Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2012 Issue

Rare American Material from David Lesser Antiquarian Books

Lesser123

More Rare Americana from David M. Lesser.

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books has published their catalogue number 123 of Rare Americana. This latest selection includes 150 items, generally shorter form printed documents (and a few in manuscript), most of which relate directly to issues of 18th and 19th century America. A few are indirectly related, such as political debates in England which touched on issues in America. As typical of shorter form work, most items touch on an issue of the moment, rather than a look back in time. They put America just as it was in its earlier days on display. Here are a few samples from the catalogue.

Item 2 is John Adams' Twenty-six letters, upon Interesting Subjects, Respecting the Revolution in America. The letters were written by Adams in Holland in 1780, intended to explain the revolution to the Dutch and obtain financial and other assistance from them. These letters were first printed, but not published in 1786, and then again in 1789 (this issue), as they were offered to subscribers, but not to the general public. In his letters, Adams traces the outbreak of problems between England and the American colonies not to the Sugar and Stamp Acts of 1764-65, but earlier to the Writs of Assistance of 1760. These writs allowed authorities to search people's belongings without cause or redress. Colonists had been smuggling goods from countries other than England as this was cheaper, thereby evading British taxation and control of the trade. While not a major issue through most of the colonies, it stirred notable anger in Adams' Massachusetts, which would become the hotbed of the Revolution as the litany of indignities increased. It is interesting to see the anger building so early, as 1760 marked the winding down of the French and Indian War, where the British and the American colonists worked together to defeat their common enemy, the French. Priced at $6,000.

It would take just over a decade for the dispute to turn into violent confrontation, and by May 29, 1776, when A Sermon Preached Before the...Honorable House of Representatives of the Colony of Massachusetts-Bay was delivered, the colonies were on the verge of declaring their independence. Arguing their right to overthrow tyrannical rule that day was Samuel West, an influential Congregationalist minister from Boston. While acknowledging a general need for the people to submit to the rule of government, he goes on to say, “When a people find themselves cruelly oppressed by the parent state, they have an undoubted right to throw off the yoke, and to assert their liberty.” West would go on to help write the Massachusetts constitution and be a delegate from that state to the federal constitutional convention. Item 138. $1,000.

Item 24 is a Review of the Life of Gen. Sam Houston... By D.G. Burnet, First President of Texas, published in 1852. If you think this is a paean to the life of the great Texan, you are totally mistaken. Burnet, who served as the first (interim) President of the Republic of Texas in 1836, and again in 1841, was a bitter enemy of Houston. Burnet negotiated the treaty with Santa Anna after he was captured at San Jacinto, where the Mexican leader agreed to recognize Texas in return for his freedom. Many Texans were unhappy, instead wishing Santa Anna to be executed, and they must have felt even worse when Santa Anna went back on his word. For whatever reason, Burnet and Houston hit it off poorly. Burnet found Houston crude, the latter thought Burnet bossy and argumentative. The relationship worsened over the years, Burnet twice challenging Houston to a duel (Houston wisely declined the invitation). In 1841, the two ran against each other for President of Texas in a campaign filled with personal attacks. Houston won easily. Eventually, Burnet sought his revenge by publishing this book about Houston, which tears the early Texas leader apart. Time did not heal these wounds. $4,500.

Item 63 is William Griggs' The CelebratedMoon Story,Its Origin and Incidents... published in 1852. It recounts a hoax from 1835 that evidently had a lot of people fooled. Richard Adams Locke, writing in the struggling New York Sun, described the discovery of odd life forms inhabiting the moon. There were upright walking beaver-like creatures, small reindeer, horned bears, and the “Vespertilio-homo,” a flying bat-man. Locke gave credence to his story by claiming the discoveries were made by the noted astronomer, Sir John Herschel, using a new high-powered telescope. Herschel knew nothing of the claims. While the stories did nothing to promote accurate journalism, it did wonders for the Sun, whose circulation increased fivefold. $450.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 54. Fanciful engraving of earth's interior with magma core and errupting volcanoes (1682). $1500 to $1800.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 165. Rare state of Jefferys' influential map of New England in contemporary color (1755). $8000 to $9500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 177. Mouzon's foundation map of the Carolinas (1775). $10000 to $13000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 183. Very rare first state of De Fer's map of the Lower Mississippi Valley (1715). $20000 to $25000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 253. Scarce Scottish edition based on Ellicott's plan of Washington, D.C. (1796). $2400 to $3000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 313. Stunning view of Philadelphia by John Bachmann (1850). $3250 to $4250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 338. Rare Civil War map based on Bucholtz map of Virginia (1862). $9500 to $12000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 667. First map to accurately show Luzon in Philippines (1590). $6000 to $7500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 682. Rare map of Shanghai International Settlement published just after WWI (1918). $7000 to $9000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 738. Coronelli's superb map of the Pacific showing the Island of California (1697) Est. $2400 - $3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 743. A cornerstone piece in the mapping of Australia and New Zealand (1726) Est. $6000 - $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 781. An uncommon signature during Jefferson's Governorship of Virginia (1779) Est. $9500 - $11000
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>

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