Rare Americana Books, Manuscripts & More for Sale Online
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First Octavo Edition of the The Birds of America from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories; In the Rare Original Publisher's Morocco
New York: Published by J.J. Audubon, 1840.
First octavo edition of this landmark work. Octavo, bound in original publisher’s morocco, 7 volumes, gilt titles and ruling to the spine, marbled endpapers, complete with 500 hand-colored lithographed plates by J.T. Bowen after J.J. Audubon; woodcuts in the text. From the library of Boston businessman and Ambassador T. Jefferson Coolidge, with his bookplate to the front pastedown. Coolidge was born to a prominent Boston Brahmin family and was a great-grandson of the 3rd United States President Thomas Jefferson, through his maternal grandparents, Thomas Mann Randolph Jr. and Martha Jefferson Randolph. His uncles were Thomas Jefferson Randolph, George Wythe Randolph, Andrew Jackson Donelson, and a relative of Calvin Coolidge. He was an uncle to Archibald Cary Coolidge through his older brother, Joseph Randolph Coolidge. He was appointed by President Benjamin Harrison as United States Ambassador to France on May 12, 1892, a role his great-grandfather had held from May 1785 to September 1789. Coolidge presented his credentials on June 10, 1892 and he presented his recall on May 4, 1893, terminating his mission. In 1898 and 1899, he was a member of the American delegation to the commission to resolve the Alaska boundary dispute. Historian Ernest May says Coolidge was, “a prototype member of what today we call the foreign policy establishment.” In 1898, Coolidge donated a collection of Thomas Jefferson’s personal papers to the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston. The collection contained more than 8,000 items: Correspondence, including 3,280 letters that Jefferson had written and 4,630 letters that he had received; Jefferson’s garden book (1766-1824) and farm book (1774-1824); annotated almanacs from 1771-1776; account books for 1783-1790; manuscript expense accounts from 1804-1825; notes on the weather spanning the years 1782-1826; plans of American forts in 1765; law treatises, 1778-1788; legal papers, 1770-1772; and Jefferson’s 1783 catalog of his personal library. In near fine condition. An exceptional set with noted provenance, rare in the original publisher’s morocco.
Price: $75,000.00 Item Number: 111832
"One of the best-written and convincing pieces in the Anti-Federalist canon": Rare First Edition of Observations Leading to a Fair Examination of the System of Government from the Federal Farmer to the Republican
Observations Leading to a Fair Examination of the System of Government, Proposed by the Late Convention; and to Several Essential and Necessary Alterations in it. In a Number of Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican.
New York: 1787.
Rare first edition of the definitive and most important work in the Anti-Federalist canon; the antithesis of the The Federalist Papers. Octavo, bound in the original calf over original boards with six raised bands, edges speckled red. In very good condition. An exceptional example.
Price: $72,000.00 Item Number: 106800
Rare collection of the works of Thomas Paine; finely bound with a rare early printing of John Quincy Adams' response to Paine's Rights of Man
Common Sense: Addressed to the Inhabitants of America, Plain Truth, Rights of Man Parts I & II, and An Answer to Pain’s Rights of Man.
J. Almon, J.S. Jordan, and J. Stockdale: London, 1776-1793.
Finely bound collection of the works of Thomas Paine, including the rare first British editions of Common Sense and Plain Truth (London: J. Almon, 1776), second editions of Rights of Man Parts I & II (London: J.S. Jordan, 1791-1792), complete with half-titles present, and a rare early printing of John Quincy Adams’ response to Paine’s Rights of Man (London: J. Stockdale, 1793), attributed to his father John Adams and written when John Quincy Adams was 26 years old. Octavo, bound in three quarters morocco over marbled boards with gilt titles and tooling to the spine, red morocco spine label, all edges speckled black. In near fine condition. A rare and desirable collection.
Price: $60,000.00 Item Number: 96237
“Give me liberty, or give me death": Scarce 1776 separate edition of the Large Additions to Common Sense
Philadelphia: Printed and sold, by R. Bell in Third-Street, 1776.
Scarce 1776 separate edition of the Large Additions to Common Sense. The title reads in full: Large Additions To Common Sense: Addressed To The Inhabitants Of America On The Following Interesting Subjects. I. The American Patriot’s Prayer. II. American Independancy, defended by Candidus. III. The Propriety of Independancy, by Demophilus The dread of Tyrants, and the sole resource Of those that under grim Oppression groan. Thomson. IV. A Review of the American Contest with some Strictures on the King’s Speech. Addressed to All Parents in the Thirteen United Colonies by a Friend To Posterity And Mankind. V. Letter to Lord Dartmouth, by an English American. VI. Observations on Lord North’s Conciliatory Plan, by Sincerus. To Which Is Added And Given An Appendix to Common Sense; Together with an Address to the People Called Quakers on their Testimony concerning Kings and Government and the Present Commotions in America. Octavo, bound in three quarters morocco over boards, gilt titles and five raised bands to the spine, marbled endpapers. In very good condition, internally very clean. Rare with only two examples appearing at auction in the last 80 years.
Price: $50,000.00 Item Number: 106523
“AMERICA’S FIRST GREAT SCIENTIFIC CONTRIBUTION”: Rare First Complete Edition of Franklin's Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Made at Philadelphia in America
Experiments and Observations on Electricity made at Philadelphia in America… To which are added, Letters and Papers on Philosophical Subjects. The Whole corrected, methodized, improved, and now first collected into one Volume, and Illustrated with Copper Plates.
London: Printed for David Henry and sold by Francis Newbery, 1769.
First complete edition of “the most important scientific book of 18th-century America” and “America’s first great scientific contribution” (PMM). Octavo, bound in contemporary half calf over marbled boards, morocco spine label. Advertisement & errata leaf inserted following preface. Illustrated with 7 copper-engraved plates, 2 of which are folding. In very good condition. First editions are rare, exceptionally so in a contemporary binding.
Price: $40,000.00 Item Number: 116750
Observations on Certain Documents Contained in No.V & VI of “The History of the United States for the Year 1796,” in which the Charge of Speculation against Alexander Hamilton, Late Secretary of the Treasury, is Fully Refuted.
Philadelphia: John Bioren for John Fenno, 1797.
Rare first edition of one of the major causes célèbres in American governmental history. Octavo, bound in contemporary morocco, marbled endpapers. In near fine condition. This first edition of 1797 is rare as it was bought up by the Hamilton family in an effort to suppress it, but was ultimately reprinted in 1800 by Hamilton’s political enemies. Housed in a custom half calf clamshell box.
Price: $35,000.00 Item Number: 52680
“THE MOST AMBITIOUS PUBLICATION EVER UNDERTAKEN, UP TO THAT TIME, UPON AMERICAN SOIL… RICHLY DESERVING OF ITS GREAT REPUTATION AT HOME AND ABROAD”: FIRST EDITION OF WEBSTER’S LANDMARK AMERICAN DICTIONARY, 1828
New York: Published by S. Converse. Printed by Hezekiah Howe, 1828.
Rare first edition of Webster’s monumental American Dictionary, one of only 2500 copies, with frontispiece portrait of the pioneering lexicographer, in full contemporary calf. Quarto, two volumes, bound in full contemporary calf, marbled endpapers, illustrated frontispiece, tissue guard present. In near fine condition, light toning to the text. Most rare and desirable bound in contemporary calf. An exceptional example, most rare without any restoration.
Price: $27,500.00 Item Number: 102755
Rare First Edition of Thomas Paine's Dissertations on Government, the Affairs of the Bank, and Paper-Money
Philadelphia: Printed by Charles Cist, 1786.
First edition of Paine’s defense of the Bank of North America. Small octavo, bound in three quarters leather over marbled boards with gilt titles and tooling to the spine. Rare.
Price: $25,000.00 Item Number: 104062
Exceptionally Rare Hand-written Letter Signed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a graduate student at Boston University in 1952
Hand-written autograph letter signed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to his academic adviser at Boston University Graduate School. The letter, dated September 1952 on an official Registrar Petition form addressed to the faculty reads: “I am desirous of taking twelve hours towards the PhD degree this semester in the Boston University Graduate School. My major field is Systematic theology. At present I have completed twenty-eight hours toward the degree, and passed the French examination. I plan to take the German examination in October, 1952. I would have taken the examination before now, but I wanted to make sure that I had an adequate background in German before taking it. For the past two years I have been a close student of German. In the light of this I am fairly certain that I can pass the examination in October. Martin L. King Jr. Graduate Student.” With faculty notes beneath signed by King’s academic adviser, “1952 L. Harold DeWolf. Approved. Granted for fall semester only.” King has also clearly printed his name on the verso, visible though an opening at in the back of the frame. Double matted and framed with a photograph of a young King. The entire piece measures 19 inches by 15 inches. An exceptionally rare example providing a remarkable glimpse into the iconic leader’s education.
Price: $25,000.00 Item Number: 82602
Rare Society of the Cincinnati membership certificate signed by George Washington as president of the society of the Cincinnati
Philadelphia: May 5th, 1784.
Rare autograph document signed by George Washington as President of the Society of the Cincinnati during the first general meeting of the Society and 5 years prior to his election and inauguration as the first President of the United States of America. One page partially printed on vellum with engraved vignettes by Auguste L. Belle after Jean-Jacques Andre LeVeau depicting America in knight’s armor trampling upon the British standard and the American eagle casting the British lion and Britannia out to sea with thunderbolts, engraved seal of the Order of the Cincinnati. The document reads: Be it known that Lieutenant William Andrews is a member of the society of the Cincinnati instituted by the Officers of the American Army at the Period of Dissolution, as well to commemorate the great Event which gave Independence to North American, as for the laudable Purpose of inculcating the Duty of laying down in Peace Arms assumed for public Defence, and of uniting in Acts of brotherly Affection and Bonds of perpetual Friendship the Members constituting the same. In Testimony whereof I, the President of the said Society have hereunto set my hand at Philadelphia in Pennsylvania this fifth day of may in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Four and in the Eighth Year of the Independence of the United States. By Order, ” “H.Knox” Secretary “G. Wahsington” President. William Andrews was commissioned a lieutenant on 1 January 1777 with the Third Continental Artillery. His regiment wintered at Valley Forge, andthe following June, Andrews was captured and held by the British in New York until he was exchanged in September 1781. In fine condition. Double matted and framed with an engraved portrait of Washington. The entire piece measures 36 inches by 23 inches. An exceptional example.
Price: $22,500.00 Item Number: 101412
"I have never advocated war except as a means of peace": Rare Henry Shrady Ulysses S. Grant Bronze Bust
Original bronze bust of Ulysses S. Grant by Henry Shrady, the famed sculptor of the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial on the west front of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Mounted on socle and base, the entire piece measures 18.5 inches in height. In fine condition. An exceptional piece of Americana.
Price: $22,500.00 Item Number: 102885
"I WILL FIRST ENDEAVOR TO GIVE SOME INFORMATION AS TO THE MANNER OF STRICTLY KEEPING A JEWISH HOUSE": Rare First Edition of The First Jewish Cookbook Printed in America
Jewish Cookery Book, on Principles of Economy, Adapted for Jewish Housekeepers, with the Addition of Many Useful Medicinal Recipes, and Other Valuable Information, Relative to Housekeeping and Domestic Management.
Philadelphia: W.S. Turner, 1871.
Rare first edition of the first Jewish cookbook published in America, with extensive instructions on keeping a kosher household in addition to recipes. Octavo, original cloth. In very good condition, rebacked. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. First editions are exceptionally scarce of this milestone in American Jewish history.
Price: $22,000.00 Item Number: 74060
"The first surgical work by an American and printed in North America": John Jones' Plain Concise Practical Remarks, on the Treatment of Wounds and Fractures
Philadelphia: Robert Bell, 1776.
Exceptionally rare edition of the first surgical work by an American and printed in North America. Octavo, bound in nineteenth century three quarters morocco over marbled boards, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, frontispiece. Jones’ work was the accepted guide to surgical practice during the American Revolutionary War” G&M 2155; Austin 1843; Evans 15100 and 14814; Sabin 94063 and 36524. In near fine condition.
Price: $20,000.00 Item Number: 91322
Philadelphia: Sherman & Co, 1866-68.
First editions of one of the ‘major builders of American Judaism’, Isaac Leeser’s Discourses on the Jewish Religion. Octavo, 10 volumes, bound in full leather, gilt titles to the spine, raised bands. In near fine condition. Complete sets are of the utmost rarity.
Price: $20,000.00 Item Number: 107732
"I have been accepted in Boston University Graduate School as a regular student and a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the field of Systematic Theology": Exceptionally Rare Autograph Letter Signed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. before beginning graduate studies at Boston University in 1951
Typescript autograph letter signed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. requesting housing upon his acceptance to Boston University Graduate School. The letter, dated June 15th 1951 and addressed to Dean Charles W. Alter, Boston University Graduate School, reads, “Dear Dean Alter, I have been accepted in Boston University Graduate School as a regular student and a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the field of Systematic Theology. I am now interested in finding living accommodations on the campus, or at least very near by. A single room would be preferable. If such is possible I would appreciate having it reserved. I am also interested in applying for a graduate Fellowship. Please send me the necessary information at this point along with an application blank. Thanks in advance for your cooperation, I am Sincerely yours, Martin L. King, Jr.” King later recalled his experience with housing bias in 1951 Boston in an interview with the Boston Globe in 1965, “I remember very well trying to find a place to live. I went into place after place where there were signs that rooms were for rent. They were for rent until they found out I was a Negro, and suddenly they had just been rented.” Double matted and framed, with a photograph of a young King. The entire piece measures 14 inches by 21.75 inches. This letter offers an extraordinary glimpse into the education of the great African-American Civil Rights leader, exemplifying his own experiences with the systemic racism in 1950s American society.
Price: $18,500.00 Item Number: 82416
Rare Official American League Baseball signed by baseball legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, the dynamic duo of Muderers’ Row. Signed by Babe Ruth on the sweetspot and Gehrig on the west panel. In very good condition.
Price: $18,500.00 Item Number: 109536
Rare Original Photograph of General Ulysses S. Grant Taken By Mathew Brady; Boldly Signed By Grant As President
Rare original Mathew Brady photograph of Ulysses S. Grant. Boldly signed by Grant as the 18th President of the United States, “U.S. Grant March 18th 1875.” One of the earliest photographers in American history, Mathew B. Brady brought home the reality of the Civil War to the American public with his innovative use of a mobile studio and darkroom to capture thousands of war scenes throughout the Civil War. Brady was also recognized as one of the premier photographic portraitists of the 19th century, taking photographs of numerous celebrities including Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, and Robert E. Lee among others. Double matted and framed. The entire piece measures 19 inches by 16.5 inches. In near fine condition. Rare and desirable with such a strong signature signed by Grant during his presidency.
Price: $18,500.00 Item Number: 94709
"I salute you with continual friendship & respect. Th. Jefferson”: one page autograph letter signed by thomas jefferson regarding his library
One page autograph letter signed by Thomas Jefferson regarding duties for a shipment of books for his second library at Monticello. Address to David Gelston, esq, who was the Collector of the Port of New York (appointed by Jefferson in 1801). The letter reads, “On my return home after some absence I found here your favors of Sept. 2 & 15. stating the amount of freight & duties on my books … Having no medium of remittance but in the bills of our banks I enclose 8.D presuming they are negotiable with you, and that the fractional surplus may cover their discount at market. I salute you with continual friendship & respect. Th. Jefferson.” The letter measures 9.75 inches by 7.75 inches. Matted and framed with a portrait.
Price: $17,500.00 Item Number: 26064
“A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever”: First Edition of John Adams' A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America; In the Rare Original Boards
London: Printed for C. Dilly, 1787.
First edition of John Adams’ landmark work. Octavo, original boards, minor wear. In very good condition. Housed in a custom half calf clamshell box. Rare, especially in the original boards.
Price: $16,000.00 Item Number: 50010
“THE BEST CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNT OF THE REVOLUTION FROM THE BRITISH SIDE”: STEDMAN’S HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN WAR, WITH 15 LARGE MAPS (11 FOLDING) OF “GREAT INTEREST AND VALUE”
London: Printed for the Author and Sold by J. Murray, et al, 1794.
First edition, wide-margined copy, of Stedman’s massive contemporary two-volume History of the American Revolution— “the standard work on the subject” —containing 15 military maps and plans (11 folding, the largest nearly 20 by 30 inches). Two volumes, handsomely bound in contemporary calf, green morocco labels, half-titles to both volumes. In very good condition, rebacked laying down the original backstrips. Rare and desirable with the half-title pages.
Price: $15,000.00 Item Number: 99225
“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence": Rare First Edition of The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Boston: Published at the Anti-Slavery Office, 1845.
First edition of this treatise on abolition written by famous orator and former slave Frederick Douglass. Small octavo, original brown cloth stamped in blind with gilt title to the front panel, frontispiece portrait of Douglass, green endpapers. In very good condition with rubbing and wear to the extremities and some loss to the spine, contemporary ownership signature. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Rare especially in the original cloth.
Price: $15,000.00 Item Number: 104580
First edition of the second book on architecture published in America: Owen Biddle's The Young Carpenter's Assistant
The Young Carpenter’s Assistant; Or, A System Of Architecture, Adapted To The Style Of Building In The United States.
Philadelphia: Benjamin Johnson, 1805.
First edition of the second book on architecture published in America, second only to Asher Benjamin’s Country Builder’s Assistant’ published in 1797( Shaw & Shoemaker, 8018). Quarto, bound in full calf, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, gilt ruled to the front and rear panels, illustrated with 44 engraved plates, 2 folding. In very good condition. Scarce with only 2 copies having appeared at auction in the past 50 years.
Price: $15,000.00 Item Number: 117672
"GOD IS INTERESTED IN THE FREEDOM OF THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE": FIRST EDITION OF STRIDE TOWARD FREEDOM: THE MONTGOMERY STORY; SIGNED BY MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1958.
First edition of Dr. Martin Luther King’s first book. Octavo, original half cloth, illustrated. Boldly signed by the author on the front pastedown, “Best Wishes, Martin L. King Jr.” Near fine in a near fine dust jacket with light rubbing. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Rare and desirable signed.
Price: $15,000.00 Item Number: 117338