New York: American Art Association, 1927-1929. First Edition. 8vo., together 3 well-used volumes in one. HOLMES: 989 lots, priced throughout in pencil, original wrappers bound in (a little soiled). PAULLIN: 3150 lots, many (but not all) prices in pencil, original wrappers bound in (a little soiled), back wrapper of vol. 2 lacking. Recent linen case-binding, smooth spine, beige leather spine label. Very good. Item #3653
A STUDY OF PRE-DEPRESSION AMERICAN BOOKSELLING AND BOOK COLLECTING.
Ad 1: Sale catalogue, with many prices in MS, of significant Americana from the collection of H[arold] C. Holmes who specialized in Western Americana; the results of the present auction reflected considerable interest in this field, for instance a complete set of the "Annales de la Propagation de la Foi pour la Provenence de Quebec" realized $230 (sold to NYPL). Holmes's 1927 auction was preceded by one in 1923 (likewise at Anderson). But the dispersal of two huge collections in four years only served to inspire Holmes continue collecting, particularly Western Americana, as we see by his solicitation in the 1934 "Hobbies: The Magazine for Collectors" which reads: "WANTED: Letters and diaries written by residents of California, Oregon, and Nevada back of 1860. Particularly those describing living conditions or interesting events. Continually adding to my collection and will buy any of the above. Also books, pamphlets, views, or any written or printed items on California, Oregon, and Nevada. H. C. HOLMES. 320 Pershing Drive Oakland, Calif."
Ad 2: Sale catalogue, priced in MS throughout, of the Americana collection formed by George W[ashington] Paullin (1864-1933), was a wealthy furrier and trustee of the Sanitary District of Chicago. This auction occurred on MONTHS before the Stock Market Crash of October, 1929. Many of the prices realized herein would not be eclipsed for years. The strengths of his library included books and manuscripts about fur trading, canals and railroads, "American Aborigines," pioneer and Western narratives, Indian captivities, and "incunabula of Chicago" (i.e. pre-1871 Chicago imprints).
PROVENANCE: The Holmes catalogue was owned, and heavily annotated, by Edwin Valentine Mitchell (his inscription on the second page of the catalogue), who no doubt attended the sale. Mitchell (1890-1960), of Hartford, Connecticut, was a bookseller, publisher, and author of more than 35 non-fiction books. He entered the booktrade in 1921, establishing a shop in Hartford at 27 Lewis Street. He sold the store in 1931 to enter the publishing field with Dodd, Mead and Co., but evidently the lure of the booktrade was such that he returned to his shop two years later as president (see Mitchell's obituary in the Hartford Courant, 29 Nov 1960, page 13). The Paullin catalogue was owned, and heavily annotated, by A.D. Barter (his inscription on the front wrapper). Barter, of Plainfield, New Jersey (later Rutland, Vermont), was a small-time bookseller who, at an early date, specialized in American historical archives. In 1927 he sold to AAS a long series of MS Account Books of Mathew Carey, the early Philadelphia printer/publisher, dating from 1785 to 1821. He also sold to the Tennessee State Library the Col. David Henley Papers (1794-1808) pertaining to the Indians in the territory south of the Ohio River. Barter resided at 102 North Ave. -- On the first binder's blank leaf the signature of T. Michael Parrish (b. 1953), noted Texana / Americana dealer.