Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2015 Issue

Rare Americana from David Lesser Antiquarian Books

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Rare Americana.

It's on to catalogue number 146 of Rare Americana from David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books. In an era when printed catalogues, like printed books, are often superseded by their electronic counterparts, Lesser continues to allow us to view his books and other works on paper in a format their originators would understand. Just as there is something irreplaceable about turning the pages of a printed book, the same is true of the printed catalogue. How better to appreciate these works from the 18th and 19th centuries? Here are a few samples.

 

We begin with an item from the woman suffrage era from a name that will sound familiar: The Revolution in Women's Work Makes Votes for Women a Practical Necessity. Published in 1910, its author was Katharine Houghton Hepburn. Hepburn was a scion of upstate New York's prominent Houghton family, which included the founder of the Corning Glass Works. While most branches of the family were not so radical, her mother pushed her daughters to go to college and do more with their lives than just be homemakers. Katharine would become active in the suffrage movement, among those urging President Wilson to support the right to vote. After that right was won, she hooked up with noted woman's rights advocate Margaret Sanger to form the precursor of Planned Parenthood. She would continue to support the cause of women's issues, birth control in particular, the remainder of her life. If her name sounds familiar, the answer is yes, she was the mother of the famed actress of the same name. Item 65. Priced at $150.

 

Stephen A. Douglas is most remembered today as Lincoln's foil. He was the other participant in the Lincoln-Douglas debates, which most say Lincoln won, though it was Douglas who won the election for the senate seat from Illinois in 1856. However, the two would meet again for much higher stakes in 1860 – the U. S. presidency. That time Lincoln won easily. Douglas was one of many important northern political leaders who tried to convince the South not secede through offering compromises, eventually turning many northerners against him. Such would be the case in 1860 when both southern Democrats and northerners of various stripes rejected him. Douglas carried only one state – Missouri - plus half of New Jersey. Had he won, his would have been the second shortest presidency in history as he died the following June at age 48. Item 120 is James W. Sheahan's Eulogy Upon Stephen A. Douglas, Delivered Before Chicago University, Chicago, July 3, 1861. Sheahan lionized Douglas as a man of principle who would never "truckle to the slave interest... It was impossible for him to do so..." Questionable. Many felt he compromised too much. Douglas never revealed any particular feelings about slavery, pro or con, including any signs of moral difficulties with it. However, he was strongly pro-Union. Those sentiments grew even stronger as the South seceded. He attempted, on Lincoln's behalf, to convince southerners not to secede, and when Fort Sumter was attacked, urged an even stronger response than Lincoln favored. Sheahan notes Douglas' passionate, undying loyalty to the Union in his eulogy. Item 120. $500.

 

Douglas' loyalty was displayed just five weeks before his death in this Speech of Senator Douglas, Before the Legislature of Illinois, April 25, 1861... Douglas condemns the "war of aggression and of extermination against the government established by our fathers," which he describes as "the best government the sun of heaven ever shed its rays upon." Douglas strong words were particularly valuable in keeping many fellow northern Democrats in the Union camp. Item 43. $1,000.

 

Item 14 is an account of one of the worst fires in American history: Thrilling Personal Experience! Brooklyn's Horror. Wholesale Holocaust at the Brooklyn, New York, Theatre, on the Night of December 5th, 1876. The theater was jammed that night with playgoers there to see the ironically titled play, Two Orphans. A small fire broke out backstage during an intermission. Water was not readily available, so stagehands tried to beat out the fire as the play resumed. As sparks reached the stage, the actors played on, trying to avoid panic. They urged patrons to remain in their seats, but once the extent of the fire became known, attendees panicked anyway. They rushed for the exits. Those on the bottom floor escaped, but those on the highest level, served by only one staircase, were trapped. The staircase became jammed with those attempting to flee, and quickly rising acrid smoke filled the air. It soon suffocated those in the upper seats. In all, around 300 people died that night. The publisher of this book, Philadelphia's Barclay & Co., was noted for telling sensational tales. $350.

 

In April 1861, delegates to a Virginia secession convention voted in favor of seceding from the Union. However, a majority of the delegates from the state's western and northern counties were opposed. They followed up with their own convention in Wheeling, and after Virginia voters endorsed secession, declared the state's government was illegal and set up their own rival government. In turn, that government authorized the western counties to secede from the state of Virginia. West Virginia was created, and in 1863, admitted to the Union. However, the Confederacy would battle for control of the territory, and some parts retained substantial Confederate support. This broadside was issued from Charleston on September 14, 1862: To the People of Western Virginia. The Army of the Confederate States has come among you to expel the enemy, to rescue the people from the despotism of the counterfeit state government imposed on you by northern bayonets... The Confederate army had taken parts of what was still the western part of Virginia, and General William Loring notified residents that they were to be loyal to the government in Richmond. They would not be punished so long as they did not obey directives from the government in Wheeling, and those eligible to serve joined the Confederate Army. Item 31. $1,250.

 

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>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.

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