Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2009 Issue

Broadsides and Broadsheets from the William Reese Company

Reese267

American Broadsides & Broadsheets from the William Reese Co.


By Michael Stillman

The William Reese Company has issued one of its occasional catalogues of American Broadsides and Broadsheets. These are single sheets, broadsides being printed on only one side, broadsheets on both, and were generally either posted or handed out. In the days when newspapers were fewer and not too widely read, much of the news of the day was disseminated through these sheets. Naturally, they were also widely used for advertising, a use still common today. William Reese has collected just under 100 special broad sides and sheets for this catalogue of early Americana.

The estate sale notice on the cover of the catalogue would not seem so unusual were not human beings one of the items offered for sale. The broadside announces a PUBLIC SALE On the 17th day of July 1832, Will be sold at the late residence of Jacob Sodowsky, Sen. dec'd. the following property, viz: NEGROES, Men, Women and Children, from 15 to 20 in number, with Horses, Hogs, Sheep and Cattle... Jacob Sodowsky was an early settler of Kentucky, a respected farmer who reportedly was one of the first white men to traverse the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers all the way to New Orleans in a canoe. He was escaping from hostile Indians. There is a theory that Sandusky, Ohio, was named (or misnamed) for Sodowsky, but that is unlikely. The executor for the sale was Jacob's son, Ephraim Sodowsky, who continued to live in the house and till the land for the remaining 20 years of his life. Item 82. Priced at $5,000.

Unfriendly Indians weren't the only dangers to be faced along the banks of the Ohio in the Kentucky wilderness. Item 41 is an account of A Monstrous Serpent. Discovered and Killed in January, 1815, Near the Banks of the Ohio, in Kentucky... A group of soldiers discovered this 22-foot long serpent, as thick as the largest man's thigh. The soldiers did battle with the monster, and while one of their dogs gave his life in the fight, they finally managed to subdue the serpent and chop off his head. The skin was sent to a museum in Philadelphia, which evidently used this broadside as a promotion. A drawing of the creature adorns the notice. $11,000.

Item 4 is a 1776 broadside from Hopestill Capen, a conscientious loyalist in Revolutionary America. Capen was not a particular supporter of the British cause. His issue was his religious beliefs. As a member of the Sandemanian Presbyterian sect, he believed the Bible commanded him to be loyal to the government in power. As he explains, if the colonists are successful in changing the government, he will support the new one with "chearfulness," but until such time as there is a change, he is duty-bound to support the British. Most Sandemanians skipped the country, for despite the reasonableness of Capen's arguments, he was forced to write his appeal from prison in Boston. Capen eventually left the country, but later returned and operated a shop until his death in 1807 in the building that currently houses Boston's famed Union Oyster House. $20,000.

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.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions