Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2013 Issue

Rare Americana from David M. Lesser Antiquarian Books

David Lesser's 130th catalogue of Americana.

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books has released their catalogue No. 130 of Rare Americana. At a time when many booksellers have cut back on catalogues, Lesser has provided a consistent flow. Perhaps the theory is you can't sell books if people don't know what you have. Interesting idea.

Lesser's catalogues are focused primarily on 18th and 19th century pamphlets and other shorter form material pertaining to America. These are not so much the grandiose works as those that discussed the issues of the day – political debates, theological disputes, legal controversies, the incessant battle over slavery, and the various issues that affected people's day to day lives. These works truly bring us back to the times when America was a young nation, finding its way. Here are some samples.

The Oneida Community opposed slavery, but this pamphlet speaks of a different form of slavery than that most often discussed in 1850: Slavery and Marriage. A Dialogue. This piece was issued anonymously from John Humphrey Noyes' utopian community. It uses imaginary characters in debate to present its point. It makes the case that, “The truth is Marriage gives man the power of ownership over woman, and such power is as wrong and prolific in the case of Marriage, as in that of Slavery.” To the response that the law protects women from violence, the dialogue counters, “As in the case of Slavery, this protection applies only in extreme cases.” Item 170. Priced at $650.

Most Confederates gave in after Lee surrendered, but General Joseph Shelby and about a thousand men, sometimes referred to as “The Undefeated,” would not concede. Instead, they headed for Mexico, where they hoped to find favor with the French installed emperor Maximilian. However, Maximilian had his own problems. Rebels sought to overturn his regime, and Shelby and his men had to fight through them to make it to Mexico City. Those who made it offered their services to the Emperor. Maximilian declined, but did offer them land for a settlement. It did not last. Maximilian was overthrown in 1867, and the unreconstructed rebels were forced to leave Mexico. Item 95 is the only account of this venture by a participant, Shelby's aid John N. Edwards' 1872 book, Shelby's Expedition to Mexico, an Unwritten Leaf of the War. $1,250.

Item 172 is described as the “earliest American work” on comets, and while its author, Andrew Oliver Jr., was a founder of the American Academy of Sciences, we might be content just forgetting some of his theories. Oliver wrote An Essay on Comets, published in 1772, wherein he shows why the tails of comets point to their being inhabited worlds. He correctly points out that comets are not penal colonies where wrong-doers are “condemned to be frozen and burned alternatively.” Glad we got that out of the way. However, he does claim that comets are “so many inhabited Worlds, provided with every necessary for the comfortable subsistence of innumerable inhabitants, rational and irrational, like earth.” Most scientists no longer hold this view, and probably would count Mr. Oliver among the latter category of the innumerable inhabitants. $1,750.

If you have been searching for a memoir of the Brooklyn sewers, your dreams have been answered. Item 37 is the Brooklyn Water Works and Sewers. A Descriptive Memoir. Despite the not entirely appealing title of this 1867 work from the Board of Water Commissioners, it supplies in depth information about the Brooklyn Water Works, including reports on pipes, pumping stations, sewers, water sources, machinery, and the Works' history. It contains 59 lithographic plates. $650.

Item 49 is a collection of children's stories, Choice Tales; Consisting of an Elegant Collection of Delightful Little Pieces for the Instruction & Amusement of Young Persons. It includes such stories as The Discontented Squirrel, The Plum Cake, Remarkable Account of a Lion and a Dog, Indefatigable Labours of the Bee, and Flora and her Little Lamb. If you think that last title must be a ripoff of Mary and her lamb, this book was published in 1800, three decades before Mary appeared. Flora's is a more heart-rending story. A farmer, cruelly taking a flock of chained sheep to market, dumps one that has died off on Flora. Miraculously, the lamb is not dead, and Flora nurses her back to health. The lamb in time repays Flora, not only with affection, but a whole flock of lambs which provide sustenance for her poor family. The moral of the story of Flora's lamb is much clearer than that of Mary's $750.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 546. Christoph Jacob Trew. Plantae selectae, 1750-1773.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 70. Thomas Murner. Die Narren beschwerung. 1558.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 621. Michael Bernhard Valentini. Museum Museorum, 1714.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 545. Sander Reichenbachia. Orchids illustrated and described, 1888-1894.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1018. Marinetti, Boccioni, Pratella Futurism - Comprehensive collection of 35 Futurist manifestos, some of them exceptionally rare. 1909-1933.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 634. August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof. 3 Original Drawings, around 1740.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 671. Jacob / Picasso. Chronique des Temps, 1956.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1260. Mary Webb. Sarn. 1948. Lucie Weill Art Deco Binding.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 508. Felix Bonfils. 108 large-format photographs of Syria and Palestine.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 967. Dante Aligheri and Salvador Dali. Divina Commedia, 1963.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1316. Tolouse-Lautrec. Dessinateur. Duhayon binding, 1948.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1303. Regards sur Paris. Braque, Picasso, Masson, 1962.
  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: McCarthy (Cormac). Cities of the Plain, N.Y., 1998, First Edn., signed on hf. title; together with Uncorrected Proof and Uncorrected Advance Reading Copies, both signed by the Author. €800 to €1,000.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Stanihurst (Richard). De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis, Libri Quattuor, sm. 4to Antwerp (Christi. Plantium) 1584. First Edn. €525 to €750.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Fleischer (Nat.) Jack Dempsey The Idol of Fistiana, An Intimate Narrative, N.Y., 1929, First Edn. Signed on f.e.p. by Rocky Marciano. €400 to €600.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Smith - Classical Atlas, Lond., 1820. Bound with, Smiths New General Atlas .. Principal Empires, Kingdoms, & States throughout the World, Lond. 1822. €350 to €500.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Rare Auction Catalogues – 1856: Bindon Blood, of Ennis, Co. Clare: Sotheby & Wilkinson. €320 to €450.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: [Mavor (Wm.)] A General Collection of Voyages and Travels from the Discovery of America to the Commencement of the Nineteenth Century, 28 vols. (complete) Lond., 1810. €300 to €400.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Mc Carthy (Cormac). Outer Dark, N.Y. (Random House)1968, Signed by Mc Carthy. €250 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Three signed works by Ted Huges - Wodwo, 1967; Crow from the Life and Songs of the Crow, 1970; and Tales from Ovid, 1997. €200 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: The Garden. An Illustrated Weekly Journal of Horticulture in all its Branches, 7 vols. lg. 4to Lond. 1877-1880. With 127 colored plates. €200 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Procter (Richard A.) Saturn and its System: Containing Discussions of The Motion (Real and Apparent)…, Lond. 1865. First Edn. €160 to €220.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: [Ashe] St. George, Lord Bishop of Clogher, A Sermon Preached to the Protestants of Ireland, now in London,... Oct. 23, 1712, London 1712. Second Edn. €130 to €180.
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Piccolomini's De La Sfera del Mondo (The Sphere of the World), 1540.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Vellutello's Commentary on Petrarch, With Map, 1525.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Finely Bound Definitive, Illustrated Edition of I Promessi Sposi, 1840.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Rare First Edition of John Milton's Latin Correspondence, 1674.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Giolito's Edition of Boccaccio's The Decamerone, with Bedford Binding, 1542.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of the First Biography of Marie of the Incarnation, with Rare Portrait, 1677.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Aldine Edition of Volume One of Cicero's Orationes, 1540.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Bonanni's Illustrated Costume Catalogue, with Complete Plates, 1711.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: An Important Incunable, the First Italian Edition of Josephus's De Bello Judaico, 1480.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Jacques Philippe d'Orville's Illustrated Book of the Ruins of Sicily, 1764.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: An Incunable from 1487, The Contemplative Life, with Early Manuscript.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Ignatius of Loyola's Exercitia Spiritualia, 1563.

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