Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2003 Issue

Catalogue Review: Periodicals<br>From William Reese Company


Periodicals catalogue from William Reese Co.

By Mike Stillman

Catalogue 228 is an unusual venture for the William Reese Company. Noted for handling many of the most important books and manuscripts of American history for the past quarter century, this catalogue turns its attention to some of the smallest and obscure of printed material. The catalogue's title is "Periodicals 1890 V 2000," and it is a collection of 919 listings of periodicals and little magazines.

You won't find any copies of Time Magazine or National Geographic in this collection of periodicals. Most likely, you won't have heard of most of them. These are primarily literary publications, with a few political and other intellectual journals added to the mix. A few survived for a decent amount of time, but most had relatively short lives, in many cases never making it past volume 1 number 1. Many reflect the literary and political environments of their times, such as radical politics in the 1930s. The works of well-known writers are often found in these obscure, short-lived journals. Besides those who collect periodicals, this catalogue should be reviewed by anyone who collects 20th century literary figures. It may also be of interest to those who collect local imprints as many were published from small communities across the U.S., frequently college towns, as well as several foreign cities.

An example of the short-lived is Aesthete 1925, a one-shot publication created as a satirical response to an article in the first "American Mercury." Contributors to this publication included Allen Tate and William Carlos Williams. Item 19. Three copies available, priced at $125, $350, and $500.

Some of the titles are amusing, even if the publications themselves weren't sufficiently appealing to garner large audiences. There's The Ant's Forefoot, published in Toronto in 1971 ($20), Angry Penguins, Adelaide, Australia, 1941 ($25), or Suck-Egg Mule, Taos, New Mexico, 1951 ($55).

An example of radical politics is The Anvil Stories for Workers, later subtitled The Proletarian Fiction Magazine. Twelve out of the thirteen issues are offered in this run. The publishing dates, from 1933-1935, in the heart of the Depression, are not unexpected for radical political views. Item 61. $650. A shorter run is offered for $400 and a single issue for $40. Another unhappy sign of the times is Americana, another periodical published briefly during the early 1930s. The editors state that they "are Americans who believe that our civilization exudes a miasmic stench and that we had better prepare to give it a decent but rapid burial." Evidently the Depression made people a bit cranky. Among its contributors was e. e. cummings. Offered is volume 1 number 1 from 1932. $60.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.

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