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>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.

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