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$14 (Order); first edition of Austin Dobson's « Vignettes in Rhyme, and Other Verses » with letter of author inserted, $17,50 (Order); first American edition of the same, 12mo., New York, 1880, introduction by Mr. Stedman, presentation copy to him by the publisher, Henry Holt, and an a. 1. s. of Oliver Wendell Holmes inserted, praising the introduction, also three a. 1. s. of Dobson inserted, $75 (Order); and another copy of the American edition, with original manuscript of the same introduction inserted, signed by Mr. Stedman, « Editor's Private Copy », $34 (Order); George Eliot's « How Lisa Loved the King », Boston, 1869, $53 (Order); a. 1. s. of Ralph W. Emerson, seven pages, 12mo., Philadelphia, 1856, to Mrs. Elizabeth C. Kinney, on some verses forwarded by her, $33 (Smith); a. l. s. of Emerson, 3 pages, Concord, Nov. 11, 1873, to Mr. Stedman, thanking him for a portrait of his volume of verse, and mentioning Mr. Stedman's « John Brown of Ossawatomie » $21 (Order) ».
Autographed presentation copies of the first editions of a dozen of Thomas Bailey Aldrich's books fetched $441.50, the highest price being paid for "The Story of a Bad Boy ($126) and the next highest ($61) for "The Queen of Sheba ". Letters from Mrs. Browning referring especially to the medium Home brought $47 and $48 each.
Mr. Stedman himself prepared the library for sale, and arranged the autographic material inserted in the books. There is Mrs. Browning's own copy of « Casa Guidi Windows », with her annotations; Landvis copy of the « Idyllica Heroica », with his notes-this volume was got from Landor by Swinburne, who presented it to Mr. Stedman.
Commenting on recent sales at auction of autograph letters a recent editorial in one of the New-York newspapers ran as follows:
A man of literary taste who fills his bookshelves with first editions of works of his contemporaries, inserting private letters from the authors, rarely if ever has in mind the future dispersal of his library by public sale. Very few men preserve private letters with the object of having them turned into money by their executors. As a matter of fact few men live with the thought of their executors in mind, and least of all the literary man whose collections are made to gratify his own intellectual desires. Some collectors may collect for posterity, even some book collectors; for there is money in rare books, though a valuable library is often sacrificed by the mismanagement of executors. But the first editions of one's literary friends are not valuable until many years after their publication, and in the library of an eminent man they may only have value then because of his eminence and the distinguishing marks which will associate them with his fame, his bookplate, for instance, the author's written tribute to him on the fly-leaf, and the inserted private letter. Such volumes are salable. Dealers and private collectors bid high for them. They may not long retain their value in the fluctuations of the book market, but they are worth the gamble. First editions of the books of THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH, and writers of his epoch, now rank in auction values not very far below the Emerson, Hawthorne, and Poe first editions.
La Bibliofilia, anno XIII, dispensa 1a
The library of a man of letters lately dispersed in this city contained many private letters inserted in books. There has been some flurried comment on the sale because living men do not often care to have their private letters made public. Requests for advice and the exertion of personal influence, appeals for encouragement, addressed by young authors to a literary authority of mature years, are harmless while they remain in the possession of that authority. But the once young authors, now mature themselves, aware though sad experience of the small utility of influence as a factor in literary success, are apt to be worried by the idea of their dispersal.
It would be generous, in such cases, for the executors to return the books and letters to their authors, but executors are not habitually generous in this way. A collection falling into the hands of executors is generally sold. The estate needs the money, or the executors
feel that it does. And the executors' right to sell is not to be questioned. Letters once dispatched through the mails are the property of the person to whom they are addressed, his heirs and assigns forever. The right to publish them, however, remains with their authors, but there is not often much consolation in that.
It is an indisputable fact that too many private letters are written; too many, that is to say, for the perpetual comfort of the writers. The ancient advice, « never write a letter and never destroy one», is somewhat musty and always savored of insincerity. We must write some letters. But in writing them we inevitably cast bread upon waters which may return to us, after many days, and when we are least anxious to have it.
February 7 and 8 the Anderson Auction Company sold a selection of books from the library of the late Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain). The following report of which is taken from a newspaper announcement of the sale:
<< Most of the books were of themselves, of slight value, but with very few exceptions they contained Mark Twain's signature, generally with a date, and each volume contained certificate signed by Albert Bigelow Paine, Mark Twain's literary executor, saying that they were from his library. Many of the books were presented to him by their authors. Some of the volumes contained marginal notes in Mark Twain's autograph, while inserted in others were fragments of his writing, the pieces often being of considerable interest. A copy of Dean Sage's << The Restigouche and Its Salmon Fishing », privately printed, 105 copies only, in 1888, is perhaps the most valuable book in the portion of the library sold. Portions of the library have been given to the public library at Reading, Conn., in which Mark Twain was much interested. In 1908 he had a printed sheet, headed << To My Guests, Greeting, and Salutation, and Prosperity », telling of the progress of the library, and closing with the following characteristic sentences, which have not, so far as we know, been reprinted :
Everybody will have a chance to contribute to this fund. Everybody, including my guests-I mean guests from a distance. It seems best to use coercion in this case. Therefore, I have levied a tax-a Guests Mark Twain Library Building Tax, of one dollar, not upon the valuable sex, but only upon the other one. Guests of the valuable sex are tax-free, and shall so remain; but guests of the other sex must pay, whether they are willing or not. I desire that the money be paid to me, personally; this is the safest way. If it were paid to my secretary a record would have to be made of it, and the record could get lost.
The manuscripts were most late manuscripts, the longest being « A Horse's Tail, written on one side of 159 leaves, printed in Harper's Magazine in 1906, and « Meisterschaft », 92 leaves, printed in the Century Magazine in 1888. A note to the printer on the << Meisterschaft » manuscript shows that there was probably prepared a privately printed issue of this piece which, if one is still in existence, would be counted a great treasure by any Mark Twain collector. This note reads:
Dear Van. Please set this up, & after you have got your proof as clean as you can, send me a proof and I will correct it & return it to you, & ask you to strike off two or three perfected copies for me to forward to the « Century ». Keep the thing private. Don't
let it get out of your hands.
This shows that the original plan was to set up the story in some other printing office and strike off a few copies which the author could revise with more care than could be given to the regular magazine proofs. Whether or not this was actually done is, of course, uncertain ».
A bequest of $20,000 will come to the University of Michigan Law Library by the will of Octavia Williams Bates, '77, '96 law, who died last week at Baltimore, Md. The will pro
vides also that the remainder of the estate, after all other bequests have been settled, shall come to the university. A gift of $5000 is made to the Detroit High School Scholarship Fund Association for the purpose of loaning money to needy students, who whish to attend the university.
February 9 and 10 the Anderson Auction Co sold Part I of the important library of Judge Jacob Klein of St Louis, Missouri. This included first editions of Matthew Arnold, Lord Byron, Bret Harte, and other authors, books in fine bindings, autographs, and many other interesting lots.
<< The Merwin-Clayton Sales company on February 6-7-8 sold the Angling collection of the late James L. High of Chicago. Included is the first edition of Izaac Walton's « Compleat Angler » (1653), one of the rarest of English books. This copy is in old russia, tooled on sides and back. The Locker-Lampson-Van Antwerp copy in the original sheep binding, which brought £1,290 in March, 1907, is now in Mr. Morgan's library. The Heckscher copy, in modern binding, sold in New York for $3,900 in February, 1909. Mr. High also owned the second, third, fourth, and fifth editions of Walton, all of which are rare and sought for by collectors, as well as a very long list of later editions. Another great rarity is Venable's « Experienced Angler » (1662), a perfect copy in old calf binding ».
From the New York Evening Post:
The Howard Willets collection, destroyed by fire a few years ago, was probably the most extensive collection of Cruikshankiana ever brought together by any American collector. A very remarkable collection of drawings and prints (extracted from books, but generally without the text) was that of John B. Gough. This is now in the library of M. C. D. Borden. The more famous works, as well as the works of famous writers embellished with Cruikshank's plates, are sought for by many collectors, but few, like Bruton, Truman, and Douglas, attempt to procure every book or pamphlet containing an illustration by Cruikshank or every separate print which he made.
New York, February, 1911.
A most interesting article on « The Library at Haigh » (Bibliotheca Lindesiana), the property of the Earl Crawford, appeared recently in « The Manchester Guardian »>. It is from the pen of D. Axon, a littérateur of considerable distinction. We make a few extracts: Lord Crawford, possesses a great collection of books which for extent, variety, and richness may probably claim to hold the first position among the private libraries of England. The present Bibliotheca Lindesiana represents in the main the work of the present Earl and his father. Of this library an excellent catalogue in six volumes folio has been printed for private circulation. It is in the form of a dictionary catalogue with ample cross-references, and the rare books are described with a fullness that leaves nothing to be desired. Mr. A. G. E. Philipps, is the present librarian. The inscription on the fly-leaf, « Lindesiorum Principis Comitis Crawfordiæ et Amicorum », is no empty form, for the resources of the collection have always been freely at the service of investigators. The catalogue represents twenty years of continuous
work. In the introduction Lord Crawford gives an interesting history of the formation of the library. His remarkable collection of MSS. to illustrate the history of writing and of art in connection therewith was sold to Mrs. Rylands, and now forms part of the John Rylands Library. The account of this transaction is especially noteworthy. The Lindsays have not been devoid of a desire for literary fame, but notwithstanding the present Earl's fame as astronomer and bibliographer and his father's claims as art critic and historian, the lover of literature will give precedence to Lady Anne Lindsay, afterwards Barnand, who wrote the beautiful ballad of << Auld Robin Gray », the autograph of which is one of the many treasures of Haigh.
The library is remarkable for its wide range of interest, and passes from fifteenth century incunabula to twentieth century tracts on temperance. In the department of history, geography, and topography it is remarkably rich. Thus under the heading of France there will be found sources of information for every period of its history, including many original editions of books and pamphlets that have helped to shape the destiny of that country. Of De Bry's publications, which are amongst the rarest of geographical books, there is an amazing series. There are some 1,500 Luther books, and theology and ecclesiastical history are well represented. The literature relating to Oriental subjects is also rich. The two volumes devoted to << Proclamations » are full of material for British history. It is only on examining such a calendar as is here presented that it is realised how large a share of the government in the Tudor and Stuart times was carried on by means of these documents. Perhaps the most striking instance is that of the so-called « Book of Sports », which may almost be styled the prologue to the great Civil War in England. Of course such a collection as the Bibliotheca Lindesiana could not have been brought together without ample bibliographical apparatus, and accordingly we find that section very full, including not only the folios of Maittaire and Dibdin and the more scientific work of Proctor and Bradshaw, but a long array of the smaller monographs and essays of Léopold Delisle, G. Peignot, and similar investigators in the byways of literary history. Many out-of-the-way subjects receive illustration in this library. Thus the shorthand collection includes a special copy of the rarest book in the whole range of British stenography (Brights Characterie). Again, hornbooks are amongst the scarcest things coveted by collectors, but Lord Crawford has more than a score of them, including English, Scotch, Danish, Dutch, and German varieties.
Lord Crawford purposes, in further volumes, to deal with the literature of philately, with books and autographs relating to the French Revolution and the First Empire, with ballads and broadsides, and with a collection of some 8,000 Papal bulls and briefs. It may be noted as a curious fact that at one time there were five tons of type standing at the Aberdeen University Press ready for being put into pages for this catalogue. In his « L' Envoi » Lord Crawford says: « I have done, and now send forth the results of some 20 years' continuous work, undertaken in the cause of my successors, as a souvenir to my personal friends, and I trust as a work of interest to the many public institutions and libraries, spread over the world, with whom I have long been in friendly communication ».
This great work of Lord Crawford and his assistants (concludes Dr. Axon) will take its place in the front rank of bibliographical literature. It is a noble monument of a noble library.
The learned author of « Books and Bookmen » in the same well-known daily, gives some items of interest as to the cost of « so great a Library » In 1881, when the Duke of Marlborough's library was to be sold, a whisper was sounded in his ear that he might have the whole collection for £20,000, but he could not lay hands upon the money, so the books went to auction. Now the result of the first sale alone was £19,300, and the sum total of all the sales ran to £56,000. Naturally Lord Crawford has << never ceased regretting » his inability to purchase. Worse, however, than not being able to buy books you wish, is having
to part with books you prize. That is what happened about 1888. At that time the falling due of certain mortgages coincided with a spell of commercial depression, and as he had nothing else to realise he parted with part of his collection. It was a « bitter sacrifice »>, but he knew the market too well not to be able to get the largest possible sum for the smallest number of books. About 1899 an odd thing happened. A business man with whom he had long dealt wrote asking if he had ever contemplated selling his collection of manuscripts. The answer was a flat « No ». Eighteen months later the question was renewed with an added request to consider the matter at leisure and state whatever figure he would. Reluctantly he named a figure which, in conjunction with conditions laid down, he hoped would prove absolutely prohibitive. The collection was not to leave British soil; it was not to include papers relating to the family nor those bearing on the French Revolution and the First Empire. Ten days later he had reason to regret it. A letter came, to his great disgust, closing with the terms, so his manuscripts had to go.
Says The Manchester Guardian » : (Shakspere in the First Folio). A VENERATION for SHAKSPERE as be was originally printed is more common in America than it is here, where the plays are read almost entirely in composite modern texts. To reprint in facsimile all the four Folios was a courageous and public-spirited undertaking, and Messrs. METHUEN, who started the work some years ago and have now, proceeding backwards, reached the greatest and most important of all, the First Folio, are to be congratulated on the conclusion of their labours.
Mr. Henry Guppy, M. A., in his scholarly introduction to the Catalogue of the magnificent Collection of Eastern Manuscripts (papyri, codices, fragments, says : « One of the outstanding features of the John Rylands Library of Manchester, is the interesting collection of Oriental and Western manuscripts, numbering at the 'present time nearly seven thousand items, and illustrating in a remarkable manner most of the more important materials and methods which have been employed from the earliest times for the purpose of recording, preserving, and transmitting to posterity the knowledge of past achievements.
The nucleus of the collection was formed by the manuscripts contained in the Spencer Library. This was added to from time to time by the purchase of individual manuscripts. But the present magnificence and special character of the collection were given to it by the acquisition, in 1901, of the famous Crawford group of nearly six thousand rolls, tablets, and codices.
The importance of the collection at the present time cannot easily be overestimated. The manuscripts are well known to scholars, who have always had ready access to them; but to the world at large, they are yet unknown. A few remarks, therefore, upon some of the most noteworthy and characteristic features of these interesting literary records may not be deemed inappropriate. Beginning with the Eastern section, it must be said at once that the wealth of Oriental manuscripts, of all ages, and in a variety of languages, can hardly be indicated in a brief introduction like the present. Armenian, Ethiopic, Sanskrit, Pali, Panjabi, Hindustani, Marathi, Parsi, Burmese, Canarese, Singhalese, Tamil, Chinese, Japanese, Malay, Ja vanese, Achinese, Mongolian, Balinese, Tibetan, Bugi, Kawi, Madurese, Makassar, and Mexican manuscripts are here in abundance. Here, too, are examples of those curious and rare productions, the medicine books of the Battas, inscribed on the bark of the alimtree, or on bamboo poles. These things are, of course, curious. But of more general interest are the great number of very precious Persian, Arabic, and Turkish manuscripts, numbering nearly two thousand volumes. The examples of the Koran, dating from the eighth and ninth centuries, are, in many cases, of extraordinary beauty and value. One copy, written on 467 leaves of thick bombycine paper, of the date of A.D. 1500, must be one of the largest volumes in the world, measuring, as it does, 34 by 21 inches. Of papyrus rolls and fragments there are