Auctions | March 28, 2013

Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Rare Mormon Items at Swann Galleries in April

New York—Swann Galleries’ Printed & Manuscript Americana auction on Tuesday, April 16, features the Theodore Roosevelt Collection of Peter Scanlan, as well as scarce Mormon items, American Revolution, Civil War and American Indian material, and archives related to famous and notorious Americans.


Peter Scanlan began collecting Theodore Roosevelt material as a young boy and continued throughout his life, building a collection that was wide-ranging, with emphasis on books and pamphlets by Roosevelt, and included a choice selection of autographs, books about Roosevelt, material related to the extended family, and posters, photographs, ephemera and artifacts covering the whole of Roosevelt’s life. Of note in the auction are Roosevelt’s memoriam for his wife and mother, who died on the same day in 1884, In Memory of My Darling Wife Alice Hathaway Roosevelt and of My Beloved Mother Martha Bulloch Roosevelt, which had a very small print run and has become one of the greatest printed Roosevelt rarities (estimate: $25,000 to $35,000); a Typed Letter Signed to the acting Secretary of War, William Cary Sanger, postponing a major offensive against the Muslim inhabitants of the southern Philippines, Washington, 20 April 1902 ($1,500 to $2,500); and a family photograph album showing the President and his children, circa 1890-1910 ($4,000 to $6,000).


The highest pre-sale estimate in the entire auction is for an exceedingly scarce collection of 24 monthly issues of Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, the seminal source on the Mormon Church’s years in Kirtland, Ohio, and only the second periodical issued by the Latter Day Saints, October 1834 to September 1836 ($100,000 to $150,000). Additional Mormon-related items include a third edition of The Book of Mormon, from an edition of only 2,000—fewer than the first edition—which has not appeared at auction since 1997, Nauvoo, Illinois, 1840 ($4,000 to $6,000); and an archive from Maria Bidgood Jarman Ford, first wife of an apostate Mormon polygamist, spanning 1883 to 1923, including 26 letters from her son Albert while on mission in England ($1,500 to $2,500).

A related item is an archive of statements collected by Arthur B. Deming, concerning Joseph Smith and the early Mormons, containing original affidavits and statements offering unflattering testimony used in the publication The Naked Truth About Mormons, 1884-88 ($60,000 to $90,000).

There are photographs, published works and signed documents related to American Indians, including a manuscript report of a committee investigating Indian land title in Southern Massachusetts, signed by committee members, an early document of the struggle of the Wampanoags and other tribes to maintain their land in the face of English encroachment, Boston, 2 June 1703 ($8,000 to $12,000); and Gowana Gwaih Sathah Yon De Yas Dahgwah, A Spelling-Book in the Seneca Language, the earliest of three known books from the Seneca Mission Press in its original location at the Buffalo Creek Reservation, 1842 ($1,200 to $1,800).

From the American Revolution are an archive of dramatic letters by Joshua Gray, a militia caption at the Siege of Boston, describing what he witnessed to his wife, and her responses, February and March 1776 ($8,000 to $12,000); an archive of Rhode Island commissary agent Asa Waterman, including a letter from Benedict Arnold, 1774-89 ($3,000 to $4,000); and a rare Valley Forge muster roll for a company of Bailey’s Massachusetts Regiment, 10 March 1778 ($15,000 to $25,000).

Civil War highlights include a collection of letters, diaries and regimental histories of Julius Hall and Jared Kimberly of the 1st California Regiment, who embarked on an epic march from San Francisco to Fort Craig in New Mexico, containing gruesome descriptions of run-ins with Indians, 1861-1913 ($12,000 to $18,000); a collection of photographs and papers of Brigadier General Michael Corcoran, one of the great Irish-American heroes of the war, including a signed carte-de-visite, 1861-93 ($6,000 to $9,000); and several important maps, such as a manuscript map of the Siege of Atlanta, in pencil, August 1864 ($4,000 to $6,000).

Among significant books containing maps is Louis Hennepin’s Beschreibung der Landschafft Louisiana, first German edition, with one of the first maps to accurately hypothesize the route of the Mississippi River, Nuremberg, 1689 ($25,000 to $35,000).

Fascinating material related to New York includes works on Niagara Falls; an early Dutch manuscript apparently discussing the 1664 invasion of New Amsterdam by the English ($1,500 to $2,500); a group of blueprints of Coney Island and amusement park attractions, 1918-64 ($2,500 to $3,500); original design plans for the Observation Tower in the Empire State Building, 1930-31 ($1,500 to $2,500); and an archive related to one of the most notorious New Yorkers of all time, attorney Roy Cohn. Cohn was chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy during the anti-Communist hearings of the 1950s, and went on to become a lawyer for mob bosses, a right-wing speaker, and in death, a featured character in Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America. The archive includes items spanning his life, from a silver-plated cigarette box gifted him by McCarthy, to photographs of Cohn with Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, to a file filled with hate mail ($4,000 to $6,000).

The auction will take place Tuesday, April 16 at 1:30 p.m. The items will be on public exhibition Tuesday, April 9 and Wednesday, April 10, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday, April 11, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, April 12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, April 13, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday, April 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Tuesday, April 16, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Also, in conjunction with the auction, Swann Galleries will host a talk with noted Theodore Roosevelt Collector Gregory Wynn, Trustee & Executive Committee Member of the Theodore Roosevelt Association, on Pursuing Theodore Roosevelt: A Life’s Passion, on Friday, April 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. Please RSVP to 212-254-4710, ext. 305 or [email protected]

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: [email protected].

Online bidding is available via

First photo: Theodore Roosevelt, In Memory of My Darling Wife Alice Hathaway Roosevelt and of My Beloved Mother Martha Bulloch Roosevelt, New York, 1884 (estimate: $25,000 to $35,000).

Second photo: Collection of 24 monthly issues of Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, volumes I and II (of three), Kirtland, Ohio, October 1834 to September 1836 (estimate: $100,000 to $150,000).