Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2007 Issue

Books from Northern North America from Helen R. Kahn

Kahn70

Northern North America from Helen Kahn.


By Michael Stillman

Catalogue 70, the latest from Helen R. Kahn & Associates, was recently published. Kahn specializes in 16th-20th century North America, and here you can place a special emphasis on the word "north." Kahn is located in Montreal, Canada, so the majority of the works either come from or pertain to Canada or the northern part of the United States. These are works of history, exploration and discovery. There is not much fiction, although perhaps some exaggeration in "Indian captivities" and the like which border on fiction. Still, these are works that will educate as well as entertain, and contribute significantly to any serious collection of Americana. Here are a few of the items you will find inside.

Here is one of those works that lives on the border between truth and fiction: The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth, Mountaineer, Scout, and Pioneer, and Chief of the Crow Nation of Indians. Prepared by T.D. Bonner based on Beckwourth's dictations, the man no doubt led an exciting life. Though his mother was a slave, his white father raised and educated Beckwourth. Still he found it difficult to find employment, so the young man headed west. He would become an explorer under Fremont, a trapper, and spent many years with the Crow, though his claims to be a true chief are in doubt. Some of his story is believed to be exaggeration, but it is based on fact. This book was published in 1856. Beckwourth died under mysterious circumstances a decade later after returning to the Crow. Item 18. $800.

Here is a pair of books, at least one of which must be wrong, though their authors undoubtedly each believed his was completely accurate. Item 35 is An Answer to that Part of the Narrative of...Sir Henry Clinton...which relates to the Conduct of...Cornwallis. Published in 1783. $1,100. Item 31 is A Letter from Lieut. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton... published in 1784. $375. Clinton and Cornwallis participated in a war of pamphlets back in England after the end of the American Revolution. They spent their years blaming each other for England's loss in that war.

Item 34 is a work that perhaps contained a little too much truth. The book is Memoirs of Mrs. Coghlan, written by the same (Magaret Coghlan) and published in 1795. As a young lady, probably in 1776 when she was just 13, she was seduced by Aaron Burr. At 14, she unwillingly married John Coghlan. She fled the marriage to a series of protectors, evidently some well enough placed for her to become at least casually acquainted with many notable personalities of the time, including the aforementioned Cornwallis and his enemy Washington. The book caused quite a scandal at the time. $775.

Thomas Jefferson was often attacked by his opponents for not being sufficiently religious. Jefferson was a free thinker and not one to accept unreasoned dogma. His views were attacked in this booklet in 1804 as he sought reelection -- Observations on Certain Passages in Mr. Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, which appear to have a tendency to subvert religion... This has to be true since the unnamed author was evidently Clement Moore. Moore must have been a great religious scholar. After all, he was the man who would later write "Twas the Night Before Christmas." Item 68. $650.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Jean de Mandeville, <i>Reysen und Wanderschafften durch das Gelobte Land,</i> Strassburg, 1488. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> José González Cabrera Bueno, <i>Navegación Especulativa, y Práctica,</i> Manila, 1734. Sold for $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. Sold for $65,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Louise Bourgeois, <i>He Disappeared Into Complete Silence,</i> portfolio with complete text & 9 engravings, 1947. Sold for $413,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Erich Maria Remarque, <i>All Quiet on the Western Front,</i> first American edition, Boston, 1929. Sold for $9,375.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Sir William Russell Flint, gouache & watercolor illustration for Homer's <i>Odyssey,</i> 1924. Sold for $22,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Kurt Vonnegut, archive of 12 letters, signed to his family, 6 illustrated, 1930s-40s. Sold for $12,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Oscar Wilde, <i>Lady Windermere's Fan,</i> first edition, presentation copy, signed & inscribed, London, 1893. Sold for $27,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Emil Cardinaux, <i>St. Moritz,</i> 1918. Sold for $17,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> R.J. Waters, 3 panoramas of the San Francisco earthquake & fire, 1906. Sold for $21,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Album with 200 cartes-de-visite, including images by Felice Beato, John Thompson & F.W. Sutton, Japan & China, 1863-69. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. Sold for $40,000.
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> KNIGHT, HILARY. The Original Portrait of Eloise that Hung at the Plaza Hotel. $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> WARHOL, ANDY. "Iced Lemon Delight," an Original Watercolor Presented to Hilary Knight's cat, Phoebe $8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> SENDAK, MAURICE. <i>Where the Wild Things Are.</i> PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED with drawing to Hilary Knight in the month following publication. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> NOLAND, KENNETH. Original circle painting, untitled, acrylic and ink on cloth, for cover of monograph $8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> TOULOUSE-LAUTREC. <i>Histoires Naturelles,</i> 1899. With 22 original lithographs. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>A Collection of Poems,</i> [1711]. The first authoritative and complete collected Sonnets.$15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> LONDON, JACK. <i>The Call of the Wild.</i> 1903. First edition, first state jacket. $2,000 to 3,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> FROST, ROBERT. Autograph Manuscript of "Build Soil," 12 pp, 1932-1936. $15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> GOULD, GLENN. Glenn Gould's extensively annotated copy of Bach's Goldberg Variations $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> PLATH, SYLVIA. EARLY Autograph Letter Signed, about her beginnings as a writer, Northampton, MA, 1951. $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> HOUDINI, HARRY. A collection of 11 cast iron shackle and lock items from Houdini's personal collection. $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> M4 ENGIMA MACHINE, with very rare RARE HYDRA KEY ENVELOPE. $400,000 to 600,000

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