Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2014 Issue

African-Americana from L & T Respess Books

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African-Americana.

This month we received our first selection of books from L & T Respess Books, of Northampton, Massachusetts. Respess Books carries much in the way of Americana, and particularly that related to some of the traditional divisions, North and South. This catalogue inevitably encompasses some of those divisions – List 291: African-Americana. Sadly, far too much of African-American history concerns inequality, from the extreme of slavery, to the snail's paced integration that followed the Civil War. Many uplifting stories are found here, though those frequently are cases of exceptional people having to succeed against the odds. Other works pertain to the civil rights movement, and the breaking down of at least some of the barriers that existed for so long. Occasionally, there are works that are free from issues of race relations, some theological sermons, and the scientific and agricultural work of George Washington Carver. Here are a few items to be found in this selection.

 

We will start with one of those against-all-odds success stories. Scott Bond was born a slave in Mississippi in 1852. He does seem to have had an advantage over some slaves in terms of his owner. They appear to have been closer than most. Bond's mother married William Bond, a slave, when he was 18 months old. Scott himself was very light skinned and his features were such he might have passed. However, he never portrayed himself as anything but black, and joined organizations promoting his people. Nonetheless, his former owners continued to be friendly to him after emancipation, and he later went into the farming business with a white friend. He settled in Madison, Arkansas, an overwhelmingly black town, and opened up all kinds of businesses to serve the local population. In time, he owned 12,000 acres of land, raised cattle, and operated a mercantile store, several cotton gins, a gravel pit, sawmill and lumber yard. He lived to be 81. Item 28 is From Slavery to Wealth: The Life of Scott Bond, the Rewards of Honesty, Industry, Economy, and Perseverance, the first edition published in Madison in 1917. It was was written by his son, Theo. Bond, and Dan A. Rudd. Priced at $350. Item 29 is a copy of the same but it is signed “Compliments of Scott Bond.” $1,250.

 

Item 99 is the first separate printing of an article written by Martin Luther King in 1956. Our Struggle: The Story of Montgomery, first appeared in the April 1956 issue of Liberation, then followed by this printing by the Congress of Racial Equality. The pamphlet includes text and photographs pertaining to the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-1956. The boycott began after Rosa Parks was arrested for failing to give her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus to a later boarding white male passenger. This wasn't the first time such an occurrence had taken place, but this time the African-American community responded with a boycott of the city's buses. Additionally, they fought in court. The boycotters won in federal court, the city appealed, the boycotters won in the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the city felt the squeeze of lost bus fares. After a little over a year, the city gave in and the buses were fully integrated. One of the leaders of the boycott was the then little known minister, Martin Luther King. That obscurity changed as a result of the boycott and he would become the most notable of the leaders of the Civil Rights movement in the coming decade. King's full book about the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Stride to Freedom, was not published until two years after this pamphlet. $200.

 

Item 43 is the SCLC Handbook for Freedom Army Recruits, published in Montgomery in 1964. It features a message from, and picture of, Dr. King. The purpose was to push for the right of all citizens to vote. Poll taxes, literacy tests, and other means were used throughout the South at the time to prevent blacks from voting. King notes, “...if Negroes voted, we could put the kind of Negroes and whites into office who would look out for the interest of all people both black and white...” King understood that many protesters would be thrown in jail, and writes, “We cheerfully accept jail discipline and its hardships. It's supposed to be rough. It's not supposed to be a picnic.” Looking back, there's something terribly sad in seeing so many people, particularly among the underprivileged, who now have the vote others bravely won for them, but don't make bother to exercise it. $2,500.

 

Item 191 takes us back to a debate that never had a clear answer from the earlier fight for equal rights. At the turn of the 20th century, educator Booker T. Washington was the leader for African-American rights. He believed in education. As one of the founders of Tuskegee Institute, he promoted the education of blacks, particularly in industry and the trades. He felt that if blacks learned skills, they could build their communities and wealth, and this would also lead to greater acceptance by whites. To Washington, this was the ticket to equality. However, others disagreed, and item 191 is such an example: Tuskegee and the American Negro: Dr. Booker T. Washington's Industrial Education Propaganda Dispassionately Reviewed in the Light of Actualities by an American Citizen, published in 1910. That citizen was John E. Milholland, a white son of an Irish immigrant. Milholland had been one of those who formed the NAACP the previous year, a progressive white. Milholland had declined an invitation to a luncheon honoring Washington, and here he expresses his strong disagreement with the latter's “industrial education.” He believed blacks should have access to the same type of education as whites, and was unconvinced by Washington's go slow approach, less convinced that a more gradual path would change the attitudes of whites. $175.

 

Item 35 is the last Bulletin from the great agricultural scientist, George Washington Carver. From his seat at Tuskegee Institute, Carver sought to alleviate the problems of farmers in the South. He is associated with coming up with hundreds of uses for the peanut, but this arose out of the need for crops in the South other than cotton. Weevils at times devastated the cotton crops, and even when not, overuse of fields for this crop depleted the soil. Peanuts allowed for crop rotation. No one did more for the southern farmer than Carver, an irony in a land so often hostile to men of his race. Carver published 44 of his Bulletins on agricultural issues over the course of his tenure at Tuskegee, the first in 1898, the last in 1943. Item 35 is his last, appropriately enough titled The Peanut. It was completed by his associate, Austin W. Curtis. Carver died before its completion. $600.

 

L & T Respess Books may be reached at 413-727-3435 or respessbooks@cstone.net

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> 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> 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> 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.
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Dubliners,</i> first edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, 1914. £100,000 to £150,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> The Beatles.- Baker (Geoffrey.) 3 Autograph Letters and 1 Autograph Card signed to Ann Gosnell, addtionally sgn’d by George Harrison, John Lennon, Cynthia Lennon and others, 1968. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Pilgrim Press.- Dod (John). <i>A plaine and familiar exposition of the tenne commandements ...,</i> [Leiden], [William Brewster], 1617. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Automaton Chess Player & Mechanical Illusion.- Reynell (H., printer). “The Famous Chess-Player, No.14, St.James's-Street, next Brooks's,” broadside advertisement for "The famous Automaton", [1784]. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Clemens (Samuel Langhorne). <i>Life on the Mississippi,</i> first English edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, 1883. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Arctic Sledge Flag.- Fulford (Reginald Baldwin). Sledge flag... HMS Discovery, 1875. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> first edition, first printing, 1997. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Piranesi (Giovanni Battista). <i>Le Antichità Romane,</i> 4 vol., 1756. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal, called). <i>Urbis Venetiarum Prospectus Celebriores,</i> 3 parts in 1, Richard Ford's copy, Venice, Giovanni Battista Pasquali, 1751. £10,000 to £15,000
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    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Atlases.- Speed (John). <i>A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World,</i> bound with <i>The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine,</i> 1631-27. £12,000 to £18,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Anatomical illustration.- Aselli (Gaspare). <i>De lactibus sive lacteis venis... dissertatio,</i> first edition, Milan, Giovanni Battista Bidelli, 1627. £20,000 to £30,000
  • <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> FIRST EDITION, first issue, 8vo, 1997. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Bible, Italian.- Malermi Bible, woodcut illustrations, folio, Lazaro de Soardi & Bernardino Benali, Venice,1517. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Germany.- Homann (Johann Baptist). <i>Atlas von Deutschland,</i> engraved half title, hand coloured, 87 double page engraved maps, [folio, Erben, Nuremberg, 1753]. £8,000 to £10,000
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> [Mirk (John)].- <i>Liber festivalis et Quatuor sermons</i> [bound with], [Le Roy (Pierre)] <i>A Pleasant Satyre or Poesie,</i> first edition in English, Widdow Orwin for Thomas Man, 1595, 8vo. £1,500 to £2,000
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    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
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    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Manson (John). Twelve by Sixteen Papers of John Mason, a collection of 50 sheets of paper, some watermarked, 12 x 16”, c.1978. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Fleming (Ian). <i>Dr. No,</i> FIRST EDITION, original boards, dust-jacket, 8vo, 1958. £700 to £900
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Eliot (T.S.) <i>Four Quartets,</i> NUMBER 121 of 290 COPIES, signed by author, 1960. £400 to £600

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