Books, old and new!

Some of the coolest things we saw at the Boston Antiquarian Book Fair yesterday:

Jane Collier’s “Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting”, 1757.  Considered one of the earliest examples of satire by a female, she describes in hilarious fashion how to torment servants, friends and family, even children, in the hopes that they will grow up to become tormenters.  I’m sure that Ray Romano’s mother has a 1st edition.

A 1754 book with a sub-title that overlaps into over-confident advertising, Hannah Glasse’s “The Art of Cookery, made Plain and Easy, which far exceeds anything of the kind yet published”.  Much bacon is involved.  Much.

Perhaps the greatest golf writer of all time was Bernard Darwin, a grandson of Charles Darwin’s and a champion amateur golfer as well as Walker Cup captain.  Saw his “Golf Tees and Others” of 1911, and left a wishful note for Santa.

The oldest book seen was a religious tract published in 1488.  Most ancient volumes are of the religious carrot-and-stick variety, as dogmatic as they are beautifully illustrated.

The most expensive thing I saw, at $350,000, was a slender volume by Maximilianus Transylvanus (1523) describing the accomplishments and the death of explorer Ferdinand Magellan.  He might have discovered much more had not his ego gotten the better of him.

Two cool artifacts were: spectacles owned by Abraham Lincoln, selling for $200,000; and a document with the signature of Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish conquistador who in 1532 defeated the Incas in an important battle described in Jared Diamond’s 1997 book, “Guns, Germs and Steel”.

The funniest book title was spotted early on by my eagle-eyed wife, “The History of Cold Bathing, Both Ancient and Modern” by Sir John Floyer, 1715.  Don’t know why that one is not on the Kindle’s Top-10 list.

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