Spectacular Works from Bauman Rare Books
By Michael Stillman
Bauman Rare Books of New York and Philadelphia has issued its first catalogue of New Acquisitions for 2006. Bauman material is always of the first tier. These are all important works, though they range across a wide variety of subjects. We cannot help but focus on the Americana because it is so spectacular, but that does not mean that other material, from literature to economics, science, voyages, music, religion, architecture, children and more is any less so. It just reflects a personal interest, which others who collect different fields will undoubtedly find equally compelling. Here are some samples of the type of material you will find in this latest of Bauman catalogues.
James Burgh was a Scottish reformer who had a major impact on the American Revolution, though from far away. His book Political Disquisitions covered issues of free speech and liberty. He believed that all governmental authority came from the people, rather than the prevailing view of the other way around. First published in London in 1774, item 40 is the three-volume first American edition, published in Philadelphia in 1775. Among the subscribers to this edition were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, and other early American patriots. Burgh's book had a major influence on the founding fathers, and was mentioned in the Federalist Papers and Common Sense. Benjamin Franklin, a friend of Burgh, edited the Philadelphia edition. Priced at $11,000.
One of the more important documents toward the building of the U.S. Constitution was published even as the Revolution was still going on. Published in 1781 Philadelphia, item 11 is The Constitutions of the Several Independent States of America; The Declaration of Independence... Published by order of the Continental Congress, it includes the constitutions of the original thirteen colonies, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, America's first foreign treaty (with France), and other documents. This particular copy was owned by Charles Pinckney, a signer of the Declaration and one of the important framers of the Constitution six years later. It bears his signature. Among Pinckney's notable contributions was the principle that the military be subordinate to civilian power. Pinckney would later serve four terms as Governor of South Carolina, briefly in the U.S. Senate and House, and Ambassador to Spain for Thomas Jefferson, where he helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase. $48,000.
Item 3 is the Journal of the First Session of the Senate of the United States of America. This 1789 New York item is filled with historic reports. It includes the first printing of the proposed Bill of Rights, the counting of the electoral ballots which elected Washington and Adams as first president and vice-president, Washington's first address to Congress, passage of the first copyright legislation, and many other seminal events. Incidentally, that first Bill of Rights included twelve amendments, not ten, but those dealing with the number of representatives per thousands of population, and that pay raises for representatives and senators not take effect until an intervening election, were rejected. $38,000.