Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2004 Issue

Americana From <br>William Reese


William Reese's listings from the New York Antiquarian Book Fair

By Michael Stillman

The William Reese Company recently issued a listing of books for sale in conjunction with their participation in the New York Antiquarian Book Fair. We hesitate to call this a “catalogue” since Reese catalogues are well-illustrated, bound, and highly descriptive presentations, undoubtedly destined to become collectible themselves. This piece is simply one of stapled pages, and yet it is far more than a group of listings, for it contains the thorough descriptions for which Reese is noted. In this case, there are 50 pages of small print used to describe 102 items. True to Reese’s focus, the subject of the listings is Americana, although there is an occasional item that strains to find ties to the New World.

In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson sent James Monroe and Robert Livingston to Paris on a mission to purchase land at the base of the Mississippi River (New Orleans) to assure the young nation free navigation of that waterway. To their surprise, Napoleon offered them the whole of Louisiana. In 1803, “Louisiana” included most of the land between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains, running as far west as Montana and as far north as Canada. A surprised and jubilant Jefferson jumped at the offer, and despite some questions of constitutional authorization, the federal government went ahead with the $15 million land purchase. Overnight, the size of the United States doubled. Item 52 is the Message from the President…Inclosing a Treaty…Relative to the Cessation of Louisiana. This is a first printing of the treaty ratifying the Louisiana Purchase, printed in Washington in 1803. Priced at $30,000.

Item 7 is a very rare book describing the land and the Indian tribes of the southern United States. It’s called Travels through North & South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida, The Cherokee Country… by William Bartram, and it was published in 1791. He describes the territory in great detail, including a chapter devoted to the customs and language of the Cherokee and Muscogulge Indians. $13,500.

Here’s another one of those extremely rare books about the Indians, but this belongs to that less reputable category known as “Indian Captivities.” This is Archibald Loudon’s A Selection, of Some of the Most Interesting Narratives, of Outrages, Committed by The Indians, in Their Wars, with The White People. We will not speculate on the accuracy of some of these gruesome tales, but should point out that the book does not focus on the atrocities committed against the Indians. Along with the ugliness, the book does also recount much about Indian customs, their food, medicines, clothing, songs and dances. Item 50. $27,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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>

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions