Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2007 Issue

Rare and Important Americana from David Lesser Antiquarian Books

Lesser97

David Lesser's 97th catalogue of Rare Americana.


By Michael Stillman

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books
offers a regular flow of Rare Americana. Catalogue 97 fits right in with this series, offering more rare and unusual items within the field, primarily but not exclusively from the period from the Revolution to Reconstruction. Lesser's catalogues are always informative and entertaining, a source of knowledge as well as material. His thorough descriptions, including placing each document in its historical perspective, make each of these catalogues a lesson in American history. Here are a few of the items offered in Catalogue 97.

One of the most important (and expensive) of Indian books is the "History of the Indian Tribes of North America," by Thomas McKenney and James Hall. McKenney was the first Director of Indian Affairs, and after he was dismissed from the position by President Andrew Jackson in 1830, he journeyed into the West to obtain and preserve as much information about the Indians as he could. For those who cannot afford the six figures required to purchase that work, here is a more reasonably priced item from McKenney. It is Documents and Proceedings Relating to the Formation and Progress of a Board in the City of New York, for the Emigration, Preservation, and Improvement, of the Aborigines of America. July 22, 1829. Interestingly, McKenney, who was deeply concerned about the welfare of the Indians, promotes a program similar to one favored by Jackson, much less their friend. Both favored resettlement of eastern tribes in the west, ostensibly to protect them from whites (McKenney is a bit more believable as Jackson had the power and legal authority to protect eastern Indians and refused to do so). In this pamphlet, McKenney urges relocating the eastern tribes, as "without this change, the Indians must perish." He goes on to note that beyond the Mississippi River, President Jackson "has provided a country large enough for all of you. There your white brothers will not trouble you; they will have no claim to the land, and you can live upon it..." Of course, that promise lasted only until white settlers decided they wanted the land west of the Mississippi as well. Item 92. Priced at $275.

Item 66 is a broadside poem, perhaps circa 1850s, a piece of Irish ethnic "humor" called The Street Sweeper's Dream. It is supposed to be the dream of a street sweeper, one of those people who swept up after horses (the pre-auto form of transportation was even more polluting than the car). In his Irish dialect, the sweeper proclaims how he likes his job, for which he is supposedly paid well, but at night, " I hov such terrible dhreams." What are those dreams? Here we go: "There's harseshit in the wather-pail, and harsehit in the sink, / Harseshit in uvree bite I ate, an' uvree thing I dhrink." This classic piece of harseshit is yours for $500.

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    <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>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 1805 TN Supreme Court Book, John Overton and Hugh White Opinions. $800 to $900.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> TN Lunsford Bramlett Archive, incl. Polk White House Invitation, 8 Items. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Civil War Archive, incl. Gen. Bate on Death of Polk, Capture of Nashville. $2,000 to $2,400.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 5 Dickens 1st Ed. Books, incl. Edited by Author. $800 to $1,000.
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    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 2 Slave Documents, Nashville TN & North Carolina. $700 to $900.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 3 Maurice Sendak Signed Items, incl. Nutcracker, Pierre. $500 to $600.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 7 Phillip Roth Hardcover Books, incl. Author Signed, 1st Eds. $500 to $550.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 6 Kurt Vonnegut Hardcover Books, incl. Author Signed, 1st Eds. $400 to $500.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 3 Edward Gorey Items, incl. Print + 2 Books. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Josef Albers, INTERACTION OF COLOR, 1963. $800 to $900.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Henri Matisse Jazz Portfolio for MOMA, 1st Ed., 1983. $600 to $800.

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