Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2017 Issue

Manuscripts from the William Reese Company

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Manuscripts from the William Reese Company.

The William Reese Company has issued their Bulletin 46 of Manuscripts. It contains 34 items filled with handwritten notes. Many are historically significant and often fascinating to read. Most are of American origin or pertain to America. Not every one of those is from people beloved in America, such as the love letter from Benedict Arnold portrayed on the cover, but he was part of the country's history, good and bad. Here are a few selections.

 

That love letter from the lecherous old patriot soon-to-be traitor was written by the 36-year-old General to Lucy Knox, requesting she be a go-between to 16-year-old Betsy De Blois. Arnold had met Miss De Blois at the Knox home shortly before. In 1777, the recently widowed Arnold was still known for his victory at Saratoga, not the treachery that would later come. He sent Mrs. Knox a letter and trunk full of gowns to be delivered to the "beautiful...straight, tall, elegant...heavenly Miss Deblois." Miss De Blois rejected his advances and the following a year, the disappointed Arnold married Peggy Shippen of the Pennsylvania loyalist family. Item 1. Priced at $15,000.

 

How would you like an invitation to dine with the President? Before you answer, how about if it were President Thomas Jefferson? Here is such an invitation, but sadly, it wasn't written to you. Instead, it went to William Keteltas. It is a partially printed document, not all that personal. The printed part states, "Th: Jefferson requests the favour of _____ to dine with him ______ at half after three." The first blank is filled in with "W. Keteltas," the second with "on January 18th." Since the dining was to take place at the White House, it must have been some year from 1801-1808. Keteltas was an excitable, extremely pro-Republican (Jefferson's party) lawyer from New York with a reputation for always getting into battles with the other side. Either that, or attempts to secure appointments in the Jefferson administration, likely explain the invitation. As to what meal Jefferson had at 3:30 in the afternoon, I am uncertain – late lunch, early dinner, snacks? Perhaps he got a deal on an early bird special. Item 17. $3,250.

 

Johann (John) Sutter, a native of Switzerland, arrived in California in 1839. He obtained a land grant from Mexico for wilderness along the Sacramento River. He built a fort and created a settlement, which he called New Helvetia (now known as Sacramento). Despite the land grant, Sutter was evidently not pleased with Mexican rule as he supported the Bear Flag Revolt. However, Anglo Californians quickly joined the American side in the Mexican War. Sutter gave American forces under John Fremont access to his fort. On April 24, 1847, Sutter wrote this letter to his friend Fremont apologetically requesting compensation for the fort and the aid he provided to immigrant families (including survivors of the Donner Party). What no one knew at the time was that the following year, gold would be discovered at Sutter's mill, built to produce lumber for his settlement. That would be the end of attempts to create an agricultural settlement on the land. As a result of the find, the California Gold Rush was on, and the land would soon be overrun with prospectors. Item 30. $27,500.

 

Item 26 is a "spectacular" illustrated album from the British Challenger Expedition of 1872-1876. The Challenger Expedition was a scientific mission to discover information about the ocean, its depths, composition, temperatures, sea life, and more. Thousands of new species of plants and animals were discovered along the way. Eventually, 50 volumes worth of collected data would be published. The expedition crossed the Atlantic, dipped almost as far south as Antarctica as it rounded South America, crossed the Pacific to Australia, went as far east as Hong Kong, then to the Philippines, Japan, Hawaii, and back around South America on its way home. Along the way, it stopped at numerous ocean islands, most of which you will not recognize. It's route was hardly direct, backtracking or circuitously reaching various destinations as it sought to gather many ocean readings. One of those who participated in the entire journey was Benjamin Shephard. He was not the official artist, but rather, a cooper (barrel maker). Nonetheless, the man was a talented artist. His album contains 36 leaves, an illustrated (but uncolored) title page, and 35 pen and watercolor colored illustrations on the remaining pages. There are many images of the Challenger and other ships at various islands, port and coastal views, forts, towns, lighthouses (in the background), dredging the seafloor, a storm in the Gulf of Mexico, and several of icebergs near Antarctica. $150,000.

 

Declaration of Independence signer Dr. Benjamin Rush had to be brave enough to take some major risks in his life. Signing his name to that document put him in obvious danger during the Revolution. Then, during the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, he stayed in the city to minster to the sick despite the grave personal risk. However, we see he still worried about rather mundane perils. In 1803, he wrote to his wife, Julia, who was away, recounting news from Philadelphia and work on her "little farm." He then goes on to say, "John unkindly took my umbrella with him & left me a note to buy another for myself. I have not time to do so, nor do I know where to borrow one. From the want of it I have suffered from the rain this evening. To him it was an article of dress; to me it was a necessity of health." Having been tough enough to survive the epidemic, Rush survived the rain, living another ten years. We aren't sure who John was, other than a nervy guy, but Rush had 13 children, one with that name (and others with just about every other imaginable name), so he seems a possible culprit. Item 25. $3,750.

 

The William Reese Company may be reached at 203-789-8081 or amorder@reeseco.com. Their website is www.williamreesecompany.com.

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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