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>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.
  • <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>

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