Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2006 Issue

African Americana from Between The Covers Rare Books

Catalog120

African Americana from Between The Covers Rare Books


By Michael Stillman

Between The Covers Rare Books'
latest catalogue is one of African American History and Literature. This one is a bit different from most in the field we encounter. Typically, the focus in African Americana is slavery, abolition, and the Civil War. This catalogue more or less picks up after the point these others conclude. One notable shift with this primarily post-Civil War material is that most of it is actually written by Black authors. The earlier works tend more to be about African Americans, some sympathetic abolitionists, others slavery apologists, but mostly white. In the post-Civil War era, we start to see more African Americans getting their own works published. What's more, we start to see works that are not just related to race and racial issues, but books in the fields of literature, art, music, science, poetry, and religion. Nevertheless, issues relating to race remain a dominant theme, as America still struggles to reach its ideal of being colorblind. Here are a few samples from this new catalogue.

The pervasive racial discrimination of the 19th century made professional advancement for Blacks almost impossible. Lewis Latimer was a remarkable exception. The son of a runaway slave, Latimer served in the Navy during the Civil War despite being underage, and then returned to his native Massachusetts to land a job with some patent lawyers. He studied drafting, which led to his producing the patent drawings for Alexander Graham Bell's telephone. He would later parlay his drafting skills into inventions, including the carbon filaments used in light bulbs and a toilet for railroad cars. In 1884, he went to work for Thomas Edison, and became one of the latter's 28 "Edison Pioneers." In 1890, with Edison's encouragement, Latimer and co-authors C.J. Field and John Howell published Incandescent Lighting, a book designed to explain this amazing new invention to the uninitiated. Item 2 is a copy of this scarce book. Priced at $3,500.

Frederick Douglass was the preeminent Black civil right leader of the 19th century. Born into slavery, he escaped at age 20 in 1838, settling in upstate New York. Douglass began attending abolitionist meetings, and became a protege of William Lloyd Garrison. At the age of 23, he was asked to speak at one of these meetings, and what the audience discovered was a spellbinding voice. He became an important speaker and author, his autobiography of his life as a slave becoming an immediate best seller. Douglass would go on to advise President Lincoln on affairs relating to the recently emancipated slaves, and he would continue as an important voice on black and women's rights issues until he died in 1895. Item 27, published in 1897, is In Memoriam Frederick Douglass. It includes a biographical sketch of Douglass and numerous tributes from a who's who list of civil rights activists of the 19th century. $800.

Louis Vaughn Jones was an accomplished African-American violinist who was asked to play at President Franklin Roosevelt's first inauguration. In 1931, he inscribed this photograph of himself to another black violinist, Joseph Douglass. "To Mr. Joseph Douglas," it reads, "One who has been a pioneer and an inspiration to this generation of Negro violinists." Joseph Douglass was the grandson of the aforementioned Frederick Douglass. Item 70. $500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>February 26, 2022</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 26:</b> ALLEN, Ethan. <i>A Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen’s Captivity from the Time of his Being Taken by the British, near Montreal…,</i> Rare second edition, 1779. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 26:</b> CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne ("Mark Twain"). <i>The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.</i> New York: Charles L. Webster and Company, 1885. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 26:</b> LANE, Edward William, translator. <i>Tales of a Thousand and One Nights; [or], The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments.</i> London, 1838–1841. 32 parts in 33. $7,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 26:</b> GRANT, James, Lieut. <i>The Narrative of a Voyage of Discovery, performed in His Majesty's Vessel The Lady Nelson...</i> London, 1803. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b><center>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Friday, Feb. 4, 11am-8pm<br>Saturday, Feb. 5, 10am-5pm<br>Attend in person!</b>
    <center><b>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Feb. 4-5<br>Buy Tickets Here - $12</b>
    <b><center>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Friday, Feb. 4, 11am-8pm<br>Saturday, Feb. 5, 10am-5pm<br>Attend in person!</b>
    <center><b>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Feb. 4-5<br>Buy Tickets Here - $12</b>
    <b><center>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Friday, Feb. 4, 11am-8pm<br>Saturday, Feb. 5, 10am-5pm<br>Attend in person!</b>
    <b><center>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Friday, Feb. 4, 11am-8pm<br>Saturday, Feb. 5, 10am-5pm<br>Attend in person!</b>
    <center><b>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Feb. 4-5<br>Buy Tickets Here - $12</b>
    <b><center>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Friday, Feb. 4, 11am-8pm<br>Saturday, Feb. 5, 10am-5pm<br>Attend in person!</b>
    <center><b>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Feb. 4-5<br>Buy Tickets Here - $12</b>
    <b><center>San Francisco Antiquarian<br>Book Print & Paper Fair<br>Friday, Feb. 4, 11am-8pm<br>Saturday, Feb. 5, 10am-5pm<br>Attend in person!</b>
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br> Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including Americana<br>Online<br>Now through January 25, 2022</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Now to Jan. 25:</b> Audubon, John James. The "Wild Turkey" manuscript — capturing one of the nation's most iconic symbols of unity. $250,000 to $350,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Now to Jan. 25:</b> (Flag) — Commemorative Thirteen-Star Flag. Pre-Civil War, Thirteen-Star Flag of the United States, from the collection of Charles Kuralt. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Now to Jan. 25:</b> Fitzgerald, F. Scott. <i>Tender is the Night</i>. First edition, presentation copy, and a former mystery. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Now to Jan. 25:</b> Audubon, John James. The "Wild Turkey" manuscript — capturing one of the nation's most iconic symbols of unity. $250,000 to $350,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Now to Jan. 25:</b> Salinger, J.D. <i>The Catcher in the Rye.</i> A strikingly fresh first edition of Salinger's essential novel. $20,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Now to Jan. 25:</b> Whitman, Walt. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> “America's second Declaration of Independence” — signed by Whitman. $150,000 to $200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Now to Jan. 25:</b> [Dylan, Bob]. Some of the earliest known professional portraits. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Now to Jan. 25:</b> Y-Worth [Yarworth], William. <i>Cerevisiarii Comes: Or, the New and True Art of Brewing…</i> A rare and early English work on the art of brewing. $5,000 to $7,000.
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>A Record Breaking Season</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> <i>The Book of Mormon,</b> first edition, Palmyra, NY, 1830. Sold Sept. 30 — $112,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Vincent Van Gogh, <i>Homme à la Pipe: Portrait du Docteur Gachet, Evening,</i> etching, 1890. Sold Nov. 2 — $161,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Edward Ruscha, <i>Stains,</i> title page, one of 70, signed, 1969. Sold Nov. 9 — $112,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> John James Audubon, <i>Carolina Parrot, Plate 26,</i> hand colored aquatint, 1828. Sold Dec.9 — $137,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Edmund Dulac, <i>The Snow Queen,</i> watercolor, gouache, pen & ink, 1910. Sold Dec. 16 — $125,000.

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