Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2019 Issue

Rare Americana from David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books

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Rare Americana No. 168.

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books has issued a new selection of Rare Americana. Catalogue 168. It contain many selections of Americana, mainly from the time of the Revolution to Reconstruction and the days shortly after the Civil War. Politics and religion are frequent topics of the day, then as now. There is also crime and punishment, moralizing, slavery and abolition, and anything else on the minds of Americans that inspired them to put pen to paper. Here are a few of these recent selections.

 

Daniel Webster was one of the greatest speakers and lawyers in American history, but not even Webster could save this guy. This comes from early in his career - 1806 - but even at the height of his power, defending Josiah Burnham would have been an overwhelming challenge for Webster's oratorical talents. Burnham was not only a murderer but already a thoroughly disliked person before his fatal act. Item 14 is An Analysis or Outline, of the Life and Character of Josiah Burnham, Who Was Sentenced to Death... Josiah Burnham was a New Hampshire land owner whose unpleasant disposition and litigious behavior made him unpopular with his neighbors. He became insolvent through his many disputes, engaged in forgery and swindling, and was a co-respondent in a divorce action. What she saw in him is beyond comprehension. It landed him in jail. He was placed in a cell with Capt. Joseph Starkweather and Russell Freeman, who were also New Hampshire's guests as a result of unpaid debts. Apparently, they taunted Burnham, who obviously had no sense of humor, about the divorce action. Unfortunately for them, Burnham had fashioned a knife while in prison. He sliced Starkweather to death, and after watching him die, turned his favors to Freeman. Burnham pleaded not guilty and Webster and another lawyer had the honor of defending him. Years later, Webster looked back at the case and said for the only time in his life, he argued a case on the basis of opposition to capital punishment as there were no matters of fact or law he could argue in Burnham's favor, nor any good character witness to plead in his defense. Burnham was convicted, but received an odd reprieve. After execution, his body was to be brought to the Dartmouth Medical School for dissection, but the July weather was too hot for safe transportation. The weather must have been cooler in August as the execution was carried out, a reported 10,000 spectators coming out to witness the event. There were no tears shed. This pamphlet recounts part of Burnham's life story in his own words. He blamed it all on being mistreated by others. Priced at $2,000.

 

A former U.S. President surprisingly spoke out clearly in opposition to South Carolina's secession at the end of 1860, the beginning days of the rebellion. It wasn't that Andrew Jackson would have favored South Carolina's secession. He had put down such an attempt at rebellion by that state 30 years earlier. What made Jackson's voiced opposition surprising was that he had been dead for 15 years. Fortunately, he had a spokesperson to relay his thoughts. That voice was Mrs. Cora L.V. Hatch, a medium. Mrs. Hatch had been a seer since a child. She now gave "trance lectures." She would enter a hall already in a trance and lecture on a subject chosen by the guests. Believers attributed her words not to herself but to those who spoke through her. On this evening, it was Andrew Jackson. Jackson reputedly said that this government founded on the highest of inspirations was about be destroyed. "Heaven forbid that it should be so!" he exclaimed. He went on to describe "the secret impulses which prompts the vile and traitorous sons of despotism and pollution to attempt to overthrow the highest, the brightest, and the truest government on earth." Not even death could stop Jackson from speaking his mind. Item 61 is A Lecture on Secession, by Gen. Andrew Jackson, Delivered at Dodsworth's Hall, on the Evening of Sunday, Jan. 19, 1861. $650.

 

The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War. The South would still have its good days but the Union had more resources from which to draw. These next two items are a sign of the deteriorating situation in which the Confederacy found itself. First, from April 16, 1864, is A Proclamation. To All the Soldiers in This Department Absent from Their Commands Without Leave. It came from Lieut. Gen. Leonidas Polk, an Episcopal Bishop from Louisiana, who was also a West Point graduate that traded his clerical robes for a soldier's uniform. In this proclamation Polk offers a pardon to Confederate soldiers who have gone AWOL. He hopes they will take advantage of "this last opportunity now presented for wiping out the disgrace which attaches to the characters of these men...and that he will thus be relieved from the painful duty of making examples of those who...have rendered the property and lives of peaceable citizens insecure, and reduced society to the condition of lawlessness and violence." Polk indicates his own reluctance to make such an offer to deserters but is willing to accede to the wishes of those above him in hopes of finding a few more men to fill the ranks of an army running short of soldiers. Item 25. $3,000.

 

Move forward a year to February 11, 1865, and now the situation for the South was totally desperate. Item 24 is headed Certificate of Medical Examination of Slaves. By this point, a desperate Confederacy was conscripting the very people whose freedom depended on the Union defeating it. It was issued by the District of Mississippi's Medical Board for the Examination of Conscripts. This one attests that "Tom," age 39, is "is capable of performing field labor, and consider or pronounce him sound in mind and body except a bad set of teeth." Naturally, slaves were not going to made soldiers. They would not be given guns for obvious reasons. Rather, they were conscripted to do work such as building fortifications and moving supplies. $1,500.

 

Item 117 is a notable issue of the Analectic Magazine, dated November 1814. It contains the first magazine printing of the nation's National Anthem, the Star Spangled Banner. It had already appeared in several newspapers, but nothing more lasting than that. The editor explains while the words have appeared in newspapers, "...they may still, however, be new to many of our readers. Besides, we think that their merit entitles them to preservation in some more permanent form than the columns of a daily paper." As with the newspaper printing, the Analectic Magazine does not give the author's name, but explains, "He watched the flag at the fort through the whole day with an anxiety that can be better felt than described... In the night he watched the bomb-shells, and at early dawn his eye was greeted by the proudly-waving flag of his country." The British had failed to take Fort McHenry. However, if you are looking for the words "Star Spangled Banner" in this article, you will be disappointed. It appears nowhere. That name came later. At this point, the poem/song, was still titled The Defence of Fort M'Henry. $850.

 

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books may be reached at 203-389-8111 or dmlesser@lesserbooks.com. Their website is www.lesserbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> FIRST EDITION, first issue, 8vo, 1997. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Bible, Italian.- Malermi Bible, woodcut illustrations, folio, Lazaro de Soardi & Bernardino Benali, Venice,1517. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Germany.- Homann (Johann Baptist). <i>Atlas von Deutschland,</i> engraved half title, hand coloured, 87 double page engraved maps, [folio, Erben, Nuremberg, 1753]. £8,000 to £10,000
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> [Mirk (John)].- <i>Liber festivalis et Quatuor sermons</i> [bound with], [Le Roy (Pierre)] <i>A Pleasant Satyre or Poesie,</i> first edition in English, Widdow Orwin for Thomas Man, 1595, 8vo. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Antoninus Florentinus (Saint Archbishop of Florence). <i>Confessionale: Defecerunt…,</i> 8vo, Pietro Quarengi, Venice, 15 February 1499. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Jesuit Letters.- [Froes (Father Luigi) & et al.)] Avvisi del Giapone de gli anni 1582, 1583, 1584…, 1586 [bound with] Avvisi della Cina et Giapone…, FIRST EDITIONS, Rome. £1,000 to £1,500
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Plutarch & Probus (Aemilius). <i>Plutarchi Cheronei et Aemilii Probi Illustrium,</i> folio, Nicolas de Pratis for Jean-Petit, Paris, 1521. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Bible.- English. <i>The Byble in Englyshe of the Largest and Greatest volume,</i> elaborate woodcut border, text vignettes, folio, 1541. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Fore-edge Painting.- Lord George Byron, The Giaour, a Fragment of a Turkish Tale, bound with 10 other titles, 4 plates marked 'Proof.', 1813. £800 to £1,200
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Manson (John). Twelve by Sixteen Papers of John Mason, a collection of 50 sheets of paper, some watermarked, 12 x 16”, c.1978. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Fleming (Ian). <i>Dr. No,</i> FIRST EDITION, original boards, dust-jacket, 8vo, 1958. £700 to £900
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Eliot (T.S.) <i>Four Quartets,</i> NUMBER 121 of 290 COPIES, signed by author, 1960. £400 to £600
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> hand-painted collage. Sold for a record $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Couple passing a giant bird house,</i> watercolor cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1948. Sold for $16,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Miriam Troop, <i>Rain on Laundry Day,</i> oil on canvas, cover for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1940. Sold for $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Rockwell Kent, <i>To All Fascists,</i> ink broadside for The League of American Writers, circa 1937. Sold for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Jo Mielziner, <i>Pet Shop Drop,</i> backdrop design for <i>Pal Joey</i> on Broadway, 1940. Sold for a record $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Lee Brown Coye, acrylic cover illustration for the 25th anniversary of <i>Weird Tales,</i> 1944. Sold for $18,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Virgil Finlay, <i>The Outsider & Others,</i> pen & ink dust jacket illustration for H.P. Lovecraft's book, 1939. Sold for $5,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Al Hirschfeld, <i>Paul Robeson as Othello,</i> illustration for <i>The New York Times,</i> 1942. Sold for $68,750
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Frederic Remington, pen & ink illustration for <i>A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers</i> in <i>The Century</i> magazine, 1889. Sold for $17,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> EARLY AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE. Chronicling 20th century aviation from the earliest Wright Brothers images through commercial and military applications. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> SPUTNIK-1 EMC/EMI LAB MODEL, 1957. Full scale vintage test model of the Sputnik-1 satellite, Moscow, [February, 1957]. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> FIRST TELEPHONE CALL TO THE MOON. Partial transcription signed by Apollo 11 astronauts and President Nixon. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> Apollo 11 Beta cloth crew emblem, SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE APOLLO 11 CREW. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> GEMINI 1/8 SCALE MODEL. Rarely seen large-scale contractor's model. $3,000 to $5,000
    <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>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Dubliners,</i> first edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, 1914. £100,000 to £150,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> The Beatles.- Baker (Geoffrey.) 3 Autograph Letters and 1 Autograph Card signed to Ann Gosnell, addtionally sgn’d by George Harrison, John Lennon, Cynthia Lennon and others, 1968. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Pilgrim Press.- Dod (John). <i>A plaine and familiar exposition of the tenne commandements ...,</i> [Leiden], [William Brewster], 1617. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Automaton Chess Player & Mechanical Illusion.- Reynell (H., printer). “The Famous Chess-Player, No.14, St.James's-Street, next Brooks's,” broadside advertisement for "The famous Automaton", [1784]. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Clemens (Samuel Langhorne). <i>Life on the Mississippi,</i> first English edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, 1883. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Arctic Sledge Flag.- Fulford (Reginald Baldwin). Sledge flag... HMS Discovery, 1875. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> first edition, first printing, 1997. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Piranesi (Giovanni Battista). <i>Le Antichità Romane,</i> 4 vol., 1756. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal, called). <i>Urbis Venetiarum Prospectus Celebriores,</i> 3 parts in 1, Richard Ford's copy, Venice, Giovanni Battista Pasquali, 1751. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Atlases.- Speed (John). <i>A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World,</i> bound with <i>The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine,</i> 1631-27. £12,000 to £18,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Anatomical illustration.- Aselli (Gaspare). <i>De lactibus sive lacteis venis... dissertatio,</i> first edition, Milan, Giovanni Battista Bidelli, 1627. £20,000 to £30,000

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