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

  • <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
  • <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.

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