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Wednesday, July 31, 2013


For your consideration is a very good copy of the ten large quarto volume set of The Photographic History of the Civil War edited by Francis Trevelyan Miller and published in 1911 by The Review of Reviews, in New York.  

This remarkable work contains thousands of photographs, many previously unpublished, taken from 1861-1865 by Mathew Brady and by private individuals.  The accompanying text contains contributions from over 39 distinguished historians and veteran officers of both Confederate and Union forces, many of whom wrote from their personal experience.

The ten volumes include 1) The Opening Battles; 2) Two Years of Grim War; 3) The Decisive Battles; 4) The Cavalry; 5) Forts and Artillery; 6) The Navies; 7) Prisons and Hospitals; 8) Soldier Life,Secret Service; 9) Poetry and Eloquence of Blue and Gray; and 10) Armies and Leaders.

The Dictionary of American Biography (DAB) states of Brady and his assistants, “Zealous in their work, often regardless of danger, and at all times handicapped by the vexing difficulties of the photographic process of that day,” Brady and his assistants “carried their cameras to every scene that promised an interesting picture,” capturing “scenes of actual conflict, others of places devastated by gunfire, of troops on the march or in bivouac, and of individual officers and men.” (The one thing they could not record was the actual battles....the photographic technology of that day required a certain stillness of the subject.)

Mr. Brady profited little from his epic Civil War photographs and died a pauper in 1896.  Fortunately for us, many of his negatives survived to be included in The Photographic History of the Civil War that was published 15 years after his death.

The copy we have is the second edition Semi-Centennial Memorial edition published in 1911 (the same year as the first edition).  It is bound in the original blue cloth covers with gilt title on spines. Top edges are gilt.  Bindings are slightly rubbed and there is slight foxing to the title pages.  Still a tight set in much better condition than usually found.                                                                                                                                       .............Our copy is priced at $750

Thank you and Happy Book Hunting!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Children’s Illustrated I
There is much conjecture nowadays about the future of “the book”.  But, as a number of studies show, reading is a genuinely tactile experience---how a book feels, looks, and even sounds as we turn a page has a great impact on how we feel about reading.  The truth is that the book is an exceptionally good piece of technology—easy to read, portable, durable, relatively inexpensive..... and no batteries are required.  And they are great gifts to share with children.  
There is a great history of wonderful illustrators of children’s books that continues to this day.  It seems the past 10 years or so have produced a number of tremendously talented children’s illustrators...  illustrators enlivening new tales as well as illustrators giving fresh insights to classic tales.  At Wilkerson and Brooks Books, we have a good selection of these contemporary children’s illustrated books...most in hard cover and dust jackets and many priced under $10.

 And we have more collectable might consider a First American Edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger, published by North-South Books in 1999.  This book consists of 103 pages, has an illustrated front and back cover, and a very nice unclipped dust jacket.  Ms. Zwerger has been called by many, “one of the finest illustrators of the twentieth century” and you may need to read the story again and correlate it to Ms. Zwerger’s insightful, witty illustrations.   Our copy is priced at $30.

We also have a nice copy of Thomas Nelson Page’s Two Little Confederates illustrated by John W. Thomason, Jr., published by Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1932 consisting of 192 pages with a colored frontispiece and 37 black and white illustrations throughout the text.  The cover features a large circular full color paste down (same image as the frontispiece).  The book is in very good condition with a former owners signature and a 1/2” tear to the bottom of the title page. Page’s story of two Confederate youths in the Civil War was originally published in 1888, this is the edition with the fine artwork of John W. Thomason, Jr. Page’s fictional account of two ten-year-old boys' adventures and escapades while living at home in rural Virginia during the War Between the States is unusual, for its time, as the story is sympathetic to both sides of the conflict.                    Our copy is priced at $75.
And we have a very good First Edition of  Robert Louis Stevenson’s  The Black Arrow illustrated by N. C. Wyeth, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1916 consisting of 328 pages with a colored title page, 14 full page colored illustrations throughout the text, and illustrated endpapers.  The book features a color paste down front cover and gilt top leaves.  The book is in good condition with a former owners signature and slight shelf wear to the spine bottom.  There is slight foxing to two illustrations: the title page and the one on page 324. All in all, a very good copy of a scarce book with illustrations by by one of America’s greatest artists and illustrators.  
 Our copy is priced at $225.

We’ll close with this quote from the first paragraph of Alice in Wonderland...."And what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures and conversations?" 
Happy Book Hunting and be careful of the rabbits you choose to run after.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Food and Drink I

Marian Gore in 1974
Credit: Los Angeles Times
One of the early visitors to the first bookshop I opened in Pasadena, California in 1979 was an attractive, stylishly dressed lady who introduced herself as Marian Gore, seller of cook books.  I can’t remember what Marian purchased on that first visit but I came to look forward to her visits, to enjoy her sly wit whenever Pasadena area booksellers gathered, to admire her offerings at Book Fairs, and to look forward to her wonderful food and drink catalogs. 

This was in the days when collectable book identification and comparative values could often only be guessed at after searching many volumes of “Bookman’s Price Index” and “American Book Prices Current” in the local library.  If you were lucky enough to find a reference, it might be from a catalog or auction that occurred 5, 10  or more years previous. And there were precious few listings of food and drink items, so Marian’s catalogs were treasure maps to what was worthwhile in the food and drink collecting world.

Marian passed away in 2009 at the age of 95 and she had a profound influence on the book world.  I know she influenced me, for every book shop I have been associated with since meeting her has featured distinctive contemporary and rare food and drink books.

Wilkerson and Brooks Books in Halifax, Virginia is no different.  We have a fine selection of food and drink books.  A couple of current examples:

On the contemporary side, we have a signed copy of Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook by Alice Waters.  If you’re ever on the west bank of the U.S., you should plan a visit to Ms. Waters’ Chez Panisse in Berkerly, California...both the downstairs restaurant and the more casual upstairs cafe are exceptional.  When my son was attending law school in Berkerly and scored a rent controlled apartment on Arch Avenue, I used to visit him and enjoy joining the early morning crowd at the original Peet’s Coffee down the street, wandering down to Peter Howard’s original Serendipity Books on Shattuck, returning to Robert's apartment and counting our money to see if we still had enough, after the book purchases, to celebrate at Chez Panisse Cafe.  It was a great way to cap off the day.

You can enjoy a sampling of Alice Waters’ trend setting take on food with this Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook, printed in 1982, signed by Ms. Waters.  It's in very good condition with an unclipped dust jacket and it’s priced at $25. 

On the collectable side, we have an inscribed First Edition of Here Let Us Feast by M. F. K. Fisher, whom many consider the greatest American food and drink writer of the 20th Century. To quote Clifton Fadiman, “She (Ms. Fisher) writes about food as others do about love, but rather better.”  And I believe it’s no small recommendation that when Marian Gore retired from bookselling, she donated all her books, save two.  One of the two books she could not part with was by    M. F. K. Fisher.  

Our copy of Here Let Us Feast s a very good first edition with a slightly worn, price clipped dust jacket.  It was published in New York in 1946 and is inscribed by Ms. Fisher on the ffep: 

"Charles Newton
for Chuck with Love from MF
St. Helena, 5.xl or ‘18, ’69"

                     It is priced at $375.

Thank you.  Happy Book Hunting