Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2004 Issue

American Revolution Manuscripts<br>From Joseph Rubinfine

0904

Revolutionary War manuscripts from Joseph Rubinfine.


By Michael Stillman

This month we are reviewing our first catalogue from Joseph Rubinfine, although it is his list number 150. Rubinfine specializes in American historical autographs and manuscripts. This particular list is a collection of manuscripts from the American Revolution, all coming from the period from 1775-1783. Most are from military figures, all the way from letters home from an enlisted soldier to messages from George Washington, while a few are from other political figures. Anyone whose collecting interests run to that earlier greatest generation will find the material in this catalogue right up their alley. Those who specialize in signers of the Declaration of Independence will also find many samples here.

There's no better place to begin then the start of the revolution. Item 12 is an original muster roll of minutemen from Wilmington, Massachusetts, who went to Concord on that first day. Wilmington received notice of the upcoming battle by an unknown colleague of Paul Revere, who passed through the town in the early morning hours, probably before dawn. They marched to Concord, and based on their "mileage" allowance, probably followed retreating British troops all the way to Boston. Priced at $90,000.

A year later, Cambridge Massachusetts Town Clerk Andrew Bordman signed a notice directing the town constable to notify residents of a special town meeting to discuss an additional bounty for those enlisting in a regiment bound for Canada, and to hear about losses incurred to the town because of the presence of British and Continental troops. What is particularly noteworthy about this document is its date: July 4, 1776. Item 50. $3,500.

Here is a document requesting a furlough for a sick soldier, dated September 2, 1776, and signed by Joseph Chapman, "sirgin." In it he states that "Stephen Gorham a solder...has bin sick & unfit for duty som time..." He has a "belly ake" and will be of no "servis" until he "gits" fit. Now you can undoubtedly be a good surgeon without being a good speller, but that's a few too many obvious mistakes from someone I would want operating on me. Item 88. $650.

Henry Lee, "Light Horse Harry," was a patriot and skilled horseman from Virginia, who would become a favorite of General George Washington. His accomplishments included raids on British supplies and a successful surprise attack in New Jersey. After the War, he would return to Virginia where he would hold several offices, including governor. In 1794, Washington would call on him to help quell the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania. When Washington died, Lee would give the famous eulogy containing the lines "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." Later years would not prove so fortuitous for Lee. He would land in debtors prison after land speculation reduced his family to poverty, and would be injured defending a newspaper publisher friend who opposed the War of 1812.

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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