Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2009 Issue

Broadsides and Broadsheets from the William Reese Company

Reese267

American Broadsides & Broadsheets from the William Reese Co.


By Michael Stillman

The William Reese Company has issued one of its occasional catalogues of American Broadsides and Broadsheets. These are single sheets, broadsides being printed on only one side, broadsheets on both, and were generally either posted or handed out. In the days when newspapers were fewer and not too widely read, much of the news of the day was disseminated through these sheets. Naturally, they were also widely used for advertising, a use still common today. William Reese has collected just under 100 special broad sides and sheets for this catalogue of early Americana.

The estate sale notice on the cover of the catalogue would not seem so unusual were not human beings one of the items offered for sale. The broadside announces a PUBLIC SALE On the 17th day of July 1832, Will be sold at the late residence of Jacob Sodowsky, Sen. dec'd. the following property, viz: NEGROES, Men, Women and Children, from 15 to 20 in number, with Horses, Hogs, Sheep and Cattle... Jacob Sodowsky was an early settler of Kentucky, a respected farmer who reportedly was one of the first white men to traverse the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers all the way to New Orleans in a canoe. He was escaping from hostile Indians. There is a theory that Sandusky, Ohio, was named (or misnamed) for Sodowsky, but that is unlikely. The executor for the sale was Jacob's son, Ephraim Sodowsky, who continued to live in the house and till the land for the remaining 20 years of his life. Item 82. Priced at $5,000.

Unfriendly Indians weren't the only dangers to be faced along the banks of the Ohio in the Kentucky wilderness. Item 41 is an account of A Monstrous Serpent. Discovered and Killed in January, 1815, Near the Banks of the Ohio, in Kentucky... A group of soldiers discovered this 22-foot long serpent, as thick as the largest man's thigh. The soldiers did battle with the monster, and while one of their dogs gave his life in the fight, they finally managed to subdue the serpent and chop off his head. The skin was sent to a museum in Philadelphia, which evidently used this broadside as a promotion. A drawing of the creature adorns the notice. $11,000.

Item 4 is a 1776 broadside from Hopestill Capen, a conscientious loyalist in Revolutionary America. Capen was not a particular supporter of the British cause. His issue was his religious beliefs. As a member of the Sandemanian Presbyterian sect, he believed the Bible commanded him to be loyal to the government in power. As he explains, if the colonists are successful in changing the government, he will support the new one with "chearfulness," but until such time as there is a change, he is duty-bound to support the British. Most Sandemanians skipped the country, for despite the reasonableness of Capen's arguments, he was forced to write his appeal from prison in Boston. Capen eventually left the country, but later returned and operated a shop until his death in 1807 in the building that currently houses Boston's famed Union Oyster House. $20,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.

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