Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2018 Issue

Travels and Voyages from the William Reese Company

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Travels & Voyages.

The William Reese Company has issued a catalogue of Travels & Voyages. While Reese's major specialty is Americana, they note that very few of these travels came to or from America. There are a few exceptions, such as drawings and music composed on the Wilkes' Expedition to Antarctica, but most reach places outside of the Americas, particularly North America. They are mostly quite old, ranging from the 14th to the 19th century. You won't find trains, cars and airplanes employed here, but lots of boats. Here are a few of the selections.

 

We begin with a book that has nothing to do with North America, and yet it is most important to collections pertaining to that land. Item 122 is Polyhistor, Rerum Toto Orbe Memorabilium Thesaurus Locupletissismus, by Julius Solinus. Solinus lived in Rome in the third century, so naturally, he knew nothing about North America. His book was a geography and natural history, while touching on other things in the world such as it was known in the day. It continued to be popular into the age of printing. It was first printed in 1473, but this is a second edition from 1543 of an edition first published in 1538. It was edited by Sebastian Munster, a 16th century German cartographer, and herein lies its connection to North America. Over in the upper right corner of his map of Asia Major is a small slice of land he has labeled "Terra Incognita." This is the first depiction of the northwest coast of North America on a printed map. The section of coast features a small bay, some trees and hills. The map also displays a strait between North America and Asia two centuries before being explored by Bering. By this time, Munster realized that North America was a separate continent, but his depiction of the northwestern coast must have been essentially guesswork. Priced at $15,000

 

This next item is not as old as Solinus himself, but it is older than any of the printed works in this catalogue, or any printed books at all. It comes from the 14th century, and it consists of two leaves from one of the earliest manuscript accounts of one of the most famous journeys ever undertaken. It comes from Marco Polo's description of his journey to Asia in the late 13th century. Polo traveled with his father and uncle from Venice through Jerusalem, Turkey, Persia, India, and on to China. He left in 1271 and did not return until 24 years later. His was the first detailed account of the East by a westerner. Wars on the Italian peninsula when he returned led to Polo being imprisoned, affording time to write his account. He was released in 1299 and went on to have a successful career as a merchant until his death in 1324. These two leaves include the entirety of chapters 113-117, with parts of the adjoining chapters. They include Polo's visit to Tibet. The survival of these leaves represents a bit of good fortune. They were used as pastedowns in a later book. Experts have dated them to circa 1350, which would be only a generation after Marco Polo died, and a century before the invention of printing. Item 104. $250,000.

 

This next item does involve North America. It is a watercolor depiction of a battle between two American naval ships, one representing the United States of America, the other the Confederate States of America. The battle took place off the coast of France. Huh? The CSS Alabama was built clandestinely in Liverpool in 1862. The Confederate Navy was short on ships and needed help to build them. The Alabama's mission was to attack Union shipping all over the world. She never entered a Confederate port, the Union had them blockaded, but attacked primarily Union merchant shipping repeatedly for the next two years. It was hoped this would force the Union to pull ships away from its blockade (it did not). The Alabama had pulled into port at Cherbourg, France, for some repairs when the Union was finally able to track down this thorn in its side. The USS Kearsarge stationed herself outside the port. The Alabama was trapped. Her captain decided the only recourse was to issue a challenge. The Alabama proceeded out of the port, and in open waters, while thousands watched from the French shore, the two engaged in battle. It was a mismatch. Within an hour, the Alabama was disabled and began to sink. Her crew was rescued by the Kearsarge and other boats in the area, but the Alabama was no more. The most famous painting of this battle was done by Edouard Manet. The artist for item 26 is unknown, but the work is of excellent quality. $7,500.

 

Here is the tale of a "distressful" voyage, "distressful" being something of an understatement: The Melancholy Narrative of the Distressful Voyage and Miraculous Deliverance of Captain David Harrison, of the Sloop, Peggy, of New-York... The Peggy was sailing from the Azores to New York with a load of wine and brandy when a series of storms tore her sails to shreds. She could barely move, so for six weeks she drifted aimlessly. The crew soon ran out of provisions, and had no success trying to hook fish. Their one solace was the wine and brandy, of which they partook regularly. Eventually, they became so hungry that they turned to the only source of food remaining – themselves. The first victim was obvious to them, a black slave. They shot him and served him up, with a touch of gourmet cooking. They stewed him in wine. A few days later, now down to just six remaining, they determined another sacrifice was necessary. They drew lots, but before shooting the unlucky selectee, decided to wait until the next day in the hope that Divine Providence would intervene. It did. They spotted a ship in the distance, signaled, and it came to their rescue before the second execution was needed. This account was written by the captain, David Harrison, and published in 1766. Item 60. $10,000.

 

Next is a one-of-a-kind from America's first significant exploration outside of its boundaries. It is a manuscript album from the United States Exploring Expedition, better known as the Wilkes Expedition. The purpose of the voyage was to gather much oceanographic and scientific information, while building America's reputation on the world stage. The number of specimens and data collected was staggering during its four years of travel. Major stops were in Antarctica, the Pacific Islands, and the coast of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Item 35 is not an account of the voyage, but rather, a manuscript titled The Nativity and Other Music. It was composed shipboard from 1841-1842. It consists of original music and watercolors created by expedition scientist James D. Dana and Acting Surgeon James C. Palmer. There are eight songs, four of which are accompanied by original artwork. The songs feature events experienced on the voyage and were likely performed on board as entertainment for the crew. $60,000.

 

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>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 27, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Cartwright (George). <i>A Journal of Transactions and Events, during a Residence of nearly Sixteen Years on the Coast of Labrador...,</i> first edition, with A.L.s. from the author, 1792. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Swift (Jonathan). <i>Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World,</i> 2 vol., first edition, Teerink's "A" edition, Printed for Benj. Motte, 1726. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Fourier (Jean Baptiste Joseph). <i>Theorie Analytique de la Chaleur,</i> first edition, Paris, chez Firmin Didot, 1822. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 27, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Boccaccio (Giovanni). <i>Genealogiae Deorum,</i> additions by Dominicus Silvester and Raphael Zovenzonius, Venice, Vindelinus de Spira, 1472. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Mary I. Letter signed at the head "Marye the Quene" to Lord Paget, 1 page, 7th June 1556. The recall from exile of nine persons opposed to the Marian regime. £10,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Nelson (Horatio). Autograph Letter signed "Horatio Nelson" and written to Francis Drake, British Minister at Genoa, discussing the disposition of his "Cruizers" near Genoa. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 27, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Darwin (Charles). Unpublished Autograph Letter signed to Walter Raleigh Browne, playing down his scientific knowledge of comparative anatomy, 1881. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Murphew (J.). <i>The fair in an uproar, or, the dancing-doggs.</i> As they perform in Mr. Pinkeman's New Opera in Bartholomew Fair, 1707. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Chaucer (Geoffrey). <i>The Workes,</i> by [Nicholas Hill for] Thomas Petit, dwellyng in Paules churche yarde at the sygne of the Maydens heed, 1550. £7,000 to £10,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 27, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Austen (Jane). <i>Emma: A Novel,</i> 3 vol., first edition, 1816. £7,000 to £10,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>Stamboul Train,</i> first edition, first issue, 1932. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Churchill.- Fearon (Percy Hutton) "Poy". “Eat More Beef,” pen and ink cartoon with shading in blue pencil, [July 1928]. £400 to £600
  • <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>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000

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