Catalogue Review – South Americana<br>From Flo Silver Books
By Mike Stillman
Flo Silver’s catalogue titles, like old book titles, are very descriptive and very long. Her latest catalogue is titled “Catalogue 68: Mexico, Central, and South America: Archaeology, Atlases, Bernardino de Sahagun, Wm Walker + Atlantis, Columbus & Vikings.” And that pretty well covers it. There are 552 items and all but a handful pertain to countries south of the U.S. border. With very few exceptions they are inexpensively priced and suitable for reading and learning rather than just storing on a shelf. Anyone interested in the history of South America will find much to choose from in this catalogue.
Here you’ll find a number of reprints of important works at affordable prices. For example, item 229 is a reprint of Sir Francis Drake’s Histoire Naturelle Des Indes, his description of the Americas, its people, animals and plants in the late 16th century. Taken from the Drake manuscript at the Pierpont Morgan Library, it includes 199 images plus an English translation from the original French. Priced at $75.
Item 286 is Samuel Eliot Morison’s The European Discovery of America. The Southern Voyages. 1492-1616. This book traces the routes of the early explorers of Latin America and is offered for only $15.
Item 355 is Poma de Ayala’s Letter to a King. It describes the history of the Incas both before and shortly after Spanish rule. Though written between 1567 and 1615, this 1978 edition is the first English translation. $35.
One of the most expensive items in this catalogue is the Cartografia de la America Central. It’s a 1929 compilation of 125 historic Central American maps from 1527 to 1924. They were used to resolve a boundary dispute between Guatemala and Honduras. $250.
Items 49-51 are handbooks from the Bureau of the American Republics. Printed in 1893 or 1894 they cover Honduras, Nicaragua and Salvador. $65 each. Items 453-467 are a series of messages to the President of the United States from Congress. They range from 1848-1919. For example, 453 is a message to President Andrew Johnson concerning the re-establishment of slavery in northern Mexico. Several concern the U.S. Mexican boundary written to President Millard Fillmore in 1852-1853. Another, also to Fillmore, called for correspondence about a canal across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Despite several serious attempts, that never happened. $10-$65.
Speaking of failed canals, item 304 is Henry Sheldon’s Notes on the Nicaragua Canal. Only in his imagination. 1897. $85.