Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2014 Issue

Eric Caren of the Caren Archives offers: A tale of two collections = over 1 million historical paper items

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Eric Caren, the ephemera master-collector has done many unusual things in his life.  He was collecting ephemera long before most institutions, dealers and collectors were paying attention to it.  And newspapers. He built a collection that later was sold to the Newseum in Washington as the cornerstone of its holdings.  In more recent times he has been pioneering ephemera sales at Swann and later Bonhams and today he is at it again; marketing two archives of, to quote him, “amazing, amazing” material.

 

So what is he selling now?  Two archives - One as Exclusive Agent to highest offer and the other as Owner to the first acceptable offer.

 

#1 is an estimated million photographs and negatives from the Brown Brothers archives.  Brown Brothers was the first stock photos agency and they were in business from the turn of the 20th century (established in NYC in 1904!) to mid-century.  As well they bought older images – going back another thirty years – to make their inventory more complete.  So what kind of images is there?  For starters there are 7,000 boxes of images.

 

There are, in no particular order, immigrant images, African American and minorities are well represented, the history of transportation, the history of the Industrial Revolution and The Tech Age; Architecture and the growth of sky scrapers, night scenes of the Wrigley Gum factories, Marilyn Monroe, early images of the New York Yankees when they were the Highlanders [1905], images of the Polo Grounds with people sitting in trees to watch the New York Giants [baseball].  There are boxes of immigrant images at Ellis Island and the entire history of the New York Theatre from highbrow to Vaudeville, movies, nickelodeons and opera.  There are also photos from the Carpathia relating to the sinking of the Titanic.  Of course the wealthy and famous have their own boxes – the Vanderbilts, Morgans, Carnegies and Rockefellers who were all wealthy and the singularly accomplished – Harry Houdini and Mark Twain just two examples. On the other end of the luck spectrum there are multiple boxes marked poor children. Hindenburg explosion images are not that hard to find. Ones with the coffins draped with both Nazi and American flags are. Charred body images didn’t make it into the newspapers but they are here. Most wars are thoroughly covered from the late 1800’s through the Korean War.

 

So what is the price?  Every photo and negative goes along with whatever legal protections can be conveyed by the sellers that are descendants of the Brown Brothers families:  offers start at a modest reserve of $5,000,000 and Caren has already had a number of appointment viewings!

 

And then there is another archive; this one has been assembled over decades by Mr. Caren.  It includes over 200,000 items including newspapers, broadsides, manuscripts and documents, posters, letters, photography, sheet music, New York City checks from the 1790s to the Civil War, sheet music and patents and of course postcards.  For this one Mr. Caren will listen to offers but has a whisper number that begins with a ten.  Mr Caren struggles to describe it and then recently offered “Ephemera, from Columbus to the Counter Culture and Computer Age.”  Every event in the last 5 centuries can be found here in at least one format. Some things like the Titanic can be found in everything from a letter from a millionairess survivor blaming Ismay to newspapers and photos, etc.

 

HIGHLIGHTS ARE TOO NUMEROUS TO MENTION HERE but include such gems as a Bible carried and annotated with news of the first major battle of The American Revolution- Bunker Hill and a manuscript dedication to God for keeping him alive throughout the day. In original boards, this thick two testament bible was as important to the Patriot as the gun he carried and wrote about on the day of the Battle of Bunker Hill (June 17, 1775). The first Treaty between The United States and China signed by President Polk in ink, an early printing of The Bill of Rights and an early unrecorded printing of The Emancipation Proclamation, thousands of rare newspapers not owned by even The American Antiquarian Society. Western, federal period, Union and Confederate issues abound, broadsides dating back to the Defeat of The Spanish Armada in 1588 (illustrated) and The Great Fire of London 1666 (also illustrated), pioneer material on transportation and communication, Native American photos, newspapers and ephemera, thousands of cherry picked news photographs are included too.

Caren hopes that the material can be kept intact and that he will not have to sell it overseas. “There is a lot of money here in the US and someone can step up and for a fraction of the price of an Andy Warhol, donate this collection for education to a major University or National museum.  Caren has some who desperately want but cannot afford it and he cannot afford to donate it himself. “If I make the money it will be poured back into buying up our history and heritage and when I am no longer around to buy and sell; everything will be liquidated and almost all of the funds will go to St. Jude’s Hospital to help children with cancer.”  Caren adds “I am proud of my collecting legacy including The Newseum, a dozen books, hundreds of thousands of reprint compilations, etc but I am proudest of how I will exit this world!”

Caren is not known to mince words or pull punches. “Surely there is someone amongst the 1% who cares about what I have done who wants to present it to the country or build on it themself!”

 

Here are some links to further information

 

www.thecarenarchive.com

 

Email:  eccaren@prodigy.net 

 

Phone 914-772-8212

 

The Brown Brothers Archive has been subject to a final date to bid and that date has been December 31st.  Recently this deadline was extended to January 14th to permit institutions and investors to further study the material.  Certainly collectors will be interested and commercial agencies too have already expressed interest.  Institutions are also natural owners and representatives of this category are considering a purchase.

 

As to news and making a splash an AP piece about these items went International to as far away places as both Chinas and New Zealand.

 

Eric Caren insisted on adding the following "I have supported AE since Bruce came up with this monumental task and I am always honored when AE covers my activities. I am proud to be a member of the Grolier Club and a former Director of The Ephemera Society of America, a former member of AAS and ABAA and a current nominee to the National Press Club and of course a consultant to The Newseum, but I am at 55 prouder to be associated with people who have devoted their time and passion to this field and Bruce and AE are high on my list of proud associations!" "And damn it Bruce do not edit this out as I do not patronize anyone … my thoughts, actions and words are always heartfelt...leave this in or I will outbid you on the next Hudson Valley (shared passion) item that comes up in the rooms.” 

A Few Exemplars Literally off the Top of the Stacks

Chesapeake Shannon illustrated Broadside

US Macedonian engraving

Salvador Dali Signed Television Mock Cover

Our Union Defenders - colored woodcut civil war broadside

Virginia City Ghost Town 1863 letter

Stock Trade slips from Crash of 1929

1684 London newspaper about Increase Mather

1685 newspaper report on Virginia mourning death of King Charles II

Eulogy on death of Washington dated 5800 as Masonic date

Massachusetts Magazine with full printing of Washington's 1st Inaugural Speech

1775 British Rev War Cartoon dealing with America

Manuscript daybook records deaths of Adams and Jefferson on same day July 4th 1826

Pershing AEF Congratulatory Message from France 1919

1st printing of The Boston Port Bill 1774

Sioux Indian War letter and cover Minnesota1862 

Manuscript General Orders Fort Bridger 1858

1877 Congressional Bill re Incorporated Cheyenne Wyoming Territory

Confederate Broadside recognizing Beginning of Naval War with Union May 1861

Virginia City Nevada Sutra Tunnel broadside 1869

1786 NY Treasury Certificates manuscript

1830.Hawaii Naval document

1790s South West Territory Printed form

1850 Journalist letter about Fugitive Slave Act and the potential break in the Union 

Circa 1878 photo of Central City Dakota Territory

American Apollo with account of Mutiny on The Bounty

Gold and Blue printed prospectus for The Federal Union Gold Mining Company in Colorado 1866

1899 issue in wraps of The Independent with Marconi article on wireless telegraphy

1644 German tract with title page woodcut of Postman

James Gordon Bennett Printed Circular asks ships for news for famed NY Herald 

Lee de Forest inventor of Radio does typescript response to The Scholastic journal "If I had my teens to live over" 1930

Sierra Leone 1813 Slave receipt

Phonetic Newspaper 1848

Circa.1900 folk art made up of hundreds of cigar bands on glass

1767 Pennsylvania Chronicle Front page on Colonial Currency

Presentation Copy on Telescopic search for Neptunian planet 1885

Presentation copy pamphlet on Boer War 1900

1950s Original color artwork of gas station and family around TV set with Western on screen

1911 Aviation real photo postcard

1842 Supplement with article on Daguerreotype Portraits

1875.Periodical with woodcut of Eton and Harrow cricket match at Lord's

1812 Concord Gazette with start of War of 1812

Charleston Mercury 1822 with Vessy Slave Rebellion 

1882 NY Graphic front-page execution of Guineau

1861 Columbus Georgia Confederate newspaper

One Shot Pictorial on murder of Tycoon James Fisk Jr. 

Charlotte Observer with front page Custer’s Last Stand

1972 Chisholm Campaign placard

1861 newspaper with long account of Abner Doubleday

1865 Weekly Herald with front-page map of Texas

NY American Banner Headline on Titanic Sinking 

Volume 1 #3 San Francisco Prices Current 1852

Massachusetts Spy printing of Monroe Doctrine 1823

Boston Post with Lizzy Borden Trial 1893

NY Sun with Fort Sumter Civil War Begun 1861

Greensboro North State with Front Page Jack the Ripper

NY Times with front page printing of Lincoln famed 2nd Inaugural Speech

Harper's Weekly displays birth of Cinema Kinescope

Fort Leavenworth Kansas Territory Fort Riley document 1860

H.C. Lodge Typed letter signed

Albany Argus front page April 15 1865 Lincoln Assassination report

1784 NY broadsheet with Advertisement for type foundry

Oversize News photographic broadside Elizabeth I I Crowned

1789 London magazine with lengthy piece on the slave trade

Gold and Blue printed prospectus for The Federal Union Gold Mining Company in Colorado 1866

1899 issue in wraps of The Independent with Marconi article on wireless telegraphy

1644 German tract with title page woodcut of Postman

James Gordon Bennett Printed Circular asks ships for news for famed NY Herald

Lee de Forest inventor of Radio does typescript response to The Scholastic journal "If I had my teens to live over" 1930

Sierra Leone 1813 Slave receipt

Phonetic Newspaper 1848

Circa.1900 folk art made up of hundreds of cigar bands on glass

1767 Pennsylvania Chronicle Front page on Colonial Currency

Presentation Copy on Telescopic search for Neptunian planet 1885

Presentation copy pamphlet on Boer War 1900

1950s Original color artwork of gas station and family around tv set with Western on screen

1911 Aviation real photo postcard

1842 Supplement with article on Daguerreotype Portraits

Original artwork Archie and Veronica Comics

1875.Periodical with woodcut of Eton and Harrow cricket match at Lord's

1812 Concord Gazette with start of War of 1812

Charleston Mercury 1822 with Vessy Slave Rebellion 

1882 NY Graphic front page execution of Guineau

1861 Columbus Georgia Confederate newspaper

One Shot Pictorial on murder of Tycoon James Fisk Jr.

Charlotte Observer with front page Custer’s Last Stand

1972 Chisholm Campaign placard

1861 newspaper with long account of Abner Doubleday

1865 Weekly Herald with front page map of Texas

NY.  American Banner Headline on Titanic Sinking 

Volume 1 #3 San Francisco Prices Current 1853

Massachusetts Spy printing of Monroe Doctrine 1823

Boston Post with Lizzy Borden Trial 1893

NY Sun with Fort Sumter Civil War Begun 1861

Greensboro North State with Front Page Jack the Ripper

NY Times with front page printing of Lincoln famed 2nd Inaugural Speech

Harper's Weekly displays birth of Cinema Kinescope

Fort Leavenworth Kansas Territory Fort Riley document 1860

H.C. Lodge Typed letter signed

Albany Argus front page April 15 1865 Lincoln Assassination report

1784 NY broadsheet with Advertisement for type foundry

Oversize News photographic broadside Elizabeth II Crowned

1789 London magazine with lengthy piece on the slave trade

1759 Scottish newspaper on Battle of Quebec

1963 Internal NASA memo on Assignments for Apollo Mission 

1775.London Chronicle Front Page Eyewitness Accts of Lexington and Concord Battles

Inscribed Bret Harte photo

Original Advertising Art Deco Pen and Ink for Tiffany and Co. Circa 1930

Privately Printed Titanic Survivors Tract 1912

Ali vs Frazier Poster 1974 closed circuit television viewing in Hartford

Jim Morrison photo signed by photographer Jason Laure

Black owned Stores in Philadelphia 1968 Buyers Guide

1953 Issue of One first openly Gay Magazine in America

1793 illustrated broadside Guillotine of Louis XVI

Appleton’s Journal "Will She Vote?" 1869 woodcut cover showing Mother with baby girl in her arms

1831 Periodical with long account of Daniel Boon

Photo of Black American WW1 recipient of Croix de Guerre award

Tinted Cabinet photo of Fur Covered Alaskan Merchant Circa 1890's

Susan B. Anthony at Comstock Opera House handbill

Eastern Indians Circular letter dated 1863...they ask for their land back

Winchester rifles advertising Circular dated 1879

Original artwork Archie and Veronica Comics


Posted On: 2014-12-01 23:32
User Name: psyxprt@aol.com

Deserved praise for two remarkable people.


Rare Book Monthly

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