Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2011 Issue

Important Signed Documents from the Raab Collection

Raab68

Lincoln writes McClellan one last time.

The Raab Collection has issued Catalog 68 of important signed documents. Most emanate from America, although there are a few of European origin. They all pertain to important personalities or events in history, often mostly from political leaders, but including items from the pen of great scientists, literary and humanitarian figures. Here are a few of these one-of-a-kind signed documents.

Pictured on the cover of this catalogue is President Lincoln's last letter to George McClellan as leader of U.S. forces during the Civil War. It is dated October 29, 1862. When Lincoln arrived in Washington to take his oath of office, the South had already announced its secession. The new President faced rebellion with an army not well prepared for such internal strife. It was led by General Winfield Scott, a great military hero who had served as far back as the War of 1812. However, he was now 74 years old, had numerous medical problems, and weighed around 300 pounds, leaving him hardly fit for battlefield command. That responsibility would soon go to General McClellan. McClellan, a good organizer, would prove to be a conservative commander, unwilling to take quick action when conditions called for decisiveness. As time went on, Lincoln, without military background, came to have more faith in his own military decisions than those of his commanders, first McClellan, and then several of his successors. In this letter to McClellan, Lincoln responds to news that McClellan, at his orders, has been moving his troops across the Potomac in anticipation of an assault on Richmond, the Confederate capital. Lincoln wanted McClellan to move his forces between those of Robert E. Lee and Richmond, thereby hindering its defense. The President still sounds satisfied, writing, "I am much pleased with the movement of the Army. When you get entirely across the river let me know." However, McClellan moved slowly, Lee anticipated and reacted quickly, and the plan fell through. That was the last straw for Lincoln, who removed McClellan from his command a week later. Lincoln would go through several more generals before finally finding Ulysses S. Grant, who shared Lincoln's belief in bold action. Item 5. Priced at $100,000.

President Lyndon Johnson was far more pleased with the performance of General William Bunker during the Vietnam War, but if the Civil War made Lincoln a great president, the Vietnam War would destroy what might have been Johnson's great presidency. Johnson was a master at domestic policy, but the war would be his undoing. In this March 2, 1966 letter, Johnson writes Bunker, who oversaw much of the massive build-up of troops, "I am sure that military history will record the movement of American troops to Vietnam as the high water mark in logistics planning." Perhaps history would have had the war turned out differently, but Johnson was unable to achieve victory as Lincoln had. Item 19. $3,000.

If Lincoln's wartime demands seemed terribly difficult, those faced by Winston Churchill seemed almost impossible. Europe overrun by the Nazi war machine, America sitting on the sidelines, England stood alone in 1941 in defending the world from the unspeakable tyranny consuming it. It didn't matter to Churchill, who remained steadfast in his determination to win the war no matter the odds. There simply was no choice. In November of 1941, the month before America entered the war, an election was held in Harrow, where Churchill had once attended school, to fill a seat in Parliament. Though Churchill headed a national unity government, he still wrote a letter to the Conservative candidate, Norman Bower, in support of his candidacy, as Bower was more strongly supportive of Churchill's policies. The opposition, Churchill felt, though in broad agreement with him, engaged in petty sniping he felt disruptive to the united cause. In his letter to Bower, Churchill speaks with his usual wartime inspiration and brilliance: "We are engaged upon the Herculean labour of rescuing Europe and saving ourselves from the unspeakable 'New Order' and all the abominations that go with it." Item 25. $28,500.

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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