Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2011 Issue

Recent Acquisitions at the William Reese Company

Reese282

New acquisitions in Americana.

The William Reese Company has published a catalogue of Recent Acquisitions in Americana, their 282nd catalogue. This one contains a wide variety of material - 176 items in all - with the common thread being obvious. They all touch on America in some way. Most are deeply connected to America, being about events within the land. However, some are a bit less obvious, such as the painting of a new island that suddenly appeared in the Mediterranean. The connection? It was painted by an American seaman. Here are a few of these recent arrivals to Reese's stock of Americana.

 

Item 32 is an important book with the perfect provenance:  The Navigator:  Containing Directions for Navigating the Monongahela, Allegheny, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. This is an 1811 "improved and enlarged" seventh edition of a book first published in 1806. Zadoc Cramer's guide was the primary resource at the time for those who navigated the rivers in what was then the American West. The provenance is that of Samuel Clemens, who worked the Mississippi River as a pilot during his youth, taking the penname "Mark Twain," a nautical term. Many of his works were centered on the Mississippi. This copy was not used by Clemens in his piloting days. It was given to him by New York businessman Augustus G. Paine when Clemens was 74 years old, just a year before he died. He has signed the copy "S.L. Clemens 1909." Priced at $12,500.

 

Speaking of the sudden appearance in the Mediterranean, item 157 is a watercolor, in six panels, showing four views of Graham Island. Graham Island, the British name (the Sicilians call it Ferdinandea) appeared off the coast of Sicily in July of 1831. It wasn't a miraculous appearance, but simply the result of a large volcanic eruption under the sea. It wasn't the island's first appearance. It had arisen from the sea four or five times before dating back into antiquity. Each time it sank back into the sea, its surface subject to rapid erosion. This time there was a major eruption. The island reached a height of 200 feet and a circumference of almost three miles. It quickly resulted in an international dispute. Its strategic location in the Mediterranean made it a desirable possession for several nations. England laid its claim, but so did Sicily, France and Spain. As the nations argued, the island sank. It was no more durable this time than the others. By December of that year, with the nations still disputing its ownership, the last of Graham sank into the sea. It made another very brief appearance 30 years later, and volcanic rumblings a few years ago put people on watch again recently. Currently, it sits about 20 feet below the sea. Another rising will probably not lead to a similar international incident; its close proximity to Sicily likely will make it Italian property. Along with the illustrations this manuscript includes a small map and a description of the rise and fall of the little island. The unknown author was probably an officer onboard the American ship U.S.S. Boston. $2,500.

 

Item 4 is an odd piece headed Convict Catechism, from the 1880 Georgia gubernatorial election. This race pitted regular Democratic Governor Alfred H. Colquitt against former Senator Thomas Norwood. The Republicans nominated no candidate, leaving the still sizable black vote up for grabs. Neither Colquitt nor Norwood had any particular history of friendship toward blacks, and ultimately the vote was split, as blacks who supported each candidate hoped it might result in better treatment for them in a South that was rapidly turning more hostile. This campaign piece for Norwood was obviously intended to sway black voters by portraying Colquitt in the worst light possible. It claims that under Colquitt's administration, black male and female prisoners were chained together, with 25 illegitimate children "born of mothers lying chained promiscuously in bunks or on the ground among the male convicts." It also claims that Colquitt knowingly permitted black convicts to escape so that they could be tracked down and torn apart by bloodhounds, and that Colquitt supported the Ku Klux Klan. It's not clear whether this pamphlet helped Norwood with black voters (or helped Colquitt with whites), but Colquitt was reelected. $1,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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>
  • <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.

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