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>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
  • <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

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