Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2014 Issue

More Rare Americana from David Lesser Antiquarian Books

51429140-3e0a-48c2-ba62-bbead3609372

No. 137 of Rare Americana.

David Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books has released a new selection of Rare Americana, this one being their Catalogue 137. This is primarily shorter form material – pamphlets, broadsides, and other such documents. Most are from the 18th or 19th century, but a few are more recent. They cover the issues of their day, not so much historical treatises but up to the minute thoughts on what was on people's minds at the time they were written. Here are some samples of this rare Americana.

 

We will start with what Lesser describes as “a neglected speech by the first African-American to serve in Congress.” Hiram Revels was the unusual person in many ways. He was born a free black man in North Carolina, and had careers as a barber, minister, Civil War black regiment organizer, educator, and briefly in public office. He became the first African-American to serve in Congress when the Mississippi state legislature appointed him to fill out a seat in the U.S. Senate abandoned during the Civil War. His tenure was brief – one year. He resigned shortly before the term ended to become a college president. Revels was a clear thinker and eloquent speaker who attempted both to advance the position of black people while providing fair treatment for whites who felt abused during Reconstruction. Nevertheless, Southern Democrats tried to prevent his seating in Congress, arguing that under the Dread Scott Decision, blacks could not be citizens, and passage of the 14th amendment two years earlier did not give him the necessary nine years of citizenship. The majority rejected the claim. This pamphlet is headed Public Schools in the District. Speech of Hon. Hiram R. Revels, of Mississippi, in the United States Senate, February 8, 1871. In this speech, Revels argued for integrated schools in Washington, D.C. He notes that prejudice is on the increase, and asks, “Can any reason be given why prejudice should be fostered in so many hearts against them, simply because they are not white?” Revels simply could not understand the prejudice, or why people of any race, black or white, should have lesser opportunities than another. Sadly, implementation of his idealism was doomed to failure. Item 95. Priced at $1,000.

 

The difficulty Revels faced in bringing about reconciliation of the races can be seen in this book by Charles Swett, a Southern plantation owner, former slaveholder, and Confederate army veteran. Swett was so embittered that he left his home in Mississippi, seeking one overseas for unreconstructed Confederates. He describes his attempts in A Trip to British Honduras, and to San Pedro, Republic of Honduras, published in 1868. It all sounded good in theory, but not so great when he arrived. There was a lack of available farmland, the climate stifling, insects rampant, and abandoned settlements led him to believe that disease was a major problem. He returned to Mississippi. Writes the bigoted Swett, “If despite our assertions to the contrary, our country should be brought to the humiliating fact of equality of the races existing among us – when an inferior holds public position...it will be well to surrender this land to our persecutors.” Item 108. $600.

 

Item 37 is An Extract from a Late sermon on the Death of the Reverend Mr. Joseph Emerson... Reverend Emerson departed this world in 1767, after a long career in the pulpit. He was a sharp man, evidently able to lead his family in prayer at the age of 8 when his father was away. Emerson did have one prayer that his descendants might have considered more of a curse. According to the Dictionary of American Biography, he “prayed every night that none of his descendants might ever be rich.” We don't know if that wish has (so far) been granted, but Rev. Emerson is probably best remembered for one of those descendants. His great-grandson was the renowned poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was not a poor man, but not a rich one either. $375.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <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>

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions