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

  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Bibliothèque littéraire<br>Hubert Heilbronn<br>11 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s May 11:</b> Breton, André. <i>Nadja.</i> Paris, N.R.F., Gallimard, 1928. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s May 11:</b> [Stendhal, Henri Beyle dit]. <i>Le Rouge et le Noir,</i> chronique du XIXe siècle. Paris, Levavasseur, 1831. €20,000 to €30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s May 11:</b> Dumas, Alexandre. <i>Les Trois mousquetaires.</i> 1844. 8 vols. In 4. Paris, Baudry, 1844. €30,000 to €50,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s May 11:</b> Mallarmé, Stéphane -- Edgar Allan Poe. <i>Les Poèmes d’Edgar Poe.</i> Bruxelles, Edmond Deman, 1888. €18,000 to €25,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s May 11:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Le côté de Guermantes II. Sodome et Gomorrhe I. [and] Sodome et Gomorrhe II.</i> Paris, N.R.F., 1921 et 1922. €20,000 to €30,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Westvaco–Inspirations for Printers,</i> 3 volumes, 1938-61. $200 to $300.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Proef van Letteren, <i>Welk gegooten worden in de Nieuwe Haerlemsche Lettergietery,</i> 1768. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Paul Klee, <i>Bauhaus Ausstellung Juli – Sept.,</i> Weimar, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Michel Seuphor & Jozef Peeters, <i>Het Overzicht Nos.</i> 22-23-24, Antwerp, 1922. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Wolfrum & Co., <i>Modern Graphik, Serie I…,</i> complete portfolio, 1909. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Gravure et Fonderie deC. Derriey: Specimen-Album,</i> Paris, 1862. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> CURRIER and IVES, publishers -- After Frances F. Palmer. The Rocky Mountains. Emigrants Crossing the Plains, 1866. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BIBLE, in English]. <i>The New Testament of Jesus Christ, translated faithfully into English.</i> Rheims, 1582. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BIBLE, in Latin]. <i>Biblia latina.</i> Venice: Franz Renner of Hailbrun [Heilbrunn], 1483. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe (1792-1822). Autograph letter signed ("P. B. S."), to Charles Ollier. Florence, Italy, 15 December 1819. “MY PROMETHEUS IS THE BEST THING I EVER WROTE.” $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> RAMSAY, David (1749-1815). <i>The History of the Revolution of South-Carolina…</i> Trenton: Isaac Collins, 1785. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BINDINGS]. MUIR, John (1838-1914). <i>The Writings of John Muir.</i> Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916-1924. 10 vols. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [CHICAGO] -- <i>Park & Guide Map of Chicago.</i> Chicago: Jas. Van Vechten, 1873. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> CURRIER and IVES, publishers -- After Frances F. Palmer. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [ALLEN PRESS]. SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). <i>Romeo and Juliet.</i> Greenbrae: Allen Press, 1988. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> BEMELMANS, Ludwig (1898-1962). Pencil drawing on paper. 247 x 198 mm, sight, matted and framed. Showing a child shooting at a baby's balloon. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [LOGAN ELM PRESS]. HARVEY, Rebecca. <i>Any Number of Things.</i> Ohio State University, 2013. Single sheet paper scroll. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> BINYON, Laurence (1869-1943). A small archive of letters and pamphlets. $200 to $300.

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