Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2008 Issue

Colonial Americana from the William Reese Co.

Reese260

Colonial Americana from the William Reese Company.



By Michael Stillman

Americana bookseller the William Reese Company goes back to America's earliest days with their 260th catalogue, Colonial Americana. A few items even go back to the pre-Pilgrim days, such as accounts of Champlain's explorations. From there we go to the Jesuit Relations of life in the west, while the Mathers (father, son, and grandfather) make numerous appearances in late 17th, early 18th century New England. Explorations continue along the Atlantic colonies as we move further into the 1700s, and then mid-century, war breaks out, British colonists versus the French and Indians. That conflict won, relations quickly break down between the colonists and the mother country, and the later works bring us up to the brink of revolution. For those who collect America before the revolution, Reese offers a catalogue of 200 plus 1 items for your consideration.

Item 100 is the very rare second, and first obtainable, Jesuit Relation. These were the reports from Jesuit missionaries in the field of what was then the North American far west. This Relation, prepared by Paul Le Jeune, was published in Paris in 1634. The Relations were published from 1632-1680, and gave the earliest looks at the American interior at a time when it was still known as New France, and native customs were still mostly unaffected by western influences. Priced at $75,000.

Preachers attributing natural and unnatural calamities upon the American nation to the sinfulness of its people is nothing new. In 1755, Massachusetts Governor William Shirley saw the outbreak of the French and Indian War as America's punishment for its misbehavior. To repent, and hopefully avert the coming "calamity" of war, he issued this broadside: By His Excellency William Shirley, Esq....A Proclamation for a Publick Fast. Shirley hoped that if the colonists asked for God's forgiveness of their sins and participated in a fast, their "French neighbors" and "Indian savages," who had "unjustly and perfidiously invaded" their land, might withdraw. Evidently, the colonists did not respond with sufficient humility, for the war went on another seven years, but on the bright side, the British and their American colonists won the war and expelled the French from North America. Item 63. $4,500.

Item 180 is a copy of the document which ended that war, The Definitive Treaty of Peace and Friendship... The removal of the French would open the door to British expansion as far west as the Mississippi, where the Spanish were granted control. The celebrating British could not have imagined that rather than permanent victory, this was the beginning of the end to their American colonies. $10,000.

The ink was hardly dry on the treaty before the initial stirrings of discontent began to arise in America. The French and Indian War had cost the mother country plenty of money, and not unreasonably, the British Parliament felt the colonists should partake in those expenses since they had enjoyed the benefits. This view was not entirely shared by the colonists, especially the idea of taxes being imposed upon them without their consent. When a stamp tax, which would tax entirely internal transactions within the colonies, rather than foreign trade, was proposed in 1764, Connecticut Governor Thomas Finch wrote this pamphlet: Reasons Why the British Colonies in America, Should Not be Charged with Internal Taxes, by Authority of Parliament; Humbly Offered... This was a polite argument against taxing internal transactions, and against taxation without representation. Parliament ignored Finch and passed the Stamp Act the following year, which resulted in a much less "humble" response from the colonists, and a breakdown in relations between the two sides that would only be resolved through revolution. Item 55. $1,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Jean de Mandeville, <i>Reysen und Wanderschafften durch das Gelobte Land,</i> Strassburg, 1488. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> José González Cabrera Bueno, <i>Navegación Especulativa, y Práctica,</i> Manila, 1734. Sold for $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. Sold for $65,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Louise Bourgeois, <i>He Disappeared Into Complete Silence,</i> portfolio with complete text & 9 engravings, 1947. Sold for $413,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Erich Maria Remarque, <i>All Quiet on the Western Front,</i> first American edition, Boston, 1929. Sold for $9,375.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Sir William Russell Flint, gouache & watercolor illustration for Homer's <i>Odyssey,</i> 1924. Sold for $22,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Kurt Vonnegut, archive of 12 letters, signed to his family, 6 illustrated, 1930s-40s. Sold for $12,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Oscar Wilde, <i>Lady Windermere's Fan,</i> first edition, presentation copy, signed & inscribed, London, 1893. Sold for $27,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Emil Cardinaux, <i>St. Moritz,</i> 1918. Sold for $17,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> R.J. Waters, 3 panoramas of the San Francisco earthquake & fire, 1906. Sold for $21,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Album with 200 cartes-de-visite, including images by Felice Beato, John Thompson & F.W. Sutton, Japan & China, 1863-69. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. Sold for $40,000.
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> KNIGHT, HILARY. The Original Portrait of Eloise that Hung at the Plaza Hotel. $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> WARHOL, ANDY. "Iced Lemon Delight," an Original Watercolor Presented to Hilary Knight's cat, Phoebe $8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> SENDAK, MAURICE. <i>Where the Wild Things Are.</i> PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED with drawing to Hilary Knight in the month following publication. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> NOLAND, KENNETH. Original circle painting, untitled, acrylic and ink on cloth, for cover of monograph $8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> TOULOUSE-LAUTREC. <i>Histoires Naturelles,</i> 1899. With 22 original lithographs. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>A Collection of Poems,</i> [1711]. The first authoritative and complete collected Sonnets.$15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> LONDON, JACK. <i>The Call of the Wild.</i> 1903. First edition, first state jacket. $2,000 to 3,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> FROST, ROBERT. Autograph Manuscript of "Build Soil," 12 pp, 1932-1936. $15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> GOULD, GLENN. Glenn Gould's extensively annotated copy of Bach's Goldberg Variations $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> PLATH, SYLVIA. EARLY Autograph Letter Signed, about her beginnings as a writer, Northampton, MA, 1951. $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> HOUDINI, HARRY. A collection of 11 cast iron shackle and lock items from Houdini's personal collection. $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> M4 ENGIMA MACHINE, with very rare RARE HYDRA KEY ENVELOPE. $400,000 to 600,000

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