Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2007 Issue

New Acquisitions in Americana from the William Reese Co.

Reese254

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

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Scott Joplin, <i>Treemonisha: Opera in Three Acts,</i> New York, 1911. Sold March 24 — $40,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Louisa May Alcott, autograph letter signed, 1868. Sold June 2 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Anne Bradstreet, <i>Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, full of Delight,</i> Boston, 1758. Sold June 2 — $21,250.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The Second Impression,</i> London, 1632. Sold May 5 — $161,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> John Bachmann, <i>Panorama of the Seat of War,</i> New York, 1861-62. Sold June 23 — $35,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Bronte, <i>Jane Eyre,</i> first edition, London, 1847. Sold June 16 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Elihu Vedder, <i>Simple Simon, His Book,</i> 1913. Sold June 9 — $12,350.
    <b>Swann:</b> Frederick Catherwood, <i>Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan,</i> London, 1844. Sold April 7 — $37,500.
  • <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> George Washington ADS, One of the Earliest in His Hand, A Survey from 1752, the Same Year He Inherited Mount Vernon.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Rare JFK Signed Check & Transmittal Letter During Campaign for 1956 VP Nomination, Both BAS Slabbed; Possibly A Unique Combo!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Daniel Boone Signed Receipt as VA Delegate; During His 1st of 3 Terms, Boone Was Kidnapped by British Forces Gunning for Gov. T. Jefferson & Other Legislators.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Benjamin Franklin Signed Receipt for “Pennsylvania Gazette,” Important & Beautifully Displayed
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Lincoln & His Civil War Cabinet: 8 Signatures, Beautifully Presented!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> G.A. Custer ALS from Fort Lincoln, Dakota Territory to Capt. Yates, Who Also Died at Little Bighorn, Re: Acquiring “good horses” from Kentucky for 7th Cavalry.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Jefferson Davis ALS: “the negroes are humble and generally inclined to cling to their masters…neither crop or stock could be protected from their thieving” – Incredible!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Lee Harvey Oswald Signed Letter: “if we finally get back to the states…maybe we’ll…settle in Texas,” Warren Commission Exhibit.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Babe Ruth First Edition Biography Signed Just Months Before His Death, Excellent Signature!
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> “B Arnold” ANS on Pre-Revolutionary War Promissory Note Dating From His Days as a New Haven Merchant
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Bob Dylan Signed LP “Blonde on Blonde” with Jeff Rosen COA.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Marilyn Monroe & Joe DiMaggio Signed Checks, Handsomely Displayed.

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