Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2008 Issue

Intriguing Americana From Kaaterskill Books

Kaat6

Americana from Kaaterskill Books.


By Michael Stillman

Kaaterskill Books has issued their Catalogue 6 - Americana. This is a collection of truly fascinating old works, but most come with the kind of prices you find on eBay, maybe better. These are not, for the most part, famous works, but they represent a real slice of life in America in the late 18th and 19th centuries. There are books, printed speeches, legal pleadings, official documents, travelogues and more, covering the issues of the day. Sermons frequently stray from the theological to the political, particularly where slavery is concerned. Among the items offered is a group of 35 July 4th speeches. Don't assume these just represent a lot of standard flag waving, as many of these speeches touch on the burning issues of the day. They provide insight into America at the time. And, most are priced in the $10-$35 range. Like we said, eBay pricing. This is a great catalogue. Now, here are a few of the items offered.

In 1831, Samuel Prince and others petitioned the Boston School Committee to open a high school for girls. The Committee's response is presented in the Report of the Common Council, on the Subject of a High School for Girls. The answer was "no." The committee reasoned that the cost would be too great because, while most boys dropped out of school by the age of 14 to become apprentices, the girls would probably hang around running up expenses much longer. Besides, girls do not give back as much to the community as boys, so a primary school education is sufficient for them. Item 21. Priced at $95.

Item 59 is a large volume filled with photographs taken over a century ago along America's southwestern border. It is the Report of the Boundary Commission upon the Survey and Re-marking of the Boundary between the United States and Mexico west of the Rio Grande, 1891-1896. It includes photographs of the views at each of the 258 boundary markers, with captions in English and Spanish. This copy contains an inscription from L. Seward Terry, Secretary of the U.S. Commission. $2,500.

State militias are something of an afterthought in the U.S. today, but their one-time role may shed some light on whether the Second Amendment's right to bear arms was meant as an individual or public right. In the 1828 Militia Report of William H. Sumner, Adjutant General...to his Excellency Levi Lincoln, Governor...of Massachusetts, Sumner writes, "Under the Constitution, the Militia must ever be estimated the bulwark of civil and individual liberty. Directed by public sentiment, it will guard us from the oppression of power...it will secure us from anarchy...and properly armed and disciplined, it forms an impenetrable barrier to the invader." In the early days of the republic, there was great fear of federal power and a standing army, which might force its will on the states. The state militia was seen as the people's best defense against such a power. Item 132. $75.

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 Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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