Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2013 Issue

Western Americana from the William Reese Company

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Western Americana.

The William Reese Company has issued their Bulletin 32: Western Americana. What could be more fascinating than the American West? Nothing, of course, if you are a collector of the West. Others need not apply. This bulletin contains 32 items, and they are important pieces to the highest level collections of Western Americana. There isn't much in the way of lawmen and outlaws, or cowboys and Indians (though lots about Indians before there were cowboys).There is much about early exploration and settlement of the West, the land more as it was than as it was later fictionalized. Here are a few sample items.

 

The most notable early visitor to America's heartland was the French explorer La Salle. He visited the Great Lakes, traveled the Ohio River, and eventually canoed all the way down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. It was a notable achievement. Unfortunately, his final journey to America did not turn out so well. He was sent directly from France to set up camp near the mouth of the Mississippi River, but overshot his mark, perhaps not entirely by mistake. While La Salle had claimed and named what became the Louisiana Territory on behalf of France, this time his nation wanted to expand a bit to the west, grab a little of the territory that Spain thought was theirs. It didn't turn out well. La Salle and his men landed in Texas, and after attempting to settle, the men became tired of the place. La Salle determined they should return by way of Canada, up the Mississippi as he had before, but he never got the chance. One of his men killed him. His second in command, Henri Joutel, feared the same fate, but was not killed and instead led some of the men on their return up the Mississippi. Item 15 is Joutel's account of their unpleasant adventures in Texas and beyond, Journal Historique de Dernier Voyage que feu M. de La Sale Fit dans le Golfe de Mexique... published in 1713. Priced at $22,500.

 

Item 10 is a letter from Sam Houston, dated November 1, 1836, just ten days after he assumed the position of the first elected President of the Republic of Texas. Houston exclaims that “the eyes of the world are upon us,” and they faced “difficulties and dangers on every side.” However, he then proclaims “these dangers and difficulties have been gloriously surmounted.” Houston refers to the Texian victory at San Jacinto that won them their independence, and expresses his thanks to the voters for selecting him. He then makes a very early reference to what would become the dream of so many Texans, stating that “the people of Texas have shown through the ballot box at the late election that they are decidedly in favor of annexation to the United States.” $95,000.

 

Item 28 includes six letters from California settler Johann Augustus Sutter to fellow pioneer Jean Jacques Vioget. They range from February 1842 to June 1843. In them, Sutter discusses his early career in the Sacramento area, including his business ventures and financial hardships, along with interactions with emigrants, trappers and Indians. Sutter speaks of defending his large land claims from former associates who tried to grab part of his land. Sutter would always be plagued by those seeking to steal his land, especially a few years later. It was at Sutter's Mill in January 1848 that gold was discovered, setting off the California Gold Rush and the greatest westward migration in American history. Along with Sutter's letters, this collection includes 22 manuscripts and printed forms relating to Vioget's career. $142,500.

 

A couple of major attempts were made to preserve images of America's natives before they were irretrievably altered by American culture during the 1830s and 1840s. The best known are those of McKenney and Hall (and illustrator Charles Bird King) and George Catlin. However, before either of them published their illustrations, James Otto Lewis published his rare The Aboriginal Port Folio, or a Collection of Portraits of the most celebrated Chiefs of North American Indians. This was issued in ten parts from 1835-1836, eight plates in each. However, very few of the tenth part were completed, so almost all have 72 plates (as does this copy). The eleventh planned volume, one of text, was never published. This portfolio is the first major American color plate book on its natives. Lewis had accompanied Michigan Territorial Governor Lewis Cass on four treaty expeditions around the Great Lakes region during the 1820s. He used the opportunity to paint portraits of numerous chiefs he encountered. Lewis' quick completion of the portfolio may be attributable to the then coming release of McKenney and Hall's collection. Item 19. $100,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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>
  • <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

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