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Biography/ autobiography

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  • Last Voyage – Ann Davison – First edition 1951

    Last Voyage – Ann Davison – First edition 1951

    First edition of Ann Davison’s autobiographical account which ends in the most dramatic shipwreck and the loss of her husband.

    An incredible individual, after all of this, she became the first woman to single-handedly sail across the Atlantic.

    Published by Peter Davis, London, 1951. Octavo, 248 pages, two photographs of Ann and Frank … it was not that sort of adventure. Very good condition.

    The Last Voyage begins with her earlier life as an aviator in the 1930’s delivering mail around the UK. She married Frank Davison a fellow aviator when they both worked at the Hooten airfield near Liverpool. They has a long held ambition for sailing and bought a run-down 70 foot ketch “Reliance”. Doing it up sent them broke and before the work was finished they sailed to avoid their creditors. They encountered incredible storms in the Channel and the Irish Sea … they foundered on the Portland Bill. Taking to their cork life raft they battled to survive and Frank died out of pure exhaustion ..

    Now scarce and one of the most personal accounts we have read.


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  • More than Half a Century of Colonial Life (South Australia) – Henry Hussey

    More than Half a Century of Colonial Life (South Australia) – Henry Hussey

    Title continues … “and Christian Experience, with Notes of Travel, Lectures, Publications etc”

    Henry Hussey (1825-1902) was an Evangelist, Printer, Historian who recorded his life an travels and published the work in 1897. It is full of colonial detail on many subjects.

    The Adelaide’s Library Board selected the work for their magnificent facsimile series, published by them as no 203 in 1978.

    Octavo, 504 pages, bound in tan in their normal style. A fine copy.

    Interesting that the original was published by Hussey & Gillingham, Adelaide … the authors jointly owned business.

    Hussey emigrates to South Australia and recounts his early days; visits Launceston and Sydney. Has various occupations and commercial failures and “disasters”. Commenced business as a printer, distracted by gold discovery in Victoria; recommences business …saves the “Observer”. Travel to America via Tahiti and Panama with “incidents” … a tour Baptised at Bethany … to England and back home to Adelaide. A History of Sa … Secretary to Angus … etc

    A fine copy of a book about a fine man in fine times in Australia.


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  • The Memoirs of Sarah Bernhardt  – and her novel “In the Clouds” – Edited Sandy Lesberg

    The Memoirs of Sarah Bernhardt – and her novel “In the Clouds” – Edited Sandy Lesberg

    Original memoirs from early childhood through the First American Tour edited and introduced by Sandy Lesberg. Also, the first English language publication of her only novel “In the Clouds”.

    Large octavo, 256 pages of which the last 52 comprise the short novel.

    A first edition 1977 published by Peebles Press, New York and London. A very good copy.

    Nicely illustrated from period photographs, and Clouds illustrated with line drawings by Georges Clairin.

    The adventurous Bernhardt not satisfied with being the most admired actor of the 19thC took to some strange activities … riding whales, collecting exotic animals, early ballooning and, was a accomplished artist and sculptor.

    Sarah Bernhardt by Sarah Bernhardt


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  • Linus Pauling [Two Times Nobel Prize Winner] – Biography – A Man and His Science –  Anthony Serafini (Introduction Isaac Asimov)

    Linus Pauling [Two Times Nobel Prize Winner] – Biography – A Man and His Science – Anthony Serafini (Introduction Isaac Asimov)

    A first edition published by Simon and Schuster in 1989.

    Large octavo, 310 pages with illustrations from period photographs. Very good condition.

    A super biography by the thorough and readable Professor Serafini. With and introduction from Isaac Asimov which also beats his own drum.

    A monumental scientist of the 20th Century … the only person to single handed won the Nobel Prize twice … Chemistry and Peace. His application of quantum mechanics to molecular orbital theory and the lead into the helix and, for others, consequently DNA was way ahead. His competition with William Bragg and the Oppenheimer conflict (not the least that he made a pass at Pauling’s wife) add some intrigue. Ban the Bomb and Vitamin C the elixir came later …

    Pauling’s Life will prove an inspiration for any budding scientist.


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  • An Immigrant of 1824 [George Robinson - Tasmania] – N.J.B. Plomley

    An Immigrant of 1824 [George Robinson - Tasmania] – N.J.B. Plomley

    The immigrant in question is none other than George Augustus Robinson, who would become the conciliator of the Tasmanian Aborigines. A man who Brian Plomley would spend many years examining through his lengthy but hard to read diaries.

    Softcover, published by the Hobart Historical Research Association in 1973. Mock parchment stiff wrappers. Title to front, 47 pages, illustrations from Robinson’s sketches, tables, graphs etc. A fine copy.

    Deals with Robinson’s voyage to Australia on the Triton, a substantial vessel for her day, owned by the Australian Company. Robinson travelled steerage Pounds25 compared with the posh Cabin at Pounds65-75. Plomley acknowledges that Robinson’s onboard diaries are lacking in certain areas but makes a good fist of telling the story. All set in a broader discussion on the rate and mix of immigration in the period … with some dubious calculus employed to prove that the rate of change of growth remained constant (well really). The background to Robinson’s pre-emigration life are excellent, as are sections on the Triton with a good schematic of rigging, layout etc.

    Excellent notes and references make the work whole.

    Plomley on Robinson, on his way out .. a useful and interesting read.


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  • Sarah Bernhardt – William Embodden (Introduction Sir John Gielgud)

    Sarah Bernhardt – William Embodden (Introduction Sir John Gielgud)

    A first edition published by Studio Vista (part of Cassell), London in 1974.

    Quarto, 176 pages, some signs of age still a very good copy of a excellent work on Bernhardt, not the least for the introduction by Sir John Gielgud.

    Nicely illustrated throughout from period photographs. Includes our image of Sarah as Frou-Frou.

    Accompanied by a useful appendix listing the plays in which she acted chronologically and a healthy bibliography.

    Sarah Bernhardt – well-presented and with exceptional images.


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