April 26: A Unique Civil War Archive, Presidential Autographs, and more Rare Books, Autographs & Maps at Doyle New York
- by Thomas C. McKinney
On Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 10am, Doyle New York will hold an auction of Rare Books, Autographs & Maps. The auction showcases a diverse range of material from early illuminated manuscripts to modern first editions. Standouts feature landmark works in Americana, science, literature, including finely bound library sets, and original illustration art.
Shining brightest among the various highlights of the sale is the personal archive of Brevet Major General John Gross Barnard, which offers an important chronicle of the Civil War. Barnard was Chief Engineer of the Army of the Potomac, responsible for the defenses of Washington, DC. This comprehensive and career-spanning collection includes hundreds of letters, maps, diaries, manuscripts, photographs and more, commencing with Barnard’s service in the Mexican War as Superintendent of West Point, his retained papers from the Civil War, and the conclusion of his career with the Army Corp of Engineers in 1881. Material from the Civil War is particularly impressive, with signed material from many of the important men of the period, including Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, William Tecumseh Sherman, and others. The archive has remained in Barnard’s family until now and is a rare opportunity to own a one of a kind archive. It is estimated $75,000 to 100,000.
One excellent example of autograph material coming to sale at Doyle this month is a finely bound collection of Presidential autographs from George Washington to Franklin Roosevelt, with additional letters of Truman and Eisenhower laid-in. As someone who has written about presidential autographs from time to time in Rare Book Monthly, the first thing I did was check for two names on the list: William Henry Harrison, and James Garfield. These are two of the rarest Presidents to find autographs for because of their small amount of time spent in office—Harrison just 30 days, and Garfield about 7 months. While the autographs of these two Presidents are not specifically listed as “Signed as President,” which are the rarest of the rare, the set is impressive nonetheless and is a collection unto itself. Estimated $20,000 to 30,000, both the existing and new collector of American Presidents would be hard-pressed to find a better addition or foundation for a collection.
A 1778 Paris printing of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and several state constitutions is one of the earliest collected of these editions, published during the height of the American Revolution. There was much interest in the language of these documents by the French, our earliest ally. This book also prints a letter to Benjamin Franklin, the American ambassador in Paris during the war. The lot is estimated $500 to 800.
Doyle New York’s auction of Rare Books, Autographs & Maps will take place Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 10 am eastern time. The catalog is not currently available online but a preview of highlight lots may be viewed here. Consignments are still being accepted for the auction, and Doyle offers a complimentary auction evaluation. Their specialists are available to discuss the sale of a single item or an entire collection. For information, please contact Edward Ripley-Duggan at 212-427-4141, ext 234, or Peter Costanzo at ext. 248, or email Books@Doyle.com.
An exhibition of the sale will be available at Doyle New York, 175 East 87th Street, NY, NY, on these dates:
Sat, Apr 22: 10am-5pm
Sun, Apr 23: 12pm-5pm
Mon, Apr 24: 10am-5pm
Tue, Apr 25: 10am-2pm