Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2004 Issue

American Imprints to 1800 From William Reese

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Early American Imprints from William Reese Co.


By Michael Stillman

The William Reese Company's latest catalogue, "Early American Imprints to 1800," offers a wide selection of 18th century printed Americana. There are many items from the colonial period, Revolutionary War era, and the early days of the new nation. At one end we hear the stern voices of the Mathers, at the other, the liberal democratic views of Jefferson, and even early abolitionist works. America came a long way during that period, with the explosive change arriving in the last quarter century.

Speaking of those fun-loving Mathers, Cotton wrote the biography of his father when the latter died. It's called Parentator. Memoires of Remarkables in the Life and the Death of the Ever-Memorable Dr. Increase Mather. Who Expired. August 23, 1723. Parentator? Is that what Arnold Schwarzenegger's children call him? Increase must have been a tough guy all right, what with beating down all of those witches. Item 7. Priced at $10,000.

John Wise had a bit more progressive view of religion. In his The Churches Quarrel Espoused: or, a Reply in Satyre.... he counters the Mathers' attempt to concentrate ecclesiastical power in clerical associations. Wise promoted more power in the hands of individual churches, a position which Reese explains earned him the label "the first great American democrat." Item 3 is a second edition from 1715. $2,500.

William Currie counters Quaker pacifism in his book A Treatise on the Lawfulness of Defensive War, from 1748. It is a response to a book by John Smith in which the latter concluded the doctrines of Christianity and war could not be reconciled. Currie argues that war was permitted in the Old Testament and that Christian states would fall to slavery and oppression if not permitted to defend themselves. This 1748 treatise bears the printing imprint of one Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia. Item 19. $10,000.

This pamphlet proved something of an embarrassment to Mr. Franklin a quarter of a century later. It is titled The Representations of Governor Hutchinson, and Others, Contained in Certain Letters Transmitted to England.... Thomas Hutchinson was the Governor of Massachusetts in 1773, and he did not have a very high opinion of the colonists, nor did they of he. In his letters back home, Hutchinson implored the British to use force against the restive colonists. Somehow, the letters got into the hands of Franklin, then colonial agent for Pennsylvania. Franklin made them available to colonial leaders in Massachusetts on the condition they not be made public. Instead, they were published in the Boston Gazette, and later as pamphlets. Franklin was reprimanded and embarrassed, but the result of the publication of the letters was deepening hostility toward British authority and the flight of Hutchinson from the colonies. Item 49. $2,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> hand-painted collage. Sold for a record $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Couple passing a giant bird house,</i> watercolor cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1948. Sold for $16,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Miriam Troop, <i>Rain on Laundry Day,</i> oil on canvas, cover for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1940. Sold for $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Rockwell Kent, <i>To All Fascists,</i> ink broadside for The League of American Writers, circa 1937. Sold for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Jo Mielziner, <i>Pet Shop Drop,</i> backdrop design for <i>Pal Joey</i> on Broadway, 1940. Sold for a record $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Lee Brown Coye, acrylic cover illustration for the 25th anniversary of <i>Weird Tales,</i> 1944. Sold for $18,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Virgil Finlay, <i>The Outsider & Others,</i> pen & ink dust jacket illustration for H.P. Lovecraft's book, 1939. Sold for $5,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Al Hirschfeld, <i>Paul Robeson as Othello,</i> illustration for <i>The New York Times,</i> 1942. Sold for $68,750
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Frederic Remington, pen & ink illustration for <i>A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers</i> in <i>The Century</i> magazine, 1889. Sold for $17,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> EARLY AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE. Chronicling 20th century aviation from the earliest Wright Brothers images through commercial and military applications. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> FIRST TELEPHONE CALL TO THE MOON. Partial transcription signed by Apollo 11 astronauts and President Nixon. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> SPUTNIK-1 EMC/EMI LAB MODEL, 1957. Full scale vintage test model of the Sputnik-1 satellite, Moscow, [February, 1957]. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> Apollo 11 Beta cloth crew emblem, SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE APOLLO 11 CREW. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> GEMINI 1/8 SCALE MODEL. Rarely seen large-scale contractor's model. $3,000 to $5,000
    <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.

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