Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2018 Issue

Manuscripts from the William Reese Company

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Manuscripts.

The William Reese Company has issued a selection of Manuscripts. These are manuscripts that either come from America or pertain to America. This includes not just the United States, but Canada, Central America, and the Caribbean. These documents have been written by people ranging from George Washington to a lowly soldier in the Civil War. Each is interesting and important in its own way. Here are a few of them.

 

We begin with the beginning of the Civil War. After the first southern states seceded, South Carolina applied pressure on the Union to evacuate Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. United States forces refused. They were at a major disadvantage with men and supplies dwindling and resupply difficult in hostile territory. After a notice of intention to resupply the fort, followed by an ultimatum to vacate from the Governor of South Carolina, Confederate forces began bombardment in the early morning of April 12, 1861. Union forces held on as long as they could, but by the following day, April 13, they were forced to surrender the fort. They left with no loss of life on either side. Item 4 is a letter written by Edward S. Aldrich, a surgeon, to his sister-in-law on April 13. Aldrich had previously been a U.S. Army surgeon, but at this point, he was on his way to Charleston to volunteer to serve Confederate troops. He was riding on a passenger ship when the bombardments began. His ship was held up in the harbor by the fighting, from which he witnessed the event. As soon as it concluded, he whipped off this letter describing what he saw. Priced at $12,500.

 

We will end this war quickly. Fast forward to April 3, 1865, Lee's surrender at Appomattox just six days away. Grant had laid siege on Richmond, capital of the Confederacy, in the waning days of the war. Finally, President Jefferson Davis recognized the inevitability of its fall. He took the last train, or more precisely, followed the last open railroad tracks out of the city. As the Confederate forces abandoned the city, General Grant wrote down this order in pencil in the early morning hours of April 3 to be telegraphed to General Weitzel. In it, Gen. Grant instructs him seize control of the city. He also tells Weitzel that once he does, not to let anyone leave Richmond as he planned to cut off the Confederate retreat. By 8:15 that morning, Weitzel was able to respond with a "mission accomplished" message. Item 18. $140,000.

 

Item 48 is a letter from George Washington, filled with sorrow for a friend, one he would too soon have to endure himself. It was written on April 20, 1773, two years before Washington took charge of the Continental Army. It was written to a close friend, Burwell Bassett, who was married to Martha Washington's sister. In it, Washington offers his condolences. Bassett's daughter had just died. Washington also notes that his stepson, John Parke Custis, had become engaged. Only two months later, Washington would write Bassett again, this time having to inform the latter that his own stepdaughter, Martha "Patsy" Custis, had died at age 17. $37,500.

 

He is not as beloved as Washington, but Martin Van Buren was President too. Item 44 is a 14-page manuscript draft section of Van Buren's autobiography. It pertains to his impressions of John Quincy Adams, also a President. Van Buren and Adams were political opponents. Van Buren was an ardent supporter of Andrew Jackson, serving as Jackson's vice-president before being elected to the presidency himself. Jackson believed Adams had stolen the presidency from him in the election of 1824 through his alleged "corrupt bargain" with Henry Clay. Jackson was bitter. However, despite being strong political opponents, Van Buren attempts to be fair and writes respectfully of Adams. Ultimately, Van Buren considered his adversary to be an honest, incorruptible, patriotic man. It may have helped that this was probably written around 1854, several years after Adams died and Van Buren was long out of office. Additionally, while not so much in their presidential years, both became strong opponents of slavery in their post-presidential days, Adams as a congressman and Van Buren as a minor party presidential candidate in 1848. $9,000.

 

This may look like an odd item for Americana. It is a 28-page document in Japanese on rice paper. It was written by Japanese scribes. It is the content that connects it to America. What it consists of is five letters translated from English to Japanese. The document comes from 1853, with two of the letters coming from (outgoing) President Millard Fillmore, three from Commodore Perry. They pertain to America's demand that Japan open itself to trade. The Japanese wanted to remain isolated, but America was prepared to use "gunboat diplomacy" to force that nation to open its doors. The letters were presented to Prince Ido and Prince Toda to be delivered to the Emperor. Scribes produced copies to be given to Japan's upper council, but first, naturally enough, they needed to be translated to Japanese. Item 16. $15,000.

 

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>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 Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Published Half Plate Ambrotype of a North Carolina Confederate Officer. $2,000 to $4,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two 19th Century Books Pertaining to Canada's Red River Settlement. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two Books With Fore-Edge Paintings of British Architectual Landmarks. $400 to $600
    <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), "Torte a la Dobosch" from <i>Wild Raspberries</i>. $1,000 to $3,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990), <i>Pop Shop II,</i> One Plate screenprint in colors, on wove paper, 1998. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Thomas Rowlandson (British, 1756-1827), Twenty-Two Prints from the <i>Tours of Dr. Syntax</i>. $500 to $1,000

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