Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2002 Issue

911: Present Tragedy As Future Americana

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Marie Blanchard, [Can't stop watching t.v.] 2001Inkjet print

By Abby Tallmer

A key part of being a skilled and obsessional Americana collector or dealer is the ability to predict which books, texts, images and other materials of our age will be sought after by future generations of Americana collectors and dealers. In other words, you not only have to be up on collecting trends today (many of which in turn are based on popular academic/intellectual disciplines); you have to be able to predict what about our age will become canonical in American history of the future.

I had this principle in mind when, working in my West Village apartment not twenty blocks from Ground Zero, hearing F16s patrolling the waterways two blocks south, I stumbled on the Library of Congress’s online exhibit “Witness and Response: September 11 Acquisitions at the Library of Congress” ( www.loc.gov/exhibits/911/911-home.htm). Inarguably, 911 is, at least, the Pearl Harbor of our time, and its documents will be coveted by future generations of Americana scholars, dealers, and collectors. Furthermore, it’s an event – or rather a gruesome series of events – that continues to reverberate today, with, as we all know, dire implications for our present as well as for our immediate future.

So the question remains: how do you capture such a pivotal yet deeply traumatic three-dimensional day through one-dimensional digitized documents? The Library of Congress sets out to do so quite ambitiously in its aforementioned online exhibition. “Witness and Response…” is divided into many parts, the first of which is an “Exhibit Overview” which sets the context for the contents that follow:

This exhibit features collections that the Library has amassed and is still receiving about one year ago….At it’s core, this exhibition is the story of how the 9/11 materials in this national institution arrived here and today reflect what America has experienced while providing assurance that the record will be here in the future for America’s citizens and others to recall and to study. Within hours of the attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, offices within the library mobilized to record and gather for posterity first-hand accounts and images….Over the past year and in almost every section of the Library of Congress, staff have sought and received an abundance of original material including prints, photographs, drawings, poems, eye-witness accounts and personal reactions, headlines, books, songs, maps, videotape, and films. The Library even acquired physical remnants from two of the attack sites. The collection of 9/11 material is in the tens of thousands and continues to grow daily.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Scott Joplin, <i>Treemonisha: Opera in Three Acts,</i> New York, 1911. Sold March 24 — $40,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Louisa May Alcott, autograph letter signed, 1868. Sold June 2 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Anne Bradstreet, <i>Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, full of Delight,</i> Boston, 1758. Sold June 2 — $21,250.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The Second Impression,</i> London, 1632. Sold May 5 — $161,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> John Bachmann, <i>Panorama of the Seat of War,</i> New York, 1861-62. Sold June 23 — $35,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Bronte, <i>Jane Eyre,</i> first edition, London, 1847. Sold June 16 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Elihu Vedder, <i>Simple Simon, His Book,</i> 1913. Sold June 9 — $12,350.
    <b>Swann:</b> Frederick Catherwood, <i>Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan,</i> London, 1844. Sold April 7 — $37,500.
  • <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> George Washington ADS, One of the Earliest in His Hand, A Survey from 1752, the Same Year He Inherited Mount Vernon.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Rare JFK Signed Check & Transmittal Letter During Campaign for 1956 VP Nomination, Both BAS Slabbed; Possibly A Unique Combo!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Daniel Boone Signed Receipt as VA Delegate; During His 1st of 3 Terms, Boone Was Kidnapped by British Forces Gunning for Gov. T. Jefferson & Other Legislators.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Benjamin Franklin Signed Receipt for “Pennsylvania Gazette,” Important & Beautifully Displayed
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Lincoln & His Civil War Cabinet: 8 Signatures, Beautifully Presented!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> G.A. Custer ALS from Fort Lincoln, Dakota Territory to Capt. Yates, Who Also Died at Little Bighorn, Re: Acquiring “good horses” from Kentucky for 7th Cavalry.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Jefferson Davis ALS: “the negroes are humble and generally inclined to cling to their masters…neither crop or stock could be protected from their thieving” – Incredible!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Lee Harvey Oswald Signed Letter: “if we finally get back to the states…maybe we’ll…settle in Texas,” Warren Commission Exhibit.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Babe Ruth First Edition Biography Signed Just Months Before His Death, Excellent Signature!
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> “B Arnold” ANS on Pre-Revolutionary War Promissory Note Dating From His Days as a New Haven Merchant
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Bob Dylan Signed LP “Blonde on Blonde” with Jeff Rosen COA.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Marilyn Monroe & Joe DiMaggio Signed Checks, Handsomely Displayed.

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