Murderesses and More: <br>Rare Americana from David Lesser Antiquarian Books
Item 46 is Zachariah Eddy's Philandrianism: an Oration delivered...in Raynham [Massachusetts]...at the Celebration of the Anniversary Election of the Philandrian Society. Good luck looking up the definition of "philandrianism." Evidently it is not what philanderers practice. Rather, it was a philosophy that promoted volunteerism and similar civic-minded ventures. However, this group of philanderers or whatever they were called must not have lasted very long as I can find no references to them later than 1807. This pamphlet was printed in 1800. $350.
Another remarkable group in Massachusetts of this era was the Humane Society. Its history is told in A Discourse, Before the Humane Society, in Boston: Delivered on the Second Tuesday of June, 1787, by John Lothrop. Their specialty appears to have been bringing drowned people back to life, certainly a worthy cause. Lothrop recounts their "astonishing success...for the recovery of drowned persons, and others in whom, by various accidents, the vital flame seemed to be wholly extinguished." Astonishing is an understatement. It also includes the methods of treatment to be used on those "apparently dead from drowning." Item 98. $300.
Item 81 is a broadside defense of Mormon business practices, likely printed in Salt Lake City around 1884. With the heading Words and Deeds. The Mormons and Temperance..., it denies that Mormons have commercial interests in "gin mills, tap rooms and pot houses, gambling houses, pool and billiard tables, bowling alleys, skating rinks, brothels and kindred concerns in Utah." It goes on to say, "Not a single reputable 'Mormon' is engaged in any of these vile pursuits." Vile pursuits? Bowling? Skating? $150.
Item 17 fits an odd niche in the annals of abolition. It is Emancipation in Missouri, Speech of S.M. Breckenridge, Delivered in...1863. When Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, it applied only to those states at war with the Union. Missouri was the oddity, a slave state not part of the rebellion. However, as defeat for the Confederacy became inevitable, Missouri found itself in a most awkward position. Lincoln proposed financial assistance to slave owners for freeing their slaves, but Missouri balked at the offer. Judge Samuel Breckenridge was one of those who favored gradual emancipation. A series of proposals would run through the Missouri legislature the next two years, with greater and greater limitations placed on the continuation of slavery. Ultimately, by 1865, Missouri would voluntarily prohibit it and with no compensation to slaveholders. It was a stunning turnaround in a state where antislavery agitation was an invitation to trouble just a few years earlier. $275.
There are many more fascinating stories in this catalogue. To see what is available, you can visit the website of David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books at www.lesserbooks.com or call them at 203-389-8111.