Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2006 Issue

Signed Documents of The South from Joe Rubinfine

Rubinfine155

The South from Joe Rubinfine.


By Michael Stillman

It is a land of contradiction. The South was a leader in America's fight for freedom and liberty during the Revolution. Four of the nation's first five presidents were southerners. Yet, its "peculiar" institution, the antithesis of everything good for which the nation stood, would lead it to try to break apart that union it was so instrumental in forming. It is hard to understand why. One can only wonder what America's history would have been like without slavery and the racial animosities it spawned. We can only have a dream.

The latest catalogue from Joe Rubinfine is titled The South. It is a collection of manuscripts and signed printed material pertaining to that part of America. Most of the works relate to one of those two defining moments, The Revolution and the Civil War. However, there is some material from between those wars, and more, particularly of literary interest, from the 20th century. Here are a few of those items from the land of cotton and contradiction.

No one is more responsible for America's freedoms than Virginian George Washington. His success at leading American troops to victory in the Revolution resulted in such an outpouring of affection that he could have become king. He didn't want it. He wanted a government freely chosen by the people. Item 16 is a letter Washington wrote to one William Smith on June 8, 1788. The primary subject was the ship "Federalist," a 15-foot mini-ship he had given Washington. The General has great praise for the ingenuity of this built to small-scale ship, but also talks of more weighty matters, the new U.S. constitution then being debated. Maryland had ratified the document, but it was under challenge in Virginia. Washington makes his sentiments clear. Says Washington, "I cannot entertain an idea that the voice of the Convention of this State [Virginia] which is now in Session, will be dissonant from that of her nearly-allied Sister [Maryland]. Priced at $125,000.

Item 18 is a most interesting personal letter from George Washington to his brother John. Evidently, John Washington was short on funds, and his famous brother had tried, without much success, to help him obtain a loan. He then explains, "If I could furnish you I would do it with pleasure, but I am in debt myself without the means of discharging them, and besides, am exposed to great expenses." The year was 1784, and many who had been of reasonable means before found themselves in difficult straits after the Revolution. The future President then notes that he will have to sell some property, for while he is owed money by others, he sees no immediate prospects of being able to collect it. Washington next thanks his brother for some holly berries, and says that in the spring, he will be sending for some trees promised by Colonel Harry Lee. That would be Light Horse Harry Lee, Washington's trusted aide and Revolutionary War hero, whose own finances would eventually become so bad he would end up in debtor's prison. $11,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>April Auction<br>April 4, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> MITCHELL, John (1711-1768). A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America. Copperplate engraving with original hand color. London, 1755. $250,000 to $350,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AUDUBON, John James (1785 - 1851). Brown Pelican (Standing), Plate 251. Aquatint engraving with original hand color. London, 1827-1838. $175,000 to $225,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AUDUBON, John James (1785 - 1851). Fish Hawk or Osprey, Plate 81. Aquatint engraving with original hand color. London: 1827-1838. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>April Auction<br>April 4, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> GONZALES DE MENDOZA, Juan (1545 - 1618). <i>The Historie of the great and mightie kingdome of China…</i> London, 1588. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> VERBIEST, Ferdinand (1623-1688). [World Map] Kun-Yu Ch'uan-Tu. Engraved twelve sheet map with vertical sections joined to form six sheets. Korea, Seoul, c. 1860. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> SANGGI, Chong (1678-1752). Korean Atlas. Manuscript map on mulberry bark paper. C. 1750-1790. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>April Auction<br>April 4, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AUDUBON, John James (1785 - 1851). Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Plate 66. Aquatint engraving with original hand color. London, 1827-1838. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AKERMAN, Anders (1721-1778). & AKREL, Frederik (1779-1868). Pair of Celestial and Terrestrial Globes. Stockholm, c. 1800. 23 inch diameter, each. $60,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> BENNETT, Lieut. William Pyt (d. in action, 1916). AN IMPORTANT AND APPARENTLY UNPUBLISHED SERIES OF GELATIN SILVER PHOTOGRAPHS OF LHASA AND TIBET TAKEN DURING THE CELEBRATED YOUNGHUSBAND MISSION OF 1904. $60,000 to $80,000

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