Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2004 Issue

Americana From Michael Brown Rare Books

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Item 8 is an 1860 manuscript account by one Hiram Wilson describing a colony of runaway slaves in Canada. Wilson began working as a missionary to the escaped slaves in 1836, and estimated the number in Canada to have grown from 10,000 in that year to 40,000 by 1860. He describes the liberal education system present in Canada: “Thousands have been taught to read in the land of refuge, whose fathers & mothers in the South, were debarred the privilege by laws & usages which were revoltingly wicked & cruel…” Wilson notes that some former slaves have emigrated from Canada to places such as the West Indies, Australia, California, British Columbia, and some were considering moving to West Africa. He also speaks of a community of 160 families 50 miles east of Detroit where the “fugitives” had become employed in many jobs as well as agriculture and “as a people have made themselves comfortable & independent.” $4,500.

Item 159 presents a piece of a tragic event for the Cherokee Nation. It comes from Secretary of War James Barbour, Negotiations for Cherokee Lands. Letter from the Secretary of War, Transmitting the Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Negotiate with the Cherokee Indians for a Certain Portion of Their Country. January 30, 1828. The parties would reach an agreement whereby the Cherokees exchanged land in Arkansas for land west of the Mississippi. Unknown to the Cherokee, the possession of land in the west would later lead to their forced evacuation from ancestral homeland in Georgia and the tragic “Trail of Tears,” where many would die in a forced thousand-mile trek under often brutal conditions. $300.

One item contains a most memorable quote, even if the title is somewhat pedestrian. Item 44 is entitled The Almaden Mine. A Letter to the Attorney General on his Report to the President of the Legislature of California, from a California Pioneer. The author, contrasting himself to Attorney General Black, states “My method of stating the case, for the information of the President, differs somewhat from yours, in that mine, is a mere statement of facts without comments; yours of comments without facts.” Touche. Item 44. $300.

Item 186 is a Constitution and Bye-Laws of the Richland Company for the Detection of Horse-Thieves. Horse theft was the car theft of its day, though at least they didn’t have to worry about chop shops. This publication specifically involved the citizens of Quakerstown, Pennsylvania, who probably weren’t too peacefully inclined to those who stole their means of transportation. Circa 1811-12. $1,250.

Here’s a promotional piece: Five Minutes’ Talk About Buffalo Erie County, New York. Its Business Facilities and its Advantages as a Place of Residence and Summer Resort – Its Railroads, Elevators and Manufactories – Its Schools, Churches, Parks, Streets and Hotels. But what, no mention of its snow? Is this really an unbiased picture? And how about those four straight Super Bowl losses? Item 167, from 1881. $45.

Item 174, The Cincinnati Directory…, is sort of a Cincinnati phone book before they had telephones. It contains names, addresses, professions and such information as it was in 1819. $950. Item 176 is a similar work for Columbus, The Columbus Business Directory…, for 1843-44. $600.

Thomas Branagan’s 1828 work is self-explanatory: The Excellency of the Female Character Vindicated; Being an Investigation Relative to the Cause and Effects of the Encroachments of Men upon the Rights of Women, and the Too Frequent Degradation and Consequent Misfortunes of the fair Sex. Item 31. $200.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.

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