Biblioctopus Archives - Rare Book Insider


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A Southern Silhouette [and] Howdy

A Southern Silhouette [and] Howdy, Honey, Howdy (a review of); in The Southern Workman

Dunbar, Paul Lawrence [et al.] 2 vols. Vol. XXVIII, No. 1, January 1899 and Vol. XXXIV, No. 11, November 1905. Both in their scarce original wrappers, with chipping to the extremities (the 1905 issue is more extensive) a light vertical fold crease to the 1899 issue, but both are complete and clean internally. Very good. Pre-1920 issues are scarce. OCLC list many institutions that have some scattered issues, but a complete run in holdings is improbable. In the 1899 issue is an uncollected (and otherwise unpublished) short story by Dunbar, "A Southern Silhouette" in which a formerly wealthy and powerful southern family fully supports the Confederate cause, looses everything then is saved by a northern businessman who returns them to their old financial status, but they're unable to gain back happiness and freedom. The 1905 issue includes a review of Dunbar's book of poetry "Howdy, Honey, Howdy". The 1899 issue In the 1899 issue are further contributions by Alice C. Fletcher (an American anthropologist) and George B. Grinnell (anthropologist and historian). In the 1905 issue are contributions by Francis La Flesche (the first professional Native American ethnologist), Harriet Quimby (first woman in the United States to receive a pilot's license), John W. Lemon (a Black community activist), William T.B. Williams (dean at Tuskegee Institute) and Monroe N. Work (a Black sociologist and founder of the research and records department at the Tuskegee Institute). The Southern Workman began in 1872 as a monthly publication by the Hampton University as means for information, an outlet of creative expression and a kind of vanity piece for the university to display the greatness of their students and teachers. The informative essays centered contemporary Black and Native American interests, while also examining folklore and traditions as a means of preservation.
  • $500
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A Singed Letter

11 November. 4pp in one bi-folded leaf. The top edge chipped with some losses to words, strengthened with archival tissue tape, else very good. A wonderful and long scientific letter written at a time when Pasteur was making many of his most important discoveries relating to bacteria, pasteurization and the fermentation process of wine. The letter (in French), reads, in part: : "[.] The claims of these gentlemen are based only on errors and I think I have demonstrated it very well this year as in 1866[.] You asked me for an opinion on two points, the action of oxygen and the temperature of the must. As for oxygen, note, as is exhibited in my studies on wine [Paris, Imprimerie impériale, 1866] that it is necessary to distinguish carefully between a brush oxidation and a very slow oxidation, the difference is enormous between these two modes of action: the first is almost always harmful[.] As for the heating of very sweet wines, here is the complete theory that you must have in mind to guide you in practice: 1° the presence of alcohol and acids in the wine has a great influence on the minimum degree necessary for conservation after heating, that is to say for the germs to be killed. The more acidic and alcoholic a wine is, the less you need to heat to kill the germs, the closer you get to the state of a [normal must], the more you must raise the temperature. If you have had difficulties in preserving a certain wort by heating it to a certain temperature, I urge you to try it out either by raising the temperature further or by adding a small amount of alcohol to the wort beforehand. To make myself clear, I invite you to consult my work on spontaneous generations. You will see that everything depends on the state of acidity, neutrality, or very low alkalinity of the environment for the determination of the degree of temperature proper to kill the germs. For example, I have shown that milk, which is weakly alkaline, requires a temperature between 100 and 110°. On the other hand, urine, which is a little acidic and which requires only a temperature lower than 100°, requires immediately a temperature at least equal to and higher than that if it is made neutral. In 1865 I experienced on very sugary white wines from Bergerac to stop their fermentation, I needed a temperature of 75°. Without a doubt, I would have had to go even further if the alcoholic fermentation that had already occurred had been less pronounced, that is, had introduced less alcohol into the wine[.]"
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The Fall of the House of Usher [and 8 Others]; in Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine

A annual volume (12 months, starting in July 1839 and ending June 1840). Contemporary 3/4 calf and marbled boards, binding worn, sporadic foxing throughout, but, otherwise, clean internally. Seven stories and poems by Poe, first appeared in these issues of Burton's Gentleman's Magazine and 2 more are reprinted for the first time. They are: - "The Conversation of Eiros and Chairman" - "The Fall of the House of Usher" (September 1839) - "The Journal of Julius Rodman" (one chapter per issue; January-June 1840) - "The Man That Was Used Up" (August 1839) - "Peter Pendulum" aka "The Business Man" (February 1840) - "The Philosophy of Furniture" (May 1840) - "To--" (a variation of "Lines Written in an Album", 1835) (August 1839) - "To Ianthe in Heaven" (July 1839) - "William Wilson" (1st appeared in "The Gift [.] for 1840, September 1839 reprinted here October 1839) The Fall of the House of Usher has all the essential features of the Gothic, a haunted house, dreary landscape, granite sky, inclement weather, mysterious sickness, and doubled personality. For all its Gothic elements, however, the terror of this story is its vagueness because we never know where or when it takes place (there are no narrative markers). The reader is alone with the narrator in this haunted space, and neither we nor the narrator know why. Although he is Roderick's most intimate boyhood friend, the narrator apparently does not know much about him-like the fact that Roderick has a twin sister. Poe asks us to question the reasons both for Roderick's decision to contact the narrator in this time of need and the bizarre tenacity of the narrator's response. While Poe provides the recognizable building blocks of the Gothic tale, he contrasts this standard form with a plot that is inexplicable, sudden, and full of unexpected disruptions. The story begins without complete explanation of the narrator's motives for arriving at the house of Usher, and this ambiguity sets the tone for a plot that continually blurs the real and the fantastic.
Influence of Motion of the Medium on the Velocity of Light; in The American Journal of Science

Influence of Motion of the Medium on the Velocity of Light; in The American Journal of Science

1st edition, 1st printing, 2nd issue (preceded by the individual May 1886 issue) of The American Journal of Science, Vol. XXXI, January to June, the full semiannual volume, containing (pages 377-386) the first experiments with Michelson's own invented instruments, the continuation of which (in 1887), negated classical scientific theories on the existence of a universal ether. The findings held revolutionary implications that led directly to (and through) Lorentz (the Lorentz contraction equations) and Einstein (special relativity), to the acceptance of new reference standards of time and space from geometry and cosmometry (measurement of the universe). Michelson won his 1907 Nobel Prize in physics, both for creating the instruments he used, and for his achievements with them, in his experiments. Original wrappers, covers, spine and page edges brittle and chipped, internally clean, pages unopened, very good. Scarce. No copies on RBH. Michelson and Morley first aether-drag experiment. "Starting in 1885, Michelson collaborated with Edward Morley, spending considerable time and money to repeat the Fizeau experiment on Fresnel's drag coefficient (finished in 1886, explained in this paper) and to repeat the Michelson experiment (finished in 1887). In 1886, Michelson and Morley successfully confirmed Fresnel's drag coefficient - this result was also considered as a confirmation of the stationary aether concept. This strengthened the hope of finding the aether wind. Thus Michelson and Morley created an improved version of the Michelson experiment with more than enough accuracy to detect this hypothetical effect. The experiment was performed in several periods of concentrated observations between April and July 1887" (Landmark Experiments in Physics). The Michelson-Morley experiment is one of the most famous and important experiments in the history of physics - the result of which "held revolutionary implications which led directly through Lorentz and Einstein to the acceptance of new standards of reference of time and space from geometry and cosmometry" (Dibner). "In 1729 James Bradley reported to the Royal Society that in observing any fixed star it was necessary to point the telescope not directly at the star but a little in advance of it. This he called the angle of aberration. The fact reported by Bradley was repeatedly confirmed and the angle of aberration was accounted for by the movement of the earth through the ether - the medium by which light waves are conveyed. If the luminiferous ether is a medium through which the earth moves without disturbing it, it would seem to follow that a beam of light reaching the earth from the direction towards which the earth itself is moving should reach it faster than one from an opposite direction. In August 1881 Albert Abraham Michelson described, in the American Journal of Science, a new interferometer which he had devised with the express purpose of measuring these relative speeds with minute accuracy. Any form of clock hitherto invented, however accurate, would necessarily be subject to margin of error greater than the time difference in question. Michelson's instrument was planned to measure the relative speeds of light waves moving at right angles to each other. In August [recto November] 1887, in the same journal, in collaboration with Edward Williams Morley, he reported the almost completely negative results of their experiments." (PMM 378). "They used a slightly silvered glass set angular to a ray of sunlight so that a part of the ray was transmitted, a part reflected out and again returned, thereby providing two paths, one perpendicular to the other. If drift existed, the superimposed rays would produce interference. None was observed, showing that the earth's motion did not affect the light's speed" (Dibner: Heralds of Science, 161). "The [result] of this experiment was a serious blow to classical scientific theories because it cast doubts on the existence of the universal ether w
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Le Comte de Monte-Christo [The Count of Monte-Cristo]

15 vols. bound in 7. The real 1st edition (in French) with the first 14 volumes dated 1845, and only the last volume dated 1846 (the key and critical identifiers). Rare. RBH says no copies of this edition have sold at auction looking back 50 years, and it is not recorded, precisely, by either Reed or Munro in their Dumas bibliographies (details and analysis to follow). Contemporary 3/4 cloth, marbled boards, slight wear in a few places, vol 1-2 front hinge and rear joint split but holding, vol 9-10 hinges split but holding, vol 13-15 rear joint split but holding, but otherwise all 7 books are near fine, clean, complete, and as sound as a sea anchor, with all 15 half-titles, and they have never been repaired in any way. 3 half-morocco cases. Monte Cristo is an exemplar of what it means for a 19th century 1st edition to have wide appeal, a world classic of sustained imagination, and this is a once in a generation copy of it, dropped into a 21st century marketplace that has been crop dusted with the bibliographically wrong, the misdescribed, and the misunderstood. It's not quite historical romance, but it is a mystery, and every bit a thriller, for 7 generations the most popular novel across the nations (le livre des livres) and it is undeniably, the greatest tale of revenge in all of literature, an effortless read of seamless equipoise, unforgettable suspense, and breathtaking intrigue, a cathartic tale starring the implacable avenger, a superhero more mesmerizing than the woman across the street who won't close the blinds. If you can read it in French, that would be best, because for 150 years all the 19th and 20th century translations into English read like they had been edited and bowdlerized by 2 elderly puritans, one of whom had been dead for months. Every single translation redacted extensive subplots and bled much of the life found in central passages that were thought too erotic, or too stressful, for English speaking readers, with abridgements going well beyond unabashed sex to include an extended scene of torture and execution, 2 cases of infanticide, a female serial poisoner, blueprints for murders without getting caught, a gruesomely described stabbing, 3 suicides, transvestism, lesbianism, illegitimacy, drug-induced sexual fantasies, and more. Also lost in abridgement was the continuous display of the author's classical learning, his vast understanding of European history, and copious lesser diversions such as the customs and diet of the Italians, and the effects of hashish. The novel ends with the line; "l'humaine sagesse était tout entière dans ces deux mots:-Attendre et espérer." (all human wisdom is contained in these two words:-wait and hope.). So, prophetically, in 1996, Penguin Classics finally published a faithful edition in English translated by Robin Buss without redactions, but if you decide to give it a try, buy yourself a portable oxygen tank and keep it close by while you are reading. You are going to need it. You say you like movie books? In 1908 Monte Cristo was (not too surprisingly) the first movie that told a story ever made in the greater Los Angeles area (Hollywood) in the days just before the film business was centered there. Now, here's a run at the bibliography: Anybody who isn't confused doesn't understand the problem. Le Comte de Monte-Cristo (misprinted Christo in its earlier editions) has been smothered in bibliographical quicksand. That means all the bibliographies are wrong, though what most readers of them fail to realize is, how wrong (one lie doesn't cancel one truth, it cancels the truth). For just one example, the first 3 entries for Monte-Cristo in Munro's generally competent, and often admirable, bibliography give dates that could not be accurate, and none of the 3 have been verified as even existing exactly as Munro describes them, and his 4th entry, while accurately described, has at least one volume that was misdated by the publisher (see below). Some of the sources get some t
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A General Account of the Development of Methods of Using Atomic Energy for Military Purposes [with] the Original Press Release [with] a Commendation Letter [with] a Manhattan Project Shoulder Patch

Stapled into the original printed wrappers as issued. Typed label, "Copy No. 5 Division V Lieut. R. S. Dunham." A pre-publication lithoprint (not to be confused with the later reprint or the later clothbound or paperbound Princeton edition), issued shortly (days) after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and not only an early copy (number 5 of about 1,000 printed), but a complete oneâ" page VI-12 is found blank in most other copies (redacted), as it outlines plutonium production rates. And there's more. The original press release, a letter of commendation from the Army Corps of Engineers and an original shoulder patch awarded to about 3500 Army officers and enlisted men who were assigned to the Manhattan Engineer District of the Manhattan Project (Ref. Los Alamos Natl. Lab and Bradbury Museum). Copies of correct issue Smyth Report are scarce (regardless of how many copies are currently for sale), but scarcer still with a known and traceable provenance. Scarcer than the several copies Smyth found in the late 1970s and signed for gifts to Princeton. Lieutenant Robert S. Dunham (1907-1991) was a patent lawyer for the Manhattan Project, a copy of his obituary from the NY Times, laid in. The additional ephemera is rare when directly connected to a copy. Ex-Lieut. R. S. Dunham. PMM 422e.