Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2007 Issue

France and America from Helen R. Kahn Rare Books

Kahn71

France and America from Helen R. Kahn Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

The 71st catalogue from Montreal bookseller Helen R. Kahn and Associates Rare Books, Maps and Manuscripts is entitled France and America Sixteenth to Twentieth Centuries. The works in this catalogue are older than most we find in a typical catalogue of Americana, but that reflects the fact that France was most active on the North American continent during its first century and a half of settlement. During that period, most of the discoveries in America's heartland, from the Ohio to the Mississippi valleys, and of course Canada, were made by the French. After the conclusion of the French and Indian War, the French presence on the continent was reduced to less than a shadow of what it had been. However, there are also many French titles concerning the American Revolution, where the French finally saw their British rivals receive their due comeuppance, and others relating to France's very brief reappearance on the continent, retaking Louisiana from the Spanish just long enough to sell it to the Americans. Here are some of the historic titles you will find being offered by Helen Kahn Rare Books.

Some of the earliest reports about the American interior came from Father Louis Hennepin. Actually, many of the earliest reports came from Jesuit missionaries such as he. Hennepin traveled through the backcountry of the Great Lakes area and Mississippi during the 17th century. He provides some of the earliest views of the territory and its indigenous peoples. Item 30 is Nouveau Voyage d'un Pais grande que Europe..., a first edition of his third and final book, published in 1698. This work includes his description of the killing of La Salle in Texas in 1687, and the taking of Quebec by the English in 1629 (it was restored to France in 1632). Item 30. $11,000.

One of the most notable books about the interior of America in the 17th century came from Baron Louis Armand Lahontan. He served the French in Canada, but in 1688, he set out on a journey to the Great Lakes, Mississippi, and beyond. No one is quite sure how much territory was encompassed by his travels, how much by his imagination. Some of the peoples he discovered were not found by others, nor was the "Long River," which extended from the Mississippi River to a far-off mountain range and large lake. Lahontan may have exaggerated to sell books, especially since such a long river would have raised hopes of finding a land route to the Pacific. Despite its weaknesses, his work provides us with some of the earliest information about the upper Midwest. His book was first published in 1703 and became an immediate bestseller. Item 38 is the second English edition of 1735 of New Voyages to North-America... $3,850.

Item 4 is an anonymous work with a British point of view published in 1755 and written during the first year of the French and Indian War: State of the British and French Colonies in North America... The author warns against the French encircling the British colonies, expresses concern that their poor treatment of the Indians will work to France's advantage, discusses George Washington's mission against the French early in the war, and proposes a boundary between British and French colonies through the middle of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes. The report is presented as two letters, dated December 10, 1754, and March 4, 1755. $3,250.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ian Fleming, <i>Goldfinger,</i> first edition, inscribed to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE, London, 1959. Sold for $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Joseph Brant, Mohawk Chief, ALS, writing after pledging support to King George III against American rebels, 1776. Sold for a record $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Sonia Delaunay, <i>Ses Peintures</i> . . ., 20 pochoir plates, Paris, 1925. Sold for a record $13,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Diana, Princess of Wales, 6 autograph letters signed to British <i>Vogue</i> editor, 1989-92. Sold for $10,400.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alexander Hamilton, ALS, as Secretary of the Treasury covering costs of the new U.S. Mint, 1793. Sold for $12,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Benjamin Graham & David L. Dodd, <i>Security Analysis,</i> first edition, inscribed by Graham to a Wall Street trader, NY, 1934. Sold for $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> George Barbier & François-Louis Schmied, <i>Personnages de Comédie,</i> Paris, 1922. Sold for $9,375.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli,</i> Paris, 1897. Sold for a record $13,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ralph Waldo Emerson, <i>The Dial,</i> first edition of the reconstituted issue, Emerson’s copy with inscriptions, Cincinnati, 1860. Sold for a record $3,250.
  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions