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Babbitt: The Single Book that Explains American Life

In the midst of a stultified seminar, a somewhat exasperated professor posited the following question to me and my weary-eyed cohorts. “If you had to pick a single book to explain American life, what would it be?” The responses were somewhat predictable, ranging from Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Finally, I gathered the guts to join the fray and suggested Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis. My classmates looked at me like dogs that have been shown a card trick. ...
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“THE GREATEST HISTORICAL WORK EVER WRITTEN”

GIBBON, Edward. History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. London, 1776-88. Six volumes.

Rare full first edition set, second state of Volume I, with portrait of Gibbon by Joseph Hall after Joshua Reynolds and three engraved folding maps by Kitchin of the Western and Eastern Roman Empire and of Constantinople, in lovely contemporary calf gilt. $36,000.


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EXCEEDINGLY RARE LARGE PHOTOGRAPHIC ALBUM, WITH 140 FOLIO MOUNTED ALBUMEN PRINTS OF PRESIDENT GRANT’S FUNERAL PROCESSION, DISTINGUISHED IN PUBLISHER’S MOROCCO-GILT BOARDS

(GRANT, Ulysses S.). Seven Mile Funeral Cortege of General Grant. Boston, 1886.

Rare first edition of this beautiful large folio album of 140 mounted albumen prints, in publisher’s morocco-gilt boards. $23,000.


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“NO OTHER WORK BEFORE HAD EVER ATTEMPTED… SUCH A GRAND SWEEP OF HUMAN RELIGIONS”

(PICART, Bernard) [Bernard, Jean Frédéric]. Religious Ceremonies and Customs of the Several Nations. London, 1731-39. Seven volumes bound in six.

First edition in English of one of the most spectacular illustrated works of the 18th century, complete with 223 large folio copper engravings, 32 double-page or folding, depicting the religious ceremonies of numerous faiths and nations, including Jewish and North American Indian rites. “No other work before had ever attempted, in word and image, such a grand sweep of human religions” (The Book that Changed Europe, 1). $18,500.


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