Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2011 Issue

Important Signed Documents from the Raab Collection

Raab68

Lincoln writes McClellan one last time.

The Raab Collection has issued Catalog 68 of important signed documents. Most emanate from America, although there are a few of European origin. They all pertain to important personalities or events in history, often mostly from political leaders, but including items from the pen of great scientists, literary and humanitarian figures. Here are a few of these one-of-a-kind signed documents.

Pictured on the cover of this catalogue is President Lincoln's last letter to George McClellan as leader of U.S. forces during the Civil War. It is dated October 29, 1862. When Lincoln arrived in Washington to take his oath of office, the South had already announced its secession. The new President faced rebellion with an army not well prepared for such internal strife. It was led by General Winfield Scott, a great military hero who had served as far back as the War of 1812. However, he was now 74 years old, had numerous medical problems, and weighed around 300 pounds, leaving him hardly fit for battlefield command. That responsibility would soon go to General McClellan. McClellan, a good organizer, would prove to be a conservative commander, unwilling to take quick action when conditions called for decisiveness. As time went on, Lincoln, without military background, came to have more faith in his own military decisions than those of his commanders, first McClellan, and then several of his successors. In this letter to McClellan, Lincoln responds to news that McClellan, at his orders, has been moving his troops across the Potomac in anticipation of an assault on Richmond, the Confederate capital. Lincoln wanted McClellan to move his forces between those of Robert E. Lee and Richmond, thereby hindering its defense. The President still sounds satisfied, writing, "I am much pleased with the movement of the Army. When you get entirely across the river let me know." However, McClellan moved slowly, Lee anticipated and reacted quickly, and the plan fell through. That was the last straw for Lincoln, who removed McClellan from his command a week later. Lincoln would go through several more generals before finally finding Ulysses S. Grant, who shared Lincoln's belief in bold action. Item 5. Priced at $100,000.

President Lyndon Johnson was far more pleased with the performance of General William Bunker during the Vietnam War, but if the Civil War made Lincoln a great president, the Vietnam War would destroy what might have been Johnson's great presidency. Johnson was a master at domestic policy, but the war would be his undoing. In this March 2, 1966 letter, Johnson writes Bunker, who oversaw much of the massive build-up of troops, "I am sure that military history will record the movement of American troops to Vietnam as the high water mark in logistics planning." Perhaps history would have had the war turned out differently, but Johnson was unable to achieve victory as Lincoln had. Item 19. $3,000.

If Lincoln's wartime demands seemed terribly difficult, those faced by Winston Churchill seemed almost impossible. Europe overrun by the Nazi war machine, America sitting on the sidelines, England stood alone in 1941 in defending the world from the unspeakable tyranny consuming it. It didn't matter to Churchill, who remained steadfast in his determination to win the war no matter the odds. There simply was no choice. In November of 1941, the month before America entered the war, an election was held in Harrow, where Churchill had once attended school, to fill a seat in Parliament. Though Churchill headed a national unity government, he still wrote a letter to the Conservative candidate, Norman Bower, in support of his candidacy, as Bower was more strongly supportive of Churchill's policies. The opposition, Churchill felt, though in broad agreement with him, engaged in petty sniping he felt disruptive to the united cause. In his letter to Bower, Churchill speaks with his usual wartime inspiration and brilliance: "We are engaged upon the Herculean labour of rescuing Europe and saving ourselves from the unspeakable 'New Order' and all the abominations that go with it." Item 25. $28,500.

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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