best of craigslist > SF bay area > Rare Books Library - 1535 to 1940
Originally Posted: 2009-05-11 9:03pm

Rare Books Library - 1535 to 1940

Attention RARE BOOKS COLLECTORS

A gentleman's eclectic rare book library available to private collectors - representing a bygone era collected over 30 years by a single collector (non-dealer) and particularly popular in the UK and eastern/southern US, where families of European descent settled and stayed during and after the American Revolution. A salute to the historical, fiction and non-fiction and literary books read by almost every child in America from the 1700's onward - a legacy and keystone to Victorian cultural values for generations to enjoy.

Particularly important to those who expand their reading, writing and speaking skills through books - those that taught primarily the importance of.... PATRIOTISM, PARENTAL RESPECT, CLEANLINESS, INDUSTRY and...SHAME (a term drummed out during the 1960's and 70's). These are books that instilled MORAL PRINCIPALS to adults and children alike - in accordance with the EDUCATIONAL AIMS OF THE DAY - adherence to Christianity -allegiance to country and -consideration for others.

In place of Big Bird, Barney and the Cookie monster - they warned of dire consequences if the nation ever stopped observing the Sabbath with proper reverence; stories stressing the mutual obligations between young and old, rich and poor; excerpts from an essay by Oliver Goldsmith (beautiful bindings in these copies) on how happiness comes from within, not from external objects; numerous tales of children who strive to support their families by doing such menial tasks as selling matches or shoveling snow lest the shame of poverty descend, and above all, the importance of getting an education - Little Lucy, in the First Reader (McGuffey Reader - 1836) would "rather read than play" because children who "do not know how to read cannot learn anything but what is told to them"

The library is a testimonial to LESSONS TAUGHT (over 250 prints from the 1800's are available as well) - folio prints taken from large 19th century books - popular additions to many of the books in this library - produced by massive steam-drive presses and distributed though book illustrations or through magazine solicitation (Century, Harpers etc). Prints suitable for framing (if the book was pulled apart - not a good idea) and produced for the pre-1900 burgeoning middle-classes to be hung in family space at home.

Portions of the library are unique - 19th century Anglo-America reflecting social (economic) needs of Puritan-Republican, producer-capitalist culture of the times - a culture in which men and women were judged on the basis of character, their moral qualities, their principles, their rectitude and especially their work habits. Promotes positive thoughts through beautifully written passages (seldom re-published).

Today, stories are presented (whatever sticks on the wall) as a result of the modern advertising-supported culture heavily weighted toward ENTERTAINMENT. In the new Electronic culture, stories are controlled by those hearing them (and readers are limited to what is being presented). Advertisers pay freight to ship books, but care little, if at all, at what gets transmitted. Advertisers want AUDIENCE ATTENTION, morality being the secondary consideration. The target audience is young, affluent, and eager to experiment types - bored, blaming and aggressive toward the old ways and views.

Interestingly, books of the past were really more about STORYTELLING than today - a maximum value on this rare book collection. But, storytelling changed in the 1960's and more so with today's software (electronic copies of books can be downloaded) - happily we can load great stories we grew up as well (Dickens, Twain, London, Grant, Lee, Eisenhower, etc)

In the early modern world - lessons were DOWNLOADED FROM ABOVE. They were told vertically from the CHURCH and the COURT - and down to the people and finally DOWN to the CHILDREN. Stories were told first in song, later in paint and with the advent of the Printing Press, they were told horizontally, sideways-out, from the WRITERS, to EDITORS and PUBLISHERS; and fanlike OUTWARD to the READERS IN BOOKS (placed on shelves), MAGAZINES and NEWSPAPERS

In the contemporary world - lessons in the electronic world - stories seem to be told BOTTOM - UP - from the audience BACKWARD to the storytellers

Now, it seems, with nonexistent censorship, those in control of the storytelling machinery can be wonderfully "amoral" - caring less about which stories are told, as long as they can gather a particular audience together for a period of time - and then essentially RENTING THAT AUDIENCE'S ATTENTION TO AN ADVERTISER. The only gate they keep - is the BOTTOM LINE. Today, story tellers (of TV and film, in general) must gauge what the audience wants and sell their attention to a third party for money. That is a livelihood - not storytelling. Power today is held by advertising - less by creativity or imagination.

Print media has always carried advertising, but advertising was always subservient to the text, used as a way to lessen purchase prices. Historically, book, newspaper and magazine publishers saw their connection with the reader as - ONE OF FRIEND and GUIDE. An unfortunate commercial necessity, there were pitched battles between owners and assemblers of print media and advertising agencies. Ads were often bundled up in ghettos in the back of the book rather than allowed to intrude on the text. Family owned dynasties owned and protected the power of the print - the Scribners, Holts, etc had a tradition of caring for their readers in a rather paternalistic way. Publishing was run like a secular church - a sacred trust. The "gentle reader" idiom was part of a culture that also included a weekly "letter to the editor" or notes from the publishers desk The great publishers saw themselves as "merchants of light". Today, their counterparts exist in large conglomerates who call books "UNITS" and authors "TALENTS" - like Hollywood. So, I even find myself marketing this collection on the Internet (because it is best served to a limited audience of individual collectors desiring a complete library of historical consequences).

Books were once ruled by Victorian gatekeepers - Ministers and parents were powerful gatekeepers, but the real powers of the time (evident in these books) were the editors, publishers, teachers, manufacturers, shopkeepers. Typical of the time - every time Queen Mary visited the Victoria and Albert Museum, a vast plaster fig leaf was hooked onto the cast of Michelangelo's David. If you want a nifty barometer of how much things have changed, think only of the royal family today.

At that time - there existed a still palpable fear among the middle class that emanated from...what THEY COULD DIMLY REMEMBER FROM THE FRENCH REVOLUTION - and WHAT THEY KNEW WAS OCCURRING IN THE MID-CENTURY UPRISINGS IN EUROPE AT THE TIME - A healthy fear of the mindless mob existed. Hence, along came the Victorian SOCIAL REVOLUTION that worked TOWARD STABILITY through the mid-20th century (similar to TV's attempts at cultures of the Beaver, Disney and the Honeymooners - a mainstay for families sharing dinner together.

What was said by a contemporary historian of the 19th century could apply as well to America of the 1950's - that the "poor was striving in almost impossible circumstances of their lives to conform to middle-class standards of morality" Then in around 1960, something happened. Morality went the way of top hats and spats and the center would not hold as a result. Thereafter, cultural programming was generated - from BELOW, not ABOVE. Society began slouching toward today's CULTUREVILLE. As always, those who "control the international flow of money and information, preside over philanthropic foundations and institutions of higher learning - and ultimately MANAGE THE INSTRUMENTS OF CULTURAL PRODUCTION - AND, THUS. SET THE TERMS OF PUBLIC DEBATE. Even then, the "elite", it was generally thought at the time - didn't care for the world around them - and in the words of WORDSWORTH - "Getting and spending, they lay waste OUR lives"

While these books represent the Victorian society (lots wrong - bigotry, exploitation of labor, racism, genocide in empire building) there was also plenty right about the era by comparison to today's standards. The boy's classics of the times showed societies of the world and illustrations upon which to dream about when they grew up. Children read these books and left home for adventure when they became of age. The Victorian age taught it was right to direct attention to first individual and group decencies. Victorian shame was most often directed toward the excesses of romantic narcissism - Responsibility was situated first in THE INDIVIDUAL, THEN IN THE GROUP. Public and private were well defined, and private came first. The library represents an era in which GENTILITY, RESPECTABILITY and PROPRIETY were often regarded as the GREATEST PUBLIC VIRTUES.

American youngsters have always been glutted with socializing information - and in the past they were brought up on puritan primers and print, often written by schoolteachers, historians or pastors, melodramatic in nature and stern in punishing the wayward child through shame and social control. Authors like Louis May Alcott, Aldrich and Finley tempered this zeal, but still cast the child as at risk in a world of danger. PROTECT YOURSELF, BEHAVE PROPERLY, LEARN THE MANNERS, THEN SUCCESS MAY BE YOURS.

I hope to attract private collectors of financial means, who appreciate quality rare books en bloc and seek a long-term investment that will last for generations - a library of well over 4,000 individual volumes on hundreds of fascinating topics of interest to those who value American, European literature and history.

All the books are highly illustrated in exquisite bindings and range across all categories
- nearly 30 years taken to collect en mass - each purchased by the owner in pristine condition
- most all printed prior to, during (or just after) the 1800's (ranging from 1535 to 1950).
- antiquarian books of such quality and range - found en bloc - would be difficult, if not impossible in today's marketplace. Most of similar breadth are kept as family heirlooms to build upon, hand down to children or trade or gift among friends on special occasions.

Printing dates span 400 years.
- Titles are well-recognized and read like indexes seen in US and European literature and history books. Many of us kept such books to learn about our history. Each unique book opens possibilities to expand learning more about our heritage
- Non-fiction, fiction, art and historical books, biographies and topics of interest to those familiar with western civilization and world history - including American, European and International literature, international art books as well as numerous highly illustrated books of significant historical value to eclectic book collectors. Basically, a truly unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to obtain glimpses into the Victorian era, for example, as well as American and European history - clearly, impossible to find anywhere else in one place.

Many highly valued authors who helped build America left us a legacy of historical literature about their experiences. We owe a debt to those who contributed and sacrificed (the European, Scandinavian, Mediterranean areas, etc). We also owe gratitude to those who kept the books for us - including ancestors who grew up reading these books in their original state as children and adults - many of whom experienced the challenges and adventures of American and Western civilization first hand and wrote of their experiences for us to learn about and pass down to our children. Modern day schools cannot keep up with categories seen in this collection - there is also a shift away from teaching many basics we grew up reading about. Our country was founded on many of the traditional and cultural heritages that these books focus upon - including fascinating places and experiences they could only read and dream about at the time, but we find described in fascinating detail in these books. The Internet has made it easier to everyone to find "information" very quickly, but books are inherently valuable as bound (printed) - books will last and cannot easily be cut off or limited by modern technical problems.

Categories in the library include only the finest examples of English, Scottish, Irish, German, French, American and European Literature; Children's Books from pre1900; Color-Plate illustrations from wood, steel and copper, all being Highly Illustrated Books; Early Printed Books back to 1535; Private Press Books, thousands of Fine Bindings, Original Artwork, Manuscripts, High Spot Modern First Editions and very rare books your great-great grandparents collected and read when children, usually by candlelight. All the books were collected individually (inspected by hand) from antiquarian bookshops over 30 years of searching and purchases.

A single purchase the library en bloc is the best option for the value, but a payment plan can be arranged by agreement as well for tax purposes. Depending on volumes selected, I will consider half the asking price. The retail value exceeds $700,000, as admitted by many dealers who have viewed the collection, but cannot offer retail prices considering the wholesale and profit margins needed as middlemen to their clients (and economic considerations). I do plan to retain a few hundred volumes for my own collection that will not be included in the sale.

There are simply too many interesting categories to list here - and you will understand the overall value in a single purchase when viewed (rather than a giant list on a spreadsheet).

Clearly, high interest for specialists, brokers, dealers and even private collectors has been generated and considered - but, once broken up, the library will be of lesser value to the eclectic types who, like me, the value of the library being in its entirety, intact.

Within the collection - all inclusive Cal and Stanford yearbooks, local and national football coaches playbooks and inspirational writings (including Pop Warner, Pappy Waldorf, Rockne, Leyhe, McKay and more). Most are firsts including the 1906 SF earthquake, 1912 Titanic sinking, 1876 Custer biography and Elisabeths (wife) books, etc. Some limited Western Americana for specialists - History of (18)49ers, 2 and 3 volume sets on SF and a 2 volume set on California edited by John Muir (including individual titles).

All who have visited agree it is an astonishing collection seldom seen even in a book shop - a one of a kind opportunity to obtain a complete library of rare books of major historical importance - libraries of such magnitude and quality are seldom seen and predominantly kept by gentlemen in the UK, eastern or southern parts of the USA - never making it to the marketplace.

En bloc is ideal to retain and hand down to children and generations to come. Dealers are focused on mediating sales by specialty to their clients. Serious collectors can contact me to discuss. I will arrange a personal viewing for those who are serious about acquiring such a library for themselves or their entire family.

Some brief examples include - a 1535 Homer edition in Greek, Caesar's Commentaries in English with foldouts in English, biographies of all US Civil War generals including folios of Leslies and Harpers historical sets, Stanley and Livingston sets, Blighs journals, Cook's 3 voyages, 1879 Custer, 1899 Egyptian book of the Dead, Bibles from all eras, childrens books from UK and US pre-1900, complete sets of Dickens, RL Stevenson, Twain, Sir Richard Burton, Lincoln; Fiction and Non-fiction American and European (London, Steinbeck, Hemingway); Einstein, all official Olympic Games books (including many of the 1936 games with photos), Albert Schwietzer, and many more.

Most copies were valued in the $200 to $300 range with well over 50 volumes in the $2,500 to $3,500 range (purchased as retail). All pre-1900 children's books collected because of their fine, colorful bindings - many seen in bookstore windows over the years at $45 minimum.

A few 17th century folios. But, frankly my library is - American, European, literature, Travels and Voyages and many, many early illustrated first editions other very fine printings.

1. Homer, ILIAS ET ULYSSIEA, cum Interpretatione. Greek text with marginal notes. 4 to, new 1/2 calf, Basle Herwagen, 1535
2. The Commentaries of C Julius Caefar of his wars in Gallia; and the civil wars bewixt him and Pompey. With many excellent and judicious obfervations thereupon, and alfo the ART of our Modern Training Also the Art of Modern Training by Clement Edmonds. Printed by Edward Jones - MDCXCV - new binding in quarter leather and another in original binding (2 copies) 1695 Covent Garden
3. Fables of Aesop and other eminent mythologists; with Morals and Reflections ; By Sir Roger L'Eftrange, Kt. 3rd edition corrected and amended. London Printed for R Sare, B. Took, M. Gillyflower, etc 1699. rebound with new spine and very thick bookcovers.
4. FABLES - Ancient and Modern; Tranflated in VERSE, from Homer, Ovid, Boccace, & Chaucer: with ORIGINAL POEMS by Mr Dryden LONDON: Printed for Jacob Confon, within Gray's Inn Gate next Gray's Inn Lane. MDCC Rebound
5. An ACCOUNT of Sir Isaac Newton's Philofohical Difcoveries, in four books by Colin Maclaurin, Am. by Patrick Murdoch, MA and FRS - second edition London Printed for A Millar at Buchanan's Head MDCCL

A small sample of other books perhaps of interest;
1. A voyage to the Pacific Ocean undertaken by the command of his Majesty, for making Difcoveries in the Northern Hemifphere - in 3 volumes (no maps as a separate volume) Dublin MDCCLXXXIV printed for H Chamberlaine, W Watson, et al
2. Paradise Lost - A poem The Author John Milton - 2 volumes (small) - London, printed for John Sharpe Piccadilly 1822
3. The L and A of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel De Foe in two volumes (small, not exactly matched) Vol I Hartford: Judd Loomis & Co 1837 and Vol II Hartford: Andrus and Judd 1833
4. A clean, modern facsimili of the original 3 volume set of - Robinson Crusoe series 1790 on. Introduction written by Charles Whibley London; Constable & Co, Ltd. Priinted in Britain by Cahares Whittingham and Griggs (Printers) at the Chiswick Press MCMXXC
5. CORPVS POETARVM LATINORV - VOL I & II - OPERA et FRAGMENTA - veterum Poetarum Latinorum. Profanorum & Ecclefiafticorum . Doubus Voluminibus comprehenfa Londoni Apud J Nicholson, B Tooke, & J Tonson Large Folio MDCCXIII
6. John Leech's Pictures of Life and Character, from the collection of "Mr Punch"; London, Bradbury Agnew & Co.1886 Folio

Others include large illustrated folios, firsts (French and English) of Aesop, La Fontaine, poets, history, exploration, travels, battles, etc, etc. I have a medium sized series - 6 bands of Twain's works - in German (Stutgard 1892 to 1897) first editions in this series - mint, red covers illustrated as though printed yesterday - verlag von robert lub - an Internet reference - obtained by UCL (University College London) in 2006 for an undisclosed price by their library - pencil inscriptions from 1906.

Below - some second printings of the more famous modern American authors - Good, clean copies purchased when I was a young student without much capital. At that time, I chose lesser expensive volumes (non-firsts) as the first editions were trading at a very high premium and collector competition was simply too expensive for me at the time. Dealers and collectors sell the true firsts across the nation from several hundred, in some cases to several thousand per volume in those signed, top quality, etc - depending on the condition and interests of their clientele. In my collection, the non-first editions apply only to a few authors - Oz, Steinbeck, and Twain and therefore, mine have been priced accordingly in the collection based on condition and year printed.

Sample Hemingway
The Garden of Eden 1986 Scribners
The Old Man and the Sea 1952 Scribners
The Green Hills of Africa 1935 Scribners
Across the River and through the Trees 1950 Scribers
Men without Women 1927 the MacCaulay Co

Sample London
When God Laughs 1911 MacMillan Regent
The Sea Wolf, June 1906, Grosset & Dunlap NY
Before Adam, 1907 MacMillan
Moon Face, 1906 MacMillan
Sailor on Horseback, 1938 Houghton Mifflin - Jacket
White Fang - Oct 1906 Grosset & Dunlap, Riverside press - Jacket
The Game - June 1905, MacMillan

Sample Steinbeck
Bombs Away 1942 Viking
For Whom the Bell Tolls, 1940 Scribners A - Jacket
Cup of Gold 1936, Robert McBride & Co - Jacket
The Moon is Down March 1942, Viking - Jacket
The Pearl 1948, Wm Heinemann Ltc, Britain
Death in the Afternoon 1932 Scribners A. Sketch of him in front and color page
The Wayward Bus 1947, Viking
Travels with Charlie 1962 Wolg Mfg Co - Jacket

The mostly 18th and mostly 19th century editions were well-recognized in rare book shops - quality literature, poetry, childrens books - interesting and amazing illustrations representing an amazing era - epic talent in writing, illustrating and publishing.

Other very small sample --
- Fiction/Nonfiction - Twain, Dickens, Lincoln, Nordoff & Hall, Cooper, Steinbeck, London, Oscar Wilde, La Fontaine/Aesop's Fables, Goldsmith, Roosevelt (African Game Travels), Jules Verne, too many to mention
- Historical folios - Rev Wars France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Lossing's US hx classics, San Francisco1849; 1535 Homer in Greek and Latin; Hx of US and England; Bancroft series; All Olympic books including several '36, 2 vol Germany summer/winter w/ inlaid photos; Complete historical photo series of US Civil War by Lincoln's Photographer. All letters, speeches and correspondence Lincoln
- Folios - Harpers weekly (+ monthly) bound 1860's + 1960 reprints, Civil War, Rome, Egyptian Book of the Dead 1899, English/Scottish Kings, 260 large matted prints US army uniforms 1888 back to revolutionary war, European historical, aristocracy, soldiers and castles, etc; All weapons of England (1700's); John Muir firsts/folio about California; Pictorial memoirs of Napoleon's generals who fought in the wars;
- Travel and Exploration - Journals of 3 Voyages of Cook's 1st Irish, multiple sets of Stanley/Livingston (last jounals etc), Dr. Albert Schweitzer, Arabian Nights Sir Richard Burton, Portugal/Spain and English explorers; Bligh's South Seas journal (copy of the actual handwritten journal) signed Lord Mountbatten (hero to English of WWII and later blown up by IRA)
- Illustrated Literature - complete sets Goethe, Twain, Dickens, Hodder/Stoughton classics, St Nicholas 1886-90, Victor Hugo, Robert Louis Stevenson - many, many more - Victorian women's styles and dresses bound from mid 1800's on - hand colored.
- Children's fine bindings - poetry, stories about historical figures, civil war heroes, heroes, heroines etc-Victorian era. Bambi series, Dare Wright series (Bears children books) many, many complete children's illustrated - 1940 and 50 classic series (entire).
- Fine artistic illustrated - large steel engravings founding fathers, hand colored 19th/20th century. Aesop's/La Fontaine Fables 1699 and other later editions, Galleries/Famous American and European Poets, Authors and Literature 1800's on bindings and sets
- European/American History - RE Lee and Lincoln writings, Lossing's American revolution/civil war series, Caesar's Commentaries English 1700's with battle array foldouts; Sir Isaac Newton - biography with foldouts. Mutiny on the Bounty, Pitcairn Island firsts
- Autobiographies, biographies - first eds Lincoln , Washington , Napoleon, Custer and Sitting Bull, Indian wars, Buffalo Bill. Wild Bill, entire US Rev and Civil War sets by casualties and regiments, WWI, II generals, Lodges Portraits of English Gentlemen, 1700's encyclopedia and literature, Einstein on Zionism 1933
- College yearbooks - all Stanford/Cal, Starr (about Stanford) on diverse topics
- Classical Music history - complete folio series on classical music/opera - actors in costume 1880's - music and narrative
- Poetry books - countless fine bindings/complete sets from the turn of the century authors and artistic works. Whitman, EA Poe
- Sports - Coaches football play books - Knute Rockne/Pop Warner on football, Payton on Basketball, etc
- Bibles - all types/sizes family bibles from 1700's forward - some signed/some unused. Books on women, weddings and families from 1800's onward.
- Plans - famous masted ships, rigging, famous WWI and WWII aircraft design, defense of US and Britain against invasion
- WWII - Jane's aircraft/ship series, famous general's autobiographies, victory series to US soldiers; war summary by Eisenhower

Cheers,

Please reply via email and I will contact you giving serious consideration to those interested. We can share email information and discuss the possibilities. You will want to view the collection in any case

a private collector

Danville, CA


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