Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2014 Issue

American Manuscripts from the William Reese Company

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Manuscripts.

The William Reese Company has released their 310th catalogue, American Manuscript Archives, Journals & Narratives. Actually, there is a bit more, as Reese points out that the catalogue includes, “speeches, journals, original artwork, photographs, original manuscripts of published books, watercolor albums, ledgers, research notes, diaries, maps, letter books, sketchbooks, log books, scrapbooks, surveyors’ notes, autograph letters, minute books, extra-illustrated books, official reports, account books, manuscript memoirs, collections of drawings, student notebooks, muster rolls, treaties, and poems.” Anywhere in the Americas is fair game, though Reese notes that the great majority come from what is now the United States, with the timing primarily the 18th and 19th centuries. We can add that most are not single documents, but collections and archives of material. Here are a few of these works by hand.

 

Item 25 is an archive of material from a well-intentioned, but incredibly insensitive and at times damaging attempt to help America's Indians. It comes from the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, opened in 1879, which served as a boarding school for Indians from tribes all over the nation. By that time, the Indians had lost most of their land, their traditional means of living off the land were no longer feasible, and their culture has been decimated by the onslaught of white civilization. Some people concluded that the only hope for the survival of the Indians was through integrating them into white society. This would be accomplished through a typical American education. The selected Indians, once educated, would return to their tribes and teach them the white man's ways, necessary, the founders believed, for the Indians to survive. Of course, it wasn't quite so easy, and the loss of much of their heritage was damaging to the tribes. The Carlisle School led to many similar ones, both government and private, though in time, the practice was discontinued. Carlisle itself closed in 1919. This archive was compiled from 1909-1911 by Alfred W. Ramsey, a teacher at the school. It contains manuscripts, printed documents, photographs, typed sheets, small booklets, writing exercises, ledgers, and numerous ephemeral items. Ramsey ran the business department, and some of the items are student essays on what they should do to help their people once they return to their tribes. After Ramsey left Carlisle, he attended Purdue University, and the archive also contains material from this later period. Priced at $20,000.

 

Item 90 is an archive of fascinating letters written by Sheldon C. Treat, a young man from Connecticut who emigrated to Missouri in 1859 to find work as a carpenter. He found a different line of work instead. Treat was not pleased with the activities of the “Border Ruffians,” pro-slavery men working along the Kansas-Missouri border. When war broke out, Treat, strongly pro-Union, joined “Father Abraham's” soldiers. He rose to the level of Lieutenant during the war. Treat's letters range from his days in Missouri before the war until after its conclusion. His observations on the motivation of soldiers is most interesting. Writes Treat, “People will say they fight for honor and glory but I tell you that they fight because they love to fight.” They may go into battle cool and calm, but once a brother or friend is killed, “blood runs freely then jest listen and hear the deep curses of revenge and then see if they fight because they love it...” After that, he says, they don't think of honor but approach battle “like a day's work.” $6,500.

 

Item 11 is a collection of three documents relating to the notable French-Canadian trader Peter Bisaillon (or Besallion or Bizaillon or Beselion). Bisaillon came to Canada with his four brothers around 1680. In 1686, he signed up with Henri Tonti's party in an attempt to find the missing explorer La Salle. They traveled down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico but could not find him, explained by the fact that La Salle has been killed by his mutinous men in Texas. Bisaillon then moved to Pennsylvania, where for many years he was a trader with the Indians, as well as serving as an interpreter. He had to deal with the intrigues of the trading companies, his fortune depending on whether his allies were in the favor of local officials. He was at something of a disadvantage being French in an English colony, but ultimately he made out well, living to the age of 80, dying in 1742. One of these documents, dated 1712, clears Bisaillon of any obligations to John Treson, with whom he had some sort of business relationship. Another, from 1714, gave him the right to up to 250 acres of land and to conduct trade, important since he was considered an alien in Pennsylvania. The third is a fascinating personal letter dated 1702 from one Jahanna Beselion addressed to “Beloved father.” We will simply quote from Jahanna's letter, with her own spelling: “Beloved father, My only desier is, that my dier father would be pleast to remember me, for I understand that you are my only father, my mother Jannaihe Scoute shee taks noe care of me... Now my only desier is that my beloved father would be pleas to remember his diere child, and sand me few word back again that should mak me glad and satisfigd in my mind that I had a father in life; my homley respect to my diere father for ever Petter Beselion.” Did Bisaillon recognize her? Was Jahanna really his daughter? Bisaillon's first wife was an Indian, but we find no record of a daughter Jahanna. It would be nice to think the claim was real and the two had a wonderful reunion, but the answer is probably lost to history. $12,000.

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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