May 2012 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Jeff Weber Rare Books

Catalogue Review: Jeff Weber Rare Books, No. 168

California bookseller Jeff Weber is known to many as an expert on fore-edge painting, but his 12,000-book stock also covers bibliography, California, medicine, natural history, science & technology. His latest catalogue contains the library of Dr. Harry Friedman, a neurosurgeon and collector of military history. The offerings are extensive -- 281 items, ranging from $10 reprints to a 1555 second edition of De Humani Corporis for $95,000.

I like medical books as an area of collecting. Pick a malady, any area of medicine, or a particular doctor, and a collection can be created that spans centuries, languages, and formats. For Dr. Friedman, head injuries are of particular interest. For example, Dr. Harlow's Case of Recovery from the Passage of an Iron Bar Through the Head...from 1850 ($750).

Bridging both his interest in neurology and the military, he also has several Army/Navy manuals pertaining to his subjects of interest, such as Manual of Neuro-Surgery from the U.S. Army, 1919 ($75). The rare first edition of the first American book on naval medicine is offered here: Edward Cutbush's Observations on the Means of Preserving the Health of Soldiers and Sailors...from 1808 ($4,000).

The works of Dominique Jean Larrey and Harvey Cushing are well represented in the collection, and, as for a surprise, how about Frederick Law Olmstead (designer of Central Park) compiling a book titled Hospital Transports: A Memoir of the Embarkation of the Sick and Wounded from the Peninsula of Virginia in the Summer of 1862 ($395).

For printed catalogues, contact the bookseller at his website: Mail-order clients get priority of selection.