Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2009 Issue

<i>What Katy Did</i> - A Recognition of Feminism from Randall House Rare Books

Randall30

What Katy (and thousands of others) did.


By Michael Stillman

This month we review one of the most extensive catalogues on a subject we have seen: What Katy Did. A Recognition of Feminism in the American Experience. This is an exceptional catalogue, long in the making, long in the offerings. Randall House Rare Books has come up with over one thousand items, all pertaining to or written by women. They aren't necessarily "feminist," though many pertain to the long struggles for women's rights. What you will find here are many famous and important women, as writers or subjects. They range from the 1960's and 70's New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug, known for fighting for women's and others' rights (and for her large hats), to Babe Didrickson Zaharias, the marvelous woman athlete from the first half of the 20th century, an all around competitor whose biggest mark was made in golf. Here are just a few of the very many items Randall House has put together.

Item 971 ties together two remarkable women fighters for abolition: Harriet Beecher Stowe and Sojourner Truth. Stowe was the novelist whose Uncle Tom's Cabin brought the horrors of slavery front and center for all to see in the decade before the Civil War. Truth was a campaigner for freedom, a woman born into slavery in upstate New York (in 1793, slavery still existed in the North) who, despite being uneducated and illiterate, became a major speaker for abolition. Offered is the April 1863 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, containing Stowe's tribute to Truth, Sojourner Truth, the Libyan Sibyl. Priced at $100.

Hannah Duston was an early fighter for freedom - her own - and the Indians rued the day they messed with her. Hannah and her family were living in rural Haverhill, Massachusetts, when a group of Indians came calling with unfriendly intentions. Most of the family escaped, but Hannah, her nurse, and her few week old baby were captured and forced to march north. When the baby slowed them down, one of the Indians took it and smashed its head against a tree. Hannah would get her revenge. Hannah, her nurse, and a 14-year-old boy captured earlier were sent with a group of 12 Indians to continue the arduous journey through snow and mud to Canada. One night, they camped on an island in New Hampshire. The Indians (only two of whom were men, the rest being women and children) got a bit careless and went to sleep with no guard. Hannah and the boy grabbed the Indians' tomahawks. With spectacular efficiency, Hannah killed nine of them, the boy one, and one Indian woman and child escaped. Hannah and her companions set down the river in a canoe when she realized no one would believe their story. She quickly reversed course, scalped the Indians, and returned with the evidence (which was also needed for her to secure a reward). Hannah's story was first written up by Cotton Mather, of all people, in 1702. Item 273 is Heroism of Hannah Duston... by Robert B. Caverly, published in 1874. Hannah was a hero in her hometown for centuries, but her story makes us a bit more squeamish today. $100.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> hand-painted collage. Sold for a record $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Couple passing a giant bird house,</i> watercolor cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1948. Sold for $16,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Miriam Troop, <i>Rain on Laundry Day,</i> oil on canvas, cover for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1940. Sold for $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Rockwell Kent, <i>To All Fascists,</i> ink broadside for The League of American Writers, circa 1937. Sold for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Jo Mielziner, <i>Pet Shop Drop,</i> backdrop design for <i>Pal Joey</i> on Broadway, 1940. Sold for a record $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Lee Brown Coye, acrylic cover illustration for the 25th anniversary of <i>Weird Tales,</i> 1944. Sold for $18,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Virgil Finlay, <i>The Outsider & Others,</i> pen & ink dust jacket illustration for H.P. Lovecraft's book, 1939. Sold for $5,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Al Hirschfeld, <i>Paul Robeson as Othello,</i> illustration for <i>The New York Times,</i> 1942. Sold for $68,750
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Frederic Remington, pen & ink illustration for <i>A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers</i> in <i>The Century</i> magazine, 1889. Sold for $17,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> EARLY AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE. Chronicling 20th century aviation from the earliest Wright Brothers images through commercial and military applications. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> FIRST TELEPHONE CALL TO THE MOON. Partial transcription signed by Apollo 11 astronauts and President Nixon. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> SPUTNIK-1 EMC/EMI LAB MODEL, 1957. Full scale vintage test model of the Sputnik-1 satellite, Moscow, [February, 1957]. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> Apollo 11 Beta cloth crew emblem, SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE APOLLO 11 CREW. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> GEMINI 1/8 SCALE MODEL. Rarely seen large-scale contractor's model. $3,000 to $5,000
    <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.

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