Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2011 Issue

Rare Americana from David Lesser Antiquarian Books

Lesser120

Rare Americana from David Lesser.

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books has published their 120th catalogue of Rare Americana. What Lesser offers is primarily ephemeral type publications - pamphlets and broadsides - naturally pertaining to America and mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries. A great many relate to the two major events in America during those centuries, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, or about the controversies and disputes that led to those two momentous national divisions. America may have its share of controversy and contention today, but this is nothing new. Here are some samples of issues faced at another time.

Evidently there wasn't much in terms of medical regulations or truth in advertising in the 1880s when this piece was likely printed: Look-Listen. The Greatest Boon of All Times. Autrey's Mineral Tonic, Known in Some Places as Vitona, Mineral Tone, Turkey Mountain Mineral, Etc. In other places it was probably known as fraud, but Dr. B.C. Autrey doesn't mention this. He claims it has been tested by thousands and found useful for "Rheumatism, Gout, Kidney Troubles, Indigestion, Gatarrh, Piles, Exzema, Diabettes, Inflamed Sore Eyes, Blood Poison, Old Sores, Flux, Constipation, Female Complaints, from childhood to old age." If that's not enough, it also cures fits, toothache, nervous troubles, pelagra, dropsy, spine and nerve disabilities, skin eruptions, poison, and insect stings and bites. As Dr. Autrey quite rationally observes, "Why take chances. Thousands dying every day, others getting well. You may have at least an even chance, it cures thousands of others every where, it might cure you…" And then again, it might not. But, it only cost a dollar, giving the poor "the same chance as the millionaire." The same chance to be fleeced, anyway. Item 8. Priced at $150.

Item 71 is a rare account of one of New York City's most shameful moments, perhaps its equivalent to the Salem witch trials: A Journal of the Proceedings in the Detection of the Conspiracy Formed by Some White people, in Conjunction with Negro and Other Slaves for Burning the City of New York in America, and Murdering the Inhabitants. The author was Daniel Horsmanden, one of the judges at the trial, who applied pressure and rewards to convince people to testify against others, and undoubtedly, make up stories to protect themselves or advance their interests. A series of fires broke out in New York in the spring of 1741. It had been a rough winter in New York, poverty and hunger was rampant, England at war with Spain. At the time, around one-sixth of New York's population was slave, and fear of a slave revolt was always present just below the surface. Whether there was a planned revolt, or cooperation between slaves and poor whites, is debatable, but if there was, it was hardly on the scale that the white aristocracy imagined. Charges were made by intimidated witnesses, show trials held, and executions followed. It is estimated around 18 blacks and 4 whites (including 2 women) were hanged, and 13 blacks burned at the stake. Yes… burned at the stake. Around half of the city's adult male slaves were at one point charged, and many were shipped off to places like Newfoundland. By the end of the year the controversy had run its course, and this is not the kind of historic event New York much likes to recall. Offered is the rare first edition of Horsmanden's first-hand account of events, published in 1744. Included is an unrelated document signed by Horsmanden in 1768. $25,000.

Item 41 is an upbeat message from Jefferson Davis: Message of the President. To the Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States. This message was presented in January of 1863, and things were still looking fairly good for the Confederacy. As Davis points out, "At Vicksburg another formidable expedition has been repulsed with inconsiderable loss on our side and severe damage to the assailing forces." Vicksburg, high on a bluff, was perhaps the most important location in the Civil War. It enabled the Confederacy to control traffic on the Mississippi. Union shipping could not pass the bends in the river below Vicksburg because the Confederates could rain artillery fire from above. Additionally, it enabled the Confederacy to connect its western regions, and food supplies, to the armies fighting in the east. Vicksburg proved to be an impenetrable fortress, enabling Davis to crow about their success. However, by early that summer, unable to penetrate the fortress, Grant laid siege, eventually forcing the Confederates in Vicksburg to surrender. The tide had turned. $250.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Documents, The Library of Dawson Turner<br>4 March 2020</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Beck (Henry). <i>London Underground Transport,</i> 1934. Iconic original poster. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Turner (Dawson, 1775-1858). ‘Journal of a Three Weeks' Tour, with Thos. Phillips’, 1815. Unpublished illustrated manuscript. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Sander (Frederick). <i>Reichenbachia,</i> 4 volumes, 1st edition, 1886-95. Ex libris Sir David Salomons (1797-1873). £3,000 to £5,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Documents, The Library of Dawson Turner<br>4 March 2020</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Mary I, Queen of England (1516-1558). Illuminated grant of arms on vellum to John Hombreston, 1554. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Restoration London. Album of important autographs, c.1660-90. Including a letter from Sir William Petty to John Evelyn. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Levellers. <i>The Womens Petition to Over Cromwell,</i> 1651. Extremely rare broadside, 2 copies in libraries. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Documents, The Library of Dawson Turner<br>4 March 2020</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Catherine of Siena. <i>Lettere devotissime,</i> Venice, 1562. Ex libris Giacomo Castelvetro (1546-1616), with marginalia. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Kane (Brig. Gen. Richard, 1666-1732). ‘A Plan of the Town, Mountain and Bay of Gibraltar’, 1712. Pen and ink and watercolour. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Costa (Emanuel Mendes da). <i>A Natural History of Fossils,</i> 1st edition, 1757. £600 to £800.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Documents, The Library of Dawson Turner<br>4 March 2020</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Blaeu (Johannes). <i>Britannia Anglo-Saxonum,</i> c.1646. £700 to £1,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Donne (John). <i>Devotions,</i> 1st edition, 1624. Contemporary vellum gilt, £700 to £1,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Mar. 4:</b> Baden-Powell (Robert). <i>Scouting for Boys,</i> 1st edition, 1908. £800 to £1,200.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions