Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2007 Issue

Unusual Manuscripts and Books from Thomas Cullen

Cullen43

Manuscripts and Books from Thomas Cullen.


By Michael Stillman

Thomas Cullen Rockland Bookman
has issued his Catalog #43 -- Manuscripts and Books. There are more manuscripts here, and while there are some very interesting books, we will focus on the manuscript items. After all, they are one of a kind. And, while there are a few exceptions, most fit in the category of Americana or American history. Cullen manages to find some of the more fascinating pieces of American antiquarian history, and this month is no exception. These are some of the items you will find in his latest catalogue.

Item 5 is a manuscript letter from George Washington, handwritten and signed "G. Washington" by his aide Tench Tilghman. The letter is dated March 13, 1778, and was written from Valley Forge, near the end of that terrible winter and the low point of the American Revolution. Washington wrote to the Commissioners of Indian Affairs stating that he had authorized Congress to raise no less than 700 Indian troops. Washington was desperate for more help, and believed the natives could provide some. He wrote, "Divesting them of the Savage customs exercised in their Wars against each other, I think they may be made of excellent use as scouts and light troops mixed in with our own parties." Washington notes, "The Oneidas have manifested the strongest attachment to us throughout this dispute." Priced at $4,500.

Who would have thought that President William Howard Taft, the stuffy, 300-pound President who incensed Theodore Roosevelt so much he ran against his own party, was a humorist? On December 31, 1924, Taft, now former President but Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, writes one Ben Peer Of Honeoye Falls, New York, a thank-you note for a pillow cover. Pens Taft, "You say you are a good old Democrat, but even the worst sinner can return, so we will cherish the hope that you may see the light..." Item 27. $500.

Here is a surprising broadside for 1865: Public Exercises of the Lesbian and Calliopean Societies in the Chapel of the Conn. Lit'y Institute... A public lesbian group in 1865, and carrying on in the chapel no less? Perhaps this is not quite so radical as it sounds. More likely, a "lesbian society" of 1865 was a group of women interested in literature, rather than in...whatever. Probably, it was similar to a "calliopean society," which was a group of people interested in literature, but probably comprised of all males. Indeed, a lesbian society in the "Gay '90s" would have been a literary organization during a happy time. Item 60. $120.

By the time of the Civil War, slavery was a North-South issue, but this was not always the case. Here is an example. Item 93 is a bill of sale for "a black wench named Susan," sold by John Voorhees of Flatlands, Kings County, Long Island, for 90 pounds. The date is November 1799. It was not until 1827 that all slavery was finally abolished in New York. $170.

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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