Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2007 Issue

Americana from Michael Brown Rare Books

Brown45

Catalog 45 of Americana from Michael Brown


By Michael Stillman

From Michael Brown Rare Books of Philadelphia comes their Catalog 45 of Americana. This latest collection offers 171 items, ranging from the 17th to the 20th century, though concentrated in the 18th and 19th. It is filled with travels into the unknown west, battles against the French and then the British, especially during the Revolution, the internecine warfare of the Civil War, attempts to both conquer and convert the Indians, political disputes, legal arguments, medical cures, and numerous early 19th century Mexican pamphlets. Many of these works range from scarce to downright rare. If early America is your bailiwick, Michael Brown has something for you. Here is what we mean.

The election of 1800 was one of many unpleasant ballots. The split between the Federalists, on the way out, and Jefferson's Democratic Republicans, was wide and angry. Personal attacks were hardly uncommon. This 1800 broadside, Thoughts, on the subject of the ensuing Election... was addressed to New York Federalists. The author, calling for the defeat of President Adams, wryly notes "...surely it is time for Mr. Adams to retire, and do this when he may, he will carry with him an abundant share, both of public honours and public money..." Item 133. Priced at $3,500.

Item 12 recounts a journey into the wilds of western New York during the summer of 1743. Author and respected botanist John Bartram, accompanied by mapmaker Lewis Evans and Indian Agent Conrad Weiser, made the journey. While Bartram was primarily interested in plant life, he recorded much about the Iroquois who lived in the area, including a depiction of one of their famous "Long Houses." The book is Observations on the Inhabitants, Climate, Soil, Rivers, Productions, Animals, and other matters worthy of Notice. This 1751 work also includes a letter from a Swedish traveler, Peter Kalm, to Bartram, describing the "Cataracts at Niagra." $9,500.

Item 124 is a most interesting pamphlet by Thomas Paine, whose pen gave voice to the American Revolution. After that battle was won, Paine moved on to other revolutions, and at the time of this speech (1792 -- published in 1793) found himself addressing the French legislature. The title is Reasons for Wishing to Preserve the Life of Louis Capet, Louis Capet being French King Louis XVI. Paine was virulently anti-monarchist, so there is no small irony in finding him desperately trying to save the life of the French King. However, by the Fall of 1792, the French Revolution had already begun to swing out of control, and the Reign of Terror was not far behind. Paine points out that he had opposed an earlier compromise that had brought the King back, albeit with reduced power, calling that an "unaccountable folly." Nonetheless, Paine retained the humanitarian instincts the French radicals lost. He pulls out a clever argument to save the monarch -- he notes that the King had supplied America with critical assistance during its democratic revolution, and for that, he deserves to be spared. He recommends Louis be sent into exile in America, where he will be able to see for himself that democracy is a superior form of government. Paine also points out that, as bad as the King was, he was no worse than other kings, and even monarchs are subject to "human frailty." It was to no avail. Louis was put to death early in 1793, and by the end of the year, Paine too was imprisoned, barely escaping the guillotine before the radical government fell. $500.

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 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

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