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>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Charles Loupot, <i>Les Cigarettes Mekka,</i> 1919. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Plinio Codognato, <i>Cicli Fiat,</i> circa 1910. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> L.N. Britton, <i>Warning! Consider the Possible Consequences,</i> c. 1917. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Leonardo Bistolfi, <i>Première Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs Modernes,</i> 1902. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Paquet Pernot / Biscuits Pernot,</i> 1910. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Francesco Nonni, <i>Font Meo / Acqua Minerale Naturale,</i> 1924. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Frederick Winthrop Ramsdell, <i>American Crescent Cycles,</i> 1899. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> <i>Be a Tight Wad! Own Something!</i> designer unknown, 1925. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Candido Aragonese de Faria, <i>Chamonix–Mont–Blanc,</i> c. 1910. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> W.E.J., <i>Irishmen Avenge the Lusitania,</i> c. 1915. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <center><b>Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books<br>Fine Art<br>Antique Engravings & Lithographs<br>Works on Paper<br>Accepting bids until August 7</b>
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Maitres Affiches by MUCHA - Papier a cigarettes Job. 202. $5,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> De Bry - Map of the West Indies (including Florida, Cuba, Jamaica, Bahamas, Parts of Central & South America, Sea Monsters, Ships). $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gould - Short-billed Toucan (Ramphastos Brevicarinatus). $5,000 to $8,000.
    <center><b>Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books<br>Fine Art<br>Antique Engravings & Lithographs<br>Works on Paper<br>Accepting bids until August 7</b>
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Redoute, Folio - Pale Iris - Iris flavescens. 375. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gillray - Light Expelling Darkness or The Sun of the Constitution. $200 to $500.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gerard - Wild Hemp or Weed, Cannabis. 708. $150 to $450.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Shaw & Nodder - Head of The Dodo. 165. $100 to $300.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Your Own Sylvia:<br>Sylvia Plath’s letters to Ted Hughes and other items,<br>Property of Frieda Hughes<br>9 to 21 July 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Family photograph album ("The Hughes family Album"), 1957-1962. £30,000 to £50,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Typed letter signed, to Ted Hughes, on "my own private doctrine", with a poem, 5 October 1956. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Pen and ink portrait of Ted Hughes, [1956]. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Your Own Sylvia:<br>Sylvia Plath’s letters to Ted Hughes and other items,<br>Property of Frieda Hughes<br>9 to 21 July 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. Joint autograph letter signed, to William and Edith Hughes, March 1960. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Photographic portrait by David Bailey, inscribed by Plath, 1961, and another press photo. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Tarot de Marseille. Deck of cards owned by Sylvia Plath. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Pair of gold wedding rings. £6,000 to £8,000.

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