Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2009 Issue

Printed and Manuscript Americana from Michael Brown Rare Books

Brown48

A detailed catalogue of Americana from Michael Brown Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

Michael Brown Rare Books has issued their Catalog #48 Americana Printed and Manuscript. This is an exceptional catalogue. Brown has supplied some of the most detailed descriptions we have seen in a bookseller's catalogue. Offered are 177 pages of description for the 196 pieces offered. Manuscript items in particular are described in great detail. Included are numerous diaries and the like of individuals whose lives were certainly difficult and challenging by today's standards. Along with the books and manuscripts, you will find other types of related material, including broadsides and photographs. This is an outstanding catalogue for an Americana collector. Now here are a few samples from its pages.

Item 64 is a very personal look at life in more difficult times. It is the diary from 1853-54 of Mary Chase, a schoolteacher in Hanover, Massachusetts. Mary is filled with self-doubt. "I do feel so thoroughly discouraged sometimes that I know not what to do with myself. I do not know how to keep school," she writes. At another point she reveals, "I often think my life is worthless to myself and others. I do not for either accomplish any good." She finally gets a break from her sorrows in July of 1854 when she travels to Maine and attends a large abolitionist rally. She notes, "Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, addressed an estimated 'six to ten thousand' people convened in a grove near East Livermore." Priced at $750.

Item 187 is a declaration of the first international war in which Americans were called on to participate, though they were still colonial Americans at the time. The broadside is headed His Majesty's Declaration of War against the King of Spain, printed in 1739. It lists a litany of sins perpetrated by the Spanish. This was the infamous War of Jenkins Ear. The Spanish, for whatever reason, lopped off the ear of British Captain Robert Jenkins, likely with good cause. Years later, Jenkins presented his well-preserved ear to Parliament, which outraged, declared war on Spain. This simplifies it a bit, but the war was just about this ridiculous. $6,500.

Item 39 is a most unusual, child-like appeal not to murder. It is a circa 1910-20 broadside in English and Inuit imploring the natives not to kill. It states that the King has commanded "Thou Shalt Do No Murder." "Why does he thus speak?" it asks. It then explains, "Long ago our God made the world, and He owns the world. The people also he made, and He owns them. The King of the land is commanded by God to protect the people well." Instead of repaying a murderer in kind, the broadside instructs people in the proper procedure: "But if a man kills a man, the King sends his servants, the police, to take and kill the murderer. But ye do not kill the murderer..." This logic must have been baffling to the Inuit. $1,850.

Martha Gertrude Swift Nuckols of Ashland, Virginia, was an unusually understanding and sympathetic woman. Her husband, Henry, was not kidding when he told her he did not want an "old wife." He married his first wife when she was just 17, and after she died in their first year of marriage, he remarried Martha, then only 16. Martha writes in her diary that she loves to hear about Bettie, his first wife, and would not want him to forget her. "Though I never saw her, I love her memory because dear to him. He says he loves me as well as he did her. I never expected, or wished him to do that, for it seems right that he should love her best." Nevertheless, she finds herself deeply in love with Henry and comes to believe that Henry truly does feel the same toward her. If she has any regrets later in life, it is for marrying quite so young, as she thinks "other ideas were stunted or cut short in their growth," leaving her "the ignoramus of the family." Martha Nuckols' manuscript journal runs to 157 pages from 1869 through 1900. Item 186. $1,250.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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

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