Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2012 Issue

Jefferson Davis from the George S. MacManus Company

Macmanus409

Jefferson Davis was worth $100,00 in gold in 1865.

The most important movie in theaters today is an account of President Lincoln's final days of the Civil War. Such happens when you are on the winning side. The president of the losers, Jefferson Davis, may not receive such approbation, but he is recognized in the latest catalogue of the George S. MacManus CompanyAn Important Collection of Jefferson Davis Material. Some see him as a patriot, others as a traitor, but whatever one's view, he played a significant role in American history, as leader of the nation's most notable lost cause.

In his earlier years, Jefferson Davis attended West Point, served in the military, went back home to Mississippi to operate a plantation, and married the daughter of future President Zachary Taylor. She died 3 months later, and Davis did not remarry for another 10 years. Davis began to draw national attention for his performance during the Mexican War. The result was he was appointed to fill out a senate term in 1847, and was elected to the office in 1848. He resigned in 1851 to run for Governor of Mississippi, but lost a close election. He ran on a states rights platform against the last unionist to win in the state. He was soon back in government service, appointed Secretary of War by President Franklin Pierce. With the end of the Pierce administration, Davis again ran for the senate from Mississippi and won. He was still serving as a senator when secession came.

While a firm believer in states' constitutional right to secede from the union, both before and after the war, he was never one to favor actually seceding. When Mississippi officials gathered in 1861 to respond to South Carolina's secession, Davis opposed joining in. However, once the state seceded, Davis handed in his resignation to the U.S. Senate and offered his services to Mississippi. However, due to his stature and service as U.S. Secretary of War, he was called on to serve as the provisional President of the Confederate States (and President a year later).

Davis' tenure as the only President of the Confederacy is controversial. While General Robert E. Lee would become a great hero in the South for his field command, Davis' overall management of the war, as well as diplomatic, financial, and other aspects of leadership, is generally considered to have been less than outstanding. Lee would exit the war a hero, Davis not so much so to southerners. However, Lee died a few years later, while Davis lived until 1889, in effect regaining the role as symbol of the South for unreconstructed confederates. He would continue for the rest of his life to support confederate veterans, and argue the justness of their cause and for the constitutional right to secede, though, again, opposing actually taking such action.

Davis was imprisoned after the war and was set for trial on charges of treason. However, those charges were later dropped, and after two years in prison, and with bail supplied by, among others, noted abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison and Gerrit Smith, he was freed. He would travel to Canada and England, but returned to the U.S. for the remainder of his life. After his death, his widow, Varina Davis, would continue loyally to promote his legacy until her death in 1906. Now, it is time to take a look at a few items in this catalogue.

Many biographies were written about Davis after the war, but here is the first one, written early in his public career. Attributed to “A Citizen of Mississippi,” believed to be Jackson lawyer Collin Tarpley, it is titled, A Sketch of the Life of Jeff: Davis, the Democratic Candidate for Governor. It was published for his unsuccessful 1851 campaign. The pamphlet describes Davis as holding unswerving loyalty to Mississippi (states rights) as well as being imbued with selflessness, integrity, honor and devotion to his state. Item 204. Priced at $7,500.

Item 132 is one of Davis' earlier important speeches, Speech of Mr. Davis, of Mississippi, on the Subject of Slavery in the Territories. It was given in the Senate in February, 1850, and opposed the Compromise of 1850, which limited the extension of slavery to new territories. Davis hits the usual notes about interference with southern affairs and rights, though adds a novel argument in favor of allowing slavery to extend to the territories. He points out that it doesn't increase the number of slaves, and claims that when slaves are more spread out, rather than concentrated in large numbers on plantations, their care is better. “It is only when the slaves are assembled in large numbers, on plantations, and are removed from the interested, the kind, the affectionate care of the master, that it ever can partake of that cruelty which is made the great charge against it by those who know nothing of it...” claims Davis. $125.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>The Chap Book</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>Troupe de Mlle Églantine</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Philippe Henri Noyer, <br><i>Limonade Brault</i>, 1938. <br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br><i>The Great Men of the World</i>,<br>designer unknown, circa 1945-46. <br>$7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>James Montgomery Flagg,<br><i>Wake Up, America!</i>, 1917.<br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Alfred F. Burke, <i>Share / Jewish <br>Relief Campaign</i>, circa 1915.<br>$3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Ludwig Hohlwein, <i>Marke Pkz / <br>Burger - Kehl & Co.</i>, circa 1911. <br>$8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br>Gian Emilio Malerba,<i> E.A. Mele / Modo e Novita per Signora</i>, circa 1900. $7,000 to $10,000.
  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> KEY, FRANCIS SCOTT. <i>A Celebrated Patriotic Song, the Star Spangled Banner.</i> 1814.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> [COLUMBUS, CHRISTOPHER, Amerigo Vespucci ..] Bernardus Albingaunensis .. Dialogo nuperrime edito Genue in 1512.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true originall copies,</i> 1632.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (WATKINS, TABER &c.). <i>An album of 32 photographs of the Yosemite and American West Various places</i>, c. 1890s
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (BATTLE OF CONCORD.) <i>Powder horn used by Minuteman Oliver Buttrick at the Battle of Concord</i>, April 19, 1775.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (CIVIL WAR.) <i>An Extraordinary Confederate Photograph and Autograph Album of Dr. R. L. C. White</i>, 125 original mounted salt prints. 1859-61.
  • 20 Jul 2016, starts at 1pm EDT, NY
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Full scale vintage <i>Sputnik-1</i> EMC/EMI Lab Model, with live transmitter. US$ 10,000-15,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown SOYUZ-3 space navigation indicator with unflown on-ground transformer. <br>US$ 30,000-40,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown on SOYUZ 9<br>An exhaustive manuscript on life in space. [Trans: On-Board Flight Journal for Spacecraft Soyuz-9, 1970]. US$ 6,000-9,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> SOYUZ 18? Flown Navigation Celestial Globe. Soyuz 18 lasted from May 24-July 26, 1975. US$ 30,000-40,000
    20 Jul 2016, starts at 1pm EDT, NY
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown Space Suit from ISS Expidition 6. Worn by Flight Engineer Don Pettit on his dramitic return to earth. US$ 25,000-35,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Original Gemini 133P Trainer Assembly Five Part Electrical System & Attitude Maneuver ... US$ 60,000-90,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Lunar Rover Development. Collection of 11 vintage gelatin silver prints and 4 vintage NASA lithographs. <br>US$ 2,000-3,000.
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Lunar Orbiter I. The first image of the earth as seen from the moon. Gelatin silver print. August 23, 1966. US$ 2,500-3,500
    20 Jul 2016, starts at 1pm EDT, NY
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Michael Collins' Flown Crew-Signed Apollo 11 Emblem. One of the very few Armstrong signed mission artifacts. US$ 50,000-70,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown Apollo 11 Navigational Chart. Taken to Lunar surface mapping the start of the <br>first manned lunar descent. <br>US$ 25,000-35,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> FFlown Apollo 11 Flight Plan Sheetmission Day One. Some of the first words and data values written by Neil Armstrong. US$ 18,000-25,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Apollo 12 - Alan Bean in the Ocean of Storms. Signed and inscribed by Bean. <br>US$ 2,000-3,000
  • <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Leaves from<br>George Washington's Own Draft <br>of His first Inaugural Address. An Extraordinary Rarity!
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Contress Authorizing Alexander Hamilton to Complete Famous Portland Maine Lighthouse.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Emanuel Leutze. Silk Flag Banner designed by Leutze, created by Tiffany & Co., and presented to Gen. John A. Dix, 1864.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The "greatest of early American maps … a masterpiece" (Corcoran). Thomas Holme.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Summons His Cabinet for a Historic Meeting to Discuss Compensated Emancipation.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Albert Einstein. Autograph Letter Signed. Einstein Counsels His Son ... Meaning of Life.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Normal Rockwell. Painting/Drawing Signed. Rockwell's "Barbeshop Quartet", 1936.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Frederick Douglass. Autograph Letter Signed to unknown correspondent. Washington, D.C.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Harry Truman. Autograph Manuscript Notebook for Kansas City Law School Night Class.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Robert E. Lee. Autograph Letter Signed, June 11, 1782. Hours after the Battle of Culpeper Court House, Lee Escapes Again.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington. Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions