Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2007 Issue

New Acquisitions in Americana from the William Reese Co.

New acquisitions in Americana from William Reese.


By Michael Stillman

The William Reese Company has issued a catalogue of New Acquisitions in Americana, and they have come up with 200+ interesting and significant items for collectors in the field. The overwhelming majority of works range from Colonial times through the 19th century, but an occasional more recent item slips in, like the Senate report on the Watergate hearings. Reese's business extends into other areas, as we saw last month with their catalogue of literary works, but Americana, and the most important books within that field, are their specialty. No one who follows Reese will be disappointed with catalogue 254. Here are some examples of what can be found inside.

Item 21 is a book that was both a great success and great failure. Photographer Mathew Brady, along with writer Charles Lester, put together a photo-biography of a dozen of America's leading citizens in the earliest days of photography. The publication date was 1850, and it preserved the likenesses of these important people, some of whom did not survive the year. The book is The Gallery of Illustrious Americans... and among those whose images were preserved were Presidents Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore, the three great senate orators from the first half of the 19th century -- Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John C. Calhoun, explorer John C. Fremont, Generals Winfield Scott and Lewis Cass, and birdman John James Audubon. Not as well remembered today are Democratic political leader and New York Senator and Governor Silas Wright, writer-historian William Hickling Prescott, and Unitarian theologian William Ellery Channing. Both Taylor and Calhoun died shortly before publication of the book, while Channing and Wright's photos must have been old ones as they died in 1842 and 1847 respectively. The book was successful in that it preserved these leaders images for all time. However, it was not a financial success, and certainly did not achieve its stated aim, "that it may...bind the Union still more firmly together." Priced at $22,500.

Item 5 is a novel exploring issues of race, class, and gender during Reconstruction that you have never read. The reason we are confident you haven't read it is the book was never published. The title is Savannah or the Form of a Servant, written circa 1875, by an unknown author, most likely a woman. It is a 324-page, 80,000-word manuscript work, described by Reese as "a fascinating and well-written unpublished American manuscript novel...addressing some of the leading issues of the Reconstruction era, including the status of Blacks and their role in society." The protagonist is a young lady with the very Dutch name Hannah Ten Eyck, who travels to Florida and comes in contact with recently freed slaves. This changes her attitudes, and she moves to Tennessee to become a teacher of black students, eventually discovering she has black ancestors on her mother's side. She ends up changing her name to "Savannah" and identifying with the black community. Reese describes the author as "a skillful writer," and notes, "the unpublished text presents an excellent opportunity for the scholarly study and publication of an intriguing Reconstruction-era novel." $25,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD

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