Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2004 Issue

Americana From Michael Brown Rare Books

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Item 8 is an 1860 manuscript account by one Hiram Wilson describing a colony of runaway slaves in Canada. Wilson began working as a missionary to the escaped slaves in 1836, and estimated the number in Canada to have grown from 10,000 in that year to 40,000 by 1860. He describes the liberal education system present in Canada: “Thousands have been taught to read in the land of refuge, whose fathers & mothers in the South, were debarred the privilege by laws & usages which were revoltingly wicked & cruel…” Wilson notes that some former slaves have emigrated from Canada to places such as the West Indies, Australia, California, British Columbia, and some were considering moving to West Africa. He also speaks of a community of 160 families 50 miles east of Detroit where the “fugitives” had become employed in many jobs as well as agriculture and “as a people have made themselves comfortable & independent.” $4,500.

Item 159 presents a piece of a tragic event for the Cherokee Nation. It comes from Secretary of War James Barbour, Negotiations for Cherokee Lands. Letter from the Secretary of War, Transmitting the Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Negotiate with the Cherokee Indians for a Certain Portion of Their Country. January 30, 1828. The parties would reach an agreement whereby the Cherokees exchanged land in Arkansas for land west of the Mississippi. Unknown to the Cherokee, the possession of land in the west would later lead to their forced evacuation from ancestral homeland in Georgia and the tragic “Trail of Tears,” where many would die in a forced thousand-mile trek under often brutal conditions. $300.

One item contains a most memorable quote, even if the title is somewhat pedestrian. Item 44 is entitled The Almaden Mine. A Letter to the Attorney General on his Report to the President of the Legislature of California, from a California Pioneer. The author, contrasting himself to Attorney General Black, states “My method of stating the case, for the information of the President, differs somewhat from yours, in that mine, is a mere statement of facts without comments; yours of comments without facts.” Touche. Item 44. $300.

Item 186 is a Constitution and Bye-Laws of the Richland Company for the Detection of Horse-Thieves. Horse theft was the car theft of its day, though at least they didn’t have to worry about chop shops. This publication specifically involved the citizens of Quakerstown, Pennsylvania, who probably weren’t too peacefully inclined to those who stole their means of transportation. Circa 1811-12. $1,250.

Here’s a promotional piece: Five Minutes’ Talk About Buffalo Erie County, New York. Its Business Facilities and its Advantages as a Place of Residence and Summer Resort – Its Railroads, Elevators and Manufactories – Its Schools, Churches, Parks, Streets and Hotels. But what, no mention of its snow? Is this really an unbiased picture? And how about those four straight Super Bowl losses? Item 167, from 1881. $45.

Item 174, The Cincinnati Directory…, is sort of a Cincinnati phone book before they had telephones. It contains names, addresses, professions and such information as it was in 1819. $950. Item 176 is a similar work for Columbus, The Columbus Business Directory…, for 1843-44. $600.

Thomas Branagan’s 1828 work is self-explanatory: The Excellency of the Female Character Vindicated; Being an Investigation Relative to the Cause and Effects of the Encroachments of Men upon the Rights of Women, and the Too Frequent Degradation and Consequent Misfortunes of the fair Sex. Item 31. $200.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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