Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2004 Issue

Western Americana From William Reese

Reese232

Western Americana from William Reese Co.


By Michael Stillman

William Reese Company’s
232nd catalogue is a collection of “Western Americana.” The West was conquered a long time ago. You can cross from the Mississippi to the Pacific in a day or two via the interstate without ever being attacked by Indians or held up by outlaws, except maybe at the gas pump. Still, there was a time, and this catalogue will bring you back to those days when the West was young, an unknown land belonging to the Indians and a few explorers and trappers. Here is the West as it was, seen by contemporary eyes, rather than 20th century Hollywood. These are a few samples.

We might as well start at the beginning, or at least as close as we can. Andres Perez de Ribas was a Spanish Jesuit who traveled to the New World to proselytize the natives in 1604. He was evidently quite good at it and converted many of the Indians. He returned to Rome in 1643 and wrote a history of Jesuit activities from 1590-1644 in Mexico and what would become the American Southwest. Contemporary histories of the area from this period are almost nonexistent. Published in 1645, Historia de los Triumphos de Nuestra Santa Fee… is item 172 in this catalogue. Priced at $45,000.

Zebulon Pike’s expedition of 1805-07 is not as well remembered as Lewis and Clark’s of almost the same time, but it was to the American Southwest what the latter’s journey was to the Northwest. Fortunately, Pike is still remembered by the peak which bears his name (ironically, while he saw the peak, he never actually climbed it). He reached that peak as part of his explorations of the source of the Arkansas River. He also traveled the Red River, explored the Mississippi, and the Spanish settlements in New Mexico. His book, An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi…, was published in 1810. Item 175. $25,000.

An even less well remembered travel narrative comes from Reverend Samuel Parker, a preacher who accompanied the American Fur Company’s expeditions to Oregon in 1835. The Reverend went to save the native population, but also brought back much information about this territory, which he presented in his 1838 book. His journey took him from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Walla Walla in what is now Washington State. In a time when most people had little sympathy for the natives, Reverend Parker understood their plight. He states, “While we charge the Indians with inveterate ferociousness and inhuman brutality, we forget the too numerous wrongs and outrages committed upon them, which incite them to revenge...When Indian offenses are proclaimed, we hear only one side of the story, and the other will not be heard until the last great day.” His book is a Journal of an Exploring Tour Beyond the Rocky Mountains… Item 170. $750.

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>

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