On Tuesday, Nov. 18, Swann Galleries will conduct an auction devoted to Printed & Manuscript Americana including historical documents, extensive archives of correspondence, manuscripts, books, historical prints, and other ephemera pertaining to the United States and Latin America, with emphasis on Mexico.
Of special note among early Mexican books and manuscripts is a pair of haunting late 16th-century dossiers from the Mexican Inquisition. The trial proceedings (processos) document cases against two Jewish men, Gonzalo Perez Ferro and Pelayo Alvarez (estimates $25,000 to $30,000 and $15,000 to $25,000 respectively).
The auction is also rich in Civil War manuscripts including archives for two important generals: Leonidas Polk for the Confederacy, and Daniel Sickles for the Union. Polk, who served as Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana before the war, played a prominent role in the battles of Shiloh and Chickamauga. Seven lots of Polk family material are being offered from the collection of his great-great-great grandson. Highlights include the general’s crimson officer’s sash ($3,000 to $4,000); a pair of manuscript maps of the Chickamauga Campaign, September 1863 ($4,000 to $6,000); and a group of eight wartime letters to Polk ($4,000 to $6,000).
General Sickles was a colorful character. A congressman from New York before the war, and again later in life, he is known in American legal history as the first person to successfully use the defense of temporary insanity when tried for murdering his wife’s lover. Sickles lost a leg at the Battle of Gettysburg. He is represented by a huge and wide-ranging archive of personal papers, most dated between 1853 and 1917 ($15,000 to $25,000).
Among items related to New York are archives of three members of the Barlow family of Manhattan. Many of the papers of Peter T. Barlow, magistrate of the women’s night court in Manhattan at the turn of the 20th century, deal with prostitution ($4,000 to $6,000). Several thousand letters and other documents, mostly 1925-64, relate to his son Samuel L.M. Barlow II, a composer and diplomat who corresponded with many influential artists, politicians, musicians and writers ($25,000 to $35,000). The third archive contains the diaries and letters, mostly 1909-1962, of Samuel’s wife Ernesta Drinker Bullitt Barlow, who traveled in Europe with her first husband during World War I and delivered weekly patriotic broadcasts on NBC Radio during World War II as “Commando Mary” ($5,000 to $7,500).
As in other recent Americana at Swann sales, this one offers strong Mormon material, including a first edition of The Book of Mormon, Palmyra, NY, 1830. One of the nicer copies to appear in recent years, the first edition was released just days before the official establishment of the church and is the only one to list Joseph Smith as author and proprietor ($60,000 to $90,000).
There are several rare books relating to early Florida, such as the 1586 first edition of René Goulaine de Laudonnière’s L’Histoire Notable de la Floride Situee es Indes Occidentales, a compilation of French Florida narratives ($15,000 to $25,000); and Bernardo de Galvez’s Diario de las Operaciones de la Expedicion contra la Plaza de Panzacola, relating the Spanish naval expedition against the British fort at Pensacola, circa 1781 ($2,000 to $3,000).
Important early California works include George Shelvocke’s A Voyage Round the World by Way of the Great South Sea, first edition, London, 1726 ($2,500 to $3,500); and Plano de la Ensenada del Principe . . . en la Canal de Santa Barbara, an early map of the harbor at Santa Barbara, circa 1782 ($3,000 to $4,000).
Rounding out the sale is a fine selection of early American imprints, books on American Indians and the American Revolution.
The auction will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 1:30 p.m.
The items will be on public exhibition at Swann Galleries on Thursday, Nov. 13 and Friday, Nov. 14, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, Nov. 17, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Tuesday, Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. to noon.
An illustrated catalog, with information on bidding by mail or fax, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, 104 East 25 Street, New York, NY 10010, 212-254-4710, extension 0, and can also be viewed online at www.swanngalleries.com. Bids can also be submitted by e-mail via the website.
For further information, and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Rick Stattler at 212-254-4710, extension 27, or via email at email@example.com.