Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2014 Issue

Autograph Manuscripts from John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller

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Autograph manuscripts.

John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller has released Catalogue 60: Books from a San Francisco Private Library Part 2. Autograph Manuscripts. Last month we reviewed the first part of this collection, focused on books and manuscripts. It included some of the most important and collectible material in the field, and this selection offers no less. Names such as Lincoln, Napoleon, Einstein, Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Elizabeth I, Ferdinand and Isabella are to be found among these autograph documents. Here are a few more.

 

We start with a major Civil War letter from General Ulysses S. Grant. It effectively announces the war is almost over. It was written on April 4, 1865, to Colonel Bowers and Edwin Stanton. Bowers was an aide who Grant would call on to write up a copy of the terms of surrender five days later; Stanton was Secretary of War. Grant states, “The army is pushing forward in three columns in the hope of overtaking or dispersing the remainder of Lee's army.” He notes where his various troops are now closing in on Lee. “All of the enemy that retain anything like organization have now gone North of Appomattox and are apparently headed for Lynchburg. Their losses have been heavy. Houses throughout the country are nearly all used as hospitals for wounded men...” He then ends with a the rather dismissive comment about how serious the remaining threat is by writing, “I shall continue the pursuit as long as there appears to be any use in it.” Three days later, Grant would propose that Lee surrender, but the latter would stall for time, hoping, as Grant surmised, to be able to escape west to Lynchburg where there would be more supplies. Grant, however, would continue his pursuit, and as the noose tightened, Lee recognized there was no escape and surrendered on April 9. This letter has been in private hands since offered in an Anderson's Auction sale in 1908 where it was described as “one of the most important historical documents ever offered.” Item 12. Priced at $175,000.

 

Next is a signed document from a king whose life was cut short, quite literally. King Charles I of England was one of those rare kings to have his head cut off. That would come later. On November 27, 1643, Charles' head was still securely fastened to his body, but he was already in trouble. The English King's authoritarian ways and religious connections did not sit well with many of his subjects. There were all sorts of parties from England, Scotland, and Ireland with their own sets of issues, but too many for Charles' good were united against him. The year earlier, the long-festering conflicts had turned into Civil War, and among the King's many problems was money. He needed more. Item 1 is a document in which Charles “requests” (it's almost a demand) a loan of £50 from Edward Pyle. Charles says that if Pyle does not loan him the money, it will give “cause to suspect your duty and inclination both to Our Person and to the publique peace.” Such strong-arming probably antagonized supporters, though Pyle evidently gave in, after negotiating a better deal. A receipt on the back indicates Charles received only £30. We are not sure of the identity of Pyle, but he may have been the Edward Pyle of the Pyle family that were royalists at the time, and did well again after the Restoration. As to whether the loan was repaid, we would guess not. Conditions, financial and otherwise, did not improve for Charles, and in 1649, he was convicted of treason and his head removed with the stroke of an axe. $2,750.

 

Here is one of those difficult situations many people face on occasion – you receive a request for a recommendation for someone you would not recommend. What do you? Write a terse recommendation that complies with the request, yet lets the reader see you are less than excited about the person? Or, do you just do the uncomfortable thing and say “no?” T. S. Eliot chose the latter in this 1957 letter. Perhaps it was made a little easier by not having to reply directly to the person seeking the recommendation. A Miss C. von Koschembahr had submitted some poetry to publisher Faber and Faber for a friend, and sought Eliot's recommendation. Eliot had been an editor and later director at the firm. He honestly replies, in declining the request, “I am not really impressed with your unfortunate friend's poems.” He does add that she should contact an American poet, preferably a younger one, as “I should not like the fate of any verse to rest on my decision alone.” Item 9. $800.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 54. Fanciful engraving of earth's interior with magma core and errupting volcanoes (1682). $1500 to $1800.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 165. Rare state of Jefferys' influential map of New England in contemporary color (1755). $8000 to $9500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 177. Mouzon's foundation map of the Carolinas (1775). $10000 to $13000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 183. Very rare first state of De Fer's map of the Lower Mississippi Valley (1715). $20000 to $25000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 253. Scarce Scottish edition based on Ellicott's plan of Washington, D.C. (1796). $2400 to $3000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 313. Stunning view of Philadelphia by John Bachmann (1850). $3250 to $4250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 338. Rare Civil War map based on Bucholtz map of Virginia (1862). $9500 to $12000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 667. First map to accurately show Luzon in Philippines (1590). $6000 to $7500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 682. Rare map of Shanghai International Settlement published just after WWI (1918). $7000 to $9000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 738. Coronelli's superb map of the Pacific showing the Island of California (1697) Est. $2400 - $3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 743. A cornerstone piece in the mapping of Australia and New Zealand (1726) Est. $6000 - $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 781. An uncommon signature during Jefferson's Governorship of Virginia (1779) Est. $9500 - $11000
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.
  • <center><b>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>Timed auction, April 29</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1032. RATZER, BERNARD. Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1011. [BROADSIDE]. Life, Last Words and Dying Confession, of Rachel Wall... $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1055. BEATON, CECIL. Scrapbook prepared by Cecil Beaton over the period 1935-1944, with some later inclusions. $800 to $1,200.
    <center><b>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>Timed auction, April 29</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1051. ADDAMS, CHARLES. Original drawing "I hope the power doesn't go out until after Masterpiece Theatre." $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1037. The Campaign Speeches of Nixon of Kennedy, inscribed to William Safire by Richard Nixon and secretarially for John Kennedy. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1036. Celebration of the Commencement of Work on Rapid Transit Railroad. March 24th 1900, one o'clock, City Hall Park, New York. $200 to $300.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1005. 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers signed baseball including Jackie Robinson. $3,000 to $5,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Doyle<br>Stage & Screen<br>Auction April 28</b>
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 12. OKLAHOMA! Celeste Holm's vocal score for Oklahoma! inscribed by Richard Rodgers. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 20. WILSON, DOOLEY. Fine inscribed photograph to Celeste Holm with Casablanca reference. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 79. Original production script of the Broadway musical CATS with notes written by Claude Tessier. $600 to $900.
    <center><b>Doyle<br>Stage & Screen<br>Auction April 28</b>
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 139. STEPHEN SONDHEIM. Autographed musical manuscript signed for "Broadway Baby" from Follies. $500 to $800.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 180.<br>Cecil Beaton. Headdress for Liza at the Ball, from My Fair Lady, circa 1962. $700 to $900.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 177.<br>Cecil Beaton. Set Design for The Gainsborough Girls, 1951. $2,000 to $3,000.

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