Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2009 Issue

Mexico and Latin America from Plaza Books

Plaza26

Works from Mexico and Latin America from Plaza Books.


By Michael Stillman

Plaza Books has issued List 26, forty-seven items within their specialty. That specialty is Latin American books, primarily those pertaining to Mexico. There are items published during each of the past four centuries, and they describe the land south of the United States all the way back to pre-Spanish times. Here are a few of the items Plaza has to offer.

Item 34 provides one of the earliest looks at Mexico, though it was not published until 1829-30. The author, Fr. Bernardino de Sahagun, was one of the first Franciscans to go to Mexico. He gathered much of his information from Aztecs still living in the area, and wrote the original drafts in Nahuatl, the native language. He later translated his accounts into Spanish and sent them back to Spain, where they were lost for many years. That explains the much later publication of his 11-volume account, Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva Espana. Priced at $2,000.

To learn more about the conquest of Mexico, item 14 is The True History of the Conquest of Mexico, by Bernal Diaz del Castillo. This is the first English language edition of this history, published in 1800. $1,150.

You don't usually find books pertaining to Mexico written in French, but there is a good reason for this one. Item 21 is John de Havilland's Le Mexique sous la Maison de Hapsbourg. De Havilland was an ardent royalist, and in this 1863 work, he calls for the establishment of a Hapsbourg emperor in Mexico. He argues against democracy, citing the U.S. Civil War as an example of what can go wrong with that form of government. De Havilland was also a strong Confederate sympathizer. Maximilian is not mentioned by name, but we now know that the author soon got his wish when the French established Maximilian on the thrown of Mexico. This imposed royalty was short lived, Maximilian being overthrown and executed a few years later. $500.

The primary instigator of Maximilian's downfall was revolutionary leader Benito Juarez. Item 23 is a letter Juarez wrote to Antonio Ochoa, dated January 31, 1865. It concerns the location of some of his troops and those of Maximilian. Two years later, Maximilian's forces were defeated and Juarez resumed his presidency of Mexico. $1,950.

Item 5 is the first Mexican cookbook printed in Mexico: Novisimo Arte de Cocina... by Simon Blanquel. This is an 1845 edition of a book first published in 1831, but still in print as late as 1893. You won't find any tacos, enchiladas or Taco Bell fare in this catalogue, but rather delicacies that were actually consumed in the land more than a century ago. $2,500.

Item 1 is A Voyage Round the World, in the Years 1740-44... by George Anson (compiled by Richard Walter). Anson set out to South America to disrupt Spanish shipping, though it was his mission that was terribly disrupted. He lost five out of six ships and most of his men. However, late in his journey, he intercepted a Spanish vessel laden with coins and returned to England a wealthy man. Offered is an eighth edition from 1756 (this was a popular book as the first was only published in 1748). It contains three maps, including one of the last of California to still show it as being an island. $1,050.

Plaza Books may be reached at 707-546-3544 or plazabks@sonic.net. Their website is located at www.plazabooks.com.

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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