Recent Acquisitions

Here are some of our most RECENT ACQUISITIONS available for purchase:

A Beautiful Boston Street View

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(Boston) G. Klucken. “Henry T. Spear & Son, Wholesale Dealers in American Watches, Jewelry… Boston…” (Boston: unknown printer, c. 1875). Image: 17″ x 20.25″. Frame: 23.25″ x 26.25″. Colored lithograph. Near fine except for vertical burn line, visible mainly in the sky. Framed under plexiglass in a handsome mid-20th century brass frame with a linen mat and metallic bevel. $3,200
          This beautiful print depicts a busy Washington Street block in the center of Boston’s business district, bustling with pedestrians and carriages. The paper label at the bottom of the print advertises Spear & Son, which was active from 1861 to 1894 and at this second floor address in the mid-1870s. Presumably the enterprising publisher of the print offered every business on the block the opportunity to purchase a supply of the view with their own specialized advertising label affixed. I was unable to locate any holdings or auction records of this print.

“Art is Long. Why Not Hair?”

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The Bilioustine (Chicago)
Vol. 1, No. 1 (1901), “the deluxe edition” bound in rough burlap and limited to 250 copies (this is no. 80). Octavo. Binding VG, with edge wear. Contents VG. SOLD
          By 1901, Bert Leston Taylor, a columnist for The Chicago Tribune, had had his fill of Elbert Hubbard, the Roycrofters, their Philistine, and the cult-like movement that had grown up around it all. He set out to level the playing field a bit in creating The Bilioustine, a clever parody of Hubbard’s epigrammatic and egotistical style in the guise of a competing magazine. It first appeared in serial fashion in the pages of the Trib. Then, it was gathered together in a brown rough-paper wrapper that looked just like its more serious progenitor. It bore the issue date of “1901: Printed whenever we need the money by the Boy Grafters at East Aurora, Illinois.” It was, of course, full of epigrams, such as this one: “Next to boiling an egg there is nothing easier to do than an epigram. Just take a pertinent saying by some dead genius and turn it inside out.” And there was a Little Journey, a short story, and parodies of parodies, such as this one: “The Pale-Blue Ass/I never saw a pale-blue ass – /I’ve always wished to see one./Meanwhile I do my level best/Endeavoring to be one.” Aping the methods of the Roycrofters, the publisher William S. Lord also produced a “deluxe edition”, limited to 250 copies and bound in rough burlap. The binding is inferior, but that was part of the joke. The deluxe edition did not sell out (the telltale sign: unnumbered copies do turn up occasionally), but the regular edition was a big enough hit to spawn a second issue (not produced in a deluxe edition). To no one’s surprise, neither failed to slow the march of the Roycrofters. As Hubbard himself was fond of saying, “Every knock is a boost!” Scarce.

A Great Comic Gold Rush Print

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(Gold Rush) Anon. The Way They Go to California (New York: N. Currier, 1849). Lithograph. Image: 13″ x 17.5″. VG+, with minor wrinkling and other incidental imperfections, archivally mounted on acid-free paper. SOLD
          This classic comic 1849 lithograph by Currier depicts that year’s mad rush to California in search of gold. It shows desperate men heading west by all means of transportation, including a passenger-laden sailing vessel (along with seven other ships in the distance), a single-passenger rocket, and a multi-passenger airship (based on an actual plan devised that year by Rufus Porter, the founder of Scientific American). It is one, arguably the best, of a Currier series of six that satirized the Gold Rush. All are very scarce. This print is far more spirited than most of the prints from this period and is an anomaly for the firm that rarely published purely comic prints prior to its voluminous Blackville series. Worldcat locates only one copy (Library of Congress).

Hemingway Introduces Nick Adams

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Ernest Hemingway. Work in Progress [Indian Camp], The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife, Cross-Country Snow in The Transatlantic Review, April, November, and December 1924. Three issues in original buff wrappers. Octavos. VG wrappers, with light soiling, modest spotting, and the usual small tears to the overlaps. VG+ interiors, with only a trace of toning. SOLD
          The short-lived (twelve issues) Transatlantic Review played an important part in Hemingway’s young career and Hemingway was among the most important contributor to a magazine that showcased the talents of James Joyce, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, E. E. Cummings, Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, Djuna Barnes, Hilda Doolittle, and its editor Ford Madox Ford, among many. In the Review, Hemingway published his first three Nick Adams stories. Adams is the name that Hemingway gave to his fictional persona. Like Hemingway himself, Nick is the son of a doctor (“Indian Camp”; “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife”); he relishes skiing, fishing, and hunting (“Cross-Country Snow,” “Big Two-Hearted River”). He goes abroad during World War I and serves as an American Red Cross ambulance driver. And, like Hemingway, Nick suffers a knee wound (“In Another Country”). Unlike Hemingway, however, Nick suffered post-traumatic shock; his mind periodically seems to come unhinged (“A Way You’ll Never Be”). In each of the Nick Adams stories, Nick witnesses — or is a part of — some traumatic or telling event, and Hemingway reveals Nick’s reaction to that event. For example, in “Indian Camp,” Hemingway focuses on Nick’s reaction to a young American Indian man’s slitting his throat from ear to ear after listening to his young wife scream for two days and then scream even more during Dr. Adams’ cesarean that delivers a baby boy. In “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife,” Nick’s blind hero-worship of his father is contrasted with our knowledge that Nick’s father has a fraudulent aspect to his character. In “Cross-Country Snow” Hemingway uses Nick’s relationship with his friend George to meditate on escape and yet at the same time the need to accept life’s burdens. Other contributors to these issues include James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Djuna Barnes, and many others. This trio of issues are foundational items in any important Hemingway collection.

The Commercial Arts, 1890s Style

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Le Livre et l’image (Paris)
Vol. 1, No. 1 (March 1893) to Vol. 3, No. 6 (June 1894), comprising 16 issues, a complete run, bound in three decorated wrappered volumes by the publisher. Quartos. Bindings VG with little wear, but requiring gentle handling. Volume two lacks the top 1.5″ of the spine. Contents near fine. Profusely illustrated. In French. $450
          Le Livre et l’image (The Book and the Image) is one of the most handsome entries among those magazines devoted to the commercial arts. It featured historical pieces on various aspects of illustration, profiles of book illustrators, news of the profession, book reviews, and essays on such topics as advertising posters, postal stamp design, the age of crinoline in caricature, Napoleon in images, and book design. As such, it was lavishly illustrated and included many color plates. Appropriately, it was edited by John Grand-Carteret (1850-1927), the French historian of art and fashion, who is considered (along with the German Eduard Fuchs) a pioneer in the field of iconology and graphic satire. He is best remembered today for his annotated collections of caricatures on the Dreyfus Affair, Bismarck, Kaiser Wilhelm, Wagner, and others. A neat set.

A Charming Lithograph of an 1880s Upstate New York Resort Town

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(New York State View) Anon. “Lakewood, N.Y. On Main Line of the New York, Penna, and Ohio Rail Road” (c. 1880). Image: 19″ x 27.25″. Frame: 25″ x 33″. Colored lithograph. VG with short tears at left and right oval edges. Framed under plexiglass in a handsome mid-20th century brass frame with a linen mat and metallic bevel. $1,000
          Lakewood is a village in Chautauqua County, New York, located at the south end of Chautauqua Lake. This beautiful view attempts to lure summer vacationers to the town, touting its idyllic setting and convenient location, being on the main line of the New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio Railroad. The Kent House and the Lake View House, depicted in the background, were both built in 1875 and survived into the 1880s. Worldcat lists no holdings.

The Greatest Years of the Most Influential Poetry Magazine in History

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Poetry (Chicago)
Vol. 1, No. 1 (October 1912) to Vol. 12, No. 6 (September 1918), comprising 72 issues bound in twelve volumes of matching brown cloth with leather spine labels. TEG. Small octavos. Bindings VG+, with hardly any shelf wear; contents near fine. $1,200
          Hoffman, in his book The Little Magazine, delivered the final words on this remarkable magazine: Poetry was vital from its inception. Its value to America and Britain during the past quarter of a century can scarcely be overestimated, for it courageously stimulated American verse to a height that had been alien atmosphere for many a year. In Poetry’s case mere figures are indeed meaningless. To say that it has promoted the reputation of ninety-five per cent of the post-1912 poets [or] to mention its distinguished criticism of verse… is almost futile. One must browse slowly through its volumes and discover their full flavor for himself. A great deal of the brilliance of this magazine was due to the towering presence of one person: editor Harriet Monroe. A minor poet herself, she was more importantly a person of exquisite discernment who could spot poetic talent at first glance. She encouraged dozens of young poets destined for greatness at a time when they were receiving precious little encouragement from anyone else. And she (along with her brilliant associate editor Alice Corbin Henderson) wrote with clarity and conviction on all aspects of the poetic arts. What overwhelms the modern reader is the sense of sure-footedness and confidence that the magazine exhibited right from the start. While Monroe embraced the New Imagist school of poetry, she was open to all types of poetry but one: the formal romantic slush that clogged the pages of almost every other literary and popular magazine of the day.
          The contents pages for these volumes read like an honor roll of 20th century poets: W.B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, Amy Lowell, Padraic Colum, D.H. Lawrence, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Maxwell Bodenheim, Rupert Brooke, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Edgar Lee Masters, T.S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, James Joyce, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sherwood Anderson, Vachel Lindsay, Joyce Kilmer, John Reed, Sara Teasdale, Arthur Davison Ficke, Witter Bynner, George Sterling, John G. Neihardt, Rabindranath Tagore, Alfred Kreymborg, Marsden Hartley, Ford Madox Hueffer (Ford), and on and on and on. Just a few of the poems that appeared in the first six years that will live forever include: Pound’s “To Whistler, American;” Lindsay’s “General William Booth Enters into Heaven;” Yeats’ “The Grey Rock;” Kilmer’s “Trees;” Eliot’s “The Love Songs of J. Alfred Prufrock;” and Stevens’ “Sunday Morning.” This set encompasses Poetry’s most influential period.

A Distinguished Lineage but Rotten Parents

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Punchinello (New York)
Vol. 1, No. 1 (April 2, 1870) to Vol. 2, No. 39 (December 24, 1870), comprising 39 issues in all, a complete run, bound in the publisher’s red cloth. Quarto. Binding is good, with rebacked spine, general wear, and soiling. Contents VG, with minor marginal tears. All covers and advertisements bound in. SOLD
          Punchinello, it might be said, had a distinguished lineage but rotten parents. As for its lineage, it was a direct descendent from the great comic periodical, Vanity Fair. Several Vanity Fair principals had decided to try one more time at establishing an American humor magazine. Chief among them was H.L. Stephens, one of America’s leading children’s book illustrators and one of a few important political cartoonists prior to Nast. He was Punchinello’s art director, ably assisted by George Bowlend, an extraordinary caricaturist whose work, mysteriously, can be found hardly anywhere else. Stephens’ brother, William, was the editor, along with Charles Dawson Shanly, both Vanity Fair alumni. They were determined to avoid the problem that eventually sunk their first venture: under-capitalization. So this time, they found four deep-pocketed backers to finance the publication. Unfortunately, the backers were Boss Tweed, Peter Sweeny, Jay Gould, and Jim Fisk. By all appearances, Punchinello’s “fathers” were quite interested in the upbringing of their laughing little offspring. They made sure, on the national front, that Punchinello attacked President Grant and his administration and, on the local front, ridiculed the barons of the New York press. It’s possible Stephens and company would have gone after the same targets even if they had had a free hand, but there is an unmistakable tone of restraint running throughout the pages of this volume, for which the quartet of backers is more than likely responsible. Still, the volume contains several great and many good cartoons, as well as some amusing text, such as a long-running parody of Dickens’ Mystery of Edwin Drood by Orpheus C. Kerr, and the Paris letters of Charles A. Jones (“Dick Tinto”). Punchinello was not long for this world, but it was probably best that it ended when it did. All four of its backers were headed for disaster, political or financial, and, in quite a short time, Punchinello would have found very little to laugh at.

A Store Placard for the Rogaine of the 19th Century

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(Quack Medicine) Anon. USE HALL’S Vegetable Sicilian Hair Renewer and Your Thin GRAY LOCKS will thicken up and be restored to their YOUTHFUL COLOR AND BEAUTY. (Nashua, NH (?): R. P. Hall & Co., c. 1885). Varnished and mounted chromolithograph. Image: 17.75″ x 13.75″. Frame: 22.5″ x 16.5″. VG, with a wrinkle in the lower left corner and minor surface scuffing in the original dinged-up 19th century walnut frame. Colors still vibrant. SOLD
          Hall’s Hair Renewer was one of the most famous quack products of the 19th century. Reuben P. Hall of Nashua, New Hampshire, started selling his Vegetable Sicilian Hair Renewer around 1864. He encountered stiff competition from the other big name of the day in hair restoration, Ayer’s Hair Vigor, but not for long. Ayer bought out Hall in 1870 and continued the brand alongside his own, virtually cornering the market in quack hair products until others stepped in in the 1880s. According to Hall the product formula was given to him by an Italian sailor, thus prompting the name “Sicilian Hair Renewer.” Though the product formula changed over time, it was mainly water and glycerine with trace amounts of sulfur, lead, and herbs. The lead combined with the sulfur to form lead sulfide, which darkened the hair shaft. However, the lead proved poisonous even in small amounts and by the turn of the century health officials began recording numerous instances of lead poisoning from Ayer’s and Hall’s hair products. Still, this did not stop Ayer and his successors from marketing the restorers into the 1930s. This placard depicts a woman in her dressing gown with impossibly luxurious hair falling all the way to her calves handing a man, surely her husband, a bottle of Hall’s. He needs it: he is balding and, we are to assume, so depleted he can’t even stand up. Trade cards for hair restoring products are common, but this placard and this particular image is not.

A Beautiful War of 1812 Print

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(War of 1812) Henry Meyer. Struck with the gallantry, skill, and decision, displayed by Sir Philip Bowes Vere Broke, Baronet, K.C.B. Commander of his Majesty’s ship, the Shannon, in the attack, boarding, and capture of the American frigate, the Chesapeake…” (London: “published for the proprietor”, [December 2] 1816). Image: 18.75″ x 16.75″. Frame: 24.5″ x 22.75″. Aquatint. Near fine. Framed under plexiglass in a handsome mid-20th century brass frame with a linen mat and metallic bevel. SOLD
          This print honors one of England’s more decisive naval battles in the War of 1812, the Battle of Boston Harbor, fought on June 1, 1813, between the Royal Navy’s frigate HMS Shannon and the American frigate USS Chesapeake. After brief but intense action in which more than 80 men were killed, the Shannon captured the Chesapeake. The brightly colored image of the battle is elaborately set-off in a silver plateau containing laurels, sea nymphs, Triton, Neptune, Liberty, Victory, Commerce, et. al. Worldcat lists two holdings.