut decorated fraktur initial letters. , 217 [= 216] ll.
Rare 16th-century edition of Brunschwig’s classic account of distillation, which in fact ranges quite broadly over botany and pharmacy and is very extensively illustrated. About three-fourths of the woodcuts provide botanical illustrations, while most of the rest show distilling equipment. It remained the authoritative manual for distillation through most of the sixteenth century.
Hieronymus Brunschwig (c. 1450-c. 1512), a Strasbourg surgeon, studied the earlier medical writers critically, making good use of his own experience. While his works on surgery made valuable contributions, the present work was his most original and important. It first appeared in 1500 under the title Liber de Arte Distillandi de Simplicibus, and was quickly translated into many languages. This version became known as the Kleines Distillierbüch, while the 1512 Liber de Arte Distillandi de Compositis became known as the Gross Distillierbüch. Johan Grüninger at Strasbourg published the first and many later editions. In 1545, Christian Egenolff published a new edition at Frankfurt, the Gross Distillierbüch, and his heirs published the present edition, edited by the distinguished Strasbourg physician Walther Hermann Ryff (d. 1548).
Camera Notes and Proceedings of The Camera Club of New York
Alfred Stieglitz. Volume V. New York: Camera Club, 1901-1902.
Quarto, original green cloth gilt. WITH: (NICOL, John) Photograph Album. Square quarto, original full brown morocco gilt; 18 vintage mounted cartes-de-visite and one tintype. Housed together in custom chemise and box.
First edition of Stieglitz’ Camera Notes, the complete Volume V, an exceptional presentation/association copy inscribed to a leading Pictorialist photographer and editor, “To Dr. John Nicol, who has shown himself as the only square and fair photographic editor in the United States during the past five years. With appreciation & esteem. Alfred Stieglitz, Founder, Editor & Manager, May 5—1902” [date underlined], featuring 30 splendid tissue-guarded photogravure plates, many by Stieglitz and Edward Steichen. Accompanied by a rare vintage Photograph Album containing 18 albumen cartes-de-viste and a rare tintype of portraits of Nicol and other major photographers.
The Sun Also Rises
Ernest Hemingway. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1926.
First edition, first printing, with “stoppped” on page 181, black cloth, lacking dust jacket, 8vo, (bumped, light chipping and shelf wear, front endpaper spotted, overall toning, spine darkening).
“‘Listen, Robert, going to another country doesn’t make any difference. I’ve tried all that. You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. There’s nothing to that.’”
- Chapter 2, The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
James Joyce. Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922.
Quarto, contemporary half brown marbled sheep, raised bands, dark brown morocco spine labels, marbled boards and endpapers, uncut, original blue paper wrappers tipped in.
First edition of the novel that changed the path of modern literature, number 540 of only 750 numbered copies on handmade paper, with the now-iconic original paper wrappers tipped in at front and rear.
— People do not know how dangerous lovesongs can be, the auric egg of Russell warned occultly. The movements which work revolutions in the world are born out of the dreams and visions in a peasant’s heart on the hillside. For them the earth is not an exploitable ground but the living mother. The rarefied air of the academy and the arena produce the sixshilling novel, the musichall song, France produces the finest flower of corruption in Mallarmé but the desirable life is revealed only to the poor of heart, the life of Homer’s Ph&Aelig;acians.
—— episode 9, Scylla and Charybdis
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.
Herbarum imagines vivae
EGENOLPH, Christian. Der kreuter lebliche Contrafaytung. Frankfurt: Christian Egenolph, .
4° (197 x 144 mm). 42 leaves (of 44; lacking conjugate index leaves L1 and L4). 226 fine woodcuts of plants and a few fruits, one to six per page, with accompanying captions in Latin and German, the woodcuts fully colored by a contemporary hand.
RARE FIRST EDITION of one of the earliest field herbals. A second part containing an additional 65 woodcuts was published in 1536. Most of the woodcuts are reduced copies of Hans Weiditz’s important illustrations for Brunfels’ Herbarum vivae eicones (1530-1532), the first realistic and accurate published illustrations of plants. One of the first herbals designed for easy consultation in the field, Egenolph’s little book clearly filled a great need, selling out so quickly that he was obliged to print a new edition to accompany Part II in September 1536. Later editions of both parts appeared under variant titles in 1546 and 1552. This very rare first edition was unknown to Pritzel; ABPC records only one copy at auction in the past 50 years.
B-A Note: Wikipedia trivia: “In October 1533 Egenolff was sued by Johann Schott, a noted Strasbourg publisher, for infringement of copyright on Herbarium Vivae Icones, illustrated by Hans Weiditz and compiled and annotated by Otto Brunfels. Egenolff in his defense, argued that nature could not be copyrighted and that plants stood as communal models for any artist.”
Die Benzwagen. Vom ersten Benzinautomobil bis zum Welt-Rekordwagen
[Mannheim, c. 1914]
(rough translation: “The Benz car. From the first gasoline automobile to the world-record breaker”
Gilt pictorial embossed calf, with factory and portrait plate, and sixty-two photographic plate depicting cars and plans, and two lithograph scenes at preliminaries, oblong 8vo, (light edge wear, starting, minor edge toning).
Via RM Auctions: “A very rare German language comprehensive history of Benz cars from the very first petrol-engined models to the world land speed record breaking ‘Blitzen’ aero-engined 1910-11 machine. 102 pages in embossed leather-bound covers profusely illustrated with photo-etchings and mechanical drawings. Page size 19 by 23cm, 7½ by 9in.”
Neues Saltzburgisches Koch-Buch (cookbook)
Conrad Hagger. Augsburg, Johann Jacob Lotter, 1718
6 parts in one vol., first edition, engraved frontispiece, 301 full-page engraved plates printed recto and verso, lacking plates 9/10 and with plates 204 and 286 not printed, some loss to margin of plates 11-16, contemporary blindstamped morocco, original straps and metal catches [cf. Vicaire, p.437, second edition], small 4to.
Rare First Edition of a very extensive cookery book illustrated with plates depicting ornamental and decorative serving dishes. Conrad Hagger was the chef to the Fürstbishop of Johann Ernst zu Salzburg.
Rough translation from Salzburg University Library (more images also available at the link):
In 1718 Conrad Haggers has appeared “New Saltzburg cook-book” by Johann Jakob Lotter in Augsburg, a work for the use of high and princely courts make, monasteries and manor houses. More than 2,500 meals are described, illustrated with 318 engravings, which are mainly of essays pies and tarts. As a curiosity at this point only the recipe for “to cook ostrich” is mentioned: Hagger recommends to roast him whole and to refine it with a filling of sausage meat, bacon, butter, herbs and spices. Hagger insists he did get to see a bunch only once at the Salzburg court.
Loss of the Sparrow-Hawk in 1626
Boston, Printed by Alfred Mudge & son, 1865 8vo. With an illustration of the pilgrim ship Sparrow-Hawk. 38 pp.
The wreck of the Sparrow-Hawk, which was discovered in 1863, may justly regarded as one of the greatest curiosities of the age. The ship sailed from England to Virginia, in the fall of 1626, with a large number of emigrants. After a long passage, she went ashore on Cape Cod, and was there finally wrecked in a place then known as Potanumaquut Harbor.
Details of this disaster can be found in William Bradford’s famous Of Plymouth Plantation. Bradford, the governor of the Massachussettes Colony, sent a ship to rescue the stranded crew and passengers.
The wreck of the Sparrow-Hawk is the only surviving remains of a 17th century trans-Atlantic vessel. It is currently exhibited at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum in Hyannis, MA.
B-A Note: Of marginal personal interest as a family geneaology shows me to be a direct descendent of William Bradford, on my paternal grandmother’s side.
Researches into the History of Playing Cards
Singer (Samuel Weller). 1816.
One of 250 copies, half-title, engraved frontispiece on india paper and mounted, title in red and black, list of subscribers, plates and illustrations, some engraved on india paper and mounted, 8 hand-coloured woodcut plates of cards, contemporary diced russia, gilt, covers with elaborate centre- and cornerpieces in blind, t.e.g., spine gilt, rubbed, joints worn and split, backstrip detached, 4to, 1816.
Xenofontos Apanta Ta Euriskomena [Greek]. Xenophontis Omnia, Quae Extant. [Edited By Francesco Da Asola]. Venice: Aldus And Andrea Torresani, April 1525
Folio (306 x 202mm.), Greek text, woodcut Aldine device on title page and final verso, lightly annotated in an early hand, seventeenth-century sprinkled calf, spine gilt in compartments, slight spotting and browning, lower cover slightly scuffed, corners scuffed, spine restored at head and foot
Le Bestiare Ou Cortege D’Orphee (The Book of Beasts or Procession of Orpheus.)
Guillaume Apollinaire. Illustre de Gravures sur bois par Raoul Dufy. Paris, Deplanche, 1911.
Large 4to (332 x 250mm.), copy number 100 of 122, one of 91 copies on papier de Hollande, signed by the author and artist, 30 woodcut plates and 4 ornaments by Dufy, inscribed by Dufy to the French explorer and anthropologist Robert Hottot, original limp vellum wrapper, some offsetting as usual, wrapper slightly creased, together with a printed folder with 9 loose leaves of proofs.
Luna de Enfrente: Versos de Jorje Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges. Buenos Aires, 1925.
Property Of Norman Thomas Di Giovanni, Borges’ Authorised Translator And Collaborator. After Borges’ Death In 1978, His Widow Maria Kodama Renegotiated The Rights To His Works And Di Giovanni’s Translations Are No Longer In Print.
First edition, folio (287 x 242mm.), number 184 of 300 copies, cover and woodcut vignettes by Norah Borges, original cloth-backed printed boards, occasional light soiling and spotting, binding slightly browned, chipped at corners and edges
B-A Note: A duo of Borges today.