Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2005 Issue

William Reese Gives Us That Old Tyme Religion


Early American Religion from William Reese Co.

By Michael Stillman

You might think a collection of religious material from the 17th through 19th centuries would be rather boring. We've all heard that fire and brimstone stuff too many times before. You would be very wrong if that's what you thought. The William Reese Company has issued its 243rd catalogue, Early American Religion. It is an absolutely fascinating look at early America, and the values and beliefs that shaped the thinking of the settlers.

There have always been struggles between fundamentalists and reformers, even in the days when most people took a very literalist view of the Bible. In 1700, Increase Mather was already complaining about the liberal tendencies of some younger preachers, and you will find his laments herein. Of course there is always religious intolerance. In 18th century America, the Quakers were often on the receiving end. By the 19th century, it was the Mormons who became religion's favored whipping boy. Of course, Catholics were always good for prejudice. Ironically, Catholicism finds its share of intolerance from the pen of William Penn, America's early Quaker leader. That was the young Penn. The older Penn becomes a much more tolerant individual, perhaps from his experience with abuse heaped upon the Quakers.

Then there are the Indian Bibles. Missions were sent out to virtually every Indian tribe in the land, with missionaries painstakingly translating the Bible into all types of native tongues. Today we might regard the missionaries as a bit dismissive of the religious beliefs and practices of the native tribes. However, in a land where too many settlers were more interested in stealing their land if not just plain killing them, the missionaries were likely the most humanitarian white faces the Indians encountered.

Those are just a few of Reese's topics. We can't begin to cover all of the ground contained within this catalogue, but here are just a few of the items you will find in the latest Reese edition.

We mentioned that William Penn expressed some rather narrow-minded views early in his life. A recent convert to Quakerism, Penn expressed these views in his 1670 pamphlet, A Seasonable Caveat Against Popery. In it, Penn attacks certain Catholic beliefs, using Scripture to assail them, and states that Catholics cannot be trusted because their faith cannot accept "heretics." At the time, Penn was writing from Ireland, where he feared Catholicism was making inroads. Item 132. Priced at $2,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Edward Hopper & His Contemporaries:<br>Making a Modern American Art<br>June 30, 2022
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>The Railroad,</i> etching, 1922. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>Sheet of Studies with Men in Hats and a Saloon Keeper,</i> pen, ink & pencil, circa 1900-05. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>Night Shadows,</i> etching, 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Edward Hopper & His Contemporaries:<br>Making a Modern American Art<br>June 30, 2022
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> John Marin, <i>Woolworth Building, No. 2,</i> etching & drypoint, 1913. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Charles Demuth, <i>Tulips,</i> watercolor & pencil, 1924. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>Under Control,</i> gouache, ink & wash, circa 1907-10. $30,000 to $50,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> JESSE JAMES. Autograph Letter Signed on the attack at his home which maimed his mother and killed his nephew Archie, 6 pp, March 23, 1875. THE MOST IMPORTANT JESSE JAMES LETTER EXTANT. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> THE LETTER THAT ARRIVED TOO LATE: An important letter from Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant across the battlefield at Cold Harbor, June 6, 1864. $120,000 to $180,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> DAVY CROCKETT. Autograph Letter Signed on his political philosophy and his dispute with Andrew Jackson, "at home Weakley County," August 18, 1831. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> GEORGE WASHINGTON. Letter Signed to Colonel Richard Gridley, the first engineer of the American Army, Morris Town, January 9, 1777. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> SCOTT FITZGERALD. <i>Tender is the Night.</i> FIRST EDITION, INSCRIBED to H.A. Swanseid. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS. <i>Tarzan of the Apes.</i> FIRST EDITION. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> J.R.R. TOLKIEN. <i>The Hobbit, or There and Back Again.</i> FIRST EDITION. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> NATHANAEL WEST. <i>The Day of the Locust.</i> PRESENTATION COPY, inscribed to director Richard Wallace in the year of publication. $6,000 to $8,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> FRANCIS PICABIA. Archive of 17 Autograph Letters signed to Jennie Thiersch on art and life, 1948-1951. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> JOHN HANCOCK. Autograph Letter Signed to his wife Dolly from the Continental Congress, 4 pp, Philadelphia, March 10-11, 1777. $8,000 to $12,000

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