Forest Books has published their Miscellany Fourteen, aka A Catalogue of Rare and Curious Books, Pamphlets & Printed Ephemera on a Wide Variety of Subjects. That's not all there is to the title. They then go on to list some of the specific topics included therein. Here they are: Including Agriculture, Architecture, Botany, Children's Books, Crime & Law, Cookery, Economics, Education, English Literature, The Fine Arts, Ireland, India, Military & Naval, Natural History, Photography, Social Studies, Science & Medicine, Sporting Books, Technology, Travel & Topography, etc. What's missing? Not much, and it's probably in the “etc.” anyway. You are sure to find some things you want in this collection. Here are a few examples, but they hardly touch the surface of what you will find.
This book offered a proposal well ahead of its time. The author was John Bellers, a man ahead of his time. He advocated education, a cooperative settlement for the poor where they could create wealth through their labors, the elimination of capital punishment, and in this case, for the establishment of national health care. The book is An Essay Towards the Improvement of Physick. In Twelve Proposals, by which the Lives of many Thousands of the Rich, as well as of the Poor, may be Saved Yearly, published in 1714. Bellers called for a system of hospitals that would treat all, financed by Parliament. The hospitals would also serve as a teaching ground for future doctors. He also recommended institutions for medical research, special hospitals for the blind and those with incurable diseases, and the appointment of community doctors. Forest notes that this work is “the foundation of the national health service.” It took over two centuries to get there, but Britain now has this service, though as an American, I can attest that not all nations even yet provide universal health care. Item 13. Priced at £1,675 (British pounds, or approximately $2,112 in U.S. dollars).
This is a book for those in love with trains and railroads, especially the earliest ones. The book is Drawings of the London and Birmingham Railway, with An Historical and Descriptive Account by John Britton, published in 1839. Opened in 1838, this was the first railroad heading north from London, and a few years within the first railway in the country. It was published by J. E. Bourne with Ackermann & Co., noted for the excellence of their illustrations. Forest notes, it was “one of the great illustrated railway books, giving permanent record of the building of one of the most important early railways in England.” Forest describes these as “fine and accurate drawings,” 34 tinted lithographed views and architectural details on 29 sheets, with two maps. They are particularly impressive as the book is an elephant folio in size. Item 22. £2,975 (US $3,752).
Here is another book with “vivid and accurate illustrations.” It too is a folio, though sans the elephant. However, its illustrations may not be quite as appealing due to its subject matter. The title is A Pictorial Atlas of Skin Diseases and Syphilitic Affections in Photo-Lithochromes from Models in the Museum of St. Louis Hospital, Paris. The editor was John James Prigle, published in London in 1897. Despite the fine images, this is not a coffee table book but rather, a medical atlas. Item 141. £195 (US $246).
This next author was a theologian and geologist, which made for some interesting beliefs in the years before Darwin. Rev. William Buckland was one of the great geologists of his time, his interpretations of what he found advancing our understanding of antiquity significantly. Item 33 is Reliquiae Diluvianae; or Observations on the Organic Remains contained in Caves, Fissures, and Diluvial Gravel and on other Geological Phenomena, attesting to the action of a Universal Flood, a second edition published in 1824. Buckland investigated Kirkland Cave, and what he found there, despite the book's title, contradicted the standard belief that it was a result of Noah's Flood. He found remains of hyenas, which others would have assumed were washed into the cave at the time of the flood, but the presence of food and feces led him to conclude they had lived in the cave in ancient times, pre-flood. He received the Copley Medal in 1822 from the Royal Society for his finding. However, he was also a theologian and a literal believer, so he posited that a layer of dirt over the hyena remains was deposited during the flood. The hyenas had lived eons earlier, but how can that fit in with Genesis' story of a six-day creation a few thousand years ago? It led him to adopt what is known as the Gap Theory, that the first verse of Genesis refers to an ancient time long ago, with a gap to the next part, where the Earth as humans know it was formed after the old world was destroyed. It isn't easy to reconcile literal Biblical Genesis with modern science. £445 (US $561).
These short books bound together will teach you how to play several games you probably don't know how to play. The last one you may know, but the others, unlikely. The first of the four titles is A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist. Containing the Laws of the Game..., a sixth edition published in 1746. Next is A Short Treatise on the Game of Quadrille... a second edition from 1745. Then comes A Short Treatise on the Game of Piquet...to which is added some Rules and Observations for playing well at Chess, a 1746 second edition, and finally, A Short Treatise on the Game of Back-Gammon, a second edition from 1745. All were by Edmond Hall. Item 89. £395 (US $498).
If you are suffering from griping flux of the belly, this is the book you will want, because it may be the only place you will find a cure. If you ask your doctor or pharmacist for a cure, they will probably just look at you like you are crazy. Hermann van der Heyden feels your pain. Here is his cure for that and other maladies, as explained in his book's title, which says it all: Speedy Help for Rich and Poor. Or, Certain physicall discourses touching the vertue of whey, in the cure of the griping flux of the belly, and of the dysentery. Of cold water, in the cure of the gout, and green-wounds. Of wine-vineger, in the preservation from, and cure of the plague, and other pestilential diseases: as also in the prevention of the hydrophobia, or dread of water, caused by the biting of a mad dog. This is a first English edition from 1653 of a book originally published in French in 1645. Good advice gets around. Van der Hayden was a physician from Ghent. Item 81. £1,250 (US $1,576).