Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2007 Issue

Books About Books, with History and Travel, from Oak Knoll

Oak283

There is travel and history in Oak Knoll's latest catalogue.


By Michael Stillman

Catalogue 253 in the long-running series from Oak Knoll Books recently arrived. Oak Knoll specializes in "books about books" and bibliography, but there is a sizable number of unexpected works inside for one of Oak Knoll's numbered catalogues. They have many 18th and 19th century American travel books, first or other early editions. In fact, there are many more antiquarian books here than in the usual Oak Knoll catalogue. So, we will take a look at a few of these in particular, with the note that you will also find plenty of the typical Oak Knoll books, such as limited editions from fine presses, available as well.

Item 71 is a fascinating travelogue from a revolutionary Frenchman who came to America in 1788. Jacques Pierre Brissot de Warville was handed the keys to the Bastille prison after its storming, and went on to be a leading diplomat and creator of foreign policy during the first years of the French Revolution. He came away from his visits to America impressed, a strong supporter of the freedoms the new nation offered. The only major downside was slavery, but Brissot was an optimist. He saw the slave trade being eliminated in many states, a time limit installed for all states, freedom established in some, and believed dissatisfied slaves in the South could escape to the backcountry or Spanish Florida, which would force their masters to treat them well so they would stay. Meanwhile, repulsion by a large percent of the population would make the institution marginal. If only it had been so easy as Brissot imagined. And, if only the French Revolution had gone so well too. Eventually, the freedom-defending Brissot would be caught in the excesses of the Revolution, and like so many others, he was sent to the guillotine in 1793. His book is New Travels in the United States of America. Performed in 1788 (this is the first Irish edition from 1792). Priced at $400.

Herman Melville is better known as a novelist than poet, but here is his first book of poems: Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War. During the latter part of his life, Melville turned to writing poetry. He was not particularly successful during his lifetime as a novelist, less so as a poet. However, the prestige of his novels grew in time, though his poetry is still awaiting recognition. This collection of poetry was published after the Civil War, and Melville makes his sympathies known in his dedication, to "the memory of the Three Hundred Thousand who in the War for the Maintenance of the Union fell devotedly under the Flag of their Fathers." Item 199. $600.

Item 213 is a travelogue for Colorado during its first gold rush -- Rambles in the Rocky Mountains: with a Visit to the Gold Fields of Colorado. This book was published in 1864, six years after the discovery of gold, but two decades before production really took off. Author Maurice Morris was a former Postmaster-General of Jamaica, who managed to find his way to Colorado despite the Civil War, and wrote of his experiences for his countrymen back in England. $275.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.

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