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2015 Bookseller Resource Guide

Autumn Auctions, Featuring Apple Cider, Books for Children, Fire and Leaves

Wrote the Book, Loved the Movie

The Grapes of Wrath, Bonhams Los Angeles & New York on October 19, $45,750

The dust jacket design for the 1939 first edition of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

Elmer Hader’s well-known dust jacket design for the 1939 first edition of John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer-prize winner was also used by 20th Century Fox in its promotion of the film, and in this copy, the link is maintained. The jacket itself is imperfect; it shows some tissue repairs to the back, and the endpapers have also received attention, but this Viking Press first was one that Steinbeck inscribed to the film’s producer. “For Darryl Zanuck with thanks for a fine picture, John Steinbeck 1939 Los Gatos.”

When Hemingway saw David O. Selznick’s film version of A Farewell to Arms, he said, “You write a book like that that you're fond of over the years, then you see that happen to it, it's like pissing in your father's beer,” but Steinbeck had no such problems, he loved the film adaptation of his book. In a December 1939 letter to his sister Elizabeth, Steinbeck wrote of an early screening, “We went down in the afternoon and that evening saw Grapes at Twentieth-Century. Zanuck has more than kept his word. He has a hard, straight picture in which the actors are submerged so completely that it looks and feels like a documentary film and certainly has a hard, truthful ring. No punches were pulled – in fact, with descriptive matter removed, it is a harsher thing than the book, by far.”

From Apple Press to Cyder Space

The Cyder-Maker’s Instructor, Swann Galleries New York on September 17, $26,400

First published in Cirencester, England in 1757, Thomas Chapman’s Cyder-Maker’s Instructor, Sweet-maker’s Assistant and Victualler’s and Housekeeper’s Director crossed the Atlantic five years later, when editions were published in Boston and Philadelphia. While cider making may have been the principal theme of Chapman’s book, the American editions from 1762 have added significance in general cookery book terms. In the U.S., these editions were preceded only by the Williamsburg edition of The Compleat Housewife (1742).

All this was known in the New York saleroom, which had a copy of the Boston issue. They also knew that no copy has appeared in auction records since 1917. For a slightly foxed and unevenly trimmed copy of this small octavo work, still in the original wrappers, they reckoned $500-750 should be enough. Not so. This copy—item number two in Eleanor Lowenstein’s Bibliography of American Cookery Books 1742-1860was bid up to $26,400 (16,000).

For just a few dollars, however, you can download Chapman’s eighteenth-century cider-maker’s manual onto your Kindle in under a minute, or read it on an iPod or iPhone Touch! It is also available as a free download from Project Gutenburg. Now what would Samuel Rudder, Chapman’s original publisher, have made of that?

Concerning canker, corns and sand-crack

Horse Sense and Shoeing, Bloomsbury Auctions London on August 20, $4,960

Bracy Clark’s advertisement for his new horseshoe forge

In a monumental study of The Early History of Veterinary Literature and its British Development, Sir Frederick Smith wrote of the veterinary surgeon and horse doctor Bracy Clark, “No writer in the profession before or since [his] day has brought to bear such a degree of scholarship.” Clark’s works are now scarce, especially such ephemeral pieces as were found, well preserved and bound together in this volume, which sold for £3,120 ($4,960).

This little collection opened with an illustrated 1809 account of A Series of Original Experiments on the Foot of the Living Horse. On the back of the frontispiece was a tipped-in prospectus in which Clark explains that he plans to publish his discoveries from time to time, but “must depend upon the intelligent and opulent for support in reimbursing the expenses.”

Other tracts (dated 1818-22) contained in this volume include A New Exposition of the Horses Hoof, a single leaf that refers to a pasteboard model of that equine extremity, as well as essays on ...the Nature and Cure of the Split-Hoof, Vulgarly Termed Sand-Crack, on ...the Causes and Cure of Running Frush in Horses’ Feet and ...on the Canker and Corns of Horses’ Feet.

Also bound into the book was the advertisement reproduced here, in which Clark announces that he has retired from all work with horses, “except what relates to the feet only,” and has opened a new London forge “near the Paddington Turnpike, for shoeing Saddle Horses, more especially, upon a New Plan, which admits the natural expansion of his Foot, and is more durable than the common shoe.”

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