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

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> hand-painted collage. Sold for a record $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Couple passing a giant bird house,</i> watercolor cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1948. Sold for $16,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Miriam Troop, <i>Rain on Laundry Day,</i> oil on canvas, cover for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1940. Sold for $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Rockwell Kent, <i>To All Fascists,</i> ink broadside for The League of American Writers, circa 1937. Sold for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Jo Mielziner, <i>Pet Shop Drop,</i> backdrop design for <i>Pal Joey</i> on Broadway, 1940. Sold for a record $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Lee Brown Coye, acrylic cover illustration for the 25th anniversary of <i>Weird Tales,</i> 1944. Sold for $18,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Virgil Finlay, <i>The Outsider & Others,</i> pen & ink dust jacket illustration for H.P. Lovecraft's book, 1939. Sold for $5,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Al Hirschfeld, <i>Paul Robeson as Othello,</i> illustration for <i>The New York Times,</i> 1942. Sold for $68,750
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Frederic Remington, pen & ink illustration for <i>A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers</i> in <i>The Century</i> magazine, 1889. Sold for $17,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> EARLY AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE. Chronicling 20th century aviation from the earliest Wright Brothers images through commercial and military applications. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> FIRST TELEPHONE CALL TO THE MOON. Partial transcription signed by Apollo 11 astronauts and President Nixon. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> SPUTNIK-1 EMC/EMI LAB MODEL, 1957. Full scale vintage test model of the Sputnik-1 satellite, Moscow, [February, 1957]. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> Apollo 11 Beta cloth crew emblem, SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE APOLLO 11 CREW. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> GEMINI 1/8 SCALE MODEL. Rarely seen large-scale contractor's model. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.

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