Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2009 Issue

Slavery from the William Reese Company

Reeseslavery

Slavery from the William Reese Company.


By Michael Stillman

The William Reese Company has issued a list on a most unhappy, but historically important topic: Slavery. Americans tend to think of slavery as a peculiarly American problem, but that was hardly so. It continued to be an issue in America longer than other parts of the western world, but much of the material Reese is offering pertains to slavery and its aftermath in the Caribbean. This was very much a British problem, though the British, who created the problem for America, did have the sense to remove it much sooner. Here are a few of the items related to slavery Reese is offering.

There weren't any U.S. presidents opposing slavery, at least not until Lincoln, though two former presidents did become active in the movement. One was Martin Van Buren, the other John Quincy Adams. Item 2 is a printed 1843 letter from Adams, in which he wrote, "The extinction of SLAVERY from the face of the earth is a problem moral, political, religious, which at this moment rocks the foundations of human society throughout the regions of civilized man." This copy of the letter was printed in Chicago circa 1846. Priced at $1,750.

If Adams was ahead of his time, Col. Curtis Jacobs was behind it. Item 25 is the Speech of Col. Curtis M. Jacobs, on the Free Colored Population of Maryland, Delivered in the House of Delegates. Delivered in 1860, Jacobs argues that the solution to Maryland's "free negro problem" is the enslavement of the entire black population of the state. Evidently, this would solve the issue of determining who was slave and who free. Jacobs, of course, was motivated only by goodwill toward Maryland's black population. "My religion, my humanity, partakes of a higher order of friendship for the negro..." he explains. For, "...to emancipate them is equivalent to their extermination." With friends like these... Item 25. $375.

Perhaps nothing is more demonstrative of the evil of slavery than the slave sale, where families were permanently torn apart. Item 36 is a broadside announcing an auction north of Versailles, Kentucky, in 1827. The sale was settling the estate of one John Coleman, and among the items on the block were all of Coleman's slaves, "consisting of about 20 valuable slaves, men, women, and children," along with his furniture, farming utensils, a cart and ox, and "all the stock of horses, cattle, sheep and hogs..." The broadside was printed by Albert Gallatin Hodges, one of Kentucky's early and notable printers, later a strong Union supporter and friend of Lincoln. $4,000.

Those who purchased slaves at the Coleman sale undoubtedly got their money's worth of free labor, but those who made such a purchase at the estate sale of Brian Greer were taking a much greater chance. This sale took place in Calhoun, Georgia, and Greer's land, slaves, and slave cabins were all up for sale. What made a purchase risky was the date: December 2, 1862. Lincoln had already proclaimed the freeing of the slaves, which would take place one month from this date. A buyer would have had to have great confidence in a Confederate victory to purchase slaves at this juncture. Item 38. $4,750.

Item 31 is a Special Number of 'The Popular Magazine of Anthropology." The Negro and Jamaica... This was a speech delivered before the Anthropological Society of London on February 1, 1866, given by Commander Bedford Pim. Slavery was long abolished in all British colonies by this time, but black Jamaicans were hardly treated as equals. They attempted to rebel, but were brutally put down. This action horrified many in Britain. In his speech, Commander Pim employs a pseudo-scientific argument to demonstrate the racial inferiority of blacks, and the consequent need to keep them in their present condition. $300.

You may reach the William Reese Company at 203-789-8081 or coreese@reeseco.com. Their website is www.reeseco.com.

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 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
  • <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

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