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Cat's Cradle Blog

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Antiquarian & Vintage Medical Books

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

image001My latest curated collection, consisting of nineteenth and early twentieth century rare and unusual medical books, periodicals, and ephemera on a wide variety of specialties: obstetrics, gynecology, glandular disorders, surgery, pediatrics, and much more.


I call attention especially to the A. P. Richmond, M.D., Frank Hastings Hamilton, Principles and Practice of SurgeryCollection within this curated set of materials.  It consists of over 20 pieces of medical ephemera from the practice of Dr. Richmond of Dover, New Hampshire, and a copy of Frank Hastings Hamilton, The Principles and Practice of Surgery, 3rd edition (New York: William Wood & Company, 1886).  Some items are undated, but all are late 19th to possibly very early 20th century.  The Hamilton book is hardcover, good with no dustjacket. The book has a sound binding with broken hinges. Pages tanned, mostly clean with occasional marginalia. Faded photographic prints pasted to front pastedown. 13 small cyanotype prints pasted to rear pastedown. Cloth over boards is edge worn with bumped corners, wear to top and bottom of spine, and overall shelf wear. 989 pages, 9.75″ tall.

Ephemera in the Richmond Collection are in good to very good condition with several pieces glued to front endpapers of the book and the remainder loose. Ephemera include Formula for Making Self Adjusting Splints: A Surgical Desideratum (with Richmond’s notes in margin), a published list of physicians of the city of Dover NH agreeing to adhere to a Tariff of Prices adopted at the regular meeting of the Dover Medical Association, September 2, 1879 (price list included), and fee tables adopted by the Dover Medical Society in 1899 and 1917, all affixed to front endpapers. Loose papers include a card advertising a YMCA men’s meeting; an advertising card from Otis Clapp & Son of Boston promoting its Malt and Cod-Liver Oil Compound; an advertising card for F. W. Buckley, exclusive maker of the Buckley Shirts (Oneonta, NY); a brochure advertising Frederick Stearns & Company’s Wine of Cod Liver Oil with Peptonate of Iron (Detroit, Michigan); Richmond’s handwritten instructions for attending a sprained ankle, with sketch; two pages of Richmond’s handwritten notes on treating heart conditions with herbal medicines; Richmond’s handwritten notes on treating prolapsus ani of children that defies other treatment; notes on treating a fractured ankle, with sketch; two pages of notes on treating dislocation of the shoulder, with sketch; notes on testing for albumin; notes on testing for effusion into the knee joint; a list of foods to be taken (for an unspecified condition); formula for treatment of unspecified condition (“one drop gives instant relief); and a patient statement from 1895. Richmond practiced general medicine in Dover, New Hampshire, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to being active in medical organizations, he served as medical examiner in Dover during the 1890s.

$325.00. Inventory #4170097

Inquiries: info@catscradlebks.net.

View all of our medical material, including later 20th century items, here. Major credit cards and PayPal accepted. Subject to prior sale.

Kathy@Cat’s Cradle Books

G. G. Stein, Arte Ostetricia (Venezia, 1816) – rare antiquarian medical text with 18 engravings

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Stein, G. G..   Arte Ostetricia. Tradotta dal tedesco coll’ aggiunta di alcune osservazioni preliminari da G. B. Monteggia.  Venezia: Andrea Santini e Figlio, 1816. 3rd Edition. 391 pp. 8.0″ tall. Hardcover. G/ NONE.

4170100_5Book is in the Italian language, translated from the original German. Sound binding. Hinges starting. Pages clean, tanned. Cloth over boards is heavily worn with bumped corners, wear at spine ends, soiling and scuffing, with leather labels on spine for title and volumes abraded.  Eighteen finely engraved fold-out plates, one of which has a closed tear near binding.  All plates are creased but high rag content of paper will allow for pressing smooth if desired.  Both Parte I and Parte II are included in this single volume. Very detailed obstetrics text describing normal course of pregnancy, means of delivery (including birthing chairs), and difficult deliveries (illustrations show the use of forceps, and other medical devices are also illustrated).    $425.00.    #4170100   

Major credit cards, PayPal accepted.  Inquiries about the book may be made to info@catscradlebks.net or purchase here.


Arte Obstetricia




Southern Appalachia: where the laurel grows

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Sky-land: Stories of Picturesque North Carolina, Volume 1, Number 1I invite you to download and view my Appalachia catalog. All titles subject to prior sale. Inquires may be made to info@catscradlebks.net. I accept major credit cards and PayPal.

This new catalog contains materials on southern Appalachia. The Great Smokies, the Blue Ridge, the Black Mountains–they are all part of this ancient mountain range.

Although Appalachia extends northward into Maine, I focus on the region from West Virginia southward. It’s a wild, beautiful, and fascinating place.

Mountain folk, their culture, and their history; terrain, including a collection of technical materials on the geology of the area; and travel are all represented.

If you love the region as much as I do, you’ll find something in this catalog to explore. Enjoy.

Kathy Carter@Cat’s Cradle Books

The New-Kanawha River and the Mine War of West Virginia

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

McCormick, The New-Kanawha River and the Mine War of West VirginiaMcCormick, Kyle.   The New-Kanawha River and the Mine War of West Virginia.  Charleston, West Virginia: Mathews Printing and Lithographing Company, 1959.

176 pp. 9.25″ (21.5 cm) tall. Hardcover. G/ NONE.

Signed by author on title page with additional inscription.

Sound binding and hinges. Pages clean, tanned. Cloth over boards is edge rubbed with heavier wear at spine top/bottom and corner tips, which are bumped. General shelf wear including some scuffing.  Gilt lettering on front and spine is darkened.  Illustrated with black and white plates, maps on endpapers.

Contents: The New-Kanawha River. Early history. The Civil War. River travel. The West Virginia capitol. Railway development. Industrial development of the river.  Legends of New River. Colorful stories of the river. Miscellaneous stories. The Mine War of West Virginia, 1912-1921 (the Cabin Creek strike, the first armed march, murder in Mingo, the second armed march, persons involved in the Mine War).  $125.00.    #3690035

Purchase here.  Major credit cards, PayPal accepted.  Inquiries about the book may be made to info@catscradlebks.net.

Download my Appalachia catalog.  Twenty-nine pages of books, maps, magazines, and ephemera related to the southern Appalachians.

New catalog on World War I from Cat’s Cradle Books

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

I invite you to download and view my World War I catalog.  All titles subject to prior sale.  Inquires may be made to info@catscradlebks.net.  I accept major credit cards and PayPal.

The Great War changed the landscape of the modern world whether we look at the military, medicine, technology, gender roles, diplomacy, international borders, or economies.  This catalog offers a range of titles for the interested layperson as well as the scholar.

May  we enjoy a future that is free of such devastating conflict.  And may we remember so as not to repeat it.


Kathy Carter@Cat’s Cradle Books

A World War I Aviation Staple: The Hispano-Suiza Engine

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

Vintage Hispano-Suiza Engine manual, World War I

Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation. Instructions for the Care and Operation of Model A-I-E Hispano-Suiza Aeronautical Engines. Birkigt Patents. Instruction Book, November 1918. Series No. 7A. New Brunswick, NJ: Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation, 1918. 240 pp. 7.75″ tall. Hardcover.

Condition: Fair/ no dust jacket. Cracked hinges, sound binding. Clean but age-darkened pages. Cloth over boards is heavily soiled with edge rubbing, bumped corners. Gilt lettering on front is still bright. Fold-out diagrams are generally in good condition except for Plate 28, Oil Circulation System, which is torn along some creases and which also has several closed tears.

A rare operating manual for an important engine in early aviation.

The Hispano-Suiza played an important role in air warfare in World War I, which was ongoing at the time of publication. Illustrated with black and white diagram drawings, some in two-color, and black and white photographic reproductions throughout. Section on World War I flying Aces whose aircraft were powered by the Hispano-Suiza engine.

Price: $450.00.  

Inquire at info@catscradlebks.net or purchase here.  Major credit cards and PayPal accepted. Be sure to check our website for the latest discounts.

Download my World War I catalog.  Twenty-five pages of books, maps, magazines, and ephemera related to The Great War.

Happy Bastille Day, Francophile readers!

Saturday, July 14th, 2012
History of the Girondists

DeLamartine's History of the Girondists, 3 vol., 1848 (English translation)

Allons, enfants de la patrie!

It’s July 14, Bastille Day.  In France, the tricolor is on display and the strains of La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, are in the air.  Once again in the month of July/Juillet, we honor a great revolution.

This time it’s the French Revolution, which began in 1789 and ended – well – that depends on your interpretation of history. Did it end with the accession of Napoleon Bonaparte to power? Or was that simply another unfolding stage? In any event, the Revolution toppled a dynastic monarchy, sent tens of thousands of French citizens – not to mention their king and queen – to the guillotine, and transformed the face of Europe and the world in an era of Napoleonic war.

In honor of this important French holiday marking the storming of the Bastille in Paris, the symbolic onset of the French Revolution in 1789, here’s some reading.

Aux armes, citoyens!

Patriotism, Protest, and the Land of Hope and Dreams

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Wrecking Ball

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Wrecking Ball (2012)

On this Fourth of July, I’m reflecting on what patriotism means.

To revolutionaries who were British citizens in the thirteen colonies, if they were even articulating the word “patriotism,” I think it might have meant fighting to forge a new destiny independent of the old ruling power.

At NASCAR races and other sporting events, it means standing solemnly while jets fly overhead or paratroopers skydive, and then while someone sings the national anthem.

All too often in American politics and history, dissenters have been described as less “American” (i.e., patriotic) than conformers; in that context, conformity has become identified with being “American.” I think Patrick Henry would have disputed this.

In March Bruce Springsteen released his first CD since 2009, “Wrecking Ball,” and launched his current tour featuring the songs from that CD. The lyrics are dark, stark, critical, and yet triumphantly hopeful for America in the end. With a flavor that ranges from rock to gospel to folk to country to an Irish jig, Springsteen reminds us consistently that, while America may be traveling over rocky ground, we the American people are still here.  We’re gritty, we’re strong, and we will weather this current crisis.  We’ll come out the other side despite being shackled and drawn by foreclosures, lack of work, and hard times. His faith in America – as seeen through ordinary working Americans who trust in God and the virtues of their own hard work – is unshakeable.

That’s patriotism to me.  It’s not blind nor mawkish, nor does it require an unquestioning stance of “my country, right or wrong.”  It’s patriotism that speaks to a vision of what America has been and what we will become again. It’s very much part of the literature of protest on behalf of workers that has marked our past in cycles since the Industrial Revolution hit this land.

Sometimes we show our patriotism by holding America to a higher standard and articulating a need for change in this land of hope and dreams.  Patrick Henry knew this.  So did Eugene V. Debs and Asa Philip Randolph.  And so does Springsteen.

We are the nation we are because the wealthy invested and grew industry and governments at all levels collaborated in this investment and growth (and often, as in the 1830s, 1870s, 1890s, 1907, and 1920s) turned a blind eye to the destructive side of it all).

But let us never forget that we are the nation we are, too, because of the people who spoke out in protest and the people who “built this country by the sweat of their two hands” (American Land).

And lest I forget the obvious, although I value the virtue of protest, I also appreciate the sacrifices that American service men and women have made to keep this country secure. These things are not mutually exclusive.

Happy Fourth of July, America.

June 6, 1944, D-Day. A turning point in WWII, a day of sacrifices to remember

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
Ambrose, Citizen Soldiers

1st edition 1st printing, Stephen Ambrose, Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany. Simon & Schuster, 1997. $25.00

On June 6, 1944, on the beaches of Normandy, the tide turned on the Western Front in Europe.  With the Soviet Red Army already pushing from the East following the Battle of Stalingrad, and Hitler’s Axis ally Mussolini fallen, Allied victory in World War II was in sight.  Less than a year later, in May 1945, came V-E Day.  And in September of that year, V-J Day ended the war.

Let’s remember the heavy price paid for these victories, which ultimately made not only the western Allies but the world more free.  So many of us – Americans, Canadians, British citizens at home and across the Commonwealth, Soviet and French citizens, and many others – suffered and died, or served and survived, both in the theater of war and at home. Let’s remember also that thousands upon thousands of enemy soldiers suffered, as did their families.  And the price paid by innocents was so staggering that I, today, still cannot fully imagine it.

The entire world, in fact, paid dearly for World War II. That having been said, I believe that we have made the world a place more receptive to democracy and individual freedom.  A global peacekeeping organization, the United Nations, continues – often ploddingly and imperfectly – to do its work in the world.

We’re not there yet.  But we move, slowly and with frustration sometimes, along the road.

Could this have happened without World War II?  Perhaps, but history is what it is.  We cannot really know.

Visit Cat’s Cradle Books for great reading on World War II.

Power and Art: Machiavelli and the Italian Renaissance

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Il Principe (The Prince) by Niccolò Machiavelli. "La Nuova Italia" Editrice, 1941.

Born on May 3, 1469, Machiavelli remains, if not a household word, then one of the most recognizable names of the Italian Renaissance.  “Machiavellian” has earned a permanent place in the English language.  The Prince, one of his most important treatises, continues to be standard reading in university classrooms and a roadmap for political behavior in our time.  Whether he meant The Prince as satire or as a serious tribute to the Medici and other power brokers of the 15th and 16th centuries, his work has left a mark on our culture that continues to this, the 543rd anniversary of his birth in Florence, Italy.

The Florentine Renaissance, within which Machiavelli lived (1469-1527), was a study in paradox and contrast.  Florence rose from the bleak ashes of the Black Death (as depicted in Boccaccio’s Decameron), during which 70% of the city’s population either died or went elsewhere, to become a booming center of textiles (first wool, then silk) and finance (the banking enterprises of families like the Medici).  It was a city where money talked and power rested in the hands of the Medici family during most of the period.

The money that ruled Florence, rather than addressing the needs of the impoverished, went to displays of status.  The Medici, the Pitti, and the other wealthy and powerful families outdid one another with investment in private and public artworks.   Michelangelo’s “David,” now housed in the Accademia, was once a sculpture on public view in the Piazza della Signoria; a replica stands there now. Architects such as Brunelleschi thrived, and thus resulted a city of extraordinary beauty.  Botticelli, Da Vinci, Donatello, Fra Angelico, and many others found patrons in wealthy families, in the Florentine government, and in the Church itself.   Without the rise of families like the Medici, it’s doubtful whether Florentine art would have thrived as it did.

The art of the Renaissance, on the surface, provides a striking contrast to Machiavelli’s emphasis on “doing what is necessary” to build and keep power.  Nevertheless, his writing and the great art of the period shared many things.  They rested on a foundation of rational humanism.  They evoked the past, especially the past of classical Greece and Rome.  They also had a deep interest in contemporary subjects:  Machiavelli’s analysis of politics, Da Vinci’s portraiture, the Brancacci chapel’s frescoes with the faces of Florentines who lived during the time artist was working.

The Italian Renaissance was a time of contrast and conflict.  Bloody political upheaval marked the period.  Popes sired illegitimate children and kept mistresses in the Vatican.  Families warred with each other over who controlled cities.  Yet the Renaissance in Florence and other Italian cities was also a time of immeasurable beauty, of artistic innovation, and of enormous creativity.

Machiavelli’s work must certainly be counted among some of the most significant of this fascinating time.

Ci vediamo, mei amici!

Kathy Carter
Cat’s Cradle Books