Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2006 Issue

Fascinating and Unusual Americana from David Lesser Antiquarian Books



Item 56 is A Report of the Trial of the Rev. Ephraim K. Avery...for the Murder of Sarah Maria Cornell. This was a sensational trial in Rhode Island in 1833. Ms. Cornell, who had known the Reverend since his days in Massachusetts, was found hanging from the frame of a haystack. It might have been unquestioningly attributed to suicide but for a note she left, "If I should be found missing, enquire of the Rev. Mr. Avery of Bristol, - he will know where I am." It did not help that Ms. Cornell was five months pregnant, and there were letters implicating the Reverend. Avery gave alibis of several people who would have seen him at a place and time making his participation in her death impossible, but none of these "witnesses" recalled seeing him. However, several testified to seeing a tall man, as was Rev. Avery, in the vicinity of Ms Cornell's home, though none could positively identify him. The townsfolk were ready to hang him too, but after a trial in which Avery was defended by one of the best lawyers in New England, the jury acquitted. Avery would go on a speaking tour to try to recoup lost legal funds, but he was not well received. After moving around New England a few times, but never escaping hostility, he moved on to Ohio, where he lived out his life in relative peace and obscurity, with a family that stood beside him. Avery died in 1869, with no one but he and the late Ms. Cornell knowing for sure whether he killed her, or she took her own life, implicating the Reverend as an act of revenge. $250.

You will find David Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books online at www.lesserbooks.com, phone number 203-389-8111.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Adam Smith, <i>Wealth of Nations,</i> first edition, descended from William Alexander, London, 1776. $70,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> George Gershwin, photograph signed & inscribed with autograph musical quotation, <i>An American in Paris,</i> 1928. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Friedrich Engels, <i>The Condition of the Working Class in England,</i> first edition, NY, 1887. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> <i>Bury St. Edmunds Witch Trials,</i> first edition, London, 1682. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Robert Rey, <i>Estampes,</i> complete portfolio of 12 wood engravings, Paris, 1950. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Archive of 47 letters by Enrico Caruso to a lady friend, 1906-20. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Books of Hours in Flemish, Netherlands, 15th century. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Jack Kerouac, <i>Doctor Sax,</i> deluxe limited edition, signed, NY, 1959. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Walt Disney, signature on title-page of Ward Greene’s <i>Lady and the Tramp,</i> first edition, first printing. $3,000 to $4,000.

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