Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2008 Issue

Important Civil War Documents and Items from Seth Kaller

Kaller

Civil War Catalog from Seth Kaller.


By Michael Stillman

This month we received our first catalogue from Seth Kaller, Inc., Civil War Catalogue. Offered is a collection of truly exceptional items. Here you will find handwritten Lincoln papers, and not just obscure personnel appointments but important historical documents. There are also items written by or related to Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, and John Brown as he prepared for his raid at Harper's Ferry. In addition, there are non-written ephemeral items such as the 36-star American flag which flew over Richmond shortly after its capture, a Confederate physician's kit, a field surgeon's kit (you don't want to face surgery using one of these), signed photographs of Jefferson and Varina Davis, a Tiffany and Co. silk flag banner presented to Union General John Dix for preventing draft riots in New York, a profile of Abraham Lincoln cast from metal retrieved from the sunken USS Cumberland, and an inkwell in the shape of an elephant that stood on President Grant's desk in the White House. Here are some of the other pieces to be found in this magnificent Civil War collection.

On December 8, 1863, President Lincoln issued an amnesty to all Confederate soldiers and citizens, except Confederate government officials and certain military officers and those who mistreated imprisoned Black soldiers. The amnesty provided that if they swore allegiance to the United States government and supported all of its laws, they would have all of their property rights restored, except property interests in former slaves. Lincoln had hoped the amnesty would encourage Confederate fighting soldiers to abandon their units and rejoin the Union. However, what he found was that too many of the soldiers who took advantage of the offer were those already captured and in northern prisons, rather than those carrying on the war. So, Lincoln sat down and wrote in his hand this document, a draft of the revised amnesty proclamation which says this amnesty is not available to persons already under the custody of the United States unless granted special clemency by the President. Price on request.

Two days prior to writing this letter, John Brown met with noted abolitionist and one-time presidential candidate Gerrit Smith and Frank Sanborn to reveal his plans to raid the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry. Brown hoped he could spark a slave uprising if he could supply the arms. The fiery Smith quickly signed on, but Sanborn was reluctant. The result was Brown wrote this letter to Sanborn, encouraging the latter to support his cause. "I expect nothing but to 'endure hardness:" writes Brown, "but I expect to effect a mighty conquest even though it be like the last victory of Samson." While events did not quite unfold as Brown foresaw, he was still quite prophetic. He endured "hardness" and death as did Samson, and while his attempted rebellion did not take hold, it helped lead to the Civil War a short time later where Brown's goal to end slavery came to pass. As for Sanborn, he was convinced, and along with Smith, became one of Brown's "Secret Six" financial backers. After Brown's capture, the Senate attempted to call Sanborn to testify in committee, but he declined to attend, and the court in his hometown of Concord, Massachusetts, refused federal attempts to have him arrested. $44,000.

General George Meade could have been the great Union hero of the Civil War, rather than Grant. He led the battle that turned the course of the war around, the Union victory at Gettysburg. On July 4, 1863, the day after the battle concluded, Mead issued this proclamation of thanks to his troops from the battlefield. This rare document displays the fault that would soon lead to Meade being replaced by Grant as the leader of Union forces. Meade writes, "The privations and fatigue the Army has endured, and the heroic courage and gallantry it has displayed will be matters of history to be ever remembered." However, after these words which seem to presage Lincoln's later Gettysburg address, Mead says, "Our task is not yet accomplished, and the Commanding General looks to the Army for greater efforts to drive from our soil every vestige of the presence of the invader." Therein lies the rub. Meade seemed content to drive the Confederates from northern soil. Lincoln wanted the enemy followed to his home and destroyed. They were not invaders from a foreign land, but rebels from within, the south as much a part of the nation as the north. By the end of the year, Lincoln would put the more aggressive Grant in charge in place of Meade. $27,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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>
  • <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

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