Auctions | August 28, 2015

Curious Adventures & Rare Discoveries at Freeman’s Books, Maps & Manuscripts Auction

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Philadelphia, PA—Freeman's October 22 Books, Maps & Manuscripts auction is an invitation to a world of adventure for armchair travelers, political scholars, and bibliophiles of all creeds. Whether following Alice on her adventures in Wonderland through the pages of an inscribed first edition of Through the Looking Glass, or celebrating the rediscovery of noted statesman Pierre Samuel duPont de Nemours's long-lost manuscript, bold navigators of history and literature will find no trouble "believing at least six impossible things before breakfast."

No figure speaks more directly to the lost world of our childhood than the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Charles Dodgson, the mathematician and precisian, turned himself inside out in the Alice stories to reveal the emotive and alchemical musings of unfettered madness that was Lewis Carroll. Above all, Carroll tethered us to the realm of childhood and the mercurial nature of self and experience, of what is real and possible. Freeman's October 22 sale Books, Maps & Manuscripts includes no less than a dozen variations of the beloved classic Alice in Wonderland—from the first editions to be published in French and German, to a suite from a musical adaptation belonging to, and signed by, members of the Roosevelt family.

Featuring prominently in the auction is a first edition, first issue presentation copy of Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (Estimate $5,000-8,000). The volume is inscribed by Carroll to a young friend Blanche Helen Davys, and dated Jan. 8. 1876. Carroll was known to present copies of his books to children whose parents he befriended during his travels. This particular copy of Through the Looking-Glass also contains a letter to her mother, in which he writes “I’m glad Blanche likes the Looking-glass.”

The discoveries Alice made beyond the looking-glass are not the only wonders to be found in this October auction. From the estate of the late socialite and artist Nancy duPont Reynolds Cooch, daughter of industrialist and board member of the DuPont corporation Eugene Eleuthère duPont, comes a manuscript long believed by scholars to have been lost to time. This treatise, written by Pierre Samuel duPont de Nemours, Ms. Cooch's great, great, great grandfather, a French statesman, economist, and gentleman scholar, was never published and has been unread for two hundred years.

Throughout the years 1815 and 1816, Pierre Samuel duPont de Nemours (1739- 1817), wrote several letters to his friend Thomas Jefferson. Amid broader debates over contemporary affairs—which the men often discussed in their congenial exchanges—duPont proudly mentioned that he had penned one of his latest literary works, namely a treatise on the first principles of democratic government, the Memoire pour les républiques équinoxiale. Freeman's is very excited to bring the only known existing copy of this manuscript (Estimate $30,000-$50,000) to auction this fall.

Other highlights of the auction include an outstanding selection of rare and early maps of the American Southeast, most notably the first in-depth map of North and South Carolina by American cartographer and surveyor Henry Mouzon, dated 1775. (Estimate $8,000-12,000). The Photography portion of the auction will include works by famed fashion and celebrity photographer Bert Stern.

Books, Maps & Manuscripts

The Books, Maps & Manuscripts viewing and auction will take place at 1808 Chestnut Street. 

Viewing Times
Monday, October 19-21: 10am-5pm

Thursday October 22, 2015: 10am

For more information regarding the October 22 Books, Maps & Manuscripts auction: David Bloom, Books, Maps & Manuscripts Department Head
267.414.1246 |

Christiana Scavuzzo, Cataloguer & Department Administrator 267.414.1247 |

View the digital catalogue at Print catalogues are available for purchase on our website or via email

Image: Lewis Carroll. Through the Looking-Glass. London, 1872. 1st edition, 1st issue. Presentation copy with autograph letter signed. Bound by Bayntun Riviere with original binding preserved. $5,000-$8,000.