Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2014 Issue

Imprints Relating to America from David Lesser Antiquarian Books


Catalogue 139 of Rare Americana.

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books has issued their No. 139 of Rare Americana – A Catalogue of Significant and Unusual Imprints Relating to America. It includes books, pamphlets, broadsides, newspapers, and images pertaining to America's history. Most are from the 18th or 19th century, although there are a few outside of those borders, including several items relating to the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case that desegregated the nation's schools. Here are a few of the items to be found in this latest selection.


They weren't doing polls back in the 1860's, but if they were, President Andrew Johnson probably would have had the lowest approval rating of any president ever. His strong Union support led to his being selected by the Republicans as Abraham Lincoln's running mate, but the border state vice-president who was elevated to President after Lincoln's assassination was far more sympathetic to the South than were most northerners. Item 13 is something of an amateur psychological profile of Johnson by George Boutwell, The Usurpation. From the 'Atlantic Monthly,' October, 1866. This reprint is an attack on Johnson's policies by a strong supporter of the rights of blacks in America. Boutwell says that Johnson was not anti-slavery on principle, but rather, was a “Southern States-Rights man.” However, he was intent on preserving the Union. It was the slaveholders, not slavery, that Johnson hated, claimed Boutwell. They were the “patricians,” while Johnson saw himself as a “plebeian,” or poor white. Once the Civil War broke down the power of the “patricians,” Boutwell concluded, that in Johnson's eyes, everything necessary had been accomplished, so there was no need to be concerned with the condition of the freed slaves. Priced at $350.


Next we have an item from a sensational trial in Richmond, Virginia, in 1886. One Lillian Madison, an apparently unwed (but perhaps secretly married to the defendant) pregnant young lady was found floating in a reservoir. The initial judgment was suicide, but authorities later concluded there were signs of violence on her body. Thomas Cluverius was charged with murder. There was only circumstantial evidence, the main piece being Cluverius' watch key, found near the reservoir. The city was divided between those who believed him guilty and innocent, but guilt was the judgment of the only people who mattered – the jury. Attempts were made to get Cluverius to confess, but he proclaimed his innocence all the way to the end. Item 26 is a book he wrote – Cluverius. My Life, Trial and Conviction, published in 1887. Many hoped his book would be a confession, but Cluverius again proclaimed his innocence, while recounting his life, trial, and relationship with Miss Madison. Thomas Cluverius never got to collect royalties from his book. He died too young, and not from natural causes. $250.


This next item also pertains to a legal matter, though not one of life and death. Rather, this dealt with the issue church and state, disputes that are as lively today as they were in 1904. Item 5 is a manuscript legal brief, In the Supreme Court, State of Kansas. J. B. Billard...vs. the Board of Education of the City of Topeka... Interestingly, it would be another man's suit, Oliver Brown, against the Topeka Board of Education half a century later, that would desegregate schools. In this case, Mr. Billard was trying to release his son from participating in the Lord's Prayer in public school, which ran contrary to his religious beliefs. He wanted his son to be allowed to study, while the school insisted that if he didn't want to recite the prayer, he sit silently at his desk and refrain from studying. While saying the Lord's Prayer might appear to be a religious event, the Kansas court came to an unusual conclusion. It decided that this was not so much a religious observance as a secular exercise – it kept the children quiet and put them in an orderly frame of mind. Therefore, the Court upheld young Billard's suspension for the misconduct of studying in school. On a positive note, it may be that fewer students misbehave by studying in school these days. $450.


Here is another one of those thorny legal debates. To borrow a phrase, “you decide.” Item 76 is Hatcheson v. Tilden, Maryland General Court, April Term, 1799. Hatcheson had been elected Sheriff, but the election judges disqualified him for not meeting the requirement he own “real and personal property in the state” valued at over 1,000 pounds. Hatcheson said he did, the judges said he did not, and it all depends on how you interpret the wording. He owned personal property valued at over 1,000 pounds, but no real property. So, did the statute mean he could have just one form of property, so long as it was worth over 1,000 pounds, or did he at least have to own a little of each type of property, with an aggregate value over 1,000 pounds? The Maryland court said he had to own some of each and disqualified Hatchison, not being moved by his alternate arguments, that his holding title to real estate as trustee, or his ownership of a church pew, constituted owning real property. $450.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 7. Ritter's unusual sun-dial world map, 1607. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 16. Fascinating Japanese satirical map published prior to WWII, 1932. Est. $1400 to $2000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 30. Newton's 2" miniature terrestrial globe, 1833. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 318. Braun & Hogenberg's first plan of Moscow in contemporary color, 1575. Est. $2750 to $3500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 346. One of the most decorative 18th century maps of Malta, 1680. Est. $1200 to $1500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 412. The first printed map devoted to the Pacific in full contemporary color, 1589. Est. $8000 to $10000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 425. Rare set of celebrated explorers of the New World, 1592. Est. $1900 to $2300
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 436. Two superb miniature atlases bound in one volume with 98 maps, 1682. Est. $5500 to $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 445. Part IV of de Bry's "Grand Voyages" by Girolamo Benzoni, 1613. Est. $2000 to $2500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 447. Tallis' "History of the United States of America" in six volumes, 1850. Est. $1500 to $1800
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 448. Mallet's miniature military masterpiece, 1672. Est. $1400 to $1700
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Malcolm X, Autograph Letter Signed, from prison, 1950. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Letter from Moses Walker, an enslaved Georgia man, to his mother at another plantation, 1854. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Signed cabinet card of Frederick Douglass, albumen photograph, Boston, circa 1879. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Placard from the Memphis Sanitation Worker's strike, 1968. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b><br><i>The North Star,</i> volume 1, issue 27, Rochester, NY, 1848. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Hand-tinted tintype of John Brown, circa 1860. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster signed & inscribed by Huey Newton, circa 1967. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Album of aerial views of the march on Montgomery, taken by federal troops, 1965. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster for the SNCC, photograph by Danny Lyon featuring John Lewis, circa 1962. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <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. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <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>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Jenner (Rev. George Charles). <i>The Evidence at Large...Respecting Dr Jenner's Discovery of Vaccine Inoculation,</i> presentation copy from Edward Jenner to Rev. Rowland Hill, 1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>An Entirely New Romantic Drama, in Three Acts, by Mr. Wilkie Collins, called The Frozen Deep,</i> 1857. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Lighthouses and Islands of Ireland, c. 125 drawings, 1867. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Shelley (Lady Jane). Diary, 1853 & 1860. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Scottish Binding.- The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, bound in contemporary brown polished calf decorated with the figure of a Chinese spearman, by ?James Scott of Edinburgh, 1778. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Man Within,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1929. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Mellan (Claude, 1598-1688). The Holy Face, or the Veil of St Veronica, [c. 1649 and later]. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Desaguliers (John Theophilus). <i>A Dissertation concerning Electricity,</i> W. Innys, and T. Longman, 1742. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Le Jeune (Paul). <i>Relation de se qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'anné 1636 enuoyée au R.Pere Provincial de la Compagnie de Iesus en la Province de France,</i> 1637. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Stumpf (Johann Rudolph). <i>Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Völckern Chronicwirdiger thaaten beschreibung, </i> Zurich, Froschauer, 1586. £3,000 to £4,000

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions