Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2012 Issue

Part II of the William Reese Company's tribute to Wright Howes' USiana

Reese295

Part II of the tribute to Wright Howes.

The WilliamReeseCompany has issued PartII of ATributetoWrightHowesonthe50thAnniversaryofU.S.iana. Wright Howes was the Chicago bookseller who, late in his career, wrote a bibliography of what he considered the most important works of Americana. He listed around 12,500 titles, and, instead of assigning fixed monetary values (which he knew would soon become outdated), he assigned letters for relative value. This way, his valuations would not be made irrelevant by time. While changes in what is considered most desirable, and in what is truly most rare, have turned some of his relative valuations upside down, even 50 years later USiana remains one of the most useful and relevant guides to understanding what is important and of great value to a collection of Americana.

 

In August, we ran a review of PartI of this catalogue (click here). The William Reese Company has thousands of the books in stock that Howes included in his bibliography. Here, now, are just a few more selections from that inventory of books Wright Howes considered important to an Americana collection 50 years ago.

 

Abolition became a major cause during the 1830s, and the visceral response from the South virtually assured that civil war would be inevitable. It was as if something had been sprung on the plantation owners from out of the blue. This was not the case. Slavery was permitted by the U.S. Constitution as necessity, much of the nation's agriculture dependent on slave labor. However, there were many voices even at the founding warning the nation that, as Lincoln would later state, it could not survive forever half free and half slave. Item 1 offers a collection of those unheeded voices: MemorialsPresentedtotheCongress...bytheDifferentSocietiesInstitutedforPromotingtheAbolitionofSlavery... This includes a series of addresses to the Congress in 1791 urging an end to slavery. Published in 1792. Priced at $3,750.

 

Here's a tale that is no Night Before Christmas. It is a virulent attack on Thomas Jefferson, published in 1804: ObservationsuponCertainPassagesinMr.Jefferson'sNotesonVirginia,whichAppeartohaveaTendencytoSubvertReligion,andEstablishaFalsePhilosophy. The author attacks Jefferson, who was noted as something of a free-thinker for his time, for being insufficiently religious to serve as president. That author was Clement Moore, a conservative theologian whose views on religious subjects are mostly forgotten, unless you consider Santa Claus a religious subject. What Moore is remembered for is writing the Christmas poem about the night before Christmas. Item 179. $500.

 

The Puritans may have come to America for religious freedom, but that ideal seems to have quickly faded when others of different religious views arrived. Item 17 is an account of the abuse suffered by the Quakers in 1660s New England: New-EnglandJudged,bytheSpiritoftheLord...ContainingaBriefRelationoftheSufferingsofthePeopleCalledQuakers... This is a second edition, but first of the two parts combined, published in 1703. Author George Bishop resided in England, but was in regular correspondence with people in America, and was incensed by what he heard. Wright Howes minced few words in describing the abuse, even if he found the Quakers a bit nutty. Writes Howes, “Most exhaustive contemporary indictment of God-fearing Puritans driven by insensate religious fervor to sickening brutalities against other religious fanatics who dared to differ from themselves. Witch-hunting was bad; this was worse.” $2,000.

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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