Trillium Antiquarian Books

William Van Nest

Trillium Antiquarian Books has been selling scarce, out-of-print books on the Internet since 1998 and, earlier, by traditional mail order. We are a long-standing member of the Independent On-line Booksellers’ Association (IOBA) and subscribe to the Association’s code of Ethics.

Trillium Antiquarian Books is owned by William Van Nest, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Trillium Grandiflorum, from which we take our name, is the provincial flower of Ontario and appears in snowy white drifts among the hardwoods each Spring. One of several trilliums resident in the back garden is the origin of the image on this page. 

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Peterborough, ON K9J 6A4

1. R. Murray Schafer’s Ariadne, Signed and Inscribed

Item Price: $100

Item Description: R. Murray Schafer. Ariadne. Bancroft: Arcana (1985). First edition, signed and with an inscription by the author and composer (pp. 77, [ii]). Octavo (22 cm) in blue card. A collection of ‘concrete poetry’ and fanciful sketches. Lightly sunned spine but otherwise quite fine. A scarce book.

2. Travel in the sub-Arctic. George Douglas’ Lands Forlorn. Family copy.

Item Price: $750

Item Description: George M. Douglas. Lands Forlorn. G. P. Putnam’s Sons (Knickerbocker Press): New York, 1914. First edition (xv, 285, append.). Colour frontis of the author from the portrait by Grier and 182 b&w photo illustrations mostly in text, two maps at rear. Large octavo (23 cm), in dark blue cloth, gilt lettering to titles, t.e.g. From the collection and with the signature of Douglas’ cousin, Lewis W. Douglas (1894- 1974), Democrat politician under Roosevelt, ambassador to Great Britain, and business executive (‘L. W. Douglas/ New York 1924’) and, later, from that of Francis Campbell Bell, once Manitoba’s minister of mines, who has copied out Douglas’ obituary notice and placed it in an envelope at the rear. Also included, separately, an offprint of the article ‘The Copper Bearing Traps of the Coppermine River’ (Ottawa 1913) by [Dr.] James Douglas, L. W.’s grandfather, (1837- 1918), mining engineer and president of the mining company Phelps Dodge, which consists largely of August Sandburg’s report of the geological findings of the expedition.

Originally from Lakefield, Ontario, George Mellis Douglas (1875- 1963) was an engineer chiefly employed in the copper mining industry in the U. S. southwest. He set out in company with his brother Lionel (‘Lion’) and the geologist August Sandburg to visit the Coppermine River country in the Canadian arctic with half a mind to locate copper deposits in the area, the presence of which was suggested by tools and decorative objects worked in copper by people of the Western Arctic. Much of expedition’s success was due to the travellers’ skill with small boats and, according to Douglas, to their independence of local support, the dependability of which Douglas was rightly skeptical. The fine sailing canoe Douglas used on the trip north is on display at the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

In the result, while no great copper deposits were discovered, they did wander profitably for the reader through the high and low spots of the country– the sweep of the Mackenzie River, the deaths in winter of two trappers, smiling Inuit families are captured in Douglas’ fine photographs (Robert Service appears in one snap-shot at the dead trappers’ cabin.) In Arctic Profiles, Finnie says, in part, ‘George M. Douglas was one of the most efficient and well-informed explorers of the Mackenzie District, particularly the northerly reaches of Great Bear Lake and the Coppermine River as far as the arctic coast, during the early years of the twentieth century…. [He] was a pioneer who opened up new vistas for mineral investigation and development. Yet he is chiefly known for his only book, Land Forlorn [sic], which, published in 1914, is noteworthy for its accuracy, attention to detail, and superb photographs. It stands as one of the classics of northern literature. His work in the Southwest was interrupted by the first of his northern explorations. This was for a 1911-1912 expedition to Great Bear Lake, the Dismal Lakes, and the lower Coppermine River to search for copper deposits.The Douglas party tracked up the swift-flowing Great Bear River with a York boat to Great Bear Lake, towing a canoe. They sailed across the lake to the northeasterly corner at the mouth of the Dease River, where Lionel Douglas built a substantial cabin for the winter. Meanwhile, George Douglas and August Sandburg canoed up the Dease to the Dismal Lakes and thence to the Kendall River and the Coppermine. They explored the Coppermine Mountains during the first season before returning to the cabin. The party ranged as far as Coronation Gulf, meeting some of the Copper Inuit but missing Vilhjalmur Stefansson, who had visited the Dismal Lakes only a few months prior to their arrival. (George Douglas and Stefansson eventually became life-long friends.) The entire expedition was noteworthy for its meticulous planning and successful execution, with no serious mishaps. He wrote well and kept journals of all his journeys, profusely illustrated with his photographs of consistently professional quality, yet he published only one book and a couple of articles for technical magazines’ (ASTIS 32608). See Enid Mallory’s Coppermine: The Far North of George M. Douglas. A handsome, solid copy of a scarce book on arctic exploration.

3. Catharine Parr Traill. Collected stories and nature lore.

Item Price: $150

Item Description: Catharine Parr Traill [Mrs. Traill]. Stories of the Canadian Forest; or, Little Mary and Her Nurse. Boston: Hall and Whiting, 1881. First edition thus (frontis., 240 pp.), earlier published as Little Mary and Her Nurse. Octavo (18.5 cm) in decorative scarlet publisher’s cloth with impressed and gilt and other decoration, titles. Nature lore and stories cast in a somewhat stilted dialogue, among members of a squirrel family for example (though it may be squirrels converse in that manner). Lightly rubbed spine and edge of front cover, inside front hinge starting. A handsome scarlet and gilt copy of this scarce book.

4. Story of the Old Vic Theatre- Signed and inscribed by Robertson Davies

Item Price: $300

Item Description: Harcourt Williams. Old Vic Saga. London: Winchester, 1949. First edition (216 pp., appendices, index), with approximately 125 photographic illustrations. Signed, dated, and with a personal note by Robertson Davies. In gray cloth with gilt lettering, absent any Dj. A better than very good copy, clean and bright.

5. Hunting “specimens” and exploring the North Pacific Islands

Item Price: $100

Item Description: Charles Sheldon. The Wilderness of the North Pacific Coast Islands, a Hunter’s Experiences while Searching for Wapiti, Bears, and Caribou on the larger Coast Islands of British Columbia and Alaska. Toronto: Copp, Clark, 1912. First edition (pp. xv, 246, index). Small octavo (21 cm) in publisher’s dark green cloth, gilt titles and decoration; five maps (four in text, one folding), more than fifty photo plate illustrations with tissue guards. Charles Sheldon (1867- 1928) left the railway business in his mid-thirties to pursue his abiding interest in sheep— the mountain sheep of North America. A friend of Theodore Roosevelt, he explored and hunted “specimens” in remoter parts of Yukon and Alaska, where he was instrumental in the creation of Mt. McKinley National Park. Provided the area had sheep, or at least a bear, Sheldon was keen to visit and explore. This book is a record of his hunting explorations of Haida Gwaii (then the Queen Charlottes) and southern Alaska. Minor wear to the edges; ex libris- remnants of patch at base of spine but without the other usual markings. A Very Good copy.

6. British Columbia History from earliest discovery, as though no one was at home

Item Price: $150

Item Description: Alexander Begg. A History of British Columbia from Its Earliest Discovery to the Present Time. Toronto: Briggs, 1894. First edition, with a typed note on the front endpaper, ‘With the compliments of/ Mr. SANFORD (sic) FLEMING. / January, 1895.’(pp. xviii, 8- 568). Octavo (22 cm) in brown publisher’s cloth, gilt titles and decoration; illustrated with over a hundred sketches, photographs in text. A remark in the Introduction captures the narrative’s point of view, ‘Of the pre-historic period, that is, prior to the arrival of Captain James Cook, on the north-west coast of America, little need be said.’ So, a history of Europeans, British Europeans, in the Northwest emphasizing commercial and social development, loyalty to the Queen Empress, and the like. Paper becoming brittle with a tendency to chip, absent the map mentioned in the Preface (but no sign it was ever present and had subsequently been removed). A Very Good copy.

7. The re-naming of British Columbia places (1592- 1906) and how Saltspring got its name

Item Price: $250

Item Description: Capt. John T. Walbran. British Columbia Coast Names 1592- 1906, their Origin and History to which Are Added a Few Names in Adjacent United States Territory. Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau, 1909. First edition (pp. 546) from the library and with the plate of Mr. Justice Archer Martin of British Columbia and a note presenting the book to D. D. Mann, a principal in a Victoria mining company (Martin was an expert in mining laws and wrote extensively on the subject). Tall octavo (23 cm) in green publisher’s cloth, gilt titles to spine; large folding map of the coast of British Columbia bound in at rear, twenty photographic illustrations, clipping of letter to Victoria Colonist on the origin of the name ‘Active Pass’. Much coastal lore and history as, for example, the naming of Saltspring Island (and many places not nearly as familiar). Minor wear top and bottom of the spine, tips; binding becoming a bit dry. A Very Good copy with an interesting provenance.

8. Alpine Journal Mount McKinley Issue- maps, photos

Item Price: $75

Item Description: The Canadian Alpine Journal. Volume V. Banff: Alpine Club of Canada, 1913. First edition (pp. 137, adverts), with folding map; article on conquering Mt. McKinley with folding map and other mountaineering, camping, and scientific articles; illustrated by full-page b&w photographs, sketches. Tall octavo (25 cm) in blue-gray wraps; spine tips worn. Contents clean and bright.

9. Canadian Scenery Illustrated over 100 engravings, boxed set

Item Price: $90

Item Description: N. P. Willis. Canadian Scenery Illustrated. From drawings by W. H. Bartlett. [N.P.]: Peter Martin Press, 1967. Facsimile edition in two volumes (the original, Canadian Scenery Illustrated in a Series of Views having been published in London by James Virtue, n.d., but c. 1850) illustrated with a map of Canada and 117 engravings by W. H. Bartlett. A boxed set bound in blue and rust cloth, gilt lettering. Slipcase with edge wear and a bumped corner, spines sun -faded to blue gray; the books themselves seem unopened.

10. Family copy- WWI Roll of Honour, Lt. C. C. Temple

Item Price: $150

Item Description: British Roll of Honour of the Empire’s Heroes. Published, probably as one of a series, for private circulation [Queenhithe], c. 1919, unpaginated but c. 400 pp. Large quarto (31 cm) in white cloth over purple, gilt titles and decorations, a.e.g. Dozens of biographical sketches accompanied by a portrait photograph of about 200 British officers (they were all officers) killed in World War I and made available to their families at five pounds each. ‘British’ here includes New Zealanders, Australians, and Canadians. The final page is a decorative printed frame suitable for a full-size portrait of the soldier whose sacrifice is memorialized, in this instance Lt. C. C. Temple, Second Canadian Mounted Rifles, killed 2nd October 1916. Lengthy inscription by Lt. Temple’s father on the front endpaper, title page; enclosed is a note of condolence from Temple’s former teacher, now principal, at Upper Canada College. White cloth still a bit smudged (it cleaned up nicely, though), one hinge starting, endpaper creased. Very Good. Apparently quite scarce, held in nine libraries worldwide.

11. Upper Canada College Service in WWI- Raymond Massey, Con Smythe

​Item Price: 

Item Description: A. H. Young (Ed.). The War Book of Upper Canada College Toronto. Toronto: UCC, 1923. At once a memorial and an historical record of the service in World War I, 1914-1918, of the “boys” of this prestigious private school, including among its number Raymond Massey and Con Smythe. Quarto, in dark blue cloth with silver gilt coat of arms and lettering, 322 pp., with many photographs of uniformed classmates, principal buildings, the UCC motorized ambulance. Tips worn, short splits at top of spine of an otherwise tight, clean copy.

12. Judge John de N. Kennedy’s copy with original watercolour. Inscribed

Item Price: $250

Item Description: Sir William Robert Kennedy. Sport in the Navy and Naval Yarns. Westminster: Archibald Constable, 1902. First edition (pp. 317, adverts) INSCRIBED by Kennedy to his brother ‘G. G. Kennedy/ with love from/ his brother Bill/ Oct 1902’. Small octavo (19 cm) in blue publisher’s cloth, gilt titles and decorations (compass rose, ropes), bevelled edges; twenty-one ‘ripping’ yarns and reminiscences of life in the Royal Navy told by Admiral Sir William Robert Kennedy, K. C. B., (1838- 1916), arising out of the experiences of his long career as a naval officer (1851- 1901) which culminated in appointments as Commander-in-Chief of the East Indies Station and finally as C-in -C of the Nore (the North Sea fleet). The sketches include, for example, ‘Reindeer Stalking in Norway’, ‘Trout Fishing in Swedish Lakes and Rivers’, ‘Duck Shooting Near Karachi’, and ‘A Trip to Bagdad’. As these titles suggest, Kennedy’s service following the Crimean War, during which he served as a junior officer, was with a largely peacetime navy, one which might be called upon from time to time to quiet disturbances in various corners of the Empire but otherwise left ample time for reindeer hunting. Kennedy was a busy writer, too. Predating this book were his Sporting Adventures in the Pacific (1876); Sport, Travel, and Adventure in Newfoundland and the West Indies (1885); Sporting Sketches in South America (1892); and Hurrah for the Life of a Sailor (1900). In many respects, then, a sporting navy. This is a Kennedy family copy which, as the inscription on the front flyleaf implies, was originally the property of Gilbert George Kennedy (1844- 1909), one of Kennedy’s two younger brothers, a barrister and magistrate, who in his earlier years was something of a gentleman sport (He played for the first Scottish XI against England in the 1860’s). The book was evidently passed on to his youngest son, John de Navarre Kennedy, O. B. E., QC, who was a Toronto lawyer and later a distinguished county judge in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, where this copy was discovered. Hinges with minor repairs, rubbed here and there around the edges; gilt bright and clean. A Very Good, sound, family copy of a surprisingly scarce Victorian classic. OFFERED TOGETHER WITH an original watercolour by Sir William Kennedy, “Total Loss of the Cutter- Yacht Melita on the Coast of Albania”, illustration for Kennedy’s Hurrah for the Life of a Sailor, signed by Kennedy with his initials. Measures 32 cm x 23 cm.

13. Canadian Horticulturist & Beekeeper, 1917, hardbound

Item Price: $300

Item Description: The Canadian Horticulturist & Beekeeper. January- December, 1917. Volume 25, Nos. 1- 12. Toronto: n.p. Bound in one hardcover volume, textured cloth, gilt titles. Some pages age-toned, stamp of A. I. Root Co. An early periodical for gardeners, plant growers, and (later) beekeepers. “The Canadian Horticulturist and Beekeeper was a monthly periodical published by the Horticultural Publishing Company in Peterborough, Ontario. First published in c. 1881 under the title The Canadian Horticultur[al]ist, the magazine was the official publication of the Canadian Horticultural Society. In 1913, the title was changed to The Canadian Horticultur[al]ist and Beekeeper when the magazine became integrated with The Canadian Bee Journal, the official publication of the Ontario Bee Keeper’s Association. In 1914, the Canadian Horticultur[al]ist and Beekeeper became the official publication of the New Brunswick Bee Keepers’ Association, and, in later years, included three different insertions— the Floral Edition, the Fruit Edition and the Beekeeping Edition. The magazine contained articles and illustrations pertinent to horticulture and beekeeping, and advertisements for nurseries, suppliers, greenhouses, farm machinery and tools” (Archives News, Trent University, June 2008). A very good, clean copy of an entire year’s run of the periodical.

14. Leeds and Grenville County (1749- 1879) prominent figures and pioneers

Item Price: $350

Item Description: Thaddeus W. H. Leavitt. History of Leeds and Grenville Ontario, from 1749 to 1879, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Brockville: Recorder Press, 1879. First edition, illustrated by E. A. Turner (pp. viii, 200). Large quarto (30 cm) in modern green publisher’s cloth, gilt titles, new endpapers. Illustrated with many fine lithographic plates by E. A. Turner depicting prominent people, residences, businesses, and public buildings, the text comprising an historical account of the settlement of the eastern Ontario region and a collection of biographies, reminiscences, and sketches of various families. Leavitt (1844?- 1909) was at the time the editor of the (Brockville) Recorder. ‘As a young man Leavitt prospected for gold in South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia where he wrote The History of Victoria and Melbourne, The History of Tasmania, and Australian Representative Men. Leavitt’s spouse, Lydia (Brown) Leavitt was the author, among other books, of Around the World , c. 1880, and Bohemian Society, [1884]. See Waters, A Checklist of Canadian Literature.

This copy of the History, re-bound in attractive green cloth with gilt titles, preserves several damaged pages, notably pp. 81/ 82 and 199/ 200, which have been mounted on separate sheets and inserted in place, perhaps during the re-bind. The damage is largely to the margins, but there is some minor loss (as of a syllable or two) to 199/ 200 in particular; the repairs are a bit clumsy and might benefit from the attention of a conservator. Several short, closed tears in the margins have been repaired with archival tape; there is an occasional blotch and spot. A very good copy of a scarce book.

15. History of Indian Head and District, Saskatchewan

Item Price: $150

Item Description:


Indian Head, History of Indian Head and District. Indian Head (Saskatchewan): W. D. Schafer, 1984. First edition (pp. x, 798). Large quarto (28 cm) in decorative black publisher’s cloth, gilt titles and decorations to cover and spine, pictorial dust wrapper (short tears and nibbles, repaired), pictorial epp. A comprehensive local history and genealogy of the southeastern Saskatchewan town from its beginnings in the 1880’s including just about everything that ever happened in education, agriculture, religion, community affairs, foreign wars, and sports; every club, lodge, association, circle, and committee. An admirable community effort to produce a local history. More than five hundred pages of family histories, largely self-narrated and often with pictures, embracing just about everybody who ever lived in Indian Head (and probably some who were just passing through). Many photographs of families and businesses, including, for example, Frank Smith and friend perched atop Smiths [sic] Bakery Float (p. 628). While a number of local survey maps are included, just where the town is located in Saskatchewan isn’t mentioned nor is there a map showing its location on the Canadian prairies. Perhaps that’s because the authors already knew where they were. A fine copy in a very good dust wrapper.