Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2010 Issue

Political and Civil War Documents from Bruce N. Johnson

Johnson22

Historic Americana from Bruce N. Johnson.


By Michael Stillman

Bruce N. Johnson Historic Documents has issued Catalogue 22. Political & Civil War. This is a fascinating collection of Americana, much of it relating to presidential campaigns. Politics may not always have been quite as ugly as it is today, but it was often close. And while we seem to be in an uncivil cold war today, we were once in a civil hot one. This catalogue includes books, other printed material, and letters relating to politics and electoral campaigns, along with a collection of manuscript letters from soldiers and others concerned with the Civil War.

The catalogue starts with a section of presidential biographies. Of course you can read about Washington and Jefferson, Jackson and Grant, even President John Quincy Adams' biography of his predecessors, The Lives of Madison and Monroe, Fourth and Fifth Presidents of the United States (item 6, published in 1850, priced at $325). However, here you can find biographies, often published at the time the men were running for office, of the obscure, such as Martin Van Buren and Rutherford Hayes. There are the presidents taken by death long before there terms expired, Zachary Taylor, James Garfield, and William Henry Harrison, whose tenure lasted but 30 days. Garfield has a biography from the famous rags-to-riches author Horatio Alger, From Canal Boy to President, Or the Boy and Manhood of James A. Garfield (item 29, published in 1881. $75). There are biographies of the three mediocrities who preceded the Civil War, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan, and the three who took us from war to depression, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. There are several of Hoover from 1928. Herbert Hoover was a very popular man in 1928. Not so much in 1932.

Then there are the losers. Henry Clay and William Jennings Bryan each carried major party nominations three times without ever winning. Winfield Scott was a great general, Charles Fremont a great explorer. Still, they lost to two of the worst presidents in American history, Pierce and Buchanan. George McClellan was a not-so great general and loser to Lincoln. No one remembers Horatio Seymour, but what chance did he have against Grant? About as much as Alf Landon had against Franklin Roosevelt. Then there is item 216, which sort of combines winners and losers. It's Twenty years in Congress: From Lincoln to Garfield. James G. Blaine tells of his years in Congress under several presidents, whom he hoped to succeed. Blaine was the Republican nominee in 1884 but lost to Grover Cleveland. Published 1884. $35.

If you prefer music to biographies, there is a section of sheet music. When was the last time anyone played the President Harding March? Probably not since Teapot Dome. $35. It may be even longer since anyone sang Henry Clay We Shall Never See His Like Again (written by "An Old Coon"). $225. Perhaps the president most honored in song was Log Cabin and Hard Cider Old Tippecanoe, William Henry Harrison. Offered are The Log Cabin Song ($265) and The Harrison Song ($250).

Speaking of the first President Harrison, he was not a favorite of Lauson B. Teal of Ohio. On January 25, 1841, he wrote to a former friend (political differences evidently led to antagonisms) about politics. This was during the period after Harrison was elected, but had not yet taken office. Writes Teal, "...he is a coward he voted in Indiana for Negros to have a vote what next he takes his seat he nows nothing he will have to send for Tory Clay or tory Webster and a Nother thing he is so oald he cannot hear himself Fart..." For the record, Harrison was 67 at the time and within a few months he would be dead. Item 138. $125.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Sergio Trujillo Magnenat, <i>Bogotá 1938 / IV Centenario / Juegos Deportivos Bolivarianos,</i> 1938. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>McQueen Drives Porsche,</i> designer unknown, 1970. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>Joe Bridge, <i>Bignan / A Des Ailes,</i> 1921. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Graham Simmons, <i>The Army Isn’t All Work,</i> 1919. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Je ne fume que le nil,</i> 1912. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>Attack of the 50 ft. Woman,</i> designer unknown, 1958. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Raymond Tooby, <i>Festival Guiness / Have You Tried One Yet?,</i> 1952. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Francisco Tamagno, <i>Terrot & Co. / Dijon / Cycles Motorettes,</i> 1909. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>A. Hori, Oakland / General Motors, circa 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines!,</i> circa 1918. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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