Recent Acquisitions

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

One of the Great Boston Lithographic Views

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Spindler, Bernard. View of Boston from Telegraph Hill, S. Boston / “B. Spindler del.” (Boston : Tappan & Bradford, [ca. 1853]). Lithograph, tinted in three colors. Image size 12.75″ x 22″, frame 26″ x 33″. Near fine, lower margin trimmed close, surface loss to margins. $2,800
          Though Tappan and Bradford were in business for only six years, from 1849 until 1854, in that time they established themselves as one of Boston’s most accomplished lithography firms. Pierce and Slautterback in their Boston Lithography 1825-1880 (1991) say the firm “produced superlative lithographs. Large and well drawn, they exhibit superior delicacy of handling and control of tonal range…. [Their prints] are characterized by a fine, soft, almost silvery quality. Instead of using the crayon to emphasize contrasts of dark and light, the firm tended to produce works displaying subtle modulations in tone. These skillful harmonies in the middle range were often further unified by the use of tint stones.” This description of their craftsmanship is expertly displayed in “View of Boston from Telegraph Hill” which shows several dozen figures — men, women, children, and dogs — on a beautiful day in Dorchester, South Boston, looking towards Boston Harbor and the city proper. The colors are bright and appealing and the print invites and rewards minute inspection. The artist, Bernard Spindler (1826-1965), was a recently arrived German immigrant. It is Spindler’s most famous work and one of Tappan and Bradford’s most reproduced views. Though invariably dated in library catalogs as being “c. 1854”, this is quite unlikely, since Bradford died in January and the firm was disbanded soon after, which is why we have identified it (rather arbitrarily) as being issued the previous year.

Two Early Chapbooks Illustrated by Political Cartoonist William Charles

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The Scottish-American engraver William Charles (1776-1820) practiced his trade in the United States from 1806 to 1820, for most of those years in Philadelphia. He is regarded as America’s first political cartoonist on the weight of the nearly two dozen separately published political engravings he executed, mostly during the War of 1812. In fact, his forays into political commentary took him away from his more lucrative work as a children’s book illustrator; he is credited with contributing copper-plate engravings to more than three dozen “toybooks” or chapbooks for little ones, making him at least as important in the field of children’s book illustration as he is in political cartooning. He also may have been the first to introduce hand-colored engravings into the American children’s book market. As was the custom of the day, his titles were issued in two styles, the cheaper one uncolored. Even though Rosalie Halsey heralded Charles in her ground-breaking work Forgotten Books of the American Nursery (1911), only now is Charles receiving the attention he is due in this field. Charles died on August 9, 1820, when on a journey to Boston to promote his toy books, he fell overboard into the Delaware River and drowned. He left behind his wife, Mary, who continued to publish his children’s books to sustain her until her death three years later.

— (William Charles) Dorset. Think Before You Speak: or, The Three Wishes (Philadelphia: Johnson and Warner, 1811). 12mo. Stiff printed board wrappers. VG, with reattached front board and interior foxing. 32 pages, six inserted black and white plates. $150

— (William Charles) Anon. The Tragi-Comic History of the Burial of Cock Robin (Philadelphia: Johnson and Warner, 1821). 12mo. Stiff blank board wrappers. VG+, with interior foxing. 16 pages, eight inserted black and white plates. $150

W.W. Denslow’s First Book

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I. H. M’Cauley. Historical Sketch of Franklin County, Pennsylvania (Chambersburg: 1878, third edition). Octavo. Bound in modern leather and cloth mimicking the original binding. Binding near fine, contents VG, with occasional smudging. $325
          This book, prepared for the Centennial Celebration held at Chambersburg, PA, on July 4, 1876, was published in three editions. The first two, by the Patriot Publishing House of Harrisburg, were unillustrated. The third edition by John Pomeroy and D. F. Pursel of Chambersburg, was illustrated with more than hundred full-page, double-page, and foldout lithographic views of Franklin County public buildings and private residences by W.W. Denslow, later to become the famous illustrator of the early Wizard of Oz books and other children’s classics. In this, his maiden book commission, Denslow put in a prodigious amount of work on the plates that included views of Mercersburg College, Chambersburg Academy, the carriage works of J. A. Harper and his competitor, Thrush, Perlett and Stough, the Buena Vista and Monterey Springs Resorts, other places of business, and prominent estates and farmsteads. (Green and Hearn #1)

Advertising Broadside for the Empire Drill Company of Shortsville, NY

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Empire Drill Company/Shortsville NY (NY: J. Ottmann Lith. Co. [Mayer, Merkel, & Ottmann]), [1886]). Chromolithograph. Image size: 19.75″ x 14.75″. Sheet size: 23″ x 17″. Near fine with defects to margins, not affecting image. $300
          The Empire Drill Company had its roots in the 1840s with the pioneering farm machinery developed by Gilbert Jessup, of Palmyra, NY. When he retired from the business due to ill-health, two of his partners, Hiram and Calvin Brown, set up business in nearby Shortsville. After many variations, by 1878, they had perfecting the seed drilling machine pictured in this poster. One contemporary critic called the drill “unrivalled for economy, reliability, and efficiency.” It was an important labor-saving device in the history of American agriculture and it made the Brown brothers rich. It is not surprising then that when they wanted to produce a poster to promote their product that they would go to the largest commercial lithography firm in the country, J. Ottmann Lithographing of New York City. Though the poster is undated, we can conclusively date it to 1886 because this is the only year that Ottmann Lithographing identified its work with both its new and old corporate names “(Mayer, Merkel, & Ottmann)”. This poster is a favorite of the reprint crowd, but unlike all of the versions on eBay, this is the original.

Featuring Oversized Fashion Plates and the First Tissue Paper Patterns

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Frank Leslie’s Ladies Gazette and Fashions of the Beau Monde (New York)
When Frank Leslie struck out on his own in 1854, after having served as art director for the
Illustrated London News, Gleason’s Pictorial, and Barnum and Beach’s Illustrated News, he decided to go after the ladies’ fashion market. A less astute observer would have questions his logic; after all, Godey’s Ladies’ Book and Peterson’s Magazine dominated the market and already had many secondary competitors. But Leslie viewed them all as the same thing over and over again; in this he was correct. Godey’s success had spawned imitators, not rivals. Frank Leslie’s Ladies Gazette of Fashions was intended to be very much a rival. For starters it was twice the size of the octavo Godey’s crowd, measuring an impressive 10″ x 14″. That meant its full-page hand-colored fashion plate was also 10″ x 14″, making it the largest fashion plate in any pre-Civil War magazine. Added to that were the tissue paper patterns from the house of Madame Demorest, before she and her husband began publishing their own magazine. They constitute the first tissue patterns to be issued with an American magazine. Each issue also included woodcuts and descriptions of dresses, bonnets, and assorted clothing, crochet or needlepoint designs, fiction, puzzles, and illustrated advertisements, all presented in decorated yellow wrappers. Leslie promised his readers that “no inferior art shall encumber our pages” and to this he remained true. It was a beautiful magazine. Ann Stephens served as editor, contributing fiction and a discriminating eye. She left in 1856 to start her own eponymous magazine. The Gazette’s success laid the foundation for Frank Leslie’s publishing empire, which of course, included the Illustrated Newspaper, the Popular Monthly, and many other titles. In September of 1857, Leslie folded the Ladies’ Gazette into his new Family Magazine in the hopes of broadening its market. When the interest in women’s fashions did not wane, in 1863 he turned the Family Magazine back into a magazine of fashion. It flourished in its new/old form for decades. Periodyssey offers the following volumes from its first incarnation:

Frank Leslie’s Ladies Gazette. Vol. 3, No. 1 (January 1855) to No. 6 (June 1855), comprising six issues, a complete volume, in yellow ornately decorated wrappers as issued. Small folio. Generally VG, with detached and marginally chipped wrappers to three issues. Features six full-page, hand-colored fashion plates, six tissue paper patterns, and scores of wood engravings of dresses and other fashions. $300

Frank Leslie’s Ladies Gazette. Vol. 4, No. 1 (July 1855) to No. 6 (December 1855), comprising six issues, a complete volume, in yellow ornately decorated wrappers as issued. Small folio. Generally VG, with one issue lacking back wrapper and two more with detached wrappers. Features six full-page, hand-colored fashion plates, six tissue paper patterns, and scores of wood engravings of dresses and other fashions, as well as a fold-out prospectus in the December issue for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. $300

A Touchstone of 21st Century Periodical Literature

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Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern (San Francisco)
No. 1 (Autumn 1998) to No. 40 (Spring 2012). A variety of formats ranging in size from octavo to large folio. Complete with all boxes, slipcases, inserts, CDs, and supplements included. Generally near fine, though four issues (2, 25, 37, and 39) show edge wear, #37 has a tear to an interior pocket, and the packaging box of #4 is a bit crushed. Three issues are unopened in original cellophane. All of the issues are first editions, including the first three, published in Iceland, which due to their limited initial print run were re-issued in the early 2000s. $600
          Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern is an American literary journal, published by McSweeney’s Publishing House, and edited by Dave Eggers, the bestselling novelist. A typical issue contains short stories, reportage, and occasionally poetry, comic strips, and novellas. Some issues feature writing exclusively or mostly from one geographic area, such as Issue 15, which contained half American and half Icelandic writing. The journal is notable in that it has no fixed format, unlike conventional journals and magazines, and changes shape and size from issue to issue. The issues included in this run range from simple hardcovers or softcovers to more unconventional configurations, such as a newspaper, a bundle of mail, and a box emblazoned with a man’s sweaty head. While McSweeney’s calls itself a quarterly it has not come out four times a year, but rather on a more leisurely schedule. McSweeney’s was founded in 1998 after Dave Eggers left an editing position at Esquire, during the same time he was working on his first book, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. McSweeney’s was styled as something of a successor to Eggers’ earlier magazine Might (1994-97), although Might was focused more on satire than literature. Although originally reaching only a small audience, McSweeney’s has grown to be a well respected journal, with Ruth Franklin, writing for Slate, referring to the quarterly (and company) as “…the first bona fide literary movement in decades”. NPR, writing about the company’s fifteenth anniversary, referred to the journal as the “flagship literary quarterly” of a “literary empire”. Notable McSweeney’s contributors include Ann Beattie, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Michael Chabon, Robert Coover, Roddy Doyle, Denis Johnson, Stephen King, Steven Millhauser, Joyce Carol Oates, and David Foster Wallace, among many. In Issue 10, it was claimed that exactly 56 issues of the journal would be published. In Issue 20, this claim was repeated in an advertisement that stated: “There will be roughly thirty-six [issues] to come; then, a five-year retrenchment.” Issue 56 should arrive in 2018 or 2019. We will see if they follow through with their self-imposed suspension. Marvelously original, always surprising, this is one of the touchstones of the 21st century periodical literature.

Jews Immigrating to the Soviet Union?

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Nailebn (New Life) (New York)
New Life was a long-lived monthly (1928-1948) published in New York with the backing of the Soviet Government. It documents a bizarre chapter in the history of the U.S.S.R.-Jewish relations. In the early Twenties, the Soviets decided to help Jews realize their dream of an autonomous homeland for a variety of political reasons, most of which, of course, were not altruistic. As an indication of their ambivalence, they designated the region of Birobidzhan for that settlement. Birobidzhan is located in the Russian Far East, contiguous with a small portion of the border with China. In the 1920’s, the region, quoting from the net, suffered from an almost complete absence of roads and land suitable for agriculture, insufficient and poor living accommodations, and harsh climatic conditions. Jewish immigration to Birobidzhan began in 1928, and continued at a varying rate over the ensuing years. Because of the harsh conditions there, by the time the Soviets granted the region autonomy in 1934, nearly half of the original settlers had already departed. The Depression of the Thirties seemed to the Soviets to present an opportunity to grow the population of Birobidzhan. Icor (the American Association for Jewish Colonization in the Soviet Union) was established with Soviet backing to make that happen. New Life was Icor’s most visible propaganda tool. The magazine sported attractive two and three-color Art Deco covers and published articles on a wide variety of issues, including of course promotional pieces on Birobidzhan, all from a Stalinist perspective, in both Yiddish and English. During the mid-thirties much was accomplished to promote the region’s Jewish character, such as the establishment of Jewish collective farms and Jewish village councils. Yiddish became the region’s official language (along with Russian). But then the purges of the 1936-38 dealt the region a severe blow. Leading Jewish personalities of the region were denounced as nationalists and Trotskyites and liquidated. Immigration virtually stopped until the end of the war. It picked up again in the post-war years, but only temporarily. In 1948, again for a variety of political reasons, the Soviets decided to suppress Jewish activities throughout the USSR and effectively destroyed Jewish control of the region. Copies of this title are quite scarce.

— Nailebn. Vol. 12, No. 1 (January 1938) to No. 11 (December 1938), bound in the publisher’s dark blue cloth. July and August issues combined. Binding fair, spine and tips well worn, hinges weak. Contents near fine, with all covers and advertisements bound in. Two covers by Gropper. Two covers by Rascob. $300

— Nailebn. Vol. 14, No. 1 (January 1940) to No. 10 (December 1940), bound in the publisher’s light blue cloth. March issue not published, July and August issues combined. Binding VG, with discoloration and wear to top and bottom spine. Contents near fine, with all covers and advertisements bound in. $300

Bernarr Macfadden in All his Youthful Glory

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Physical Culture (New York)
Vol. 1, No. 1 (March 1899) to No. 7 (September 1899), comprising the first seven issues, a complete volume 1, bound in the publisher’s black cloth. Octavo. Binding VG. Contents near fine. All covers (except no. 1) and advertisements bound in. $200
          Bernarr Macfadden was one of the great characters of American publishing. Born Bernard Adolphus McFadden, he changed his first and last names to give them a greater appearance of strength, thinking that “Bernarr” sounded like the roar of a lion and that “Macfadden” looked more masculine. Until at the age of 11 Macfadden was weak and sickly, but then, orphaned, he was adopted by a farmer. The hard work and wholesome food on the farm made him strong and fit. By the time Macfadden founded Physical Culture in 1899, he was a tireless proselytizer for proper diet and exercise. Physical Culture’s motto was “Weakness a crime! Are you a criminal?” He promoted himself as the leading example of a well-led life, posing nearly nude for countless Physical Culture covers. In addition to body-building, Macfadden popularized the practice of fasting, which previously had been associated only with illnesses such as anorexia nervosa. He claimed that “a person could exercise unqualified control over virtually all types of disease while revealing a degree of strength and stamina such as would put others to shame” through fasting. Throughout his life, he campaigned tirelessly against “pill-pushers” and processed foods — especially bread, which he called the “staff of death”. Nicknamed “Body Love Macfadden” by Time – a moniker he detested – he was branded a kook and a charlatan by many and denounced by the medical establishment. But Macfadden prevailed. Physical Culture was an unqualified success, aided within a few years by Theodore Roosevelt’s own brand of physical vigor and the growing fitness ethos that would become a multi-billion dollar industry. Macfadden grew his wealth into a publishing empire, including Liberty, Photoplay, Sport, True Detective, True Story, True Romances, and the tabloid newspaper, The New York Graphic. This little volume displays the seeds of his later success.

A Leader in the Irish Literary Revival

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Shanachie (Dublin)
Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring 1906) to Vol. 2, No 6 (Summer 1907), comprising six issues in all, a complete run, bound in two volumes by the publisher. (Decorated cover designed by Beatrice Elvery [Lady Glenavy]). Octavos. Volume 1 binding good, with edge wear and darkening to the spine. Volume 2 binding poor, with loss to spine cloth and darkening to the spine. $600
          The Shanachie was published by Dublin’s Maunsel and Company. Founded in 1905 by Joseph Maunsel Hone, Stephen Gwynn, and George Roberts, the company played an important part in the Irish Literary Revival, publishing first or important works by many of the most celebrated Irish writers of the early 20th century. The Shanachie, edited by J. M. Hone, was its first and only entry into the periodical business. In its six-issue run, the magazine published prose contributions by such luminaries as George Bernard Shaw, Lord Dunsany, W. B. Yeats, Padraic Colum, Lady Gregory, A. E. (George William Russell), J. M. Synge and others. Art was contributed by Jack Yeats, Hugh Thomson, William Orpen and others. Despite its distinguished content, the quarterly was unprofitable was soon discontinued. Complete runs are relatively scarce.

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

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Gertrude Stein. “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas” in Atlantic Monthly, May through August 1933. Octavos. Fine. The abbreviated serialization, complete in four parts. SOLD
          Gertrude Stein admitted to writing the Autobiography in six weeks to make money. Her life partner, Toklas didn’t think it would be a success. Though it received mixed reviews from her friends and associates, it was a commercial success, enabling Stein and Toklas to live more comfortably. According to friend Virgil Thomson, the “book is in every way except actual authorship Alice Toklas’s book; it reflects her mind, her language, her private view of Gertrude, also her unique narrative powers. Every story in it is told as Alice herself had always told it…. Every story that ever came into the house eventually got told in Alice’s way, and this was its definitive version.” Considered to be the one of the most accessible of Stein’s works, it has been recognized as one of the great works of nonfiction in the 20th century.

Ireland’s Answer to Punch, Complete

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Zozimus (Dublin)
Vol. 1, No. 1 (May 18, 1870) to Vol. 2, No. 43 (October 28, 1871) (bound with) NS Vol. 1, No. 1 (November 4, 1871) to NS Vol. 2, No. 18 (August 31, 1872), comprising 120 issues, a complete run. Quarto. Bound in leather and cloth. Binding poor, worn, boards detached. Contents VG to near fine, with foxing to the earlier pages and repeating covers bound in for first ten issues. Title-page and index bound in. SOLD
          Zozimus was a weekly satirical magazine published in Dublin in the early 1870s by A. M. Sullivan (1830 – 1884), an Irish Nationalist politician, lawyer and journalist. Best known as editor and proprietor of the The Nation (Dublin) from 1861 to 1884, he made that weekly into one of the most potent factors in the Irish Nationalist cause. He founded Zozimus to further the cause through pictorial satire. Zozimus was named after the pseudonym of a popular ballad singer, Michael Moran, well-known to all in Ireland. Its editor and chief writer was Richard Dowling. Its chief artist, who drew the repeating cover and most of the cartoons, was John Fergus O’Hea (1838-1922), the Thomas Nast of Ireland. His first cover depicted the ballad singer Zozimus chasing the emblem characters of the English magazines Punch, Judy, The Tomahawk, and Fun out of Ireland. O’Hea’s talents were highly regarded, even by those who did not share his nationalist politics. In 1883 the conservative British journal St. Stephen’s Review while condemning O’Hea as an “out-and-out nationalist”, also called him “one of the cleverest artists in the three kingdoms” who “could be making his thousands per annum if he cared to live in London, where he is well known and highly thought of,” instead of drawing “his most marvelous cartoons for the most miserable of Irish comic papers.” After Zozimus ended, O’Hea went on to work for Ireland’s Eye, Pat, and The Weekly Freeman. Because the weekly petered out, complete runs are hard to find. Worldcat does not show any complete holdings in the US.