Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2018 Issue

Rare American Imprints from David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books

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Catalogue 158 from David Lesser.

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books has released their Catalogue No. 158 Rare Americana. It follows their usual format – shorter form items (pamphlets, broadsides, prints, etc.) from or relating to America, overwhelmingly from late colonial times to Reconstruction. There is much in the way of political material, some ecclesiastical, some personal, and whatever else was on Americans' minds at the time. These catalogues are always filled with interesting works, even though many are cringe worthy now. Here are a few from this latest edition.

 

We begin with the origins of Dixie, not the land, but the song. The song was first published in 1860, an eventful year both north and south. The writer was Daniel Decatur Emmet, though on this first edition he is named simply Dan D. Emmet. The title isn't Dixie either. It is I Wish I Was in Dixie's Land. The title of the sheet music continues, Written & Composed for Bryant's Minstrels by Dan D. Emmet. Bryant's Minstrels was a blackface group, those being popular in the South, and in the North as well in those days. However, despite the timing, it was not produced for the Rebellion, but for the show. Nevertheless, it quickly gained popularity on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. For the South, it became sort of the Confederate anthem, sung regularly by their troops. Even Abe Lincoln liked the song very much. Here is one more thing I never knew about Dixie. The South was not known as "Dixie" by many people then. It was the song that gave it its familiar name, not the other way around. One more thing – Emmet was from Ohio and wrote the song while in New York City. Item 64. Priced at $950.

 

Back in the 19th century, before Twitter, it was much more difficult to carry on your personal battles in public. Francis Edmonds had to go to a printer to make his self-defense known. So here is his rebuttal to charges that he used his position as a bank teller to make some unauthorized withdrawals: Defence of Francis W. Edmonds, Late Cashier of the Mechanics' Bank, Against the Charges Preferred Against Him by Its President and Assistant Cashier. Edmonds claims that he was "driven" from the bank by the aforementioned two individuals "with imputations upon my integrity." Undoubtedly there were, but from hindsight, and this all happened in 1855, it is hard to tell who was right. The charges were that Edmonds "caused large defalcations," and used "bank funds for his own personal advantage." These false charges, Edmonds explains, were "mere vague rumors," based on "bad feeling, mental delusion or self-interest." And perhaps some missing cash? Item 58. $225.

 

When you think of Currier & Ives, you probably think of quaint prints of America, sort of the 19th century Norman Rockwell. I never would have imagined anything ugly from them, but here is one of a series of awful, racist prints. They put out a run of prints in the 1880s, the Darktown series. These prints displayed black Americans in demeaning poses, ridiculing their intelligence. The Currier & Ives website describes them as more "in a light hearted vein, and not in an overly malicious one." It is true you need to judge people by their times, but the constant ridicule, and this is extreme, is hard to understand. Item 44 is The Darktown Fire Brigade – Hook and Ladder Gymnastics. It displays a group of black firemen who clearly have no idea how to put out a fire. A couple of them aim their hoses up in the air. Two firemen desperately try to hold onto a swaying ladder, a woman on top holding on for dear life. A third man stands by to catch her. Another holds a harpoon, ready to spear her if necessary. Two other firemen are busy blowing trumpets, while the house fire rages on. A woman upstairs desperately calls for help. Item 44. $450.

 

Item 11 is a land promotion, for Tierra Perfecta, or "Perfect Land" of the Mission Fathers. Lower California, the Peninsula, Now Open to Colonists. It was published by the International Land Company of Mexico in 1887. They were selling "fertile land" in the "northern or upper peninsula of Lower California." That would be Baja. Illustrations depict orange groves, bananas, and olive trees. I find it surprising that Mexico allowed such a promotion. They were seeking American settlers? Didn't they learn anything from Texas? $500.

 

Item 15 is a printed Letter from General C. F. Henningsen, in Reply to the Letter of Victor Hugo on the Harper's Ferry Invasion, with an Extract from the Letter of the Rev. Nathan Lord, D. D., President of Dartmouth College... from 1860. Hugo had a letter published in London in which he praised John Brown's unsuccessful attempt to liberate weaponry from Harper's Ferry to support a slave revolt. Hugo called Brown a "liberator" and "champion of Christ," who was performing a "sacred duty." These words did not sit well with Henningsen, who would soon be commanding Confederate troops. In words later repeated in images by Currier & Ives, he writes, "the negro race has a different, and, in some respects, inferior mental organization, certainly, to the Caucasian race, and probably to every other, and that he is wanting in natural capacity for freedom." Despite efforts to civilize him, he is "what they found him – a barbarian, a savage, or a slave." As for Dartmouth President Lord, a true northern man with southern principles, he predicts, "slaves will yet be called for in New England, and by New England men." $500.

 

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: 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>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>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 27, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Cartwright (George). <i>A Journal of Transactions and Events, during a Residence of nearly Sixteen Years on the Coast of Labrador...,</i> first edition, with A.L.s. from the author, 1792. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Swift (Jonathan). <i>Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World,</i> 2 vol., first edition, Teerink's "A" edition, Printed for Benj. Motte, 1726. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Fourier (Jean Baptiste Joseph). <i>Theorie Analytique de la Chaleur,</i> first edition, Paris, chez Firmin Didot, 1822. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 27, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Boccaccio (Giovanni). <i>Genealogiae Deorum,</i> additions by Dominicus Silvester and Raphael Zovenzonius, Venice, Vindelinus de Spira, 1472. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Mary I. Letter signed at the head "Marye the Quene" to Lord Paget, 1 page, 7th June 1556. The recall from exile of nine persons opposed to the Marian regime. £10,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Nelson (Horatio). Autograph Letter signed "Horatio Nelson" and written to Francis Drake, British Minister at Genoa, discussing the disposition of his "Cruizers" near Genoa. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 27, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Darwin (Charles). Unpublished Autograph Letter signed to Walter Raleigh Browne, playing down his scientific knowledge of comparative anatomy, 1881. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Murphew (J.). <i>The fair in an uproar, or, the dancing-doggs.</i> As they perform in Mr. Pinkeman's New Opera in Bartholomew Fair, 1707. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Chaucer (Geoffrey). <i>The Workes,</i> by [Nicholas Hill for] Thomas Petit, dwellyng in Paules churche yarde at the sygne of the Maydens heed, 1550. £7,000 to £10,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 27, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Austen (Jane). <i>Emma: A Novel,</i> 3 vol., first edition, 1816. £7,000 to £10,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>Stamboul Train,</i> first edition, first issue, 1932. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Churchill.- Fearon (Percy Hutton) "Poy". “Eat More Beef,” pen and ink cartoon with shading in blue pencil, [July 1928]. £400 to £600
  • <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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