Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2015 Issue

Important American Autographs from Joe Rubinfine

2a249732-0851-4d1e-8ed6-eba4f1529300

Autographed documents from Joe Rubinfine.

Joe Rubinfine recently published his List 177 of American Historical Autographs. This is a collection of documents many of which are signed by the most notable of American leaders. There are multiple signed items from Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Kennedy. Many military leaders will be found from both the Revolutionary and the Civil War. Some might not quite have thought of themselves as American, at least in that period from 1861-1865, though they would return to the fold. There is also one from a figure who was American as in the continent, not the United States – Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata. Here are some examples of the important signed material offered in Joe Rubinfine's latest selection.

 

We begin with a long letter from an aged Thomas Jefferson, 82 years old and in the last year of his life. It contains some of his longstanding thoughts on government while leading up to a job request for a friend. On September 14, 1825, Jefferson wrote to Richard Rush, son of Declaration of Independence signer Benjamin Rush, who was just returning from an assignment as Minister to Great Britain to become Secretary of the Treasury. Jefferson begins by noting he has not been doing much writing lately, having been confined to his house for four months due to ill health. He describes the major political difference as being between those who favor a strong executive and those a strong legislature, which he sees as more representative of the people. In what appears to be a bit of a dig at his now ancient battles with Alexander Hamilton, he writes, “The friends of a strong executive...heretofore looked, for effecting it, to a prolongation of the term of office by making it for life or hereditary.” However, Jefferson goes on to say that his attention is now focused on the next generation, in particular, his interest in the University of Virginia. A man who worked with him on this project was Bernard Peyton, and the former President slides into a recommendation on his behalf. Claiming he had never made such a request before, Jefferson says he recommended Peyton for the job of Richmond Postmaster to President Monroe, but that Monroe had given the position to another. Therefore, he was seeking Peyton's appointment as Collector of the Port of Richmond, an appointment that would fall under Rush's authority. Jefferson notes that there is a respected incumbent currently in the position, but that he is an elderly and ill man and so a vacancy might soon occur. Peyton never did receive such an appointment, but 16 years later, he was appointed Postmaster of Richmond during the 30-day presidency of William Henry Harrison. Item 18. Priced at $60,000.

 

On November 17, 1959, John F. Kennedy wrote a friendly letter to Mrs. “Juno” Cox of Wellsburg, West Virginia. She was the wife of a local businessman and evidently a supporter of Kennedy's political ambitions as they had met on a visit the future President had paid to that state. “The response to our visit was most gratifying,” Kennedy writes. “Although I have no definite plans...I hope to return sometime after the first of the year...” West Virginia would prove to be a key state in Kennedy's presidential race, and the support of prominent West Virginians certainly must have been very gratifying. No Catholic had ever been elected President, but many believed that if Kennedy could win a state as deeply conservative Protestant as West Virginia, it would mean he had a shot at the presidency. Kennedy trounced opponent Hubert Humphrey in the West Virginia primary in 1960, one of the key moments in his successful ascent to winning the presidency later that year. Item 21. $1,250.

 

On November 25, 1783, “Evacuation Day,” the British finally exited New York. The Treaty of Paris had actually been signed a couple of months earlier, but the British needed time to handle the influx of loyalists seeking to escape America before their protectors departed. The British departed that morning, and Washington and his troops rode in that afternoon. The following day, Washington was addressed by a group of gracious patriot exiles who now could finally return home. The day after that, Washington issued a written reply. It is in the hand of his aide, Richard Varick, but signed by Washington. Washington lauds “The Fortitude and Perseverance which You and your suffering Brethren have exhibited...” He then goes on to wish, “May the Tranquility of your City be perpetual. May the Ruins soon be repaired, Commerce flourish, Science be fostered; and all the civil and social Virtues be cherished...” Some of those happened, but perpetual tranquility not so much. Item 45. $275,000.

 

Item 3 ties together a couple of political figures from the turn of the century not often thought of jointly: three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan and longtime Mexican President/dictator Porfirio Diaz. It is a copy of Bryan's 1898 book, The First Battle. Bryan had already lost his first presidential battle, and would lose twice more as the three-time unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Democratic Party. Diaz would be more successful, winning elections he could not lose repeatedly during a 27-year rule. Bryan has inscribed this copy of his book to Diaz “With great respect” on January 21, 1898. The Mexican people would tire of Diaz' rule. He did bring stability through force, but prosperity mainly went to the privileged, leaving others behind. He was overthrown in 1911 and lived out his life in exile. However, through most of his rule, the stability part of the equation brought Diaz admiration and all kinds of plaudits from American politicians on both sides of the aisle, Bryan included. $1,000.

 

Joe Rubinfine may be reached at 321-455-1666 or Joerubinfine@mindspring.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions