Auctions | September 12, 2010

Swann's Printed and Manuscript Americana

New York--On Thursday, September 30, Swann Galleries will offer a wide-ranging array of Printed & Manuscript Americana at auction, including many unique and unusual items.

A strong selection of American Indian material includes George Catlin's North American Indian Portfolio, first edition, first issue, London, 1844 (estimate $25,000 to $35,000); a manuscript deed of a Martha’s Vineyard meadow from a Wampanoag man named Puttuspaquin to his sister’s half-English daughters, 25 March 1685 ($6,000 to $9,000); and an original 1836 manuscript petition from more than 2000 Cherokees protesting their imminent removal along the Trail of Tears ($30,000 to $40,000).

Of note in the Civil War section are several Confederate items: an original broadside printing of the South Carolina Order of Secession, Charleston, late March or April 1861 ($10,000 to $15,000); a wartime oil portrait of Robert E. Lee signed “Robertson, 1863,” ($4,000 to $6,000); and two newspapers printed on wallpaper, The Daily Citizen, Vicksburg, MS 2 and 4 July, 1863 ($2,500 to $3,500) and Natchitoches Union Daily, 4 April 1864 ($1,000 to $1,500).

A collection of labor, working-class, and radical books and artifacts assembled by Scott Molloy, a professor of labor history at the University of Rhode Island, ranges from gorgeous hand-made banners from early trade unions to anti-Vietnam War protest posters.

Other highlights include two early aviation archives relating to the dueling Wright and Curtiss camps (each $1,500 to $2,500); an archive of yacht designer Carl Alberg ($10,000 to $15,000); and two fascinating mid-19th century diaries kept by students of Yale and Harvard. James B. Brinsmade’s two-volume diary, 1843-53, begins with his arrival at Yale as a junior, and contains the first known reference to baseball at Yale ($3,000 to $4,000). Henry Van Brunt went on to become a successful architect in Boston and Kansas City, and his six volumes, 1851-55, with some charming sketches, describe his growing interest in architecture while at Harvard ($4,000 to $6,000).

Among items of regional focus are the manuscript ledger from the birth of the New York & Harlem Railroad, 1831-37, a horse-drawn streetcar line that ran along Fourth Avenue, Manhattan and evolved into part of the path of the current Metro-North commuter railroad ($1,500 to $2,500); a an alternate proposal for the design of Central Park, by Graham, Bagley and Leigh, New York, 1858,  ($5,000 to $7,500); and a complete set of The Rivers of America series, 1937-74 ($2,500 to $3,500).

Beyond the borders of North America, the sale includes a 1655 letter from a disgruntled soldier in Cromwell's occupying army in Jamaica ($2,000 to $3,000); a possibly unique Quechua imprint of a Quechua-Spanish book of prayers and devotions, Lima, 1640? ($2,000 to $3.000); and important Gran Colombia decrees by Simón Bolívar, Caracas, February 1827 ($5,000 to $7,500) and Bogotá, August 1828 ($4,000 to $6,000).

Additional items of note include whaling journals; the diary of a War of 1812 prisoner; important John F. Kennedy memorabilia including a brochure from his first political campaign in 1946; silhouette portraits of early Hawaiian missionaries, and more. Says specialist Rick Stattler, without hyperbole, “The variety of collectible material in this sale defies description.”

The auction will take place Thursday, September 30 at 1:30 p.m. The items will be on public exhibition Saturday, September 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, September 27 through Wednesday, September 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, September 30, 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 25th 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

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Hillary Brody
African-American Fine Art
& Public Relations
Swann Auction Galleries
104 East 25th St., New York, NY 10010
212-254-4710, ext. 29