Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2008 Issue

More Rare and Unusual Americana from David Lesser Antiquarian Books

Lesser106

Rare Americana from David M. Lesser.


By Michael Stillman

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books has issued their 106th catalogue of Rare Americana. It is, as usual, filled with interesting American works from the 18th and 19th centuries. These are mostly pamphlets, often obscure, with politics and theology the most prominent subjects. Other subjects include the law, government, railroads, education, slavery, medicine, prison, and even a few personal disputes. Polemics which helped elect William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor to the presidency are offered. Unfortunately, neither lived long enough to make much of an impact. However, a speech at Cooper Union in New York that is offered propelled a former Congressman from Illinois named Abraham Lincoln to a most eventful presidency. There is much of great interest awaiting the Americana collector this month.

Religious freedom may have been a calling card for the early Puritans, but that applied only to their own religious freedom, not that of others. Howes, in describing this item, wrote, "Witch-hunting was bad; this was worse." The persecution of the Quakers is well described in this work's title: New-England Judged by the Spirit of the Lord. In Two Parts. First, Containing a Brief Relation of the Sufferings of the People Call'd Quakers in New-England, from the Time of their First Arrival There, in the Year 1656, to the Year 1660. Wherein their Merciless Whippings, Chainings, Finings, Imprisonings, Starvings, Burning in the Hand, Cutting Off Ears, and Putting to Death, with Divers Other Cruelties, Inflicted upon the Bodies of Innocent Men and Women, only for Conscience Sake... You get the point. The unfortunate point is that it all happened. Included with this is Part Two plus An Answer to Cotton Mather's Abuses of the Said People... The charming Mather, who looked the other way during the Salem witch hysteria and then claimed to have had nothing to do with it, was equally unpleasant to the Quakers. Item 18 is the first edition of George Bishop's work to include both parts, published in London in 1703. Priced at $1,750.

Thomas Bacon, a minister from Maryland, held views similar to the aforementioned Mather with regard to slavery. Mather, in seeming enlightenment, believed slaves should be taught in the Christian religion as well as how to read. Most slave owners were afraid to teach their slaves to read for fear of what they might learn. However, Mather also believed blacks were being punished for the sins of some distant ancestors, so he supported the institution of slavery. His reasoning for educating slaves was his belief that educated slaves, particularly those who believed further punishment awaited them for not accepting their fate, would be more dutiful servants. Bacon, in his Sermons Addressed to Masters and Servants, and Published in the Year 1743, by the Rev. Thomas Bacon... encourages the education of slaves. He too, however, then informs them that God will be displeased if they are not obedient to their masters. Their reward will will have to wait for next world. Item 9 is an 1813 republication of Bacon's original work and a few others of a similar vein by Bishop William Meade, who encourages the education of slaves for all the wrong reasons. $500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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