Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2009 Issue

Antiquarian Americana from Kaaterskill Books

Kaaterskill11

Americana from Kaaterskill Books.


By Michael Stillman

Kaaterskill Books has issued their 11th catalogue of Americana. It is difficult to use any more limiting terms to describe this catalogue beyond the title, as all sorts of material related to America can be found. We will say that these are antiquarian works, the great majority coming from the 18th and 19th centuries. Otherwise, we will let the catalogue speak for itself. Here are some of the items it contains.

Item 25 is the 1876 edition of George Catlin's Illustrations of the Manners, Customs, & Conditions of the North American Indian. Catlin had toured the West in the 1830s, creating some 600 paintings from 48 tribes in the last days before their culture was overwhelmed by settler influences. His book was originally published in 1841, and while some of the earlier editions were colored by hand, this 1876 edition was the first to be printed in color. As far back as 1922, Maggs Bros. described this edition as "very scarce." Priced at $4,800.

Fears of a swine flu pandemic make this 1879 book current: A History of the Yellow Fever. The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878, in Memphis, Tenn., by J.M. Keating. In the spring of 1878, there was an outbreak of Yellow Fever in the Caribbean, Cuba in particular. Ships came into the port at New Orleans, and despite local officials' attempts at quarantine, cases of the illness arose in that city. People fled New Orleans, while cargo continued to be shipped out. Through one of these carriers, the disease reached Memphis. As people became ill, huge numbers of the population began to flee. They filled up every available railroad car, carriage, wagon, furniture van, whatever they could find. Some made it to places where they were welcome, though other communities stationed armed guards at their borders to chase the refugees away. Over half the population escaped. Those who remained suffered terrible casualties. By the time the epidemic ended, over 5,000 residents of Memphis had died, over 10% of the population. Of course, this was long before antibiotics, and most of the remedies of the day, such as bleeding, were useless if not harmful. Item 86. $200.

Item 52 is American Political Ideas by John Fiske, published in 1885. Fiske was a follower of Herbert Spencer, one the great thinkers of the 19th century who developed a series of evolutionary theories after reading Darwin. Spencer applied evolutionary thought to fields such as culture and politics. It was Spencer who coined the phrase "survival of the fittest." Fiske has inscribed this copy of his work to Spencer. $125.

Item 166 is an Essay on the Causes of Variety of Complexion and Figure in the Human Species by Samuel Stanhope Smith, and it includes something of an early American theory of evolution. Smith was a liberal minister and philosopher, one of the founders of both Hampden-Sydney and Washington and Lee Universities, and a long-time President of Princeton. He was an early supporter of separation of church and state, and a strong supporter of scientific studies because he believed that science and religion would always reach the same conclusions. Smith also believed in the equality of the races, not a widely held view at the time. He rejected the prevailing view that the races had been created separately and unequally, describing differences as something of an evolutionary process, humans adapting to their surroundings. A bit naively, he thought lighter skin and more Caucasian features of American blacks versus African natives was an adaptation to being surrounded by whites. $125.

Item 29 is a copy of Lucien B. Chase's History of the Polk Administration. It was published in 1850, just a year after President James Polk left office. History has never quite known what to do with Polk. He greatly expanded the territory of the United States, adding California, Arizona and New Mexico, while welcoming the rebellious Texas Republic to the American fold. It would be hard to imagine America without these states today. However, he achieved his dream of "manifest destiny" by inciting a war with Mexico that enabled him to grab this territory away from that nation. What's more, the addition of this land at the time, and the question of whether it would be free or slave, set North and South against each other as never before, and set the nation rapidly down the road to civil war. $350.

Kaaterskill Books may be reached at 518-589-0555 or books@kaaterskillbooks.com. Their website is www.kaaterskillbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Adams (Richard). <i>Watership Down,</i> FIRST EDITION, author inscription on front free end paper, folded map tipped in, original boards, dust-jacket. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bowles (John). <i>Several Prospects of the Most…la Ville de Londres, avec des Remarques Historiques fort Succinctes, qui les Regardant,</i> 20 double page engraved plates only, of 23, 1724. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Auden (W.H.). <i>Our Hunting Fathers,</i> FIRST SEPARATE EDITION, 1 of 22 copies, COPY B OF 5 PRINTED ON NORMANDIE, original patterned wrappers, Cambridge, for Frederic Prokosch, 1935. £800 to £1200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Barrie (J. M.) & Attwell (Mabel Lucie, illustrator). <i>Peter Pan & Wendy,</i> FIRST EDITION, 12 chromolithograph plates, publisher's blue cloth, original printed dust jacket, [c.1920]; and 3 others (4). £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bartolozzi (Francesco). Genius Calling Forth the Fine Arts to Adorn Manufactures and Commerce; Agriculture (Husbandry Aided by Arts and Commerce), glazed and framed. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> A collection of engraved caricatures, including Gillray ([James]) Tales of Wonder!, 1802; Rowlandson (Thomas) Sports, Smock Racing, 1811;Irish Jaunting Carr, 1814. £400 to £600
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bennett (Charles H, illustrator). <i>Æsop’s Fables,</i> 1875; Buchanan (Robert). <i>Ballad Stories of the Affections,</i> [1866]; Douce (Francis), The Dance of Death, 1833. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Chinese Illustrations. A group of 6 Cantonese rice paper illustrations, depicting scenes of torture with different instruments, gouache, c.340 x 220mm, original wrapper boards preserved, [c. 1800]. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Dulac (Edmund). <i>The Queen of Romania, The Dreamer of Dreams,</i> 5 coloured plates, [1915]; and others illustrated by Edmund Dulac. £300 to £400
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Fronth (Per). Xingu Chronicles, the portfolio, comprising 30 plates, photogravues in colours, each signed, dated and titled in pencil, each numbered 10/35, on wove paper, 790 x 600 x 60mm, 1997. £300 to £400
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Pasternak (Boris). <i>Doctor Zhivago,</i> FIRST ENGLISH EDITION, original red publisher’s cloth, pictorial dust jacket, 4to, Collins & Harvill Press, 1958. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> 13 sepia photographs of visitors to the Thermes Nationaux d’Aix-les-Bains, c. 150 x 105mm, c.1890 (12). £300 to £400
  • <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>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>

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