Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2013 Issue

David Lesser Offers Rare Americana

Rare Americana #134.

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books continues to move relentlessly forward in publishing new catalogues of Rare Americana, this latest being number 134. Lesser's catalogues are always a fascinating read for those who collect Americana. They contain mostly shorter form material, a concentration in pamphlets and broadsides, relating to America primarily from shortly before the Revolution, to a little after the Civil War. Much is found from that time between the two wars, where America grew, and then fell apart. Here are a few items from this latest selection.

 

When you hear the name “John Deere” you probably think of tractors, but the original John Deere was a person, not a piece of farm equipment. Actually, he made his name producing plows, and later other types of farm machinery, but he died before the development of tractors. Item 45 is titled Supreme Court of Illinois. April Term, A. D., 1861. John Deere, vs. James Chapman. Evidently, Mr. Chapman failed to pay his debt for equipment he bought from Deere, with the latter attempting to seize his home. This piece is one of the arguments made during this case. This proved to be a significant court case as the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the statutory exemption of a homestead from being seized to pay debts. Priced at $275.

 

There was a bitter labor battle being waged in Butte, Montana, in 1900. It pitted the Butte Clerks' Protective Union against the D. J. Hennessy Company, a large merchant, and even the Butte Miners' Union. The clerks' union had negotiated an early closing time with other merchants, but Hennessy refused to close early. The result was this broadside diatribe, where the clerks' union leaves few insults left unsaid in attacking the store and its “scab” employees. The broadside is headed The Hennessy Co. vs. Early Closing. The broadside urges readers “keep away from those stores, keep away from those filthy scab employees, and show the world you abhor perjured traitors. Enemies of your churches, enemies of your country, enemies of your unions, yes, enemies of your children yet unborn.” Who knew the horrors of staying open late, even on unborn future generations? Stores like Hennessy, it continues, “are death to individual enterprise... To independance [sic], self-reliance, ambition, ingenuity, manliness.” Despite the attempt to break the then new, elegant store, Hennessy's in Butte survived until 1980, and three other Hennessy's, all in Montana, continued under that name until 1998, when they were rebranded as Dillard's by their new owner. Item 95. $1,850.

 

Item 77 is Tract No. 6. The Duties and Dignities of American Freemen. It was published in 1843 by the New England Anti-Slavery Tract Association. It was written by the society's secretary and ardent abolitionist James C. Jackson. Jackson demonstrates how slavery has weakened the republican principles of America. Jackson had previously been a farmer, but became an anti-slavery publisher, and then, after a miraculous cure of chronic bad health he attributed to a spa, ran a major such facility and promoted healthy eating habits. He is credited with inventing the first breakfast cereal, which he called Granula. So, if you collect either material pertaining to abolition or breakfast cereal, this piece belongs in your collection, and if you collect both, you have hit the jackpot. $175.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.
  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: RARE AUTOGRAPH OF AMERICAN NAVAL HERO CAPTAIN JAMES MUGFORD. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A SIGNED HART CRANE BROOKLYN BRIDGE POSTCARD TO EDWARD DAHLBERG. $600 - $800
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY THE "QUEEN OF WALL STREET," HETTY GREEN. $700 - $900
  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: U.S. / European Shipping Archive 1800-1814. The Widow Bermingham & Sons Collection. €7,000 to €10,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Bunreacht na hÉireann. Constitution of Ireland. An important copy of the First Printing of De Valera’s new Constitution, approved in 1938. Signed by the Constitution Cabinet. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: A Rare Complete Run of the Cuala Press Broadsides. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Grose (Francis). The Antiquities of Ireland, 2vols. folio London (for S. Hooper) 1791. Magnificent Hand-Coloured Copy - Only 25 Copies. €3,000 to €5,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Cantillon (Richard). Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General, Traduit de l'Anglois, Sm. 8vo London (Fletcher Gyles) 1756. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Gregory, (Lady Augusta). Spreading the News: The Rising of the Moon: The Poorhouse (with Douglas Hyde). Being Vol. IX of the Abbey Theatre Series. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Lavery (Lady Hazel). A moving series of three A.L.S. and a Telegram to Gen. Eoin O'Duffy, July-August 1927, expressing her grief at the death of Kevin O'Higgins. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Dampier (Wm.) Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde, ou l'on descrit en particulier l'Isthme de l'Amerique…, 2 vols. in one, Amsterdam, 1698. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Howell (James). Instructions for Forreine Travel Shewing by what Cours, and in what Compasse of Time…, London, 1642. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 8vo, L. (Bloomsbury) 1999, First Edn., First Printing of Deluxe Collectors Edn. Signed. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: James (Wm.) A Full and Correct Account of the Military Occurrences of The Late War Between Great Britain and The United States of America. 2 vols. Lond. 1818. €650 to €900.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: The Laws of the United States, Published by Authority, 3 vols. Philadelphia (Richard Folwell) 1796. €600 to €800.

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