Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2014 Issue

The Civil War from the George S. MacManus Company

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The Civil War.

The George S. MacManus Company has issued the second part of their Catalogue 411 Civil War. Last year, the firm purchased a collection of 6,000 books, at least half pertaining to the Civil War. Not even a two-part catalogue is going to describe all of those, but over a thousand of them have been written up in this presentation. This collection includes both contemporary accounts of the war and histories written years later. There are accounts from foot soldiers to generals, many biographies of war leaders, numerous battle descriptions, and a large number of histories of various state regiments. This is a catalogue that will appeal to those interested in the details of this terrible war, including many of its more obscure accounts. Here are a few samples.

 

We start with a work that seemingly has little to do with the Civil War: Agricultural, Geological, and Descriptive Sketches of Lower North Carolina and the Similar Adjacent Lands, by Edmund Ruffin, published in 1861. Ruffin studied the soils of the area and provided helpful advice on such concerns as crop rotation for farmers. However, that is not what he is best remembered for. Ruffin was an ardent secessionist, promoting it with a vitriolic hatred for the “Yankees.” He even signed up for the VMI cadet corps though past the age of 60 so he could witness the execution of John Brown. For his efforts, South Carolina gave him the honor of firing the first shot at Fort Sumter, the first shot of the Civil War. Ruffin never became milder with age. After the conclusion of the Civil War, at the age of 69, he took a gun and shot himself to death. He could not bear the thought of submitting to Yankee rule. Item 654. Priced at $1,500.

 

Speaking of John Brown, item 665 is a book by Franklin B. Sanborn, who evidently had a different opinion of Mr. Brown: The Life and Letters of John Brown, Liberator of Kansas, and Martyr of Virginia. Brown traveled to “Bleeding Kansas” in the pre-war years to fight those who tried to bring slavery to the territory, at times using violence. In Virginia, he attempted to arm the slaves for a revolt, was captured and executed, hence his martyrdom to the cause of abolition. Published in 1891. $125.

 

Item 709 is a letter of support for a controversial action, received by Confederate President Jefferson Davis from Louisiana Confederate Senator Thomas Semmes on July 20, 1864. Just three days earlier, Davis had removed General Joseph E. Johnston from his command of forces fighting Sherman during the Atlanta campaign. Sherman had made steady progress against Johnston's army, moving toward Atlanta. Davis and several of Johnston's subordinates, including Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood, believed the commander was insufficiently aggressive, yielding ground too easily to Sherman's larger forces. Senator Semmes shared this view, as he wrote Davis, “I write today to approve the act and admire the moral courage manifested by it...Whatever the merits of Genl. Johnston I am satisfied that with the forces under his command, he will not or cannot engage the enemy...You will have upon your head a pack of malcontents who will howl and growl and endeavor to destroy the confidence of the people in your administration...” Hood replaced Johnston, and while more aggressive, the results were no better. Johnston's strategy of protecting his forces may have been better than throwing them into a losing battle, the Confederacy's best hope by then being that the North would tire of a war of attrition. Davis' decision proved less than popular with the public, and if Johnston was not respected militarily by his peers, Grant and Sherman felt he made the right call considering the situation. $1,500.

 

Davis would get his comeuppance in the northern media after Lee surrendered and he tried to escape to Mexico. Davis was captured by Union forces. A report went out that he tried to disguise himself as a woman by wearing his wife's clothing. That seems unlikely, though perhaps he borrowed her coat to stay warm. Nonetheless, it made a good story for the victors' press. Item 1076 is a comic print headed, Jeff's Last Skeedaddle Off to the Last Ditch. How Jeff in His Extremity Put His Navel Affairs and Ram Parts under Petticoat Protection. It depicts Davis in a woman's dress holding a dagger while running from Union troops on horseback. $400. Item 687 is a broadside of a song entitled Oh Jeff! Oh Jeff! How Are You Now? It too depicts Davis in women's clothing being captured by Union troops as his wife looks on. $175.

 

Speaking of Mrs. Davis, item 651 is her biography, Varina Howell, Wife of Jefferson Davis, by Eron Rowland and Mrs. Dunbar Roland, published in 1927. Varina Howell remained steadfastly loyal to the lost cause for the remainder of her life, and regularly supported Confederate veterans organizations. Nevins says of this book, “Extensively researched, but seriously impaired by the author's extravagant admiration of her subject.” $25.

 

Here are two words you rarely hear spoken together: Custer Victorious. The rest of the title explains – The Civil War Battles of General George Armstrong Custer. Certainly he was more successful during the Civil War than in his most famous battle – how could he not be? Custer fought during the Civil War and later Indian wars, but it is his last Indian battle for which he will always be remembered. This account of Custer's early military career was written by Gregory Urwin and published in 1983. Item 982. $40.

 

The George S. MacManus Co. may be reached at 610-520-7273 or books@macmanus-rarebooks.com. Their website is www.macmanus-rarebooks.com

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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