Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2005 Issue

South America From William Reese

Reese242

South America from the William Reese Co.


By Michael Stillman

The latest catalogue from the William Reese Company, number 242, has just arrived. It is titled South America, and covers works from four centuries pertaining to that continent (with an occasional spillover to Central or North America). Works can be found in numerous languages, Spanish, English, French, German, even an occasional Italian and Latin. Topics include exploration, colonization, native Indians, slavery, revolution, religion, and lots of politics. This is a most interesting catalogue for collectors of this continent to the south of the equator.

Item 39 is an unusual discourse on slavery from around 1601. It is Tratado de la Importancia y Utildad que ay en dar por esclavos a los Indios Rebelados de Chile by Melchor Calderon. Calderon was a church official who, in this treatise, attempts to objectively consider whether the Indians of Chile should be enslaved. He gives both sides of the debate. Among the justifications for enslavement was providing spoils for the military victors who were not otherwise rewarded, punishment for transgressions of the Indians, and that, as slaves, they could be instructed in the Christian faith. Among the arguments against enslavement was the difficulty in determining which Indians had fought the Spanish and which did not, that many were obedient to crown and church, and many had suffered as a result of the conflict. Ultimately, the ayes carried the day in Spain. Priced at $22,500.

Of course, a clergyman would not want to get too close to the slaves. Rev. John Smith could attest to this. Smith maintained friendly relations with slave leaders in British Guyana, many of whom attended his church. As the slaves rallied for their emancipation, rebellion began to develop. Smith heard of this and discouraged violence, but that was not sufficient. He was charged with not informing the authorities of plans for rebellion. Item 153 is The London Missionary Society's Report of the Proceedings against the Late Rev. J. Smith, of Demerara, Minister of the Gospel, who was Tried under Martial Law, and Condemned to Death, on a Charge of Aiding and Assisting in a Rebellion of the Negro Slaves... The British government later commuted Smith's death sentence, but it made no difference. The good reverend died in prison of pneumonia. He came to be known as the "Demerara Martyr." Item 153, published in 1824. $1,750.

Item 99 is a major manuscript from 16th century La Plata. In mid-century, the province was effectively ruled by Domingo Martinez de Irala. However, Irala was not officially recognized as governor by the Spanish crown, having taken power without its official sanction. Irala understood the precariousness of his position, and despite controlling the area for most of two decades, tried very hard to obtain that sanction. This 1555 manuscript from Irala provided Spanish authorities an explanation for his actions and a request for appointment. Irala finally received the appointment he so long sought the following year, but he died only a few weeks later. $115,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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>

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