Rare books presented at the Rose City Virtual Book Fair

We are pleased to offer the following books for the Rose City Virtual Book Fair.

Of special note is the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that is signed by the “real” Alice. The 1789 publication of The History of the American Revolution is an important document by a participant in that war, and the vernacular cookbooks are documents of an entirely different experience.

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Carroll, Lewis. Illustrated by John Tenniel.

New York: The Limited Editions Club, 1932.

In 1862, Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) went on a row boat trip with three daughters of his friends the Liddells. During a break for tea, the 10-year-old middle daughter, Alice, asked for a story.

“According to Carroll, ‘in a desperate attempt’ and ‘without the least idea what was to happen afterwards,’ he sent his heroine ‘straight down a rabbit-hole.’ Upon Alice’s urging, Carroll began writing down his tale. On November 26, 1864, he presented her with an elaborate hand-illustrated manuscript, titled Alice’s Adventures Under Ground.

When Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published a year later, Alice Liddell became immortalized as the inspiration for Carroll’s much-loved literary character.” (University of Maryland) Years later, after the death of her husband, Alice (Liddell) Hargreaves would need to sell the manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground to maintain her estate. It sold for a whopping £15,400, which is roughly equivalent to a million dollars today.

One of the top productions in the long line of successes by the Limited Editions Club are the Lewis Carroll books signed by Alice Hargreaves, the “real” Alice. Fifteen hundred copies were produced in the edition of Wonderland. The LEC couldn’t afford to pay Hargreaves the price she wanted, so they offered her signature at an additional fee to subscribers: about twelve hundred paid the fee. This was significantly more than the 500 copies she originally agreed to sign! (Quarto-Millenary, p. 242) About this book, the publisher George Macy writes:

When our books appear for sale in the resale market, or in the auction rooms, a copy of Alice in Wonderland, signed by the original Alice, usually fetches the highest of all prices. I think this is because Fred Warde made an exquisite book of it; because the illustrations were badly printed in the early editions, and we were wise to have them re-engraved in wood so that they were printed properly, in our edition, for the first time; and because the signature of the original Alice has so great an association value.

Full red Morocco leather binding with gilt decorative frames on front & rear panels, spine with six panels, three of which depict Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the March Hare; designed by Frederic Warde. The original John Tenniel illustrations engraved on wood by Bruno Rollitz; typography also by Warde who has signed the colophon. Number 278 of 1500. Very good to near fine condition; minor fading to spine, very light wear to head of spine; owner’s bookplate to half-title page. Red cloth slipcase with darkening to top panel and modest smudge to rear panel. Laid in are the facsimile of the letters from her son to the LEC, stating the signing terms Alice Hargreaves agreed to (these letters were originally included with the Looking Glass publication.) $2,500

An eleven-second video of this book is here.

[If you enjoy fine press books, you might want to glance at our catalog on Papermaking which has a few more.]

Post-fair update: click here for 9 more photos.

The Witches

Dahl, Roald.

London: Jonathan Cape, 1983.

Roald Dahl’s dark hilarity is in top form with The Witches, one of his most-requested books at our store, and the basis for two movies, the 1990 starring Angelica Houston as the Grand High Witch, and the upcoming (October, 2020) movie starring Anne Hathaway in the same role.

Second printing (only “Reprinted 1983” on copyright page), teal cloth boards, inscribed in black marker “To Hannah | Love | Roald Dahl.” Some toning to pages, offsetting from inscription to half-title, else fine in near fine jacket. $1,100

We also have a 10th printing, green cloth boards, inscribed “To Joe | With luck and best wishes, Roald Dahl | Oct 1988.” Light toning to pages, very small mark to foredge, price-clipped jacket with barcode and 10-digit ISBN on rear panel, near fine in like jacket. $950

The Theme is Freedom

Dos Passos, John.

New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1956.

The celebrated author of The Manhattan Transfer and the USA Trilogy offers this collection of articles and essays as both a political autobiography and a history of the previous thirty years. He allows himself to change his ideas about various subjects, “but his aim remains the same: the assurance of a life of freedom for the individual.”

Near fine condition in very good jacket. Full green cloth boards with torch devices on spine. Light smudging to white rear panel, one short tear (no loss) to rear panel, original price intact on flap. First edition. $125

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Doyle, A. Conan.

New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1897.

I can say nothing about Sherlock Holmes that has not been said before.

Near fine condition. Blue cloth boards with slanted weave. Black Gordion knot emblem, gilt lettering on spine and front board. Illustrated by Sidney Paget and others. Faint wear and discoloration to edges, minor speckling to top edge. First published in 1892, this early printing follows the same design and format as the first. $175


Gardner, John.

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971.

Re-telling a tale from a new perspective is a fun literary genre that sometimes comes up with a new tale as compelling in its own way as the original. Gardner’s take on Beowulf has been considered a success since its publication.

Fine copy in near fine jacket. Full purple cloth boards with cover design by Emil Antonucci. Red jacket shows minimal fading to spine panel, which is a frequent issue with this title; minor toning to edges of white flaps. Sold


Newman Levy.
Illustrated by Abner J. Epstein.

Brattleboro: Vermont Printing Company, 1931.

A humorous poem published toward the end of Prohibition. A monk convinces a sexy woman to stop partying and become a nun–he later regrets it.

Printed from Frederick W. Goudy’s Monotype Deepende, on Mabuki from the Japan Kisogawa Papers. Mild dampstain to top of pages at hinge, barely visible on rear board. Number 104 of edition of 250. Very good condition, the silver and gold on the cover have been well-protected and are still bright. Sold

[If you like that cover, you may also be interested in the 18th century decorative paper covers in our Papermaking catalog.]

The Price of Salt

Morgan, Claire [Patricia Highsmith].

New York: Bantam Books, 1953.

Lesbian love was by no means a stranger to 1950s pulp fiction, but this book is a little unusual in presenting it as both real and valuable.

First printing thus. Very good condition. Small chip to base of spine, very faint crease to spine, pages are bright and binding is solid. $275

[If pulps are your thing, be sure to check out our other offerings in this Vintage Pulp Slideshow.]

Music at Night and other Essays

Huxley, Aldous.

New York: The Fountain Press, 1931.

Essays, meditations, largely literary. Also cats: “It is impossible for me in the space at my disposal to enumerate all the human truths which a pair of cats can reveal or confirm.”

Very good condition. Marbled paper covered boards over black cloth spine. Typography by Pynson Printers (Elmer Adler). Wear to corners, mild toning to pages. Signed by Aldous Huxley at colophon. Limited edition. $250

Never Let Me Go

Ishiguro, Kazuo.

London: Faber and Faber, 2005.

It’s a horror novel! It’s sci-fi! It’s modern literature! Ishiguro’s dystopian novel has confused critics since publication, but readers have enjoyed it nevertheless. A gripping tale of clones, bred to be organ donors, who experience all the passions of the heart during their short lives.

Fine in like jacket. Flat-signed by Ishiguro on title page. First printing. Sold

Rhymes to be Traded

Lindsay, Vachel.

Springfield, Illinois: by the author, 1912.

Vachel Lindsay was an early twentieth century poet, noted as much for his self-promotion as his poetry. His declaration of purpose for this leaflet is wonderful:

This book is to be used in exchange for the necessities of life on a tramp-journey from the author’s home town, through the West and back, during which he will observe the following rules: (1) Keep away from the cities. (2) Keep away from the railroads. (3) Have nothing to do with money. (4) Ask for dinner about quarter after eleven. (5) Ask for supper, lodging and breakfast about quarter of five. (6) Travel alone. (7) Be neat, truthful, civil and on the square. (8) Preach the gospel of beauty.

Very good condition. Horizontal crease, rust at staples, some toning to pages. Included are the 1975 invoice (for $185) and letter from Serendipity Books, which is the last time this particular copy was sold. $250

Shadow over Innsmouth

Lovecraft, H.P.

Everett, PA: Visionary Publishing Co., 1936.

This is the only book of his that Lovecraft ever saw published, and what a disappointment. Only about 400 sheets were printed and about half of those lost in a fire, resulting in roughly 200 copies of this book distributed. The workmanship is notably less-than-perfect. The pictorial dust jacket (see our sci-fi/fantasy/horror list for that copy [sold]) goes so far as to have the author’s initials as “.H .P” on the front panel. Nevertheless, a high point for any collection of horror and weird fiction.

I’ve taken some liberties with the photograph because there is really nothing to show condition-wise. Fine in fine jacket. Silver lettering on jacket still reflective; slight foxing to the very edge of the flaps. $2,500

[If you are interested in H.P. Lovecraft, please see the large Arkham House collection in our “Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror” catalog.]

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Orwell, George.

London: Secker & Warburg, 1949.

One of the most enduring literary pastimes is comparing modern life to Orwell’s dystopian classic. No matter the year, Orwell’s novel speaks of such enduring human and political truths, that there is always something to find…and to fear.

Very good condition. Light green cloth boards with red lettering and decoration on spine. Cloth is toned at spine, near edges, and about 1.5″ into the rear board from the spine. Mild slant from reading, no markings found, a clean and solid copy. First printing. Sold

[If you are interested in science fiction, be sure so check out our Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror catalog.]

Post-fair update: click here to view more photographs.


Toibin, Colm.

Dublin: Tuskar Rock Press, 2009.

Costa Book Award winning novel, and basis for the Oscar-nominated film. This limited edition of 75 cloth-bound copies was published by Toibin’s own small press.

Fine in near fine slipcase. Two narrow soil spots to edge of slipcase. $330

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Twain, Mark.

New York: Charles L. Webster & Co., 1894.

Very few American works have passed the test of time with the success of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. They remain accessible and enjoyable, and are many people’s introduction to the work of Mark Twain. The illustrations by Edward Windsor Kemble complement the humor and style of Twain’s writing perfectly. Despite both being printed in 1894, this pair of books is not an exact match (cloth bindings are different colors; Tom has floral endpapers), but they’ve presumably been together for well over a century and I hate to break them up. Publisher’s bindings with illustrated boards taken from the illustrations by Kemble.

Very good condition. Boards are clean and square with just modest wear to edges, minor darkening to spines. Front hinge of Huck repaired at some point; toning to pages of Tom. A delightful set to read and to own. Sold



Two Vernacular Cookbooks by two sisters

Leah Orsella “Sella” Guiss Patton (1869-1927), of Salem, Oregon and Minta (Guiss) Regner.

Sella’s book:

At least 60 leaves, most of which have recipes on both sides. A few pages of the original use for this cash book are still visible. One lists receipts for the Steamer “Moose” in 1862. Another lists Stock Holders in Steamer “Relief.” Patton’s father-in-law was an influential lawyer, laid the cornerstone for Oregon’s statehouse, was consul to Japan, and owned and operated a bookstore in Salem from 1866 until his death in 1892. Prior to the bookstore, however, he was involved with steamers, including one called the “Fanny Patton,” and this ledger was most likely his.

Writing is in several hands, including some children’s. Clippings are from manufacturer’s promotional material, magazines, and newspapers. The rear of the book has a good index, possibly in a daughter’s handwriting, divided by categories: Cake, Pie, Pudding, Soup, Salad, Hot Bread, Candy, Cookies, Breakfast Dishes, Miscellaneous (main dishes & sides.)

Minta’s book:

About 44 leaves with recipes, most on both sides, as well as several clippings laid in. Minta used more clippings than Sella and so has a higher density of recipes per page. A number of the handwritten recipes are dated or have the contributor’s name. Additionally, Minta kept a record of her cash expenditures from February through November, 1908 while in Seattle. Although she was generally able to keep expenses (mostly groceries) to under $100 per month, November totals a whopping $506.13 as she prepared for Christmas.

Included in here is her sister’s “English Monkey” recipe. This recipe appears on page 44 of Sella’s cookbook. Originally printed in a magazine, Sella (in her own book) has pasted the magazine clipping in, and then altered the magazine recipe by hand, presumably with improvements based on experience. By the time the recipe is written in Minta’s cookbook, it has been further refined. An interesting example of the evolution of a single recipe.

Fair to poor conditions, a few leaves may be missing, bindings taped. These clearly were not casual compilations of recipes, but actively used references. Sold

[A little more of these volumes can be seen in our short video on “Condition” we’ve made for the Rose City VBF.]

The Dance of Life: an Answer to the “Dance of Death”

Mrs. Dr. J. Milton Bowers.

San Francisco: San Francisco News Company, 1877.

Ambrose Bierce decided to have some fun in 1877 by co-authoring a book under the pseudonym William Herman, which expressed moral outrage at the waltz, a dance of “intolerable nastiness.” This rebuttal to his work, published in the same year,might have been written by Bierce (see the article “Faking It” here.) So, this is either a brilliant fake rebuttal to a fake original argument, or it’s a real rebuttal to a misunderstood argument. Either way, it defends the right of 19th century women to dance the waltz without being scandalous.

Very good condition. Brick cloth beveled boards with black decorative frame and gilt calligraphic lettering to front board; no lettering on spine. Modest wear to edges; text is clean and binding is solid. $50


My Trip Abroad

Chaplin, Charlie.

New York: Harper & Brothers, 1922.

“A fast moving narrative of a breathless trip to England and the continent by America’s greatest screen comedian.” Chaplin uses his fame to meet with famous people, starting with James Barrie and H.G. Wells. Partly self-deprecating, but also partly enjoying his own fame, this is a light-hearted travelogue that only Chaplin could provide.

Very good in good jacket. Bottom corner of front board bumped, else near fine. Dust jacket shows edgewear, discoloration near spine, short tear at top of front panel, modest rubbing and stains; looks better than it sounds. First printing. $225

Angela Davis: An Autobiography

Davis, Angela.

New York: Random House, 1974.

Angela Davis has been on the FBI Ten Most Wanted List, a two-time Vice Presidential candidate for the Communist Party, and an inspiration for a Rolling Stones song (“Sweet Black Angel.”) A feminist, Black Panther, and left-wing activist she is in many ways symbolic of America’s freedom of speech.

Near fine condition in like jacket. Faint speckling to top edge of pages. DJ has shallow crease at top of front panel, crease to front flap. Inscribed “In Struggle, Angela Y. Davis” on title page. First edition stated. Sold

A Many-Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe

Dyson, Freeman J.

Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2007.

Dyson was a theoretical physicist and mathematician whose popular writings won him the Lewis Thomas Prize for Science Writing. A maverick thinker who believed in scientific evidence over popular opinion, his legacy will be long in both pure science and science writing.

Fine in fine jacket. First edition. Inscribed by Dyson on title page. $100

Voyages from Montreal, on the River St. Laurence, through the Continent of North America, to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans: in the Years 1789 and 1793. With a Preliminary Account of the Rise, Progress and Present State of the Fur Trade of that Country. Illustrated with a Map.

MacKenzie, Alexander.

New York: G.F. Hopkins, 1802.

During the heat of the debates over the Oregon Question, Thomas Hart Benton cried in Congress (March 1, 1825): “The claim of Great Britain [to the Columbia River] is nothing but a naked pretension, founded on the double prospect of benefiting herself and injuring the United States. The fur trader, Sir Alexander M’Kenzie, is at the bottom of this policy. Failing in his attempt to explore the Columbia River, in 1793, he, nevertheless, urged upon the British Government the advantages of taking it to herself, and of expelling the Americans from the whole region West of the Rocky Mountains.”

MacKenzie’s accomplishment was grand, despite Benton’s denigration, and his narrative is nearly as important as the voyage itself. Outshone by the brilliance of the exploration, and therefore often mistakenly overlooked, the introduction to the book consists of a hundred and thirty pages on the fur trade itself, and remains a crucial source of history that was published a full decade before Astoria was even founded.

Good to very good condition. Bound in later nineteenth century three-quarter leather over marbled paper-covered boards. Wear to edges, rubbing to boards. The text is sharp with some toning, the only marking found is on p. 93 which appears to be a previous owner’s name. The large folding map is split along one fold, moderately foxed, but overall presents well. First American edition. $1,000

[If you’re interested in this book, please also view our catalog of PNW and Americana.]

Business Directory of the Pacific States and Territories for 1878, Containing Names, Business, and Address, of Merchants, Manufacturers, and Professional Men; County, City, State, Territorial, and Federal Officers; and Notaries Public, of the Principal Towns of California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Arizona and British Columbia.

Mckinney, L.M.

San Francisco: L.M. McKenney, Publisher, 1878.

By 1878, gold fever had subsided, and the commercial activity in the West was expanding rapidly. The 1870 census showed over half a million people in California; but with just 15,000 in Idaho, that territory was still sparsely populated. This directory lists business names throughout the states and territories, and is one of the first to cover the entire area west of the Rockies. It includes a large section just for San Francisco. Many display ads, cardstock insert printed in red & blue for Pacific Business College. 894 pages.

Good to fair condition, left in unsophisticated state. Both joints exposed, binding shaken, loss to cloth at head and tail of spine. Pages are clean and bright, binding of the textblock is firm. $1,000

[If you’re interested in this book, you may also enjoy our catalog of PNW and Americana.]

Post-fair update: click here to view more photos of this book (and to buy it!)

So Red the Nose

North, Sterling, and Carl Kroch, editors; illustrated by Roy C. Nelson.

New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1935.

I should probably have put this in the “Literature” section, because this book describes the drinks by 30 authors, along with humorous sketches of the author and/or the drink. Ernest Hemingway, Eskine Caldwell, S.S. Van Dine, Christopher Morley, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Irving Stone, Rockwell Kent, Theodore Dreiser and more.

Very good condition. Violet cloth boards with silver lettering and design. Mild stains to covers, owner’s bookplate and inscription to front endpapers, pages are clean & unmarked, binding solid. A fun addition to your liquor cabinet or bar. First edition. $95

The History of the American Revolution

Ramsay, David.

Philadelphia: R. Aitken & Son, 1789.

Ramsay was a South Carolina physician who was captured by the British during the Revolution, and then served two terms as a delegate to the Continental Congress. This was one of the first thorough histories of the American Revolution, and Ramsay’s first-hand knowledge of the events is evident.

Good condition. Contemporary full calf leather boards with black spine label, two volumes bound in one. Ownership inscription of Micajah Collins, of Lynn, Massachusetts, 1788. Hinges slightly exposed, but binding is solid. A few pages with discoloration from pressed plants, one marginal note found, overall a clean copy with light to moderate foxing. $750

Floor Games

Wells, H.G.; marginal drawings by J.R. Sinclair; photographs by the author.

Boston: Small, Maynard and Company, 1912.

As I write this description, it is May 2020 and the world is in coronavirus lock-down. Mr. Wells would have been perfectly content, it seems, playing at home with blocks and figurines with his two boys. I can just imagine him sprawling on the floor, helping his boys build their islands, cities, boats, and other fanciful creations with wood blocks (for which he gives precise measurements), figurines (almost all toy soldiers, a fact he bemoans, and makes a lengthy plea for help from toy manufacturers to make tradespeople, and even has a drawing of the desired figurines), and scraps that seem scavenged from the trash or yard (a certain wrapping paper is perfect for thatched roofs; certain plants are perfect for trees.) First printed in The Strand Magazine, the book has a color photographic onlay of Wells’ sons playing their games on the floor.

Near fine condition in very good jacket. Very slight wear to extremities. The scarce dust jacket is die-cut to reveal onlay, three short tears at cut-out, tape to verso of one of them, no loss. First American edition. $450

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Return to the Rose City Virtual Book Fair here.

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International customers: shipping a single book is usually around $25-$30. Please email your address for a price quote.

Condition terms:
We choose not to use “VG+” or “VG-” — they are each downgraded to “very good” or “good,” respectively.
We do not grade condition “considering its age.”
First edition means first printing. If a book is a later printing, we will state it.

Books may be returned for any reason.