Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2011 Issue

Inexpensive Americana from David M. Lesser Antiquarian Books


Robert Roosevelt was Theodore Roosevelt's uncle.

Item 214 is The Portrait. A Poem Delivered before the Washington Benevolent Society, of Newburyport, on the Evening of October 17, 1812. The poet was John Pierpont, a young lawyer with few clients, leaving him plenty of time to write poetry. With his law practice failed, Pierpont would turn to business, where his dry goods stores would end up bankrupt. Pierpont continued to write poetry, at which he was reasonably successful, but he then went to Harvard Divinity School, became a minister, and enjoyed a long and successful career in this third avocation. He was noted for his strong stands from the pulpit, particularly against slavery and alcohol. However, his name is better known today for its attachment to another man. His daughter married Junius Morgan, and his grandson, named after Pierpont, was John Pierpont Morgan, one of the most successful industrialists and richest men in American history. And, if having J. Pierpont Morgan as a grandson is not enough famous descendants, his son James Lord Pierpont was the writer of Jingle Bells. $35.


Here is another man better known for his relatives, though he deserves more recognition in his own right. Item 228 is Is Democracy Dishonest? Are Four Men to Rule New York with a Rod of Iron? The author of this work is Robert D. Roosevelt, a one-term Democratic Congressman from New York. Despite his party affiliation, this book is an attack on the New York Democratic Tammany political machine. Roosevelt was a believer in honest government. He was also an early environmentalist, a member of several organizations designed to protect game as well as serving for years on New York's fishery commission. And, along with his political works, he wrote numerous tracts on fishing and game, and he wrote the first published B'rer Rabbit stories, long before Joel Chandler Harris. Those were published in Harper's Magazine but were not nearly as popular as the ones Harris produced later. With all these accomplishments, Roosevelt's name is still undoubtedly most familiar because of other family members who share it. Robert was the uncle of President Theodore Roosevelt, great uncle of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and a more distant relative of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. $50.


David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books may be reached at 203-389-8111 or dmlesser@lesserbooks.com. Their website is www.lesserbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

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