Rare Americana from<br>David M. Lesser Books
Many people believe Rutherford Hayes stole the 1876 election. Not so say the unknown authors of this folded sheet headed Review of the Presidential Campaign. Rutherford B. Hayes and William A. Wheeler The Choice of the American People. In it they “prove” how Republican states were given to Tilden, the precise opposite of what everyone else believes happened. Tilden and the Democrats are accused of “supreme wickedness,” “crowning deviltry,” and “an appalling reign of terrorism to wrest the States of Louisiana and Florida from their popular Republican majorities.” If this had been written in 2004 instead of 1876, these guys would be on talk radio. They go on to ask of Tilden “Has the man a soul?” I don’t know whether Tilden had a soul, but he did have most of the votes. Hayes’ presidency would always be under a cloud because of the way in which he was “elected.” Item 67. $175.
Would you like to be able to read minds? Tell fortunes? You can, and the secrets are all in S.H. Mellott’s book on Telepathy… published in 1899 by the American School of Magnetic Healing. Mellott explains that “all may obtain this power,” which means you can too for the modest price of $250. Item 114. Let us know if it works.
Slavery is at the center of much of America’s history and this unfortunate fact is reflected in many of the books offered. One of the earlier attacks on this “peculiar” institution focused on the slave trade in the District of Columbia. The presence of this odious institution right there in the nation’s capitol where visiting dignitaries would come was particularly obnoxious to those who abhorred this practice. This 4-page Circular to the Friends of Humanity Throughout the United States, who are opposed to the Continuance of Slavery in the District of Columbia… calls for an end to slavery in Washington. “No man can picture to himself the Capitol of his country, without seeing under its eaves the manacles, and chains, and whips, and bleeding backs of the internal slave trade.” This is still early in the abolition movement (1835) and the author is careful to try to reduce the controversy of the appeal by saying the petition is not asking Congress to interfere with slavery in the states, only in Washington. Item 9. $450.
By 1846, abolitionism had risen to a much more intense level. Item 8 is a printed letter sent out by the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society soliciting funds to publish all kinds of works, including those targeted to infants, children, and Sunday school students, opposing slavery. It is no longer just a Washington issue but now a national concern. $250.
1846 also saw the publishing of the first and only The American Liberty Almanac. The Liberty Party was formed in the late 1830s and made a half-hearted presidential run in 1840. However, by 1844, it had become more of a force, and its presidential candidate, James Birney, captured over 2% of the vote. This was not sufficient to win him any electors, but it is likely that he siphoned off enough northern votes from the Whig Henry Clay to throw the close election to Democrat James K. Polk. A Ralph Naderesque kind of guy. Item 104. $175.