Each year during our Annual Book Sale we find a set of unique and special books that warrant pricing different from our mass of books. These books are set aside and priced uniquely in our Collector’s Corner on the stage of the venue. Below is a description of some of the books to be available.
This year Collector’s Corner will again have a nice selection of unusual and collectible books. There are several handsomely bound books on English and European history by Edward Freeman, each in full leather with ornate gold stampings and marbled end papers. Titles include English Towns and Districts (1883); Historical Geography of Europe (1881) (one volume of text and one of 65 color plates of maps); and three volumes of Historical Essays (1871-1892). English history is especially well represented, with Winston Churchill’s one volume history The River War; his biographical sketches Great Contemporaries; twenty-three reminiscent essays published as Thoughts and Adventures; a selection of his favorite historical characters Heroes of History; volumes of war speeches including The Dawn of Liberation, The End of the Beginning, and Secret Session Speeches; and his one volume history of the Eastern Front in the first World War The Unknown War. Commemorative books about Churchill include His Life in Photographs (edited by his son Randolph), and the Country Beautiful tribute to Churchill printed upon his death in 1965 and containing excerpts from his writings printed with contemporary photographs.
European art and history in general are well represented. In Odyssey Sister Wendy Beckett records her observations and interpretations of art collections in six British cities. Good general guides include A History Buff’s Guide to the Unknown South of France; The Horizon Concise History of France; three of the popular Art and Architecture guides, the Louvre; Paris; and Florence; and a well-illustrated Sights of Paris published in 1950, the photographs of which can be compared with those in the recently published The Secrets of Paris, also in the sale.
Closer to home is the rarely found According to Madge: Early Times in South San Luis Obispo County and the Arroyo Grande Valley. According to the preface, Madge Ditmas “was probably the first person to seriously collect and write the history of Arroyo Grande Valley. Her writing reflects personal interviews of those early pioneers and their descendants.” The Lands of Mission San Miguel is a little farther afield, but the author Wallace Ohles explains “This writer wanted to compile a history of the area, and present it in honor of the celebration of the bicentennial of the founding of Mission San Miguel, Archangel in 1797. This work is not an attempt to be an exhaustive history; its purpose is to provide a fairly concise, one volume history for the general reader.” Farther still is Adventures in Mexico and the Rocky Mountains by George Frederick Ruxton, published in London in 1861 and described by a reviewer as “one of the finest travel accounts of its era … a delightful tale of a time and place now long gone.” Another very special find about the west is Eugene Manlove Rhodes’s The Little World Waddies, a collection of writings about New Mexico during the cowboy era, along with poems and a bibliography of his writings. Western exploration is the subject of Mountaineering in the Tetons: the Pioneer Period 1898-1940 by Fritiof Fryxell and Phil Smith, an early homesteader. Natural history in North America is well represented by The Travels of the Naturalist Charles A. Lesueur in North America 1815-1837 by E. T. Hamy and translated by Milton Haber with an inscription written by Haber’s wife Helen, dated 1970. It is an unusual book about a little-known naturalist in early19th century America.
A beautiful book on American history is William Seale’s The President’s House: A History, published by the White House Historical Association. This is the deluxe limited and numbered edition, two volumes bound in leather with leather slipcase, linen endpapers, and a satin bookmark ribbon. Its 1552 pages with almost 180 illustrations provide a comprehensive history that is also a good read. Another good read in American history is the Library of America’s first volume of Francis Parkman’s France and England in North America – Parkman’s writings will make anyone a history buff.
For the more science oriented there is the May-October 1895 collected edition of Cassier’s Magazine, Engineering Illustrated, a collection of articles about the technology of the late 19th century, including “The Telephone and its Operation”, “Gas Motor Street Cars”, “Gunpowder Engines”, “Gas and Oil Engines”, and many others. The illustrations are especially interesting.
Other special finds include Adventures in Light and Color: An Introduction to the Stained Glass Craft by Charles Connick, illustrated with mounted color plates of stained glass windows, line drawings, diagrams, and collotype plates; a beautiful book and a real collector’s item. Another beautifully produced book is Isamu Noguchi, A Study of Space by Ana Maria Torres, a comprehensive study of Noguchi’s public works, including playgrounds, gardens, parks, plazas, interior designs, and sculptures.
Good books look more impressive on a shelf than on an eReader, so come to the sale and find a treasure that will impress your friends. You’ll never see a Kindle or a Nook as handsome as a book.