Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2004 Issue

Rare Americana from<br>David M. Lesser Books

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By 1856, the slavery issue had become an overwhelming force in electoral politics. The new Republican Party nominated John C. Fremont to oppose Democrat James Buchanan, a northerner with southern leanings. Item 150 is a document printed in Cincinnati in 1856, and it appears intended to convince poor Whites that the South and the Democrats have no more regard for them than they have for Blacks. The broadsheet is headed The New ‘Democratic’ Doctrine. Slavery Not to be Confined to the Negro Race, but to be made the Universal Condition of the Laboring Classes of Society. It claims that the “slave oligarchy” of the South is willing to “carry any measure it sees fit, no matter how degrading it may be to the character of the free white men of the north.” The appeal was not successful and Buchanan was elected, but four years later Republican Abraham Lincoln would carry the Midwestern states Fremont lost and the course of history would be changed. $275.

By 1860, even the Democratic Party, the last to stay together as a national party, split by region. Northern Democrats nominated Stephen A. Douglas, Southern Democrats John C. Breckinridge. Item 66 is an Address to the Democracy and the People of the United States, by the National Democratic Executive Committee. The “National” Democrats were really the Southern Democrats, and in this pamphlet they attack Northern Democrat Douglas, saying his only difference from Lincoln is “in making insidious, instead of open, war upon the South.” Southerners resented Douglas’ position that the new territories should decide the slavery issue for themselves, rather than being forced to recognize the “property” rights of slave owners. Between them, the Democrats managed over 47% of the vote to 40% for Lincoln, but the division assured Lincoln the presidency. $275.

Item 69 is both a humorous and acidic satire on the southern Episcopal Church, probably published during the War (1863?). Called Negroes and Religion…Memorial to the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, it satirizes the southern church’s tolerance of slavery. The author sarcastically suggests “Should not provision be made in cases where a parish church needs repair or enlargement, for raising the necessary funds by the sale of a sufficient number of colored communicants?” He goes on to ask if there’s a way “charitable Christians” can “slip a colored person or persons into the alms-dish, without unseemly noise or confusion.” $375.

There’s no humor in Reports of the New York Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, five annual issues from 1861-1865 bound together with earlier reports (1855-59) concerning the poor. They speak of the horrible conditions many of the poor faced in New York during this period, but the 1863 volume touches on a Civil War occurrence largely forgotten. Shortly after Gettysburg, draft riots broke out in New York and it took federal troops, already occupied with another matter, to quell them. The 1863 report speaks of “the indescribable horrors, the worse than savage barbarities, the burnings, the plunder, the murders of the four days’ reign of terror.” Item 129. $750.

But a decade after the War was over, resentment would still run deep in the South. An example is Bennett Puryear, writing under the pseudonym “Civis,” in The Public School in its Relations to the Negro. Puryear attacks the public school system, calling it “foreign to free institutions and fatal to liberty.” Generations of schoolchildren would agree with him on that point. However, describing himself as a slaveowner “robbed of his property,” Puryear goes on to describe Negroes as inferior and unsuited for education. Puryear was no great intellect himself. Item 146. $250.

We’ve just described a handful of the 208 items in this catalogue. To learn more or contact David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books, you may visit them on the web at www.lesserbooks, or call them at 203-389-8111.

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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