Rare Books on Photography, First Edition Photo Books & Vintage Photographs for Sale Online
View our selection of inscribed vintage photographs and rare photography books below. We carry a variety of interesting antique photographs (framed and matted), as well as seminal photo books from some of the world’s most renowned photographers. Be sure to check back often for updates, as our catalog changes frequently.
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Signed “Charles Dickens (with a large flourish) Washington, D.C. Seventh February 1868.” Large oval portrait photograph measures 13 inches by 13 inches. Matted in a walnut frame which measures 24 inches by 27 inches. On his Washington tour Dickens met President Andrew Johnson and signed this photograph on the date of that meeting, February 7, which also happened to be Dickens’ birthday. He discussed in a letter to his friend and agent John Foster regarding that day, “This scrambling scribblement is resumed this morning, because I have just seen the President: who had sent to me very courteously asking me to make my own appointment. He is a man with a remarkable face.” From the Library of The Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. Portrait photographs of this size signed by Dickens are exceptionally rare, especially with such noted provenance.
Price: $42,000.00 Item Number: 5825
"In this brief life of ours, it is sad to do almost anything for the last time": Large Signed Portrait Photograph Signed by Charles Dickens
Large oval portrait photograph measures 20 inches by 16 inches. Matted in a contemporary frame which measures 25.5 inches by 29.5 inches. Signed “Charles Dickens (with a large flourish) Boston Sixth March 1868.” In 1867, Charles Dickens began his second American reading tour at Boston’s Tremont Temple, where an enthusiastic audience delighted in some of his most notable works, members of the audience included legendary literary stars such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Although Dickens was in declining health, he embarked on an ambitious travel schedule across the United States. Dickens returned to Boston once more before concluding his U.S. tour in New York City. When Charles Dickens arrived in Boston on November 19, 1867, the celebrated English author spent several days at the Parker House hotel recuperating from the voyage. As conscientious a performer as he was a writer, Dickens had prepared diligently for his performances, redrafting and memorizing key passages from his books especially for these engagements. He used a book only as a prop; he was so familiar with the material that he could improvise with ease. However, during his 1867-1868 tour he was plagued with Flu-like symptoms, insomnia, and an inflammation of his foot, which forced him to walk with a cane. During his last tours in 1868, Dickens confined much of his performances to the New England area. Dickens was grateful for the income he desperately needed from his readings, which generated $140,000, close to $2,000,000 today; but he longed for home. On April 8, 1868, Dickens gave the last performance of the tour. Prolonged applause followed the reading. He closed by telling the audience, “In this brief life of ours, it is sad to do almost anything for the last time… Ladies and gentlemen, I beg most earnestly, most gratefully, and most affectionately, to bid you, each and all, farewell.” He died two years later, having written 14 novels, several of which are considered classics of English literature. A desirable piece of Victorian literary history.
Price: $30,000.00 Item Number: 74030
Rare Original Photograph of General Ulysses S. Grant Taken By Mathew Brady; Boldly Signed By Grant As President
Rare original Mathew Brady photograph of Ulysses S. Grant. Boldly signed by Grant as the 18th President of the United States, “U.S. Grant March 18th 1875.” One of the earliest photographers in American history, Mathew B. Brady brought home the reality of the Civil War to the American public with his innovative use of a mobile studio and darkroom to capture thousands of war scenes throughout the Civil War. Brady was also recognized as one of the premier photographic portraitists of the 19th century, taking photographs of numerous celebrities including Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, and Robert E. Lee among others. Double matted and framed. The entire piece measures 19 inches by 16.5 inches. In near fine condition. Rare and desirable with such a strong signature signed by Grant during his presidency.
Price: $18,500.00 Item Number: 94709
Alhambra, California: A National Excelsior Publication, 1963.
First edition, one of 400 numbered copies of the artist’s first book, this is number 180. Small octavo, original white wrappers, printed in red. Signed by Ed Ruscha on the title page. Near fine in the rare original glassine. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.
Price: $17,500.00 Item Number: 97975
“Dear Barbara, you remind me of myself and I wish us both that you remain that way": Photograph of Ayn Rand; Inscribed by Her to Barbara Branden
Large signed photograph of Ayn Rand. Inscribed by her to Barbara Branden, “Dear Barbara, you remind me of myself and I wish us both that you remain that way – With love -Ayn June 21, 1951.” While living in New York during the early 1950’s, the recipient, Barbara, and her future husband, Nathaniel Branden, befriended Rand and her husband Frank O’Connor. Not only would the couple go on to become major proponents of Objectivism (establishing the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1958 with Barbara serving as Rand’s assistant), but their personal lives would be dramatically intertwined with Rand’s. Begrudgingly sanctioned by both Barbara and Frank, Nathaniel began an affair with Ayn in 1954. The secret couple had a very public break in 1968, almost certainly due to Branden’s affair with actress Patrecia Scott who he later married. The photograph measures 8 inches by 10 inches. Matted and framed, which measures 17.5 inches by 19.5 inches. Photographs signed by Rand are rare.
Price: $15,000.00 Item Number: 73070
Rare First Edition of Peking the Beautiful; With 70 Photographic Plates; in the rare publisher's wooden slipcase
Shanghai, China: The Commercial Press, 1927.
First edition of this work comprising photographic studies of the celebrated monuments of China’s northern capital with descriptive and historical notes. Folio, original embroidered silk pictorial boards, original publisher’s wooden box. In fine condition without wear. Contains 70 photographic plates mounted, numerous illustrations in text. Contains an introduction by Hu Shih, professor of Philosophy at the National University of Peking. Rare and desirable in the original publisher’s wooden box.
Price: $15,000.00 Item Number: 107644
Rare Photographic Portrait of Robert E. Lee and his staff; Inscribed by Civil War Photographer Mathew Brady
Photographic portrait of General Robert E. Lee flanked by his son, General George Washington Custis Lee, on his right and Colonel Walter Taylor on his left. Inscribed by one of the earliest photographers in American history, Mathew Brady, on a mount, “To Col. Robert Alexander Compliments of his friend, M.B. Brady.” The photograph was taken at Lee’s estate in Richmond, Virginia in April of 1865, only days after his surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox. This is one in a series taken by Brady in the basement below the back porch of the estate and from the original wet plates in the Brady-Handy collection. “This photograph is one of the most celebrated images produced by Brady, who established his reputation in the 1850s as the preeminent portraitist in New York and Washington, D.C. In the aftermath of the Civil War, Brady sought out General Robert E. Lee, who had returned to the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia, after his surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. At the photographer’s request General Lee reluctantly put on his uniform and posed at the back of his residence with his son, General George Washington Custis Lee (left), and his chief of staff, Colonel Walter H. Taylor (right). The image conveys the pathos of defeat for the Confederacy and for Lee personally. For Brady, who had been present at the first battle of the Civil War at Bull Run, this portrait completed his photographic coverage of the conflict” (WAM). Matted and framed. The entire piece measures 17 inches by 14 inches. An exceptional piece of Americana.
Price: $15,000.00 Item Number: 89011
"Our land is of every kind geologically and climatically and our people are of every kind also - and yet our land is one nation, and our people are Americans": First edition of Steinbeck's America and Americans; inscribed by him to fellow American author John Updike
New York: The Viking Press, 1966.
First edition of Steinbeck’s final book. Quarto, original half cloth, illustrated, cartographic endpapers. With 136 pages of photographs, 24 in full color by 55 of the most prominent American photographers of the era including Ansel Adams, Sam Siegel, and Todd Webb. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the half-title page, “For John Updike with admiration John Steinbeck.” American author John Steinbeck published his most notable works between 1937 (Of Mice and Men) and 1952 (East of Eden), and was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1940 and Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962. One of the most prolific American authors from the early 1960s until his death in 2009, fellow recipient of the Pulitzer Prize John Updike identified Steinbeck as one of his literary heroes at a young age. Both writers’ works explored themes of crises related to faith, injustice, and family dynamics applied to small town ‘everyman’ protagonists. Both Steinbeck and Updike wrote in a realist tradition featuring their own distinctively rich and imaginative vocabulary and style of prose. Near fine in a very good dust jacket. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Jacket design by Christopher Harris. Photograph of Steinbeck to the rear panel by Paul Farber. From the library of John Updike. An exceptional association linking two of the greatest writers of twentieth century America.
Price: $15,000.00 Item Number: 55056
"Humanity is the same the world over in whatever garb or colour she may be clothed": Signed Photograph of Mahatma Gandhi
Rare signed photograph depicting Mohandas K. Gandhi in profile with his palms pressed together, inscribed in Gujarati (“[Truth at all costs]”) and signed in English M.K. Gandhi on the image in blue ink. With an autographed letter signed from Amrit Kaur, the secretary to Gandhi and later Health Minister of India, to Sgt. John McAleer, written on Gandhi’s behalf, enclosing the signed photograph and responding to his letter (“…Humanity is the same the world over in whatever garb or colour she may be clothed…”), 2 pages, Poona, 5 March 1946, with envelope; photograph of Gandhi and another in rickshaws being pulled by a ceremonial guard, stamped and inscribed “Bhullo chien Desia” on the reverse; and a newspaper cutting; altogether five items mounted and framed together. In very good condition with the inscription faded. Matted and framed, the entire piece measures 19.5 inches by 16.5 inches. A nice collection with noted provenance.
Price: $13,500.00 Item Number: 100048
Various Places: 1956-1964.
First editions of each of the photographers famed city books. Tall quarto, 4 volumes. Each are signed by William Klein, with the caption booklet of New York signed as well. Very good to near fine books in original dust jackets showing some light rubbing and wear. A very sharp set of these volumes.
Price: $12,800.00 Item Number: 115672
"You got eyes": Rare First Edition of the Famed Photographers First Book The Americans; Inscribed by Robert Frank
New York: Grove Press, 1959.
First edition of the photographer’s masterpiece with 83 black-and-white full-page photogravures. Oblong quarto, original cloth, illustrated throughout, Presentation copy, inscribed by the photographer opposite the title page, “To Linda Robert Frank.” An excellent near fine example in a very good dust jacket that shows light wear and a few small closed tears. Introduction by Jack Kerouac. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.
Price: $12,500.00 Item Number: 1337
Yousuf Karsh Photograph of the First Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru; Signed by Both Nehru and Karsh
Black and white photograph of the first prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru. Signed Jawaharlal Nehru March 1951 and also signed by the photographer Yousuf Karsh. Karsh was one of the most notable photographers of the 20th century. His work included portraits of celebrities, military and political figures, such as Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Martin Luther King. Jr., Audrey Hepburn, and many others. The photograph measures 10 inches by 12.75 inches. Double matted and framed. The entire piece measures 17 inches by 19.5 inches. Rare and desirable signed by both Nehru and Karsh.
Price: $12,500.00 Item Number: 67092
"I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands": Large Signed Photograph of Nelson Mandela upon his return to Robben Island; Signed by Him and Jurgen Schadeberg
Silver Gelatin Print of Nelson Mandela’s 1994 return to Robben Island with Mandela looking through the bars in deep contemplation. Boldly signed by both Nelson Mandela and the photographer, Jurgen Schadeberg, who has signed on the bottom right panel and signed and stamped the verso. Schadeberg’s image was voted as one of the 50 most memorable images of the 20th century by The Photographers Gallery in London. The image measures 11 inches by 14 inches. Matted and framed. The entire piece measures 17.5 inches by 21.5 inches. This photograph has been used numerous times in publicity; providing the cover image for Mandela’s Illustrated Long Walk To Freedom. A striking image, most rare signed by one of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century.
Price: $12,500.00 Item Number: 979
Black and white silver gelatin photograph of Albert Einstein. Signed “A Einstein 52.” Full-length group portrait showing Albert Einstein standing with Hadassah National President Rebecca Beldner Shulman and others at his Princeton home in June of 1952 during a celebration marking the commencement of building of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem. The photograph measures 8 inches by 9.5 inches. The entire piece measures 19 inches by 20.5 inches. An exceptional piece.
Price: $11,000.00 Item Number: 72091
“Be daring, be different, be impractical; be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers": First Edition of Cecil Beaton's Fair Lady; Inscribed by Cecil Beaton to Actress Vivien Leigh
New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964.
First edition of Beaton’s Fair Lady, a witty compilation of his personal diary entries recorded while managing the costume and set design of the 1957 Warner Brothers film starring Audrey Hepburn. Octavo, original half cloth, illustrated throughout. Association copy, inscribed by the author to actress Vivien Leigh on the front free endpaper, “For Vivien With Blessings from Cecil.” Beaton met Vivien Leigh on the set of The Doctor’s Dilemma in Edinburgh, Scotland in November of 1941. He was working as a photographer for Vogue magazine at the time and after attending the play took the first of what would become many iconic portraits of Leigh. The two became close friends and Beaton was a regular guest at Notely, the home of Leigh and her second husband, Oliver Stone, which was notorious for its large parties. Throughout the next decade Leigh, Stone, and Beaton worked on a number of films together including Anna Karenina and The School for Scandal. The friendship became strained as Beaton grew increasingly jealous of Leigh’s continued success. Cecil sent Leigh this copy of Fair Lady as a peace offering in 1964, they had not spoken in over ten years. The book was found among her personal belongings after her death from tuberculosis three years later, although it is unknown whether or not the friendship was ever repaired. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket with a few closed tears. Jacket design by Cecil Beaton. An exceptional association copy.
Price: $9,800.00 Item Number: 65071
Carte-de-visite signed by philosopher John Stuart Mill. 2.5 inches by 4 inches. Matted and framed. The entire piece measures 9.75 inches by 8 inches. Rare and desirable signed.
Price: $9,800.00 Item Number: 33088
Rare United States Air Force Photograph of aviator Howard Hughes, Major General Oscar Westover, and General of the Air Force Henry H. Arnold; signed by all three
Rare United States Air Force photograph of legendary aviator Howard Hughes, Major General Oscar Westover, and General of the Air Force Henry H. Arnold. Signed and inscribed by each aviation pioneer, “O. Westover Maj. Gen. A.C. Chief of the Air Corps”, “Howard Hughes”, and “H. Arnold Brig Gen. A.C.” Major General Oscar Westover succeeded Benjamin Foulois as Chief of the Air Corps in 1935 and, on September 21, 1938, perished in an air crash at Burbank, California. Henry H. Arnold succeeded Westover as Chief of Air Corps on September 29, 1938. Arnold rose to command the Army Air Forces immediately prior to the American entry into World War II and directed its hundred-fold expansion from an organization of little more than 20,000 men and 800 first-line combat aircraft into the largest and most powerful air force in the world. He additionally moonlighted as a silent film stunt pilot and was portrayed on film by actor Walter O. Miles in the 1977 American made-for-television biographical film The Amazing Howard Hughes, starring Tommy Lee Jones as Hughes. In 1946, Hughes performed the first flight of the prototype U.S. Army Air Forces reconnaissance aircraft, the XF-11, near Hughes airfield at Culver City, California. The XF-11 crashed in Beverly Hills, destroying three houses. Hughes was rescued by Marine Master Sgt. William L. Durkin, who happened to be in the area visiting friends. It is rumored that Hughes sent a check to the Marine weekly for the remainder of his life as a sign of gratitude. In fine condition. Exceptionally rare, signed three major figures in the history of American aviation.
Price: $9,500.00 Item Number: 109582
“Of all the means of expression, photography is the only one that fixes a precise moment in time": First Edition of Henri Cartier-Bresson's The Decisive Moment; Inscribed by Him
New York: Simon and Schuster, 1952.
First edition of Cartier-Bresson’s classic work, with 126 photographs by “the Raphael of 20th-century photographers.” Folio, original illustrated boards. Association copy, inscribed by Cartier-Bresson on the title page, “à Joan et Eliot, ‘The Decisive Moment’ de l’amitié, Henri, 19 Jan 57, la vraie patrie c’est l’amitié.” The recipient was Eliot Elisofon, a fellow photographer and a founding member of the Photo League in 1936. He was one of the most active and productive members: he gave guest lectures (1938–43); co-organized the Men at Work project with Lewis Hine (1940); served periodically as president between 1939 and 1941; taught courses on photojournalism and flash photography (1940–41); and participated in numerous exhibitions. Elisofon taught at many institutions, including the Institute of American Artists School (1936-1941), the New School (1938), the Clarence H. White School of Photography (November 1940 – April 1941), the Photo League (1941), the New School for Social Research (1942), the Museum of Modern Art, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as Yale University, Syracuse University, Radcliffe College, Wellesley College, and Sarah Lawrence College. Elisofon’s first assignments for Life magazine appeared in 1937, Tin Type Photographer and Jewish New Year, and in 1941 his image of General Patton was the first color cover of Life. Patton was intrigued by Elisofon’s desire to get as close to the action as possible and nicknamed him “Hellsapopin.” He was the only photographer to accompany Gen. Patton throughout the North African Campaign. His photographs became an exhibition titled The Tunisian Triumph, which opened in June 1943 at MoMA and traveled to 20 cities in the United States. From 1942 to 1964 he was a staff photographer for Life magazine. With the captions booklet laid in. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket. Jacket design by Matisse. An exceptional association, rare and desirable signed.
Price: $9,500.00 Item Number: 117546
"TO ROBERT FRANK I NOW GIVE THIS MESSAGE: YOU GOT EYES": First Edition of Robert Franks Les Americains; Signed by Him
Paris: Delpire, 1958.
First edition of the photographer’s masterpiece with 83 black-and-white full-page photogravures. Oblong quarto, original boards illustrated by Saul Steinberg. Signed by Robert Frank on the title page. In near fine condition that shows light wear. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.
Price: $9,500.00 Item Number: 1353
Rare original albumen photograph of Ralph Waldo Emerson seated with a book. Boldly signed by Emerson beneath his portrait, “R.W. Emerson.” Matted and framed. The photograph measures 7 inches 4.5 inches. The entire piece measures 11 inches by 13.5 inches. Rare and desirable.
Price: $9,200.00 Item Number: 95206