"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

Posts tagged rare books.


Catalogue of the Collection of Jewels and Precious Works of Art, the Property of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1910 Author: George Charles Williamson (British, 1858–1942); Author: J. (John Pierpont) Morgan (American, 1837–1913) London: Chiswick Press, 1910 (deluxe ed.) Illustrated book, fine binding; H: 15 3/4 in. (39 cm) Presented by J. Pierpont Morgan (146.8 M821 Q)


Lives and exploits of pirates Brooke, Henry K. Philadephia, J.B. Perry & New York, Nafis & Cornish, 1846. Later boards with the illustrated title (of the original wrappers) pasted to the front cover. Title with large woodcut illustration of pirates fighting on a ship, 4 full-page woodcut plates of fighting pirates on pp. 147, 159, 173 and 213 (2 of which, p. 159 and 173, are repeated on the recto and verso of a leaf bound before the title), 2 smaller wood engravings and 8 vignettes in text. 121 pp., paginated as follows: (4), pp. 107-216.

A very rare pirate book - the second of three editions: 1841, 1846 and 1847 -, containing twelve vividly illustrated short stories on the lives and exploits of pirates. According to World Cat our edition is only present in one library. Included are accounts of the pirate captains Roche, Low, Teach alias Black beard, Charles Vane, John Rackman, and Roberts, the female pirates Mary Read and Anne Bonney, the pirates Charles Gibbs & Thomas Wansley, the History of the capture of the brig Mexican by the Sanish pirates, A brief narrative of the Africans on board of the Schooner Amistad, and the burning of the Caroline.

via Antiquaraat Forum

Uzanne, Octave. Son altesse la femme. Paris: A. Quantin, 1885.

When this work appeared, Uzanne (1852–1931) was in full stride as a leader of the Paris circle of men and women interested in handsomely illustrated, printed, and bound works of literature. Son altesse la femme essays most satirically the position of women in society from the medieval to the author’s time. The chapters are: Le vray mirouer de sorcellerie, La mie du poete, La précieuse, La caillette, La citoyenne française, Les galanteries du directoire, Sous la restauration, L’amour aux champs, La parisienne moderne, and Mulieriana.

via prbm

Frederik Muller Rare Books, Bergum, Holland, offered the rare Maximilianus Transylvanus: de Moluccis Insulis (Cologne, January 1523). The book is the first reporting of Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe.


BLEGNY, Nicolas de. Le bon usage du the’ du caffe’ et du chocolat pour la preservation & pour la guerison des maladies. Lyon, Thomas Amaulry, 1687. 8vo. Contemporary brown calf, spine gilt in compertmants with title lettered in gold. With engraved frontispiece by Bouchet and 12 full-page engraved plates by Bouchet and Johann Hainzelmann, woodcut head-pieces and initials.

"One of the best known treatises on tea, coffee and chocolate of the seventeenth century. Nicolas de Blegny (1652-1722) was the unscrupulous Versailles court physician who commercially exploited the fashion for coffee by promoting the drink as a universal cure. The book was an immediate success and it remains one of the best known French treatises on the subject of this period." via antiquariaat forum

I approve.

The Alcoran of Mahomet:
Translated out of Arabick into French, and now faithfully English’d
issued London, c. 1660-80 (?).

Gorgeous 17th century English full elaborately gilt leather binding. Raised bands, six compartments, morocco gilt spine label reading “Alcoran of Mahomet”, gilt stamped compartments, boards intricately gilt stamped in an outstanding Middle Eastern decorative pattern, ornately tooled series of interwoven and concentric patterns across both boards, including tiny stars, early marbled end papers, a.e.g.


148. Spratt (G.) Obstetric Tables, first edition, 12 lithographed plates, many with sectional overlays or moving parts, some staining affecting inner & top margins, modern cloth with morocco spine label, 4to, 1833.

Renowned as the only English book on midwifery to be illustrated in this novel and useful way.

The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War
by Winston S. Churchill

Here is a scarce first edition, first printing of the Colonial edition of Churchill’s first book, which recounts his experiences when attached to Sir Bindon Blood’s punitive expedition on the Northwest Frontier of India in 1897. First printing Colonial editions were produced in small numbers simultaneously with the Home Issue. via

I really like the artwork on this.

Inspired by Sebastian Brandt’s Narrenschiff: satirical emblems of rogues

This curious emblem book focuses on those who use words to deceive and seduce, including jurists, councillors, clerics, debtors, preachers, hypocrites & flatterers. The arrangement is similar to that of an emblem book: the 33 ‘odes’ are symbolically illustrated by an engraving, accompanied by two mottoes, one for the poem and one for the plate, and an explanation in prose. De Vries judged the new engravings much more refined than the originals, and so well executed that he was tempted to ascribe them to Crispijn de Passe. The plates are also of interest for showing daily life at the beginning of the 17th century, depicting the costumes, the interior of the homes and all sorts of indoor and outdoor activities of the period, like a scholar in his library, a minister on his pulpit, two well-dressed gentlemen meeting in the street, a town-crier with a drum telling the people the latest news, a dinner party, a violinist playing in the house for a woman and small daughter, drinking in the pub, duelling, a knife-grinder, a woman in the street selling fruits, a man proposing on his knee to a woman in her home, etc.

Secundo aedita. Leeuwarden, Joannes Coopmans, 1634. 8vo. 19th century green morocco, spine gilt in compartments with title lettered in gold, with triple gilt fillets on sides with gilt ornaments at the four corners, inner double gilt fillets, marbled endpapers, g.e. With richly engraved allegorical title, and 33 large half-page engraved emblems (ca. 80 x 68 mm) in text. (8), 182, (2) pp.; collation: *4, A-L8, M4.

text and images from Forum Rare Books

"The Truth about giving Readers Free Access to the Books in a Public Lending Library"
• Pamphlets on English Library History, 1877-1895

"Recently purchased: Fifty-two pamphlets relating to English public libraries, published between 1877 and 1895. Many are embossed with the seal: Free Pubic Library, Wigan.
Call number: Ex Item 5688646.
Many are not recorded as being held by libraries in the United States.

A sampling of topics:
• Moral Influence of Free Libraries [no. 26]
• Libraries for the working classes [no. 38]
• Remarks on the employment of women in French libraries (in French) [no. 43A]
• That English libraries were superior to American libraries in that they had rooms for the reading of newspapers [no. 10]
• The effects of allowing readers to browse the stacks and select books on their on [no. 15]”

Full contents listed at Princeton’s Rare Book Division.

This would be fascinating to read. Especially volume #15, “The Truth about giving Readers Free Access to the Books in a Public Lending Library, by One who has tried the System in two large Libraries.” Or #26, “Address on the Moral Influence of Free Libraries”. I imagine there are some very interesting tidbits related to who has access to books, ergo knowledge, ergo power.

(FOIGNY, Gabriel de). Nouveau voyage de la Terre Australe One of the earliest and best imaginary voyages to Australia in a mysterious, dated binding.

"Paris, Claude Barbin, 1693. 12mo. Contemporary mottled calf, spine ribbed and gilt, front cover with a mysterious decoration, probably an anagram: three lines each with three gilt letters: first line: ‘V.G.G.’ second line ‘L.D.S.’, third line ‘M.Z.B.’, and below the date ‘1694’ in gilt, red sprinkled edges. Title printed in red and black. (12), 177 pp.

Revised edition of Gabriel de Foigny’s famous utopian novel and imaginary voyage by the hermaphrodite Jacques Sadeur to Australia (Terre Australe), where he met with an utopian society. This is the first time the term ‘Australiens’ is used for the inhabitants of Terre Australe, the southern continent. The present edition is revised by the abbot François Raguenet, who made many alterations in the text and omitted many (impious and licentious) passages. The first edition was published by Jacques Verneuil at Geneva (‘Vannes’) in 1676 titled: La Terre Australe connue … A second, revised edition appeared at Paris in 1692 at the same publisher as the present copy. “

via forumrarebooks

INDIA - ALBUM with 24 watercolour views of famous Indian architectural highlights

"(, ca. 1848). Oblong 8vo. Contemporary full black leather with small label of Papeterie Marion (Paris) on first free endpaper, richly gilt spine, both covers with gilt and blindstamped ornamental border and gilt borders on the inside, all edges gilt. With a series of 23 loosely inserted fine watercolour views, all measuring 78 x 100 mm. or 100 x 78 mm. (black framing lines, the sheets all measuring ca. 88 x 110 mm.), and 1 loosely inserted watercolour measuring 72 x 103 mm. (borderline). (50) lvs., incl. 26 blank lvs.

A very fine album with miniatures that were probably collected by Elisabeth Douro while visiting architectural highlights in India, ten years before India came under British rule, in 1858.”

via forumrarebooks

Japanese Fragments, With Facsimiles of Illustrations by Artists of Yedo

London: Bradbury and Evans, 1861. Small 8vo, 190x140mm. xii + 139pp. First edition. Bound in the original purple cloth, decorated in blind and gilt. All edges gilt. With several black & white illustrations, as well as 5 (of 6) beautiful hand-colored plates.

via Powell’s Rare Books

The cover image - “Boys Feeding Storks” - is delightful.

(MALO, Charles). Livre Mignard, ou la fleur des fabliaux.
Old fables from the Middle Ages and from the East

Paris, Louis Janet, (ca. 1820). 12mo. Contemp. calf, spine ribbed and richly gilt and blind-stamped, with richly gilt and blind-stamped borders and large blind-stamped central ornament on sides, richly gilt inner dentelles, g.e. With engraved Gothic architectural title, richly and beautifully coloured by hand and heightened with gold, and 6 full-page engraved plates, all richly designed within Gothic architectural setting by Rouarque, and beautifully coloured by hand and heightened with gold. (12), 192 pp.

Beautifully illustrated and finely produced choice selection of old fables from the Middle Ages and from the East, edited by Charles Malo, a popular French literary author, born at Paris in 1790. The beautiful plates are designed in a half mediaeval and half Eastern style, and signed by Rouarque. Charles Malo published a large number of popular books. He founded “La France Littéraire”, a periodical with selected pieces of French literature, as well as a circle of Clubs of Literature at Paris. Malo was also an agent of the “Société pour l’Instruction élémentaire”, and a member of several learned societies. In the preface is stated that several fables are here published in France for the first time, carefully edited after the originals. Apart from the fables some poems by Ronsard, Baïf, etc. are also added, as well as epigrams by Clement Marot, and an epitaph by Du Bellay. At the end a glossary explaining the more difficult words is added as well.

via Rare Books

A rare edition of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, given to the real Alice. The copy belonged to 10-year-old Alice Liddell, the Oxford don’s inspiration for Alice.

Article here. Additional images at the click-through link.

1 2