Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2016 Issue

North America Travel & Emigration from Patrick McGahern Books

Travels and emigration to North America.

Patrick McGahern Books recently published a catalogue of Rare, Scarce and Interesting Early North America Travel & Emigration, including many autographed and association copies from the collection assembled over forty-five years. There are many 18th and 19th century travel accounts here, with most focused on Canada. Not surprisingly, the U. S. is also involved in numerous accounts. Traveling Europeans often targeted both lands, and when you go back to the 18th and early 19th century, the border between those two countries was not always clearly defined. Now, here are some samples from McGahern's Catalogue 248.

 

We begin with a journey to Canada and the U.S., or perhaps to neither. Nothing like a riddle. The traveler was Pierre Francois Xavier de Charlevoix. He explored parts of Canada, more of the U.S., but in the early 18th century when commissioned by France to explore the land, it was still known as New France. Charlevoix carried out two expeditions. Item 7 is an account of the second: Journal of a Voyage to North-America. This is an English translation of the third volume of Charlevoix's 1744 account of both of his trips, this one having been published in 1761. He traveled to Lake Superior and along the Mississippi River. The goal was to find a route to the "western sea," but we now know he was nowhere near finding it. Any connection to the Pacific was still too far away. He did come back suggesting the Missouri River likely led somewhere close to it, and that would be the route Lewis and Clark would take on their successful journey to the Pacific almost a century later. While the primary mission was not accomplished, Charlevoix did return with much information about the geography, natural history, and natives of the land. Priced at CAD $5,000 (Canadian dollars, or approximately $3,700 in U.S. dollars).

 

Here is another, almost as early account of areas that are now part of the United States and Canada. The writer was Peter Kalm (or Pehr Kalm), who came from Sweden, but for different purposes. Kalm was a naturalist, a disciple of Linnaeus, the botanist and zoologist noted for creating the modern system of taxonomy of species. Kalm came to collect seeds and study American botany. He arrived in 1748 and stayed until 1751. The first six months were spent in Philadelphia, meeting with notable American botanists. This time is covered in volume 1. The second volume covers the time he spent at the Swedish settlements in New Jersey. The last volume covers his travels to Niagara Falls and on to Canada, spending time in Montreal and Quebec City. The title is Travels into North America... published 1770-1771. Naturally, the book contains much about the flora of the land, but also covers topics such as the civil, ecclesiastical, and commercial relations of the country and the manners of its inhabitants. Item 25. CAD $10,000 (US $7,400).

 

Next up is a thorough description of Canada from 1839: An Historical and Descriptive Account of British America, comprising Canada, Upper and Lower... by Hugh Murray. The timing required constant updating as the book was being finished, this being the time of the unsuccessful Canadian rebellion. Hugh Murray did not bring personal experience to his work. I don't know that he ever even saw Canada. However, he had access to much previously written material, including French accounts apparently overlooked by others. He also had access to George Simpson, Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, and various other people with deep experience in Canada. The book provides detailed information about Canada not just for the curious, but for use by emigrants as well. This copy comes with an interesting provenance. It was once owned by Sir Hugh Allan, and since it is dated 1839, it was evidently purchased new. Allan came to Canada from Scotland, and eventually he would operate the largest private shipping company in the world. By the time he purchased this book (1839), it was already the largest in Canada. That this book was designed to aid immigrants is noteworthy as the "Allan Line" transported large numbers of immigrants to Canada. Allen's wealth became so great that in 1863, he built Ravenscrag, a 72-room mansion in Montreal today part of the McGill University medical school. When he died in 1882, Hugh Allan was one of the wealthiest people in the world. Item 35. CAD $750 (US $553).

 

If you would like to learn of many more books about early travels to Canada, here is a bibliography of them: The Travellers, - Canada to 1900. An annotated bibliography of works published in English from 1577. Written by Elizabeth Waterston and others and published in 1989, this is a chronological bibliography of over 700 early travelers' books on Canada written in English. Item 53. CAD $75 (US $55).

 

Frederick Law Olmstead is perhaps America's most notable landscape architect. His specialty was city parks, though he designed landscapes for many notable residences as well. His most notable design is America's most famous urban park, New York's Central Park. While most of his work was performed in the United States, here is a major design from Canada. Item 39 is Olmstead's design for Mount Royal, Montreal, published in 1881. It includes the 1877 folding Mount Royal Design Map. Mount Royal is a large park built around a small mountain in Montreal. However, the completed park did not fully meet the designs in Olmstead's plan. This book appears to be quite rare. CAD $5,000 (US $3,700).

 

Patrick McGahern Books may be reached at 613-230-2277 or books@mcgahernbooks.ca. Their website is www.mcgahernbooks.ca.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: RARE AUTOGRAPH OF AMERICAN NAVAL HERO CAPTAIN JAMES MUGFORD. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A SIGNED HART CRANE BROOKLYN BRIDGE POSTCARD TO EDWARD DAHLBERG. $600 - $800
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY THE "QUEEN OF WALL STREET," HETTY GREEN. $700 - $900
  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: U.S. / European Shipping Archive 1800-1814. The Widow Bermingham & Sons Collection. €7,000 to €10,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Bunreacht na hÉireann. Constitution of Ireland. An important copy of the First Printing of De Valera’s new Constitution, approved in 1938. Signed by the Constitution Cabinet. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: A Rare Complete Run of the Cuala Press Broadsides. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Grose (Francis). The Antiquities of Ireland, 2vols. folio London (for S. Hooper) 1791. Magnificent Hand-Coloured Copy - Only 25 Copies. €3,000 to €5,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Cantillon (Richard). Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General, Traduit de l'Anglois, Sm. 8vo London (Fletcher Gyles) 1756. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Gregory, (Lady Augusta). Spreading the News: The Rising of the Moon: The Poorhouse (with Douglas Hyde). Being Vol. IX of the Abbey Theatre Series. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Lavery (Lady Hazel). A moving series of three A.L.S. and a Telegram to Gen. Eoin O'Duffy, July-August 1927, expressing her grief at the death of Kevin O'Higgins. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Dampier (Wm.) Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde, ou l'on descrit en particulier l'Isthme de l'Amerique…, 2 vols. in one, Amsterdam, 1698. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Howell (James). Instructions for Forreine Travel Shewing by what Cours, and in what Compasse of Time…, London, 1642. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 8vo, L. (Bloomsbury) 1999, First Edn., First Printing of Deluxe Collectors Edn. Signed. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: James (Wm.) A Full and Correct Account of the Military Occurrences of The Late War Between Great Britain and The United States of America. 2 vols. Lond. 1818. €650 to €900.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: The Laws of the United States, Published by Authority, 3 vols. Philadelphia (Richard Folwell) 1796. €600 to €800.
  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.

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