Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2015 Issue

Rare American Works from David Lesser Antiquarian Books

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Rare Americana.

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books has issued their catalogue 142 of Rare Americana. Most items are shorter form material, ranging from pamphlets to single-page documents such as broadsides. They represent immediate reaction to events more than lengthy, long considered treatises on the subjects of the day. They better reflect the sentiments of the time than those arrived at after a careful review of history. Here are few from this latest selection of mostly American, 18th and 19th century documents.

 

Abraham Lincoln went from an unknown westerner to a major political voice in the course of a few short weeks in 1858 as a result of his famed debates with Stephen A. Douglas. They were competing for the senate seat from Illinois. Douglas would win that contest, but the more important presidential rematch would go overwhelmingly to the spellbinding Lincoln two years later. A month prior to the first debate, he gave this Speech of Hon. Abraham Lincoln, Delivered in Springfield, Saturday Evening, July 17, 1858. This is the only separate printing of this speech. Lincoln, as we know, was like Douglas in wanting intensely to preserve the Union. Unlike Douglas, he did not believe it could be achieved by acquiescing to practically every Southern demand. In this speech, Lincoln repeated his warning that a house divided could not stand, that one day it must be all slave or all free. He described the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Douglas' famed compromise, as the beginning of a conspiracy to nationalize slavery. While saying that blacks were not equal “in all respects,” Lincoln said they were equal in their right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and added, “in the right to put into his mouth the bread that his own hands have earned, he is the equal of every other man.” Item 88. Priced at $6,500.

 

Item 47 is what was known as a “warning-out” warrant. This was something of a colonial version of where a community buys bus tickets home (or to anywhere else) for people living on the street so as not to be obliged to care for them. In the 18th century, in accordance with English law, municipalities were required to provide support for impoverished residents. However, local selectmen in most communities had the power to exclude new residents who might not be able to support themselves. This warrant is addressed to the constables of Swansey, Massachusetts, telling them to warn Jane Dane, who arrived in Swansey from Freetown, that she does not have the selectmen's permission to live in town, and therefore she must depart within 14 days. $650.

 

Item 143 is a relic from the reconstruction of the state of Texas after the Civil War: Constitution of the State of West Texas, published in 1868 or 1869. A constitutional convention had been called to bring Texas back into the fold of the United States, but many delegates were more interested in dividing the state into new states. This might seem odd, but when Texas was admitted to the Union in 1845, it was done so with the understanding it might be divided into as many as four separate states. There were some logical reasons to do so. The state was enormous, and varied greatly in terms of climate, agriculture, history, cultural background, and such. Regions had widely differing interests. Then there were issues of administering such a far-flung empire from one location. On top of that, there were differing political interests. To the east were persons whose beliefs aligned them with the South, former slaveholders who had enthusiastically favored the Confederacy. To the west were German immigrants, liberals in their political beliefs, who were loyal to the Union. Even within the political parties there were divisions. Some Republicans wanted to carve out a state in the west to gain power, since Texas as a whole was likely to be a Democratic state. Still, some Democrats wanted the eastern part of the state to be separated for fear that more liberal westerners, combined with freed blacks, would take control of the state. Finally, there were those with political ambitions, recognizing that more states meant more positions of political power to be divvied up. The major argument against dividing the state into two or more new states was the cost of new capitals and new state governments among a small and less than wealthy population. Nevertheless, Texas might well have had a majority for division, but there was never a majority for any particular division. Numerous new boundaries were proposed, but no one of them could ever garner a majority. So the State of West Texas never came to be, though it does have its own constitution. $1,000.

 

Horse theft isn't a big issue these days, but in the 19th century, it was a major concern. It was a little like automobile theft today, but horses were a larger part of a person's net worth in those days and most weren't insured. You could get yourself strung up from the nearest tree for stealing someone's horse. The result was organizations were formed to prevent horse theft and capture the thieves. Item 4 is the Report of Sub-Orders of the Anti-Horse Thief Association, published in 1885. This group of organizations operated in the Midwest – Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Illinois. Of course, it would not be too many more years before the horse thief organizations would go the way of the horse itself with automobiles making their appearance. $275.

 

Item 63 relates to a major moment in the history of the labor movement, the Haymarket bombing in Chicago in 1886. A huge protest had been called as part of labor's demand for an 8-hour work day. A bomb exploded and several policemen were killed. It provided an opportunity for a government and press with little sympathy for workers to crack down. Trials were held, several convicted and sentenced to death. Three still in prison in 1893 when recently elected governor John Peter Altgeld took office were pardoned by the new Governor, who, like many, believed the trials were a sham. That led to the following anonymous attack: The Pardon of the Anarchists. The writer describes Gov. Altgeld's motives as “If I can secure the support of the low, the ignorant, the disaffected, the turbulent and the criminal classes, enough of my party will unite with them on party grounds to insure my political success.” Of course, it was just the opposite. The progressive Altgeld, who fought for worker's rights, brought on the wrath of the powerful press and was defeated for reelection in 1896. Even Theodore Roosevelt, who would adopt many of the progressive values Altgeld battled for, attacked him personally as supporting murderers. $450.

 

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books may be reached at 203-389-8111 or dmlesser@lesserbooks.com. Their website is www.lesserbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Published Half Plate Ambrotype of a North Carolina Confederate Officer. $2,000 to $4,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two 19th Century Books Pertaining to Canada's Red River Settlement. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two Books With Fore-Edge Paintings of British Architectual Landmarks. $400 to $600
    <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), "Torte a la Dobosch" from <i>Wild Raspberries</i>. $1,000 to $3,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990), <i>Pop Shop II,</i> One Plate screenprint in colors, on wove paper, 1998. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Thomas Rowlandson (British, 1756-1827), Twenty-Two Prints from the <i>Tours of Dr. Syntax</i>. $500 to $1,000
  • <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>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000

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