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
“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
“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
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
"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
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
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
"We miss you very much. Love from Caroline & Mummy" Postcard from Jacqueline Kennedy to her son John, Jr.
Postcard from Jacqueline Kennedy to her son John F. Kennedy, Jr. It reads, “Dearest John, Every day we say where is John-John – Away!! – We ride in this cart & the horse has feathers – & we play on a beach like this & I found a sea horse – & we go up this hill to our house. That is a tower to look out for pirates – We miss you very much. Love from Caroline & Mummy.” Written on a postcard from Amalfi which she has addressed to “Master J.F. Kennedy Jr.” The verso shows a colorful illustration of the seashore including a horse-drawn cart, beach, stone tower, and village. Accompanied by a White House envelope with the typed return address, “Villa l’Episcopio RAVELLO, ITALIA.” Double matted and framed opposite of photograph of the Kennedy family. The entire piece measures 15 inches by 19 inches.
Price: $12,500.00 Item Number: 65095
"THESE ARE THE TIMES THAT TRY MEN'S SOULS": First collected edition of Thomas Paine's The American Crisis and a Letter to Sir Guy Carleton
The American Crisis, and a Letter to Sir Guy Carleton, on the Murder of Captain Huddy, and the Intended Retaliation on Captain Asgill, of the Guards.
London: Printed and Sold by Daniel Isaac Eaton, 1788.
First collected edition and first edition in book form of the thirteen issues of Paine’s legendary call to arms, the first five issues having appeared originally as separate tracts and the last eight issued only in newspapers. Octavo, bound in full contemporary calf with red morocco spine label lettered in gilt. In near fine condition. Ownership inscriptions. Rare and desirable.
Price: $12,500.00 Item Number: 111055
Rare collection of Rough Riders Photographs and Documents; Twice signed and inscribed by Theodore Roosevelt
Rare collection of original signed documents and photographs taken during President Theodore Roosevelt’s days as Colonel of the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, or Rough Riders. The collection includes an original mounted photograph of Roosevelt in full uniform with his campaign hat; two cabinet card photographs of Albert S. Johnson, a member of the Cavalry; an endorsement dated September 7, 1998 which reads in part, “This officer did not serve in Cuba but remained in Florida with the squadron left behind” signed, “T. Roosevelt” which is affixed to the verso of of Albert S. Johnson’s 5 September 1898 application for 60-days leave; and a military record discharging Johnson from the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry with remarks from Captain R.H. Bruce and Theodore Roosevelt, “Did not serve under me personally; is reported to me as a good and loyal officer. T. Roosevelt col 1st U.S.V.” Johnson’s application for leave was ultimately denied as his regiment was about to be disbanded and taken out of service. In near fine condition. An exceptional collection. Documents from Roosevelt’s Rough Rider days are rare.
Price: $12,500.00 Item Number: 95371
“There are in this world blessed souls, whose sorrows all spring up into joys for others; whose earthly hopes, laid in the grave with many tears, are the seed from which spring healing flowers and balm for the desolate and the distressed”: First Edition, First Issue of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin with a signed note from her
Boston and Cleveland: John P. Jewett and Jewett, Proctor & Worthington, 1852.
First edition, first issue of the author’s classic work, with a loose plate signed by the author as follows, “Trust in the Lord and do good – Harriet Beecher Stowe, July 22, 1892.” Octavo, original cloth, volume with title vignettes and six wood-engravings. In near fine condition with light wear. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell and chemise.
Price: $12,500.00 Item Number: 105632
Scarce first edition of Frederick Studebaker Fish's A Hunting Trip in Jackson's Hole, Wyoming, October 1913; in the original wrappers
South Bend, Indiana: Privately Printed, 1913.
Scarce first edition of this detailed narrative of a month-long hunting trip throughout Jackson’s Hole, Wyoming. Octavo, original pictorial wrappers with gilt titles as issued, 8 engraved plates incorporating captioned photographs and illustrations. In near fine condition. Housed in a custom quarter morocco and chemise slipcase. Scarce, Worldcat locates only 2 other copies.
Price: $9,800.00 Item Number: 95343
“The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for”: The complete writings of George Washington; Bound in Full Contemporary Calf
The Writings of George Washington Being His Correspondence, Addresses, Messages, and Other Papers, Official and Private.
Boston: American Stationers Company. John B. Russell, 1836-1837.
The complete writings of George Washington. Large octavo, 12 volumes, uniformly bound in full contemporary calf, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, rebacked. Frontispiece of Washington to volumes 1-3; engraved by J.W. Paradise from a painting by J.G. Chapman after a painting by C.W. Peale; frontispiece in volumes 2 and three engraved by A.B. Durand, the first from a painting by Gilbert Stuart; frontispiece in volume 12 of Martha Washington engraved by J. Cheney. Editor Jared Sparks was a noted early American historian and President of Harvard College. Sparks worked as editor of the North American Review and a Unitarian pastor in Baltimore. His most notable work was his Writings of George Washington. An attractive set.
Price: $9,200.00 Item Number: 63030
"A man's Self is the sum total of all that he can call his, not only his body and his psychic powers, but his clothes and his house": First Edition of Williams James' The Principles of Psychology; with an Autograph Letter Signed by Him Tipped In
New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1890.
First edition, first printing of James’ vastly influential textbook on psychology. Octavo, two volumes, original cloth with gilt titles to the spines, illustrated with numerous tables and diagrams, 8 pages of advertisements. First state with the hyphenated ‘Psy-chology’ in the advertisement opposite the title page of vol. I and misprints on page 10 of vol. I and page 101 of vol. II. Tipped in to the front pastedown of vol. I is an autograph note signed and entirely in the hand or James on his Irving Street letterhead which reads, “Dec. 16, ’90 My dear Croswell, I thought I had answered your letter of the other day, but found to my surprise the empty envelope in my envelope reservoir – what you say does equal credit to your head and heart and proves to be an honour to American Criticism! Seriously speaking, you warm my heart, for it is only by such responses that a fellow gets the feeling that his book has any reality. They haven’t begun to come in in any number yet nor will they I fear, although the friends to whom I have sent the vols. call them noble…Good luck to you and & yours! W.J.” With the recipient’s bookplates to the pastedowns of each volume. In very good condition with light rubbing to the crown and foot of the spines, some annotations throughout. Rare and desirable, offering an intimate glimpse into the author’s thoughts on the initial reception of what would become a seminal work in the history of modern thought. A superior example of this notoriously fragile set.
Price: $8,800.00 Item Number: 105105
Rare Civil War era carte-de-visite portrait of General Robert E. Lee in uniform, boldly signed “RE Lee”. In fine condition. Quadruple matted and framed. The entire piece measures 19 inches by 17 inches.
Price: $8,800.00 Item Number: 103675
“Learning the secret of flight from a bird was a good deal like learning the secret of magic from a magician”: First Edition of The Wright Brothers; Inscribed by Orville Wright
New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1943.
First edition of this classic American biography authorized by Orville Wright and long considered the definitive Wright biography. Octavo, original blue cloth, illustrated with 16 pages of photographs. Presentation copy, inscribed by Orville Wright on the half-title page, “To Miss Margaret Hollowell with sincere good wishes. Orville Wright Feb. 21, 1947.” Near fine in a very good dust jacket. Introduction by Orville Wright. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.
Price: $8,500.00 Item Number: 100750
“There are in this world blessed souls, whose sorrows all spring up into joys for others; whose earthly hopes, laid in the grave with many tears, are the seed from which spring healing flowers and balm for the desolate and the distressed”: First Edition, First Issue of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin
Boston and Cleveland: John P. Jewett and Jewett, Proctor & Worthington, 1852.
First edition, first issue of the author’s classic work. Octavo, original blind-stamped cloth with gilt titles to the spine and gilt vignettes to the front panels of each volume, title vignettes and six wood-engravings. First issue, with “spilt” (rather than “spiled”) in Volume I, 42, line 1; “cathecism” (rather than “catechism”) in Volume II, 74, line 5; and all other first issue points. In very good condition, recased. Housed in a custom slipcase. An excellent example.
Price: $7,800.00 Item Number: 96214
First Edition of Philip Atkinson's Elements of Electric Lighting; From the Library of Thomas Edison with his ownership signature
The Elements of Electric Lighting, Including Electric Generation, Measurement, Storage, and Distribution.
New York: C. Van Nostrand, 1888.
First edition of Atkinson’s fundamental work on the elements of electric lighting. From the library of Thomas Edison with his ownership signature to the front free endpaper, “Thos A Edison” and his name stamps to the front free endpaper and title page. Octavo, original cloth with gilt titles to the spine. With a typed letter of provenance on Edison Laboratory letterhead tipped in and affixed to the rear endpaper indicating that the book was signed by Edison at the request of one Miss Jewel D. Perret who was building a small museum in her home and reads in part, “[Mr. Edison] was interested in reading of your plans to make a little museum in your home, and in accordance with your request he has autographed one of his old electrical books and has requested us to send it to you with his compliments.” With an original photograph postcard of American botanist Luther Burbank taped to the verso of the front panel. In very good condition. Rare and with noted provenance.
Price: $7,500.00 Item Number: 105062
“I do not wish any reward but to know I have done the right thing": First Edition of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
New York: Charles L. Webster and Company, 1885.
First edition of Twain’s masterpiece, with the first state of the frontispiece portrait. Octavo, original publisher’s decorated green cloth gilt to the spine and front panel. With frontispiece portrait of Twain inserted at front (with the imprint of the Heliotype Printing Co., but the cloth is not visible). This example exhibits the following issue points: title leaf is conjugate. Copyright notice dated 1884; the illustration captioned “Him and another Man” [p.13] listed as p.88 (first state); 11th line from bottom of p.57 reads “…with the was…” (first state); p. 283 is an integral leaf with the corrected engraving; the final 5 in the numeration of page 155 is larger than the first and slightly below the others; leaf 23-8 is present as a blank; first state of the frontispiece portrait (imprint of Heliotype with tablecloth visible). In near fine condition with light toning to the extremities. A very bright example.
Price: $7,200.00 Item Number: 85975