Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2010 Issue

The Age of Jackson from the William Reese Co.

Reese275

Andrew Jackson's profile graces William Reese's latest catalogue.


By Michael Stillman

The William Reese Company has issued its 275th catalogue - The Age of Jackson. This does not refer to the age that ended last year, and there are no moonwalks or Neverlands in this catalogue. The Jackson here in question is President Andrew Jackson, an unusual man, but not that unusual. The Age of Jackson is herein defined as 1824-1840, which would cover the years of Jackson's political career, rather than his military one. Most books in this catalogue were published during those dates, and if not, pertain to events which occurred within that time period. Jackson himself was a towering figure, the first, and probably last true presidential "man of the people," though many others have attempted to wear that mantel. Jackson is somewhat of a controversial figure today, a man with his good points, and not-so good ones (ask the Cherokees). Nevertheless, he was a dominating figure on the American stage during his time, enormously popular though controversial. However, he was certainly not the only figure on the stage during his era, and as you will see, many of these works have nothing to do with "Old Hickory."

John Quincy Adams faced a tough reelection campaign against Jackson in 1828. He had defeated Jackson in 1824, despite Jackson garnering more of the popular vote, when the election was decided by the House of Representatives. This choice, believed by many to be the result of a "corrupt bargain" with Henry Clay, did little to enhance Adams' popularity. So, Adams' supporters responded by promoting his candidacy with an endorsement from the most popular name in America - Washington. Of course, George was long gone, but Adams did have the support of the First President's favorite nephew (George Washington had no children). In this 1828 broadside To The Voters of Allegany County, Adams' supporters quote a letter from Bushrod Washington, inheritor of Mount Vernon, endorsing Adams. George may have been the "Father of his Country," but evidently being "Nephew of His Country" didn't carry much weight. Jackson won handily. Item 2. $1,500.

Supporters of Jackson had their say that same year in this pamphlet, The Political Character of John Quincy Adams Delineated. Actually, it was the character assassination of John Quincy Adams that was delineated in this publication. The writer charges Adams is not a republican, has made no sacrifices for his country, that the country has gained nothing from his experiences, and, "Your character is neither honorable nor independent. Your integrity is not unsuspected." While it was certainly debatable who was the better candidate for the country in 1828, the charges against Adams, whose many accomplishments included negotiating the treaty which obtained Florida from Spain and writing the Monroe Doctrine, were terribly unfair. Item 3. $600.

Jackson is just a shadow of himself on the cover of this catalogue (click thumbnail above). That's deliberate. Item 14 is William Henry Brown's Portrait Gallery of Distinguished American Citizens, With Biographical Sketches. Its date of 1845 portends who is likely to be included. It does not portray the founding fathers, but leaders from the 1820s to what was then the present. So both Jackson and J.Q. Adams are included, along with Webster, Clay, Calhoun, Van Buren, Marshall, Harrison, Tyler, and others not quite so well remembered. Each is shown in a silhouetted profile. $4,500.

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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