Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2013 Issue

Americana Including an Extraordinary Mormon Collection from Michael Vinson

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Americana with a focus on Mormon history.

Michael Vinson Americana has issued a catalogue of Americana Including the First Part of an Extraordinary Mormon Collection. The Salt Lake City bookseller offers a selection of fascinating items in the field of Americana, though it is the Mormon works that are truly spectacular. There are some very rare and important pieces from the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Earlier this year, Vinson acquired most of what may have been the greatest privately held Mormon collection anywhere. It had been pieced together over a lifetime, dating back to the 1950s, by Salt Lake collector Barnard Silver, who decided it was time to let most of it go so that he could pursue other interests. As the title implies, we can expect to see more parts of the collection in future catalogues, though it is hard to imagine it getting much better than this. Here are a few of the items to be found in this selection.

 

Item 12 is W. H. Holmes' A New Map of Kansas, a Pike's Peak Gold Rush map. You may wonder when there was a gold rush in Kansas, or what Pike's Peak is doing in that state, but this was an 1859 map, from the time before there was a Colorado, and much of that state was still part of the Kansas Territory. Kansas was a mess in these days leading up to the Civil War, “Bleeding Kansas” as it came to be known. However, on its western edge, gold had been discovered in the front range of the Rocky Mountains. New towns were beginning to spring up, and the map shows such recent developments as Denver City (named for a Kansas governor) and nearby Auraria and Montana. The map also shows trails to the gold region, although you may arrive a little late to find a lode today. This map is very rare. Vinson was only able to locate one other copy, a variant, in collections. Priced at $12,500.

 

Item 35 is a collection of four letters from one of America's most remarkable generals, ranging from 1832-1843. The writer was General Zachary Taylor, the first two coming from the Back Hawk War in the upper Midwest, the latter two from the Seminole Wars in Florida. In one of his letters, Taylor asks permission to stop the practice of officers hiring ordinary soldiers to act as their “personal waiters and servants,” which he evidently felt an inappropriate way to treat soldiers. Taylor was not a well known person at this time, but would become an enormously popular figure as a result of his success in the Mexican War, in turn leading to his election as President in 1848. He took his same skills from his soldiering days to provide strong leadership in government during trying times, but unfortunately, he died only a little more than a year in office, to be succeeded by a series of weak presidents who bumbled their way to the disaster known as the Civil War. $22,500.

 

This next item straddles the line between Mormon collecting and standard Western Americana. Vinson describes it as “the black tulip of overland guide books.” Its title is The Latter-Day Saints' Emigrant Guide, by William Clayton, published in 1848. It was designed to guide Mormon travelers to Salt Lake, but it was used by California Gold Rush seekers and plagiarized by other guides because it was superior to most. Clayton had made the trip from Council Bluffs, the guide's starting point, to Salt Lake in 1847. He was one of the pioneers who helped to lay out Salt Lake City. Item 9. $125,000.

 

The Mormons were chased from place to place in the pre-Salt Lake days by hostile neighbors. By 1846, prophet Joseph Smith had been murdered and the Mormons faced attacks by their neighbors in Nauvoo, Illinois. It was determined they must go, and this time where there would be no neighbors to harass them. So they chose the desolate, unpopulated (except for Indians) area around Salt Lake. Item 22 is A Circular of the High Council to the Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints... a folio broadside published from Nauvoo in 1846. It was the first published announcement of the Mormon plan to establish a settlement in the Great Basin on the other side of the Rocky Mountains. Here the Church announced that they were sending a group of pioneers to stake out a new settlement for the community. Vinson believes the broadside may have been intended to assure hostile neighbors they would leave soon, thereby convincing them to let the Mormons alone a little longer. However, extreme harassment continued and they were forced to leave in the middle of winter. $27,500.

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 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

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