Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2010 Issue

Political and Civil War Documents from Bruce N. Johnson

Johnson22

Historic Americana from Bruce N. Johnson.


By Michael Stillman

Bruce N. Johnson Historic Documents has issued Catalogue 22. Political & Civil War. This is a fascinating collection of Americana, much of it relating to presidential campaigns. Politics may not always have been quite as ugly as it is today, but it was often close. And while we seem to be in an uncivil cold war today, we were once in a civil hot one. This catalogue includes books, other printed material, and letters relating to politics and electoral campaigns, along with a collection of manuscript letters from soldiers and others concerned with the Civil War.

The catalogue starts with a section of presidential biographies. Of course you can read about Washington and Jefferson, Jackson and Grant, even President John Quincy Adams' biography of his predecessors, The Lives of Madison and Monroe, Fourth and Fifth Presidents of the United States (item 6, published in 1850, priced at $325). However, here you can find biographies, often published at the time the men were running for office, of the obscure, such as Martin Van Buren and Rutherford Hayes. There are the presidents taken by death long before there terms expired, Zachary Taylor, James Garfield, and William Henry Harrison, whose tenure lasted but 30 days. Garfield has a biography from the famous rags-to-riches author Horatio Alger, From Canal Boy to President, Or the Boy and Manhood of James A. Garfield (item 29, published in 1881. $75). There are biographies of the three mediocrities who preceded the Civil War, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan, and the three who took us from war to depression, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. There are several of Hoover from 1928. Herbert Hoover was a very popular man in 1928. Not so much in 1932.

Then there are the losers. Henry Clay and William Jennings Bryan each carried major party nominations three times without ever winning. Winfield Scott was a great general, Charles Fremont a great explorer. Still, they lost to two of the worst presidents in American history, Pierce and Buchanan. George McClellan was a not-so great general and loser to Lincoln. No one remembers Horatio Seymour, but what chance did he have against Grant? About as much as Alf Landon had against Franklin Roosevelt. Then there is item 216, which sort of combines winners and losers. It's Twenty years in Congress: From Lincoln to Garfield. James G. Blaine tells of his years in Congress under several presidents, whom he hoped to succeed. Blaine was the Republican nominee in 1884 but lost to Grover Cleveland. Published 1884. $35.

If you prefer music to biographies, there is a section of sheet music. When was the last time anyone played the President Harding March? Probably not since Teapot Dome. $35. It may be even longer since anyone sang Henry Clay We Shall Never See His Like Again (written by "An Old Coon"). $225. Perhaps the president most honored in song was Log Cabin and Hard Cider Old Tippecanoe, William Henry Harrison. Offered are The Log Cabin Song ($265) and The Harrison Song ($250).

Speaking of the first President Harrison, he was not a favorite of Lauson B. Teal of Ohio. On January 25, 1841, he wrote to a former friend (political differences evidently led to antagonisms) about politics. This was during the period after Harrison was elected, but had not yet taken office. Writes Teal, "...he is a coward he voted in Indiana for Negros to have a vote what next he takes his seat he nows nothing he will have to send for Tory Clay or tory Webster and a Nother thing he is so oald he cannot hear himself Fart..." For the record, Harrison was 67 at the time and within a few months he would be dead. Item 138. $125.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <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>

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