Auctions | March 14, 2011

American Indians, Religious Figures, Civil War Battle Drawings Featured in Swann Galleries' March 31 Auction

New York—On Thursday, March 31, Swann Galleries will offer a diverse selection of historically significant material in their semi-annual auction of Printed & Manuscript Americana. The sale contains many one-of-a-kind items with regional or national interest.

A section devoted to American Indians features hand-colored lithographs, vintage photographs, and an archive of correspondence and papers related to Indian portrait artist Joseph Scheuerle, who worked for the Strobridge Lithograph Company. Highlights of this section include McKenney and Hall’s well-known History of the Indian Tribes of North America, with 121 hand-colored lithographs in three volumes, Philadelphia, 1865 (estimate $10,000 to $15,000); a very scarce hand-colored lithograph by Emile Signol, C.H.C. Melody et les Indiens Ioways, Paris, 1845, depicting a troupe of Ioways who traveled to Europe in 1845 with George Catlin’s Indian Gallery ($2,500 to $3,500); and photographs by David F. Barry, a leading late nineteenth-century photographer, including his Self-portrait with Rain-in-the-Face, sepia toned silver print, circa 1885, printed 1910s ($1,500 to $2,500). There are four long letters from Barry to Scheuerle whose subjects range from his time spent with the Sioux, Custer and the Battle of Little Bighorn, 1914, and his opinion of various artists including Frederic Remington, 1931 ($3,000 to $4,000). Also of note are 22 letters to Scheuerle from William S. Hart, Hollywood’s first cowboy star, who collected Western art and sought to turn his California ranch into a museum, 1935-44 ($3,000 to $4,000).

Another archive related to the white man’s relations with the Indians—and other colonists—pertains to eighteenth-century theologian Jonathan Edwards. There are 16 manuscript items including Autograph Letters and Documents Signed by Edwards, whose correspondence rarely comes to auction, concerning his time in Stockbridge, Massachusetts as a missionary to the Mohicans, 1752-56 ($10,000 to $15,000). Much of the material details his differences with Ephraim Williams and the Williams family—who went on to found Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Also related to a New England religious figure is a manuscript diary of Rhode Island native Ruth Pritchard, a follower of Jemima Wilkinson’s Universal Friends movement, which she kept from February to April 1790, and is being offered with other papers dated 1785 to 1855 ($5,000 to $7,500). Wilkinson is considered by many to be the first American-born woman to found a religious group, in this case an order that that drew upon Quaker, Shaker and evangelical influences.

There is also a significant Judaica item, Judah Monis’s Dickdook Leshon Gnebreet. A Grammar of the Hebrew Tongue, the first Hebrew grammar published in America, Boston, 1735. Monis was a Portuguese-Italian Jew who received a Masters Degree from Harvard in 1723. He wrote his Hebrew grammar as part of his course work, later converted to Christianity and joined the Harvard faculty as an instructor of Hebrew ($15,000 to $25,000).

From the divine to the profane, there is a fascinating archive of burlesque star Ann Corio’s salty letters to her publicist Eddie Jaffe, circa 1940s ($1,000 to $1,500). Corio was one of the leading striptease dancers of the 1930s, then moved on to act on stage and film in the 1940s and 1950s, and launched a popular touring production called “This Was Burlesque” in 1961. Jaffe was a celebrity in his own right, and is said to be the inspiration for the Tony Curtis character in “The Sweet Smell of Success.”

New York-centric highlights include original plans from the architectural firm that designed the Empire State Building, such as a pencil-drawn design for the building’s iconic information desk ($2,000 to $3,000), and the flooring, ceilings and other details ($3,000 to $4,000).

First-hand coverage of significant moments in American history include a stash of 90 issues of the Providence Gazette and Country Journal dating from 1764 to 1786, 20 of which were printed during the American Revolution. The volumes include March 1770 issues that feature detailed coverage of the Boston Massacre, as well as a 22 June 1776 issue with a letter from John Hancock warning of the impending British attack on New York ($3,000 to $4,000).

The Civil War section features two views of battle scenes, one a manuscript map of the First Battle of Bull Run drawn by a Confederate chaplain and infantry officer, 1861 ($2,500 to $3,500), the other an eyewitness sketch drawn the day after the Second Battle of Bull Run by a staff artist to Union General Franz Sigel, 1862 ($3,000 to $4,000). There are also papers from the family of Major Henry L. Abbott, 1815-91 ($1,500 to $2,500); a manuscript diary kept by a private in the 141 New York Infantry, 1862-64 ($1,000 to $1,500), and papers of Captain George E. Davis of Vermont, Medal of Honor recipient and hero of the Battle of Monocacy.

Other diverse highlights include compelling images of life aboard the whaling bark Clara Bell in a manuscript journal kept at sea between 1855-58 by Robert W. Weir, Jr., a runaway who came from a renowned family of artists ($5,000 to $7,500). Son of the prominent Hudson Valley School landscape painter of the same name, Weir became a crewman aboard the ship at the age of 19 and later used this journal and its sketches as the basis of a volume now in the collection of Mystic Seaport in Connecticut.

Also of note are Canadian histories and travel narratives; a first draft of the Florida statehood act, Washington, 7 January 1845 ($1,000 to $1,500); and a journal kept by a publicity agent for Goodyear detailing a blimp promotional tour from July 1929 to January 1932 ($1,000 to $1,500).

The auction concludes with a section of Latin Americana, which features Mexican imprints such as a large work of moral and theological philosophy written in the language of the Aztecs in 1607 and the first Mexican edition of a biography of the Italian saint Philip Neri; a first edition of a seventeenth-century legal analysis by a Peruvian jurist supporting the crown’s power over the church in America; and printed material from Simón Bolívar.

The auction will take place Thursday, March 31 at 1:30 p.m. The items will be on public exhibition Saturday, March 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, March 28 through Wednesday, March 30, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, March 31, from 10 a.m. to noon.

An illustrated catalogue, with information on bidding by mail or fax, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25 Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

For further information, and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Rick Stattler by telephone at (212) 254-4710, extension 27, or email:

Online bidding is available via
Rebecca Weiss
Media Relations
Swann Galleries
104 East 25th Street
New York, NY 10010
212-254-4710, ext. 23

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