Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2005 Issue

Travels and American Slavery from Gert Jan Bestebreurtje

B123

Catalogue 123 from Gert Jan Bestebreurtje.


By Michael Stillman

Newly issued Catalogue 123 from Gert Jan Bestebreurtje Antiquarian Bookseller of the Netherlands is now available. Copies may be downloaded directly from their website. The title is Travel, although it really seems broader to me. Having seen other Bestebreurtje catalogues, what surprised me was the quantity of English-language material, and Americana in particular. Bestebreurtje must have come across a collection on American slavery, as there is much material in this field, some of it quite obscure. We will focus primarily on this material because it is of serious interest to many American collectors. Those who do collect in this area should definitely download the catalogue and look through its offerings.

James Redpath was a Scottish immigrant to America who hooked up with the abolitionist movement in his early years. His writings came to the attention of Horace Greeley, who hired him as an editor for the New York Tribune. In 1856, Redpath went to Kansas to report on the battles between abolition and pro-slavery forces, and opened an abolitionist newspaper. It was there that he met John Brown, and became a great admirer of the northern white man who was willing to put everything, life included, on the line for freedom of the slaves. After Brown was executed for his raid on Harper's Ferry, Redpath wrote his biography, giving much of the proceeds to Brown's family. That book is, The public life of John Brown, with an autobiography of his childhood and youth, published in Boston in 1860. Item 152. €125 (Euros, or US dollar equivalent of $155).

Another vehement opponent of slavery was Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts. He helped form the anti-slavery Free Soil Party, led a legal challenge against segregation in Boston schools, and, in 1851, was elected to the senate. In 1856, after delivering a speech about the "crime against Kansas," where the slavery-abolition battle was being fought, he was severely beaten in his senate seat by a South Carolina congressman. It was another 3 1/2 years before Sumner was well enough to return to the senate. However, that did not stop his fiery antislavery speeches, or fighting for the rights of freed slaves once the Civil War was over. Indeed, he pushed Lincoln to free the slaves sooner, and once remarked that his opinions and Lincolns were the same, it just took Lincoln a bit longer to reach them. As one of the "Radical Republicans," Sumner led the unsuccessful attempt to impeach President Andrew Johnson. Sumner would become displeased with administration of President Grant, but remained in the senate until his death in 1874. Item 179 is Sumner's The barbarism of slavery...an 1863 printing by the Young Men's Republican Union of an 1860 speech he made on the senate floor. €75 (US $93).

Here are a couple of obscure official documents from 1845 pertaining to the slave trade. They are official messages from the president, James K. Polk. Item 5 deals with a report from the Secretary of State plus Brazilian consul George Slacum relating to the African slave trade. €75 ($US 93). Item 169 is a presidential message transmitting dispatches from the Brazilian court €95 (US $117).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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