Freeman's Books, Maps & Manuscripts Auction Led by She'arit Haple'atah Archive
Philadelphia—Kicking off Freeman’s 2019 auction season is the January 31 sale of Books, Maps & Manuscripts. The inaugural auction features over 400 lots of rare and important books, historical documents, photography, prints, posters and ephemera.
Anchoring the sale is the She’arit Haple’atah Archive (Lot 163, estimate: $100,000-150,000). Approximately 200 titles—in 240 volumes—comprise this collection which were printed for, and relate to, Jewish Displaced Persons living in camps in Eastern Europe between 1945 and 1949; they were called the She’arit Haple’atah, or “the surviving remnant.”
After their liberation from the Nazis in the spring of 1945, hundreds of thousands of Jews lived in camps—often former concentration camps or German army camps—that were run by the Allied authorities. The mission of Displaced Persons camps was to repatriate people to their home countries, but they also fulfilled a practical need for temporary shelters which provided food, clothing, medicine and transportation.
She’arit Haple’atah literature is extremely rare. The vastness of this particular collection provides invaluable insight into Jewish life in Europe in the post-World War II period. This type of literature was only intended for distribution in the camps—it was not available for sale—so many people did not have access to it outside of the camps. The materials printed were quickly and inexpensively produced, and when survivors left the camps they often left these materials behind, which were then destroyed when the camps were razed; hence the rarity and fragility of the surviving items.
“This transformative but all-too-hidden chapter of Jewish history was obscured first by the enormity of the Holocaust and then by the shining promise of the emerging state of Israel,” Books, Maps & Manuscripts Vice President and Senior Specialist, David Bloom said.
Other highlights of the January 31 auction include a first edition of Spanish architectural works, “Monumentos Arquitectónicos de España” (Lot 83, estimate: $10,000-15,000). The lot features 253 lithographic and engraved plates, and was initiated with the support of the Spanish Ministry of Public Works in the early 19th century in order to record the architectural heritage of Spain’s various provinces. The lot comes from the library of Philadelphia banker and developer Clarence H. Clark, Sr.
Parisian opulence of the 19th century is also represented in the sale with “Le Nouvel Opéra de Paris” (Lot 84, estimate: $10,000-15,000). The lot highlights across eight volumes the jewel-box Paris Opera House, designed by the French architect Charles Garnier and built over a 14-year period during the Second Empire under Napoleon III. This rare and complete set documents the lavish facades, interiors, vestibule and statuary of the opera house in full-page chromolithographs, engravings and photographs.
Pop artist Andy Warhol another feature of the sale, represented across various media. Highlights include: Holy Cats is a first and only edition of 20 offset lithographs by Warhol with lettering and an inscription by his mother, Julia Warhola (Lot 301, estimate: $3,000-5,000). A group of the first 34 issues of Warhol’s Interview magazine (1969-1972), the self-proclaimed “Crystal Ball of Pop,” (Lot 302, estimate: $800-1,200) are also a veritable time capsule of cool.
The auction includes a varied assortment of counter-culture material including an original color lithograph poster from the original Woodstock (Lot 276, estimate: $800-1,200), a now iconic image representing far more than the three-day festival, as well as the first published issue of Penthouse magazine, from 1965 (Lot 282, estimate: $200-300). A rare collection of 32 pre-war issues of Paris Magazine, spanning 1933-1939 (Lot 338, estimate: $800-1,200), with its sophisticated design and a better sense of humor than the “girlie” magazines being produced in the States at the same time, is an extraordinary find. There are posters from the 1960s-1980s (Lots 267-275), an FBI Wanted poster for Patty Hearst and her Symbionese cohorts (Lot 264, estimate $100-150), a psychedelic coloring book by Timothy Leary among others (Lot 265, estimate $300-500) and more.
There are nearly 60 lots of photography by the likes of Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Margaret Bourke-White and O. Winston Link. Of note, the sale will include half a dozen photographs by pioneering female photographer Berenice Abbott, whose large-format depictions of New York were inspired by French city photographer Eugène Atget. Abbott’s work provides an historical record of the changing Manhattan of the late 1920s. “Pier 13, North River, Manhattan” (Lot 308, estimate: $5,000-8,000) and “Pennsylvania Station Interior #1” (Lot 307, estimate: $2,000-3,000) are among the highlights.
Close to one dozen lots of books, representing 37 volumes in total, relating to Court Tennis come from the Library of William J. Clothier II, tennis champion and grandson of the co-founder of the Philadelphia department store, Strawbridge & Clothier. Court Tennis is an indoor racquet sport and a precursor to the modern game of tennis. The game was considered “the sport of kings” for its roots in several European monarchies from the 15th century onward. “The Annals of Tennis” by Julian Marshall, published in 1878 (Lot 235, estimate: $1,000-1,500) is of particular note.
Those interested in our nation’s history will enjoy the opportunity to own a copy of “Journals of Congress. Containing the Proceedings in the Year, 1776. Volume II,” Philadelphia, 1777, first edition, first issue, untrimmed and in its original boards. It contains a very early printing of the Declaration of Independence (Lot 111, estimate: $6,000-9,000). Many presidential letters and autographs will be on offer as well (Lots 129-161).