Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2015 Issue

New Acquisitions in Americana from the William Reese Company


For readers of all ages?

The William Reese Company has issued their catalogue 323. This one comes with the cover title For Readers of All Ages (complete with a picture of a young girl reading a Reese catalogue on the cover), while the name on the title page is Recent Acquisitions in Americana. I figured...American children's books? I'm still not sure, other than this targets children a bit more mature than most I know. Constitutional issues, Indian captivities, slave revolts and the infamous Mandan O-Kee-Pa ceremony for children? Oh well, might as well teach them early. Meanwhile, the older folks in the family will love this catalogue. Here are a few examples.


Copies of the double elephant folio first edition of John James Audubon's Birds of America have sold as high as over $10 million. So how is Reese selling a copy for under $10,000? It turns out that collectors like his illustrations a little more than his text. Audubon is famous for his drawings much more than his writing, but his book about American birds included descriptions as well. However, British law required that books be deposited with nine separate libraries to secure a copyright. The plates for his Birds were very expensive to produce, so to get around the problem, Audubon published the text in five separate volumes from 1831-1839. Item 4 is a set of those volumes, entitled Ornithological Biography, or an Account of the Habits of the Birds of the United States of America. These volumes contain more than just descriptions of the birds Audubon found. He also describes his adventures and anecdotes searching for the birds. He traveled as far south as the Florida Keys and west to the southeastern and border states, and the Mississippi River. Audubon herein recounts his travels. Priced at $9,500.


At the time Audubon was traveling west to paint American birds, George Catlin went west to paint America's native peoples. His journeys took him even farther west, as he traveled into the heartland on the other side of the Mississippi. Catlin was one of a few people who realized western influence would soon change Indian culture forever, so he determined to capture as much as he still could through his paintings. Eventually, he would take his paintings on the road, including Europe, to display American native culture to a world that knew virtually nothing about it. However, in time the show ran its course, and after the U. S. Senate voted against a bill to purchase his paintings, Catlin needed to make a living. So instead, he went off on the road promoting Samuel Colt's firearms. He painted various images of Colt's guns in use, both in North and South America. Six of these paintings were turned into lithographs, though apparently very few were made. Item 25 is one of those lithographs, circa 1855-1860, titled Catlin the Celebrated Indian Traveller and Artist, Firing his Colt's Repeating Rifle Before a Tribe of Carib Indians in South America. $13,500.


This next item proves that it isn't necessary to say a lot of words to have a major impact (it also proves you can say a lot of words and still not have a major impact). Item 97 is the first printing in book form of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. It comes with the title An Oration Delivered on the Battlefield of Gettysburg (November 19, 1863). The major oration that day was not Lincoln's. It was delivered by Edward Everett, former Senator from Massachusetts who was renown as the greatest orator of the day. It lasted almost two hours, comparing Gettysburg to various battles ranging as far back as Antiquity. Lincoln followed with his brief comments. This first book with his speech, following only a pamphlet edition known in just three copies, features Everett's speech. Lincoln's begins on page 40. Everett realized immediately that Lincoln's concise address was far better than his own, but it took others a little while longer to realize that Lincoln's words were momentous. $32,500.


Item 162 was every white slave owner's nightmare, filled with drama to magnify those fears: Authentic and Impartial Narrative of the Tragical Scene which was Witnessed in Southampton County (Virginia) on Monday the 22nd of August Last, when Fifty-five of its Inhabitants were Inhumanly Massacred by the Blacks! Published in 1831, it is an account of the Nat Turner Slave Rebellion. Turner was a slave who had learned to read the Bible and became a preacher. He was evidently quite good at it. Turner believed he had been called to lead in the battle between good and evil, and slavery certainly was a great evil. He viewed an eclipse of the sun to be his calling from God, and led a group of slaves and some free blacks on a killing spree of whites in the area. He wanted slave owners to understand that there would be retribution for their sins if they did not stop. Within a few days, the insurrection was put down, and many blacks, including Turner, were put to death. The fearful white community was left with a decision of finding a way to gradually free the slaves, or dig in their heels and be even more intransigent. They chose the latter. This pamphlet, naturally, focuses on the horrors experienced by whites, not the horrors of slavery inflicted upon the blacks. $13,500.


Item 29 offers a contemporary look at the Great Chicago Fire: The Lakeside Memorial of the Burning of Chicago, A. D. 1871, published the following year. It contains essays about the fire that killed several hundred people and laid much of the city to ruin. It also contains photographs. Within the text, there are photographs of locations in the city before the fire. Then there are 12 mounted photographs, evidently taken shortly after the fire. They record the destruction in ways words cannot. $4,000.


The William Reese Company may be reached at 203-789-8081 or amorder@reeseco.com. Their website is www.williamreesecompany.com.

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: 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>Leland Little: Important Spring Auction. March 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Copper Printing Plate for "Marshall's Household Engraving of Washington." $500 to $1000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Important Documentary Painting Showing Baseball Great Ty Cobb in Cuba. $1,000 to $2,000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> <i>Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age</i>, Inscribed by Bill Wilson. $500 to $1,000
    <b>Leland Little: Important Spring Auction. March 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893-1983), <i>Prise à l'hameçon.</i> $3,000 to $6,000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Maurice Dufrène (French, 1876-1955), <i>Rayon des Soieries</i>. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> William Pope.L (American, b. 1955), <i>Intimacy Project</i>. $2,000 to $4,000
  • <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>

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