Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2011 Issue

Obscure American Pamphlets and More from David Lesser Antiquarian Books

Lesser119

Rare Americana from David Lesser.

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books has issued their Catalogue 119 of Rare Americana. Lesser primarily offers pamphlets and shorter form material from 18th and 19th century America. There are always a few exceptions to all of these rules, in terms of size, date, and occasionally even location. Nonetheless, collectors within these parameters will find lots of material that will be of great interest, both from the perspective of collecting and understanding the times. Among the topics to be found are politics, religion, education, invention, crime, disease, science, and those terrible confrontations involving slavery and racism, and the seemingly inevitable road to civil war. Here are a few samples of what we found.

 

Item 65 is A History of the Trial of Castner Hanway and Others, for Treason, at Philadelphia in November, 1851. They were acquitted. Of all the facets of slavery, none stuck in the craw of Northerners more than the Fugitive Slave Law. Those other than ardent abolitionists could sort of look the other way from what was happening in the South, but they just couldn't countenance having to be a part of enforcing the slave system. The Fugitive Slave Law, which required them to capture and return escaped slaves, forced Northerners to take part in enslaving others. In this case, Edward Gorsuch, a Maryland slave owner with a federal warrant, attempted to secure escaped slaves in Pennsylvania. Instead, he was met with gunfire. Gorsuch and several others died. President Fillmore, first in the line of northern presidents with southern principles, sought to make an example of Hanway and the others. Philadelphians weren't having any part of it. The Maryland Attorney General wrote a pamphlet denouncing the trial, judge, and most of Philadelphia after the acquittal. This piece is a response by Arthur W. Jackson, an attorney for the defendants. Priced at $1,250.

 

You might think this issue would have gone away with the outbreak of the Civil War, but not quite. Item 67 is In the Matter of George Gordon's Petition for Pardon. [By] John Jolliffe Counsel for Petitioner. Rev. Gordon was indicted in federal court in Ohio in 1861 for violating the Fugitive Slave Law. Why were northerners still being indicted under the Fugitive Slave Law after the Civil War broke out? The answer is that there were border slave states still loyal to the Union, and President Lincoln did not want to drive them into the arms of the Confederacy. Lincoln pardoned Gordon in 1862, just before this work was published, saying his conviction was legal, but the sentence severe. Gordon and Jolliffe were still unhappy. They wanted the despised law to be found unconstitutional. Item 67. $250.

 

Item 106 is An Essay on Comets. Wherein it is Shewn…Comets may be Inhabited Worlds, and Even Comfortable Habitations. The author was Andrew Oliver, Jr., nephew and son of the loyalist Massachusetts Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Oliver found himself on the wrong side of that issue too, but stayed in America anyway. This essay positing the existence of life on comets, which was somehow demonstrated by their tails, was published in Salem in 1772. Oliver did correctly reject the notion that comets were some sort of celestial penal colony where the damned were subject to alternates of burning and freezing, though that would probably be a more accurate picture of what life would be like on a comet then is a heavenly paradise. $1,750.

 

Item 91 is a paper read before the New York Historical Society in 1872:  Incident in the War of the United States with Mexico, Illustrating the Services of Wm. Maxwell Wood, Surgeon U.S.N., by George Cumming McWhorter. Wood had been sent to Mexico to report on conditions there in the days before the outbreak of the Mexican War. Meanwhile, the Pacific Fleet under Commodore John Sloat had orders to quickly capture California if war broke out. However, these were the days before telephones and telegraphs, and so when war broke out, Sloat had no way of knowing. When war did begin, and Wood heard the news, he at great personal risk dispatched the news to Sloat before he received his official orders, enabling Sloat to quickly seize California. $500.

 

Item 63 answers the question, Why Colored People in Philadelphia are Excluded from the Street Cars. This dates back to 1866, but even then it is surprising, as other major cities such as New York had integrated public transportation during the Civil War. The pamphlet explains that the Mayor and others did not want "the ladies in my family to ride in the cars with colored people." This situation had become an issue in 1865 when a black war hero was forced off a city streetcar and made to walk several miles to the navy yard. This pamphlet argues for desegregation of the cars, but that did not come until the following year when the state legislature forced Philadelphia to integrate public transportation. $1,750.

 

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books may be reached at 203-389-8111 or dmlesser@lesserbooks.com. Their website is www.lesserbooks.com.

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>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Published Half Plate Ambrotype of a North Carolina Confederate Officer. $2,000 to $4,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two 19th Century Books Pertaining to Canada's Red River Settlement. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two Books With Fore-Edge Paintings of British Architectual Landmarks. $400 to $600
    <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), "Torte a la Dobosch" from <i>Wild Raspberries</i>. $1,000 to $3,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990), <i>Pop Shop II,</i> One Plate screenprint in colors, on wove paper, 1998. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Thomas Rowlandson (British, 1756-1827), Twenty-Two Prints from the <i>Tours of Dr. Syntax</i>. $500 to $1,000

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