From Moby-Dick to the Worlds of Tomorrow

There’s a full sale diary this year at the newly-merged Freeman’s | Hindman
Courtesy of Freeman’s | Hindman

The presentation copy of Langston Hughes’s Scottsboro Limited inscribed to his friend Noël Sullivan

Earlier this year, the pioneering, full-service auction house Hindman announced a merger with venerable 200-year-old Philadelphia-based Freeman’s. The union of these two pre-eminent businesses has led to exciting growth in the firm’s Books & Manuscripts department which will host 16 auctions in 2024 in their Chicago, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati salerooms, starting with seven live and online sales this spring.  

“In addition to the recent merger, we are thrilled to announce we have added Christopher Brink to the team,” said Gretchen Hause, Senior Vice President, Books & Manuscripts. “Coming from another Chicago auction house, he will lend his tremendous expertise and market knowledge to the broader team, helping to solidify us as one of the most talented teams in the industry.” Darren Winston, Senior Vice President, Books & Manuscripts, added: “This is an exciting time for our department, and we’re all looking forward to collaboration and the strong sale schedule ahead.”

Chicago: June 6, Important Literature from a Private Collection

This sale will focus on fine 19th and 20th century American and English literature, with many of the books in original condition. Among the highlights are a first edition of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (an unsophisticated copy in the original cloth, estimate to be determined), as well as first editions of the first, second and third series of Emily Dickinson’s Poems (estimate: $10,000 - $15,000).

Chicago: June 7, Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts, including Americana and “Worlds of Tomorrow”

Going under the hammer the following day is a very fine collection of books presented by Langston Hughes to his close friend and supporter the American concert singer, philanthropist and arts patron Noël Sullivan. Leading the sale is a presentation copy of the extraordinarily rare Scottsboro Limited, four poems and a play in verse by Hughes (New York City, The Golden Stair Press, 1932) copy number 1 of 30 limited issue copies additionally inscribed by Hughes to Sullivan.

The sale also includes a session called “Worlds of Tomorrow,” which explores the relationship between the scientific and technological advancements of the 20th century and the literature and film that developed in response to those rapid advances. It will present historic photographs, artifacts and manuscripts alongside works of literature, film props, posters, and literary archives.  

One of the most intriguing lots is a flown Gemini 4 checklist from 1965. This is the complete 13-page checklist written on seven cards for the first American spacewalk which took place June 3-7 that year. 

Philadelphia: June 25, Books & Manuscripts

Freeman’s Books and Manuscripts auction features selections from the fishing library of American naturalist and adventurer Brooke Dolan II. Leading the sale is the very rare 1653 first edition of Izaak Walton’s masterpiece The Compleat Angler (estimate: $30,000-50,000), as well as the four other lifetime editions. The sale also features a fine association copy of George Edwards’s The Natural History of Uncommon Birds ($15,000-$25,000) as well as documents signed by Abraham Lincoln, John Quincy Adams, James Monroe, and more.

Chicago: July 11, Western Manuscripts & Miniatures

The inaugural Western Manuscripts & Miniatures sale is being organized in conjunction with Senior Consultant Sandra Hindman. Freeman’s | Hindman is inviting consignments for the sale, which will include illuminated manuscripts, manuscript leaves, and miniatures. 

Chicago: July 16, Summer Reading

Summer Reading will offer very fine copies of some of the best-loved works of 20th century fiction in a timed online format. The sale includes fine fiction, thrillers, and mysteries from the most recognizable authors including Toni Morrison, Truman Capote, Don DeLillo, Stephen King, and Thomas Pynchon.  

The firm will additionally hold two sales in its Cincinnati saleroom (May 31 and July 2) offering American Historical Ephemera & Photography.  

The Freeman’s | Hindman team will be exhibiting highlights in New York in conjunction with the ABAA New York International Antiquarian Book Fair (NYABF) at its gallery on East 67th Street, April 3-5. l