Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2005 Issue

American Natural History from William Reese

R0614

The Great Water Lily of America by John Fisk Allen.


Item 102 is a one-of-a-kind collection of important historical sketches. At the conclusion of the Mexican War, a survey of the new border was undertaken by the Boundary Commission. The boundary had been set by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, and ran from the Gulf of Mexico, up the Rio Grande to the southern border of New Mexico, westward along that border to the Gila river (now in Arizona), to the Colorado River, and finally, along the border between Upper and Lower California. This collection of 49 sketches was made during the survey, most drawn by John Weyss. Commission leader William Emory explained that the sketches were made "to perpetuate the evidences of the location of the boundary, in the event of the Indians removing the monuments erected on the ground." The Indians never got the chance. Just a few years later, the portion of the boundary herein displayed, from the banks of the Rio Grande north of El Paso to central Arizona, would be moved south as a result of the Gadsden Purchase. $50,000.

If you need an excuse for drinking too much coffee, here's one: The Virtue and Use of Coffee, with regard to the Plague, and Other Infectious Diseases. Author Richard Bradley believed coffee could cure the plague. Today Westerners drink huge amounts of coffee and the plague is rarely encountered. A coincidence? You be the judge. Item 34. Published in London in 1721. $850.

As a final note, Reese is offering ten Audubon items. They range from hand-colored engravings to original paintings used in his Birds of America.

The William Reese Company website may be found at www.reeseco.com, while their phone number is 203-789-8081.

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