Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2008 Issue

Historic American Autographs from Joe Rubinfine

Rubinfine161

Historic autographs from Joe Rubinfine.


By Michael Stillman

Joe Rubinfine
has issued a new catalogue of American Historical Autographs. It includes the most famous of American names, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, along with numerous other figures from politics, the military, science and invention, business, and law. They range from simple signatures to detailed letters of historical importance. Here are a few of the 51 items available in List 161.

Item 43 is a significant letter from Theodore Roosevelt to friend and political reformer Louisa Lee Schuyler dated February 20, 1912. At the time, Roosevelt was considering a run against his successor and former ally President William Howard Taft. Schuyler was against such a course, but Roosevelt had become very disillusioned with Taft and already had decided to accept the Republican nomination if offered. Speaking of Taft, Roosevelt says, "He is a reactionary, not primarily by preference, but simply because he does not understand the great questions that are up, and has no real conviction on them. He was an admirable lieutenant, but as a general he is utterly incompetent." Roosevelt goes on to say Taft would "make the Republican Party a reactionary party," and in the ultimate comment of disrespect, "not a particle more useful to the country than the Whig Party under Millard Fillmore." Roosevelt was not nominated by the Republicans, ran as a third party candidate, and both he and Taft lost to Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Priced at $17,500.

Item 29 is a pair of letters which describe one of the greatest unnecessary tragedies of early American history, the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr which cost Hamilton his life. They are from Hamilton's friend and successor as Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Jr., to his wife. One is dated July 11, 1804, the day of the duel, while Hamilton still lived, the other July 13, after Hamilton died. Wolcott obviously despised dueling, and notes with irony that Hamilton did as well, despite succumbing to Burr's challenge. Wolcott notes that Hamilton believed "the custom was in the highest degree criminal, yet there were peculiar reasons which rendered it proper for him..." Wolcott continues, "This instance of the derangement of intellect of a great mind, on a simple point, has often been noticed as one of the most common yet unaccountable frailties of human nature." In this first letter, Wolcott also notes that Hamilton is unlikely to survive, that he did not attempt to shoot Burr, and that while his wife is now with him, she was "ignorant of the cause of his Illness" (that seems hard to believe). In his second letter, Wolcott again rails against dueling, marveling on how Hamilton calmly arranged his affairs in advance in case of a bad outcome, "Thus proving his respect for justice in comparatively small matters, & at the same time disregarding its obligations on points of the first importance." Hamilton's actions are all the more incomprehensible to Wolcott because the former deemed dueling "immoral & indefensible," and had earlier lost his own son to a duel. $40,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions