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 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.
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <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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