Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2004 Issue

Diverse Americana From Michael Brown Rare Books

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Catalogue 36 of Americana from Michael Brown Rare Books


By Michael Stillman

Michael Brown Rare Books
of Philadelphia has just released their 36th catalogue of Americana. This is a diverse collection of unusual and unexpected material. Many of the items are letters and other one-of-a-kind manuscripts. There is likely something of interest to any Americana collector to be found within its pages. Here are a few examples.

"Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction...." starts the title of item 59, and we will continue if you're strong enough to face the truth. New Orleans As It Is: Its Manners and Customs - Morals - Fashionable Life.... So far so good, but now the rest: Profanation of the Sabbath - Prostitution - Licentiousness - Slave Markets and Slavery &c. &c. &c. By a Resident. You can see this is going to be a fun book. Almost as much fun as New Orleans itself, which, except for the slavery, retains most of these habits today. Some parts of the book tell of the less controversial aspects of this city, such as its history, the Louisiana Purchase, and its location. Here are some of the less savory sections: Kept Mistresses, Extent of Licentiousness, Regular Prostitutes, Prostitution of Wives, A Man Selling His Own Children, Slave Girls Hired As Bed Companions, Whipping of Slaves, A Woman Whipped to Death, Women Whipping on the Plantations, Chain Gangs of Women, and Depravity of Slave Holders. Why haven't they made a movie out of this book yet? Evidently the "resident" who wrote it must have done so with some trepidation as he not only chose to remain anonymous, but had the book published in Utica, New York. What do New Orleans and Utica have in common? I've been to both and I can assure you, absolutely nothing. From 1849. Priced at $2,000.

Here is a most unusual broadside, and since I can find nothing more about the supposed incident, its wording will have to suffice: PUBLIC NOTICE. Having heard that C.D. Elliott, Principal of the Nashville Female Academy, has been going about this City for several months past traducing the character of my husband, Charles Baldwyn, and thereby endeavoring to prevent his getting a living here....C.D. Elliott called him "An Ordinary Humbug," I now call upon him to come forward and prove him to be such if he can, or I will COWHIDE him as a slanderer, every time I meet him in the streets of Nashville. Charlotte Baldwyn. February 18. 1852. There are a few things we can infer from this. "Ordinary humbug" was fighting words in 1852. Charlotte Baldwyn was a loyal wife. She was also one tough lady. Perhaps a bit tougher than husband Charles? He must have been mortified when he first saw this thing posted on the street. Unfortunately, this has all been lost to history. However, we do know that Collins D. Elliott was regarded as a respected educator in his community and continued to lead the Nashville Female Academy for another nine years, departing in 1861 to serve as a Chaplain in the Confederate Army. Nowadays, of course, we would sue each other over matters like this, but I think the posting of humiliating broadsides is a far more elegant method of resolving disputes. Item 21. $650.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <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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