Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2013 Issue

Western Americana from the William Reese Company

Western Americana.

The William Reese Company has published their 299th catalogue, Western Americana. Reese describes the theme of this catalogue as “the exploration, settlement, and development of the trans-Mississippi West.” Material ranges from the 16th to the early 20th century. Along with printed items it offers manuscripts, maps, and visual items. The American West remains a topic of fascination, not just to Americans but Europeans and others around the world. It is a land of legends, and many tall tales too, but there is something about the wild frontier that appeals to all of us (just as it did to Davy Crockett). Here are few items that take us back to these wondrous times.

The most important exploration of the American West, and of any internal explorations of America, was conducted by Lewis and Clark in 1804-1806. Having recently completed the Louisiana Purchase, a vast territory he knew next to nothing about, President Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark out to survey what he had purchased. Though they returned in 1806, it was another eight years before the official account was published, various factors delaying its publication. There was some information announced by Jefferson, and Patrick Gass, a member of the expedition, published an account in 1807. Still, there was much more the public wanted to know, and there were unscrupulous individuals ready to fill that void, even if they were no more knowledgeable than anyone else. Item 107 is The Travels of Capts. Lewis & Clarke... published in 1809, the so-called “apocrypha edition.” It was patched together using information provided by others, notably Jefferson and Gass, along with reports about Indians from totally unrelated sources, such as Carver and Mackenzie, the idea being that earlier accounts of eastern Indians would undoubtedly be acceptable descriptions of Indians of the West. The book even uses an illustration of the Indians Lewis and Clark supposedly encountered from Bartram's earlier work. Nonetheless, the book was very popular and accepted, being reprinted for several decades, even long after the official account was published. One positive is the map, and though not much based on Lewis and Clark, it was based on the latest information from various sources available at the time. Priced at $13,500.

Item 9 is one of the earliest obtainable imprints from Texas, a certificate of admission to Stephen F. Austin's colony. The date was 1829, when Texas was still part of Mexico, so naturally the certificate is headed in Spanish, El Ciudadano Estevan F. Austin. Mexico, much to their later great regret, was allowing Americans to colonize parts of this outer province of the nation. In time, they would become suspicious of these American immigrants, but by then it would be too late. Even the then-cooperative Austin would turn against Santa Anna. This certificate was issued to a widow named Frances Manifee. It was the first step to gaining admission to Austin's colony. $25,000.

Texas declared its independence from Mexico in 1836, but it was not the only future U.S. state to do so that year. Less well known is that California declared its independence in 1836 too. The circumstances were very different. It was not a case of American immigrants trying to throw off rule that seemed foreign to them, even though they were the immigrants. This was more of an intramural squabble between local Mexican authorities and those back in Mexico City. Juan Albarado (Alvarado) was upset by Mexican attempts to assert greater central authority. He and his associates responded by declaring independence. This broadside, En el Puerto de Monterrey de la Alta California... announces California's independence. It was printed by Santiago Aguilar, using Augustin Zamorano's press. Zamorano had been forced into exile three days earlier by Alvarado. Eventually, the rebels and central authorities would resolve their dispute and the abortive independence of California would end. However, Alvarado would again be serving as California Governor at the time of the Bear Flag Revolt and seizure of the state by General Fremont, when Mexican rule truly was overthrown. This copy is signed in both print and ink by Alvardo and his associates. Item 27. $75,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Bonhams, June 25: Vesalius, Andreas. 1514-1564. De humani corporis fabrica libri septem. $200,000 - $300,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Gersdorff, Hans Von. 1455-1529. Feldtbuch der wundartzney. $40,000 - $60,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Pare, Ambroise. C.1509-1590. La Methode Curative des Playes, et Fractures de la Teste humaine. Avec les pourtraits des Instruments necessaires pour la curation d'icelles. $25,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Reisch, Gregor. 1470-1525. Margarita Philosophica. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bright, Richard. 1789-1858. Reports of Medical Cases, Selected with a View of Illustrating the Symptoms and Cure of Diseases by a Reference to Morbid Anatomy. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Berengario da Carpi, Giacomo. C. 1460-1530. Tractatus de fractura calve sive cranei. $10,000 - $15,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Vicq D'Azyr, Felix. 1748-1794. Traite d'antomie et de physiologie. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Croce, Giovanni Andrea Della. 1509?-1775. Chirurgia libri septem... $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bruno Da Longburgo. 1200-1286. La cyrogia di Maistro Bruno: Expertissimo in quella. Tradutta in vulgare. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Schwann, Theodor. 1810-1882. Mikroskopische Untersuchungen uber die Ubereinstimmung in der Struktur und dem Wachsthum der Thiere und Pflanzen. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Cowper, William. 1666-1709. The Anatomy of Humane Bodies, with Figures Drawn after the Life… $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bidloo, Govard. 1649-1713. Anatomia humani corporis, centum & quinque tabulis, per artificiossis. G. de Lairesse ad vivum delineatis. $6,000 - $9,000
  • Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Keats, John] Spenser, Edmund: The Works of that Famous English Poet, Mr. Edmond Spenser. $50,000 - $80,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: (Walton, Izaak): The Compleat Angler or the Contemplative man's Recreation. Being a Discourse of Fish and Fishing. $30,000 - $50,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: Thomas, Gabriel: An Historical and Geographical Account of the Province and Country of Pensilvania; and of West-New-Jersey in America. $25,000 - $35,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Carroll, Lewis]: The Game of Alice in Wonderland. $2,000 - $3,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: Athias, Joseph, et al.: Biblia Hebraica. $7,000 - $10,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Warhol, Andy, and Jens Quistgaard] Dansk Designs Salesman's Presentation Catalogue. $2,500 - $3,500.
  • Sotheby’s, June 26: Poe, Edgar Allan. Tamerlane — the most poignant rarity in American literature. 400,000 - 600,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: The Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." 2,500,000 - 5,000,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: William Blake. “Poems with very wild and interesting pictures” 1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: Thomas Taylor [artist]. The original cover art for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. 400,000 - 600,000 USD
  • Bonhams, June 15-25: 18th Century American Sea Captain's Journals of Voyages to Hawaii, China, and South America. $35,000 - $45,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Admiral Richard E. Byrd's Autograph Diary from Bolling Advance Base, Winter 1934. $40,000 - $60,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Thoreau, Henry David. Walden; Or, Life in the Woods. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854. $4,000 - $6,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Cellarius, Andreas. Harmonia macrocosmica seu atlas universalis et novus, totius universi creati cosmographiam generalem, et novam exhibens. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Nobelist George Stigler's Copy of Ricardo's Classic on the Science of Economics. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Histoire charmante de l'adolescente sucre d'amour. Paris: F. L. Schmied, 1927. $15,000 - $20,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Fine Copy of Walras's Classic on the Theory of Marginal Utility. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Arion Press Moby Dick. Melville, Herman. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Venegas, Miguel. Noticia de la California, y desu conquista temporal, y espiritual hasta el tiempo presente. $7,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Carelton Watkins, Yosemite and the West. Portfolio of 21 imperial albumen prints. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: An Unpublished Archive of Thornton Wilder Correspondence to F.J. O'Neil. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Vesalius, Andreas. 1514-1564. Suorum de humani corporis fabrica librorum epitome. $100,000 - $150,000

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