Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2012 Issue

Americana from Kaaterskill Books

Kaaterskill15

Americana.

Kaaterskill Books recently published their Catalogue 15 Americana. It contains a varied collection of material relating to America, primarily late 18th to early 20th century. Political debates take center stage, but science, medicine, even an 1850s report by the Chicago Board of Sewerage Commissioners finds its way into these pages. Apparently they examined sewer systems in several European cities, and while this would not be my first choice of how to explore Europe, it will do so long as its on the taxpayers' dime. Here, now, are a few more items from this latest Kaaterskill catalogue.

Giacomo Beltrami made a most amazing trip to America in 1822-23. He was an Italian, past his 40th year, when he began an extensive trip down America's inland waterways. He traveled down the Ohio River, planning to continue south to New Orleans when that river joined the Mississippi. However, he instead hooked up with Stephen Long's expedition north. Beltrami had become fascinated with America's Indians and wished to learn more about them. Eventually, he ran into differences with Long's expedition (Long would later describe at least part of Beltrami's work as fiction), but the Italian explorer (like Columbus), did not turn back. He figured whoever found the as yet undiscovered source of the Mississippi River would gain great fame. So he continued upstream, first with some Indian guides, and when they quit, by himself. He then only had minimal assistance from Indians he found along the way, who were confused by this strange man with a red umbrella. Eventually he found a lake which he believed to be the source of both the Mississippi and the Red River of the North. He was wrong on both accounts, and Beltrami was frequently ridiculed by historians. He has had to live with Field's comment, “Beltrami must have moved in a gigantic world, if he saw external objects through the same media with which he viewed his own person and accomplishments.” That said, his long, often one-man journey was a remarkable feat of courage and strength for which much credit is due. His account in English, from 1828, is entitled, A Pilgrimage in Europe and America leading to the Discovery of the Sources of the Mississippi and Bloody River. Item 12. Priced at $1,000.

Item 137 is an advertising broadside from the Hipwell Manufacturing Company near Pittsburgh, circa 1900: Buy from a Manufacturer and Save a Middleman's Profit. Hipwell was a supplier of sheet metal, lamps, and electric supplies, but at this time had expanded into telephone equipment. They sold telephones, switchboards, and related equipment. Hipwell was founded in 1887, and remained a family owned business until 2001, and survived a few more years under new ownership manufacturing flashlights before finally succumbing to Chinese imports. $375.

Item 16 is a one leaf explanation to Congress in the closing days of President James Buchanan's administration: Assembling of Troops in Washington City. Buchanan had essentially sided with the South throughout his administration, both from personal sympathies and out of hope of preserving the Union. However, he did not approve of secession and ultimately would support the Union cause after he left office. In the days after Lincoln's election and as secession by southern states began, he was lost, not knowing what to do. As he told Lincoln on leaving office, he was thoroughly pleased to be turning over the office. In this March 2, 1861 explanation for calling several hundred troops to Washington, Buchanan explains that it is a small number, and their purpose is simply to maintain order and security in the city as it prepared for the inauguration of the new president. Buchanan did not want to rock the boat. $150.

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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