Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2012 Issue

Rare 18th and 19th Century Americana from David Lesser Antiquarian Books

Lesser127

Rare Americana from David Lesser.

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books has released their catalogue number 127 of Rare Americana. It offers a mix of books with many pamphlets and ephemeral paper items. The focus is on America in the 18th and 19th century. The heart of this period is between the revolution and Civil War, and naturally, growing divisions between the North and South highlight this era. We get to see America born, unite, divide, and be reunited, all in the space of one catalogue. Here are a few of these works on paper.

Item 144 is an account of a mutiny aboard a U.S. naval vessel, the only such mutiny in American history: Case of the Somers' Mutiny. The ringleader was one Philip Spencer, just 19 years old. Spencer's father was President Tyler's Secretary of War, his grandfather served in various public offices in New York, including a term in Congress. Young Philip was not so responsible. After two unsuccessful attempts at college, he ran off and signed on with a Nantucket whaler. His father, as Secretary of War, got him a better job at sea as a midshipman. Philip continued to get into trouble. He got in a drunken fight and assaulted an officer. He was to be court-martialed, but his father managed to get him a place on the USS Somers instead. It was there that he conspired with a few others to overtake the officers and turn the Somers into a pirate ship. However, one of the men disclosed the plan. Captain Alexander Slidell Mackenzie was not amused. Spencer claimed it was all a joke, but Mackenzie was not convinced. A piece of paper with plans written in Greek was found in Spencer's possession. Mackenzie asked his other officers how they felt he should proceed and they all agreed – hang Spencer. Now, this would seem a bit of a risk since his father was the Secretary of War, but Mackenzie proceeded as recommended anyway. On December 1, 1842, young Spencer and two others were hanged at sea, their bodies consigned to the ocean. When the Somers returned, Mackenzie was held before a Court of Inquiry and later a court-martial. He was exonerated both times, though in the latter case by a split decision. His choice of execution without trial was not popular, and Mackenzie's reputation was damaged, though he remained active in the navy until his death a few years later. This account, from the office of the New York Tribune, was published in 1843. Priced at $275.

Item 11 is An Essay on Slavery and Abolitionism, with Reference to the Duty of American Females, by Catharine Beecher. Ms. Beecher was a leader in the movement to educate young women and one might expect a similar progressive view when it came to slavery. This was not entirely the case, Ms. Beecher being a bit more conservative than one might think. She was not even a suffragist, as would seem likely of one promoting female education, but saw the value of educating women as a way to produce more teachers, who could then prepare young men for the important political duties the nation needed. This essay was a response to Angelina Grimke, the southern-born abolitionist, who sought to gather more support for the cause in the North. Ms. Beecher's position was virtually everyone in the North already believed slavery was evil (dubious) so there was no need to convince them. It was southerners who didn't share this view, so they were the ones that would have to be convinced, but abolitionists were afraid of speaking in the South. She then goes on to criticize noted abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison for shrill language which she felt was counterproductive. Ms. Beecher was a believer in gradual abolition, though by the time of this essay (1837), the South had firmly rejected any steps in this direction. Catharine's position on slavery was certainly very different from that of her sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose Uncle Tom's Cabin would set off intense disgust over slavery in the North, and play an important role in leading to the regional break that would end in civil war and emancipation of the slaves. $750.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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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