Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2013 Issue

David Lesser Offers Rare Americana

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Rare Americana #134.

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books continues to move relentlessly forward in publishing new catalogues of Rare Americana, this latest being number 134. Lesser's catalogues are always a fascinating read for those who collect Americana. They contain mostly shorter form material, a concentration in pamphlets and broadsides, relating to America primarily from shortly before the Revolution, to a little after the Civil War. Much is found from that time between the two wars, where America grew, and then fell apart. Here are a few items from this latest selection.

 

When you hear the name “John Deere” you probably think of tractors, but the original John Deere was a person, not a piece of farm equipment. Actually, he made his name producing plows, and later other types of farm machinery, but he died before the development of tractors. Item 45 is titled Supreme Court of Illinois. April Term, A. D., 1861. John Deere, vs. James Chapman. Evidently, Mr. Chapman failed to pay his debt for equipment he bought from Deere, with the latter attempting to seize his home. This piece is one of the arguments made during this case. This proved to be a significant court case as the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the statutory exemption of a homestead from being seized to pay debts. Priced at $275.

 

There was a bitter labor battle being waged in Butte, Montana, in 1900. It pitted the Butte Clerks' Protective Union against the D. J. Hennessy Company, a large merchant, and even the Butte Miners' Union. The clerks' union had negotiated an early closing time with other merchants, but Hennessy refused to close early. The result was this broadside diatribe, where the clerks' union leaves few insults left unsaid in attacking the store and its “scab” employees. The broadside is headed The Hennessy Co. vs. Early Closing. The broadside urges readers “keep away from those stores, keep away from those filthy scab employees, and show the world you abhor perjured traitors. Enemies of your churches, enemies of your country, enemies of your unions, yes, enemies of your children yet unborn.” Who knew the horrors of staying open late, even on unborn future generations? Stores like Hennessy, it continues, “are death to individual enterprise... To independance [sic], self-reliance, ambition, ingenuity, manliness.” Despite the attempt to break the then new, elegant store, Hennessy's in Butte survived until 1980, and three other Hennessy's, all in Montana, continued under that name until 1998, when they were rebranded as Dillard's by their new owner. Item 95. $1,850.

 

Item 77 is Tract No. 6. The Duties and Dignities of American Freemen. It was published in 1843 by the New England Anti-Slavery Tract Association. It was written by the society's secretary and ardent abolitionist James C. Jackson. Jackson demonstrates how slavery has weakened the republican principles of America. Jackson had previously been a farmer, but became an anti-slavery publisher, and then, after a miraculous cure of chronic bad health he attributed to a spa, ran a major such facility and promoted healthy eating habits. He is credited with inventing the first breakfast cereal, which he called Granula. So, if you collect either material pertaining to abolition or breakfast cereal, this piece belongs in your collection, and if you collect both, you have hit the jackpot. $175.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500

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