Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2008 Issue

Recent and Varied Acquisitions at John Michael Lang Fine Books

Lang24

List 24 from John Michael Lang Fine Books.


By Michael Stillman

John Michael Lang Fine Books
has released a new list of books available, Recent Acquisitions List 24. These are not long lists, but nonetheless include a wide range of materials that can fit with many different collections. You never quite know what you will find in one of these lists. Among the topics covered this time are literature, railroads, the Civil War, miniature books, art, photography, Native Americans, personal letters, anti-Chinese riots, western Americana, travel, film, fore-edge paintings, children's books, architecture, and kissing. Let's take a look.

Item 23 is a book filled with photogravure images of the Pacific Northwest at the turn of the century. The title is Art Work of Seattle & Alaska, with photographs by W.D. Harney, Frank H. Nowell, Asahel Curtis and others. It was published by the W.D. Harney Photogravure Company of far-off Racine, Wisconsin, in 1907. It includes pictures of scenic wilderness, Indians, mines, the Seattle waterfront, and most interestingly, Roald Amundsen and the crew of the ship Gjoa. Amundsen and his men began the first successful voyage through the long-sought Northwest Passage in 1903, entering from the Atlantic side. They became the first to make it through to the other end late in 1905. This photograph was likely taken the following year. As significant as this journey was, finally achieving what four centuries worth of earlier attempts had failed to do, Amundsen is even better known for the journey he took in 1911, where he became the first man to reach the South Pole. This book is priced at $650.

The tragedy of America's Civil War still moves people's emotions to this day. Perhaps that is why that war is still so heavily collected. Item 5 is a collection of five handwritten letters from a Union soldier from Wisconsin to the folks back home. In the first letter Albert D. Knapp writes from Fort Snelling in Minnesota that he has signed up for duty. In the second, he expresses his enthusiasm for the task: "I hope we have the privilege of charging on Richmond." Next, he writes of his journey from home to Louisville, where "about one hundred negro girls with flags [followed] us through the streets." He notes that the people of Louisville are "very kind," although there is some secessionist sentiment. He now begins to express some concern about "falling in battle." By the next letter, he reports that he has become ill with some sort of bad fever and that other soldiers have been stricken with the measles. He inquires of family whether he ever had the disease, as other soldiers were now being "vexinated" against it. By the fifth letter, he articulates some concerns about war profiteering and the poor quality of their arms, and notes that his duties have still been limited to drilling and guarding bridges. Sickness evidently still plagues the camp, but he predicts "if I live till next year I will see Wisconsin again." Knapp did not see Wisconsin again. Within three months of this letter of January 27, 1862, he came down with typhoid and died, apparently without ever seeing combat. Knapp was 17 or 18 years old. Lang points out that in the Third Minnesota Infantry with which he served, only 17 enlisted men died in action, while 275 succumbed to disease. $875.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <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>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> George Washington ADS, One of the Earliest in His Hand, A Survey from 1752, the Same Year He Inherited Mount Vernon.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Rare JFK Signed Check & Transmittal Letter During Campaign for 1956 VP Nomination, Both BAS Slabbed; Possibly A Unique Combo!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Daniel Boone Signed Receipt as VA Delegate; During His 1st of 3 Terms, Boone Was Kidnapped by British Forces Gunning for Gov. T. Jefferson & Other Legislators.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Benjamin Franklin Signed Receipt for “Pennsylvania Gazette,” Important & Beautifully Displayed
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Lincoln & His Civil War Cabinet: 8 Signatures, Beautifully Presented!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> G.A. Custer ALS from Fort Lincoln, Dakota Territory to Capt. Yates, Who Also Died at Little Bighorn, Re: Acquiring “good horses” from Kentucky for 7th Cavalry.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Jefferson Davis ALS: “the negroes are humble and generally inclined to cling to their masters…neither crop or stock could be protected from their thieving” – Incredible!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Lee Harvey Oswald Signed Letter: “if we finally get back to the states…maybe we’ll…settle in Texas,” Warren Commission Exhibit.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Babe Ruth First Edition Biography Signed Just Months Before His Death, Excellent Signature!
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> “B Arnold” ANS on Pre-Revolutionary War Promissory Note Dating From His Days as a New Haven Merchant
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Bob Dylan Signed LP “Blonde on Blonde” with Jeff Rosen COA.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Marilyn Monroe & Joe DiMaggio Signed Checks, Handsomely Displayed.

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