Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2009 Issue

North America from Helen R. Kahn and Associates

Kahn77

North America is the subject of Helen R. Kahn's latest catalogue.


By Michael Stillman

Helen R. Kahn and Associates has issued their 77th catalogue: North America. Canada & the Arctic, the United States, the West Indies. Offered are primarily early works - 17th to 19th century. Many books cover explorations of a then wilderness-filled continent, others involve the political issues and rivalries of the powers that battled for this land in the days before the American Revolution. Then there are the books that pertain to that revolt, and the new nation that arose on the continent, along with others that pertain to the country to its north - Canada - where Kahn's library is located. Canada remained a British colony almost a century longer, so we continue to find books relating to British governance in North America long into the 19th century. Here are a few of the books we found in Kahn's latest catalogue.

Item 126 is an ironic item that shows that perpetual can be a much shorter time than you think. It is Four Dissertations, on the Reciprocal Advantages of a Perpetual Union between Great-Britain and her American Colonies. Written for Mr. Sargent's Prize-Medal. The year was 1766 and though differences were starting to arise between the King and his colonies, these were still considered internal family squabbles. Most people still saw the union as perpetual at the time, though it would be just a decade later that the colonists would declare their split. Among the four individuals who presented dissertations on the benefits of perpetual union were Francis Hopkinson, who would become a signer of the Declaration of Independence, John Morgan, the Chief Physician for the Continental Army at the outbreak of the revolution, and Joseph Reed, who served as an aide to George Washington. Opinions, like this perpetual union, are not so perpetual after all. Priced at $2,500.

Here are five of the reasons these men's opinions changed so drastically over the next decade. Item 53 consists of five bound acts from King George III promulgated in 1774. They became known as the Intolerable Acts. Four dealt specifically with Massachusetts, closing the Port of Boston until the East India Company was reimbursed for losses suffered during the "Tea Party," providing for the quartering of British soldiers, and making changes in Massachusetts' charter. The fifth extended the boundaries of Quebec and offered greater tolerance for ethnically French Catholics, seen as a slap in the face of colonists south of the Canadian border. The King had hoped these rules would impose order on the colonies, but the effect was opposite, so incensing the colonists that any hope of reestablishing that "perpetual union" was over for good. $18,500.

Much of our earliest information about inland North America came from missionaries, Jesuits in particular, but the Recollets were also represented. Item 33 is the account of the difficult journeys of one such missionary, Emmanuel Crespel: Voiages du R.P. Emmanuel Crespel, dans le Canada et son Naufrage en revenant en France, published in 1742. Crespel was sent to Quebec, serving two years at what is today Sorel (then Fort Richelieu). After two years, he was sent to the Great Lakes with forces fighting the Fox Indians as their chaplain. He was eventually called back to France, but was shipwrecked before leaving Canadian waters. He and the few that survived managed to reach Anticosti Island in the St. Lawrence Gulf, where they endured the winter before returning to the mainland. He finally did make it back to France, but quickly returned to Quebec where he spent the remainder of his life. This book recounts Crespel's adventures, shipwreck included, along with information about the Indians and the lands he visited. $6,250.

Item 71 is a diatribe against Thomas Jefferson, printed during the presidential campaign of 1804: Observations upon certain Passages in Mr. Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, which appear to have a tendency to subvert religion, and establish A False Prophecy. Author Clement Moore was one of those who questioned Jefferson's religious beliefs, and found them insufficiently devout by his standards to serve in such high office. Moore's cranky religio-political writings have long been forgotten, but Moore is still remembered as the author of The Night Before Christmas, "quite a different work," as Kahn notes. $650.

It's never fun to be on the losing side of a war. England's military leaders had much explaining to do after the American Revolution. The pamphlet war between Henry Clinton and General Cornwallis is legendary, each attempting to blame the other for the disastrous defeat at Yorktown. Here is another attempt to pass the blame: A State of the Expedition from Canada, as laid before the House of Commons... This work was produced in 1780 by General John Burgoyne, who led British troops to a disastrous defeat at Saratoga in 1777. The attempt was to divide the colonies in half by controlling a corridor from Canada to New York City. Instead, the colonists won a decisive victory at a time when it appeared their revolution might be heading for a total collapse. In his book, Burgoyne lays the blame on his having poorly trained and insufficient numbers of troops. Item 21, $11,000.

Helen R. Kahn and Associates may be reached at 514-844-5344 or hrk@hrkahnbooks.com. The website is www.hrkahnbooks.com.

You will find many of Helen R. Kahn's books listed in "Books For Sale" on this site. Click here.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions