Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2007 Issue

Historic, Mostly American Documents from Stuart Lutz

Lutz07

Amerlia Earhart and crew on the cover of Stuart Lutz' latest catalogue.


By Michael Stillman

Stuart Lutz Historic Documents
recently issued a new catalogue of autographs and signed documents. Most of the signers are people you know, either by name or station (such as signers of the Declaration of Independence whose names may be forgotten but whose role in America's history is not). However, there are also letters from ordinary people, notably, soldiers serving during the Civil War. Their stories are also important, even if in a different way from those of presidents. There are, naturally, plenty of presidents represented here, too. Now, for a few examples of what is available.

It has been 70 years since Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific, yet people still search for her today. Undoubtedly they will continue until the mystery is finally solved. In 1937, she undertook to become the first woman to fly around the world. She came close. Having already flown from Oakland, California, to Lae, New Guinea, she and navigator Fred Noonan took off from Lae on July 2, 1937. Her destination was tiny Howland Island, from which she would continue to Hawaii and finally, back to Oakland. All seemed well, and radio contact was made with Howland, but they never arrived. While the most likely explanation is that they missed the target and eventually crashed into the sea, there has been much speculation, backed by supposed artifacts, that they made it to some other island, only to perish without being found. A massive woman-hunt was undertaken at the time, and searches continue to this day in the sea and on various islands. Still we wait. Item 45 is a remarkable photo. It is that of Earhart and Noonan, along with airplane racer Albert Paul Mantz and navigator Harry Manning, standing in front of her Lockheed Electra aircraft at Oakland Airport. The photograph is signed by all four. The date was March 17, 1937, the start of their first attempt. These four took off on their mission that day, but the plane developed troubles in Hawaii and had to be shipped back to Oakland for repair. On June 1, just Earhart and Noonan made their second attempt, this time quietly leaving Oakland and flying east instead of west. They almost made it all the way. The signed photograph (pictured on the cover) is priced at $11,500.

Item 35 is a signed Calvin Coolidge speech filled with irony. On November 11, 1928 (Armistice Day), President Coolidge spoke before the American Legion in Washington. This date recognized the tenth anniversary of peace, and all seemed well. The President notes that the nation has been bestowed with ten years of peace, and "It is our belief that it is coming to be more and more realized as the natural state of mankind." Of course, the war which ended ten years earlier was "the war to end all wars," and in 1928, it must have looked like that dream would be realized. Ten years hence, the world would be staring down the barrel of its second great conflagration. $2,500.

Some people leave their mark early on. In 1832, Samuel Francis Smith, a seminary student, wrote some lyrics to an old melody, He called it America, though it is often known by its opening line: My Country 'Tis of Thee. Smith was 23 at the time, and though he lived to be 87, nothing else he did ever had quite such a lasting effect. Smith did enjoy a long career as a Baptist clergyman and wrote many hymns. Item 125 is a copy of the lyrics to America handwritten by Smith, autographed and dated July 28, 1894. He was 86 years old at the time and yet it was these long ago lyrics that people still wanted to have. $2,250.

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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