Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2014 Issue

Recent Acquisitions in Americana from the William Reese Company

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Recent Acquisitions in Americana.

The William Reese Company has published their catalogue 314 Recent Acquisitions in Americana. The material is not so recent. Dating from as early as the late 16th century to the 20th, the concentration is in the 18th and 19th. It covers colonial times, the American Revolution, the building of a nation, the Era of Good Feeling, the era of not so good feeling that arose as slavery became more of an issue, the Civil War, and into times thereafter. This is America at its best, worst, and everything in between. Here are a few examples.

 

Although the Nat Turner slave rebellion is far better known today, there was an earlier threat which elicited fear among South Carolina's slaveholders. As to how extensive the plot was, historians are unsure, but white South Carolinians were convinced it was enormous. The leader was Denmark Vesey, the former slave of a retired sea captain from Charleston. Vesey won a lottery and bought his freedom. He attempted to buy freedom for his wife and children, but was unable to do so. He joined the local African Church which found itself regularly monitored and harassed by whites. It appears these two factors brought Vesey to instigate a slave rebellion, sort of a biblical exodus to freedom for this religious man. He brought both free blacks and slaves to his cause. Unfortunately for Vesey, a couple of slaves became nervous and told their masters of the plot, which was said to include the killing of the Governor and many whites. Vesey and 130 others were captured and charged. Sixty-seven of these were convicted, and 35 hanged, including Vesey. Item 77 is Negro Plot. An Account of the Late Intended Insurrection Among a Portion of the Blacks of the City of Charleston, South Carolina. It was written by James Hamilton, Intendant (mayor) of Charleston and published in the year of the planned rebellion, 1822. It describes how the plot was uncovered, the trials, puts much of the blame on Vesey, though others from his church are charged. Referring to the slaves, Hamilton writes, “there is nothing they are bad enough to do, that we are not powerful enough to punish.” Interestingly, this edition was printed in Boston. The first, and two other editions, were printed in Charleston. It is unclear why an edition would have been published so far north, where slavery was not so well appreciated. The book's appeal in Charleston is obvious, but Reese speculates that the Boston edition may have been to show the horrors of slavery, or alternatively, to encourage fear and anti-black, pro-slavery sentiments in the North. Priced at $6,750.

 

The image on the cover comes from one of the greatest of American books (even if the first edition was printed in England). This is the second, or octavo edition of John James Audubon's The Birds of America. The extraordinarily large first edition was issued in parts over a decade, with the text in a separate volume. It was extremely expensive even then, and the best copies have sold for over $10 million today. The cost of purchasing a copy was so high that Audubon was unable to turn much of a profit. He responded by publishing this octavo edition, seven volumes published from 1840-1844, with the text included. Several species not illustrated in the first edition were added. The octavo edition was a financial success, and is the only edition whose production was overseen by Audubon himself that is realistically obtainable by collectors today. Item 8. $95,000.

 

What Audubon was to America, John Gould was to England. And to Europe, Asia and Australia, one could say. Audubon stuck to America, but spread out to do a book on mammals. Gould stuck to birds, but covered much of the rest of the world. He did once venture to America. Not literally, as he drew from specimens brought to Europe. He was shown some partridges brought back from California, and was inspired by their beauty. The result was his one book of American birds, which contained 32 plates: A Monograph of the Odontophorinae, or Partridges of America, published 1850. An odontophorinae in a pear tree? Item 72. $20,000.

 

From birds we go to a bird's eye view. Item 40 is an 1865 color lithograph of Union Prisoners Confined in Camp Sumpter. Near Andersonville, GA. Based on the prison's set up, and a hanging that was depicted, Reese has concluded the image shows Andersonville as it was in 1864. The lithograph shows prisoners in the tightly confined space, and various numbered structures, including the “deadhouse.” Around one-third of the prisoners confined to this horrific prison camp died there, despite it only being in use about a year. This image also shows six prisoners being hanged. A group of prisoners, who became known as the “Raiders,” terrorized the camp. They threatened other prisoners and stole food and goods from them. Since prisoners were on little more than starvation diets, taking food could be fatal. Also taking blankets when nights were cold could be fatal to sickly prisoners. Eventually, a resistance movement (the “Regulators”) was started, and after a bad beating of a prisoner by the Raiders, the camp's warden allowed the Regulators to set up a court and mete out justice. With the warden's support, they were able to overpower their abusers. Most of the Raiders were sentenced to such things as whippings and running the gauntlet, but six of its leaders were sentenced to hanging, which was carried out on July 11, 1864. This is evidently the event pictured in this image. $3,250.

 

We conclude with a broadside obituary with a most unusual tale behind it. It was that of the widow of a man who was both an Italian prince and a mayor of Tallahassee, Florida. That could only be one person (I think). Achille Murat was the Crown Prince of Naples in the early 19th century. His father was married to Napoleon's sister. When Napoleon took over Europe, he made a kingly gift to his brother-in-law. Unfortunately, the gift did not turn out so well when Napoleon was exiled. The Prince's dad paid for it with his life. The Prince went into exile in Austria, and when he reached the age of 21, immigrated to America. In Washington, he met Florida's territorial delegate (and later territorial governor) Richard Keith Call. They became good friends, and the Prince moved to Florida, eventually purchasing a plantation near Tallahassee. He also married Catherine Willis, a great grandniece of George Washington, who thereby became the Princess Achille Murat. The Prince died in 1847, and the Princess went on to operate the plantation, eventually even receiving a pension from her cousin and now ruler of France, Napoleon III. She also was an ardent supporter of the Confederate cause, as might be expected of a slaveholder. When the Princess died, the widow of Territorial Governor Call wrote her obituary which was printed on this 1867 broadside. Reese believes this copy, which includes some handwritten corrections by the author, may be the only one in existence, though there are some later reprints to be found. Item 94. $1,250.

 

The William Reese Company may be reached at 203-789-8081 or amorder@reeseco.com. Their website is www.reeseco.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €
  • <center><b>University Archives<br>Autographs, Books & Relics Including Kerouac Estate<br>& Hemingway<br>February 26, 2020</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest Hemingway's Typewriter Used to Write "A Moveable Feast", Impeccable Provenance From His Biographer A. E. Hotchner. $50,000 to $100,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Samuel Colt, "The Gun that Won the West": 3 Signed Patent Items for "Revolving Cylinder Guns". $40,000 to $50,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Jack Kerouac's Own Typewriter From His Estate Used to Write His Very Last Book. $18,000 to $20,000.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Autographs, Books & Relics Including Kerouac Estate<br>& Hemingway<br>February 26, 2020</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Rare Force Engraving of the Declaration of Independence Printed in 1848. $15,000 to $18,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Superb Tchaikovsky ALS to Napravnik, 4pp on "Mazeppa". $12,000 to $15,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Wounded Knee Massacre Same Day Eyewitness Account by Participant, "the 7th needn't be ashamed of today's record". $10,000 to $12,000.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Autographs, Books & Relics Including Kerouac Estate<br>& Hemingway<br>February 26, 2020</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> F. Scott Fitzgerald Signed Gordon Bryant Portrait -- Finest Known. $8,000 to $9,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Neil Armstrong ALS on NASA Letterhead Regarding His X-15 Flights. $7,000 to $8,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> M. Gandhi Letter: "the life span of human beings is preordained..." -- Fantastic Spiritual Content. $7,000 to $8,000.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Autographs, Books & Relics Including Kerouac Estate<br>& Hemingway<br>February 26, 2020</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> "Damn the torpedoes!" Riveting 24pp ALS of Admiral Farragut's Steward Describing the "Battle of Mobile Bay”. $6,000 to $7,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Abraham Lincoln Signed Order to Suspend Execution. $5,000 to $6,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Napoleon DS Featuring Imperial Eagle and Enormous Great Seal Appointing Norman Politician Baron of the Empire. $4,000 to $5,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Nebel, Carl. The War Between the United States and Mexico. New York, 1851. $270,000 - $300,000 MXN / USD $15,000 - $16,666
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Nebel, Carl. The War Between the United States and Mexico. New York, 1851. $270,000 - $300,000 MXN / USD $15,000 - $16,666
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Bolaños, Joaquín. La Portentosa Vida de la Muerte... (“The Portentous Life of Death”) México, 1792. $50,000 - $60,000 MXN / USD $2,777 - $3,333
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Tratado de Paz… entre la República Mexicana y los Estados Unidos. (“Treaty of Peace… Between the Mexican Republic and the United States”) 1848. $80,000 - $90,000 MXN / USD $4,444 - $5,000
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Fabregat, Josep Joaquín. Vista de la Plaza de México… (“View of the Square of Mexico”) México, 1797. $60,000 - $100,000 MXN / USD $3,333 - $5,555
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Hidalgo y Costilla, Miguel. Invitación al Coronel Narciso de la Canal… (“Invitation to Coronel Narciso de la Canal…”) 1810. $170,000 - $200,000 MXN / USD $9,444 - $11,111
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Gálvez, Joseph de. Real Cédula de Erección de la Compañía de Filipinas. (“Royal Notice of the Creation of the Company of the Philippines”) 1785. $40,000 - $60,000 MXN / USD $2,222 - $3,333
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Colección de Constituciones de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos (“Collection of Constitutions of the United Mexican States”) México, 1828. $50,000 - $60,000 MXN / USD $2,777 - $3,333
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Ruelas, Julio. Poemario Manuscrito Ilustrado, Dedicado a Lorencita Braniff (“Collection of Illustrated Poem Manuscripts, Dedicated to Lorencita Braniff”). 1903. $60,000 - $70,000 MXN / USD $3,333 - $3,888
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Espinosa de los Monteros, Juan J. Aviso de la Junta Soberana al Público (“Notice of the Sovereign Meeting to the Public”) 1821. $60,000 - $80,000 MXN / USD $3,333 - $4,444
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Constitución Federal de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos... (“Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States”) México, 1824. $140,000 - $150,000 MXN / USD $7,777 - $8,333
    <b>Morton Subastas, Feb 25:</b> Alcaraz, Ramón. Apuntes para la Historia de la Guerra entre México y los EU (“Notes on the History of the War between Mexico and the United States”). 1848. $40,000 - $50,000 MXN / USD $2,222 - $2,777

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