Hunter S Thompson Letter 56115b_lg.jpegLos Angeles - An pair of extraordinary letters by Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on April 25, 2019.

Thompson sent the letter being auctioned to his friend Paul Semonin in early June 1961 from Big Sur. Semonin was Thompson’s Louisville, Kentucky childhood friend.

The letter reads in part, “now midnight - up at 6:30 tomorrow for hard shot at $3.22 per hr. highway const. Job...am working fitfully on Great PR novel - The Rum Diary. Also building windows, skinning deer, scaling fish, raising one motherless fawn, building swimming pool, stalking boar & generally raising hell. Playboy bounced B.S. & it is now circulating for the booby prize...Anyway, pay your debts & come by for a visit. The Jew…”

Bidding for the letter begins at $2,500.

Additional information on the letter can be found at 
https://natedsanders.com/Hunter_S__Thompson_Autograph_Letter_Signed___The_J-LOT52055.aspx

Thompson wrote the  second letter being auctioned on the opposite side of a typed satire debate entitled ''THE GREAT DEBATE'', with a fictional exchange between Kennedy and Nixon. Thompson wrote regarding Kennedy's Presidential victory, ''Ok weedsucker - we got the touchdown - where do we go from here?'' 

Bidding for the letter begins at $2,000.

Additional information on the letter can be found at 
https://natedsanders.com/Hunter_S__Thompson_Autograph_Letter_Shortly_After_-LOT52056.aspx

 

 

Lot 113-Wilson copy.jpgNew York - Swann Galleries’ Printed & Manuscript Americana sale on Thursday, April 16 was the house’s third straight sale is the category to finish over $1,000,000, bringing several significant records. Institutions made up the bulk of the buyers. Specialist Rick Stattler commented: “The market remains vigorous for scarce and important material, with five-figure highlights in all of our main subject areas: early American imprints, the American Revolution, Civil War, Mormons, the West, and Latin Americana.”

Mexican imprints proved to be popular with six earning top prices in the sale. Highlights included a first edition 1674 pamphlet by famed Mexican poetess Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, consisting of Christmas carols to be sung in honor of the thirteenth-century St. Pedro Nolasco. It set a record for the author at $45,000. Juan Navarro’s 1604 Liber in quo quatuor passions Christi Domini continentur, the first music by a New World composer printed in the Americas, earned $32,500, and a first edition of Alonso de Molina’s 1565 full-length confessional manual with instructions on the administration of the sacraments, written in Nahuatl and Spanish, brought $21,250. Mexican manuscripts featured an extensive illustrated file detailing a land dispute between a ranch owner and his Nahua neighbors, with 350 manuscript pages ($30,000).

“The successful sale of the Holzer Lincolniana collection last fall brought in a strong group of related material for this auction, including our top lot, a beautiful portrait of Lincoln by Matthew Henry Wilson,” said Stattler-the artist’s copy of the last portrait rendered from life set a record for Wilson at $55,000. Other Lincoln and Civil War material of note included a newspaper extra from Detroit announcing Lincoln’s assassination, which topped its high estimate at $15,000, a likely record for any newspaper with that news, and Benson Lossing’s Pictorial History of the Civil War of the United States of America, 1866-68, ($15,000). 

Texas material was led by the manuscript diary of William Farrar Smith documenting the 1849 Whiting-Smith Expedition to form a trail from San Antonio to El Paso ($47,500) and a first edition of Batholomé Garcia’s Manual para Administrar los Santos Sacramentos, 1760, the only early work published in the Pakawan language ($13,000). 

Lots relating to the early days of America included the May 6, 1775 issue of the Virginia Gazette which reports first-hand accounts of the battles of Lexington and Concord, at $12,500, and a journal of contemporary manuscript notes dated 1788, from the Massachusetts convention to ratify the Federal Constitution, emphasizing the need for a Bill of Rights and for sovereignty of the states, at $16,250.

Additional auction records included a rare corrected variant of the 1852 Liverpool Book of Mormon, which brought $41,600, a record for any European Mormon publication, as well as an 1850s whaling diary kept by captain’s wife Alida Taber, which earned the highest known price for a woman’s whaling dairy, at $15,000.

The next auction from Swann Galleries’ Books & Manuscripts Department will be 19th & 20th Century Literature on May 14. Visit swanngalleries.com or download the Swann Galleries App for catalogues, bidding and inquires.          

Additional highlights can be found here.

Image: Lot 113: Matthew Henry Wilson, Abraham Lincoln, oil on canvas, an artist’s copy of the last portrait rendered from life, 1865. Sold for $55,000.

Albert Einstein Letter Signed 57934b_lg.jpegLos Angeles - A fascinating letter by Albert Einstein on the Jewish People’s rights to defend themselves will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on April 25, 2019.  
Albert Einstein wrote the June 10, 1939 letter, postmarked from Princeton to E.J. Brown of the famed Arnold Constable & Co. department store, who worked on behalf of the refugees during Dedication Week. Einstein wrote in full, “May I offer my sincere congratulations to you on the splendid work you have undertaken on behalf of the refugees during Dedication Week.  The power of resistance which has enabled the Jewish people to survive for thousands of years has been based to a large extent on traditions of mutual helpfulness. In these years of affliction our readiness to help one another is being put to an especially severe test. May we stand this test as well as did our fathers before us. We have no other means of self-defense than our solidarity and our knowledge that the cause for which we are suffering is a momentous and sacred cause. It must be a source of deep gratification to you to be making so important a contribution toward rescuing our persecuted fellow-Jews from their calamitous peril and leading them toward a better future...[signed] A. Einstein.''

Einstein had long worked to save European Jews by issuing affidavits.

Bidding for the letter begins at $20,000. In March, Nate D. Sanders sold a similar Einstein letter for $134,344. https://natedsanders.com/LotDetail.aspx?inventoryid=51535

Additional information on the letter can be found at 
https://natedsanders.com/Albert_Einstein_Letter_Signed_During_WWII______The-LOT51535.aspx

2010_4_125.jpgAmherst, MA --The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art celebrates the golden anniversary of William Steig's seminal book Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. Steig's famous fable tells of Sylvester Duncan, a donkey who discovers a magic pebble and accidentally turns himself into a rock. With humor and pathos, Steig illustrates an emotional tale of discovery, loss, and reunion. Above all, it is a story about the love of family. William Steig's Sylvester and the Magic Pebble: A Golden Anniversary is on view from May 4 to December 1 in The Carle's Central Gallery. 

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble has held a special place in readers' hearts for 50 years. Contemporary illustrators often cite the book as one of their greatest influences. The Carle is fortunate to have in its permanent collection Steig's preliminary sketches and dummy books related to the publication, thanks to the generosity of Jeanne Steig who donated over 1,000 art works by her late husband. The artist's daughter Maggie Steig has generously loaned the original published illustrations--along with her father's paints, tools, personal family photographs, and his prized Caldecott Medal--to the exhibition. 

"We have deep holdings of work by Steig in our collection," says chief curator Ellen Keiter. "It is an honor to care for his art and to share it with our guests, particularly during a special anniversary year." In addition to Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, The Carle holds Steig's art for 39 other titles, such as The Amazing Bone (1976), a Caldecott Honor book; Abel's Island (1976) and Doctor De Soto (1982), both Newbery Medal honor books; and Amos & Boris (1971), Dominic (1972), and Caleb & Kate (1977), all National Book Award honorees. Other favorites include CDB! (1968), Brave Irene (1986), and Shrek! (1990), an adaptation of which won an Oscar for best animated film of 2001.

Steig had a prolific and acclaimed career in the arts. Hailed as the "King of Cartoons," he produced a staggering 1,600 drawings and over 100 covers for The New Yorker during his lifetime. At age 61, Steig embarked on a second career as a children's picture book author and illustrator. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble was the third of his 40 books for children. 

The Carle has featured Steig's art in numerous exhibitions, most recently in Treasures from the Collection: A 15 Year Celebration. In 2004, the Museum organized the retrospective Heart and Humor: The Picture Book Art of William Steig. For this presentation, The Carle designed a charming tableau vivant of Steig's picnic scene--including a "Sylvester rock"--to engage visitors of all ages.

About The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art: 

The mission of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a non-profit organization in Amherst, MA, is to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. A leading advocate in its field, The Carle collects, preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture-book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form, The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy.

Eric Carle and his wife, the late Barbara Carle, co-founded the Museum in November 2002. Carle is the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Since opening, the 43,000-square foot facility has served more than 750,000 visitors, including 50,000 schoolchildren. The Carle houses more than 11,000 objects, including 7,300 permanent collection illustrations. The Carle has three art galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and schoolchildren. Bobbie's Meadow is an outdoor space that combines art and nature. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country and Master's degree programs in children's literature with Simmons College. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 am to 4 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday 12 pm to 5 pm. Open Mondays in July and August and during MA school vacation weeks. Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children under 18, and $22.50 for a family of four. For further information and directions, call (413) 559-6300 or visit the Museum's website at www.carlemuseum.org.

Image: William Steig, Preliminary illustration for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1969). Gift of Jeanne Steig. © William Steig.

 

Lot406 copy.jpgPhiladelphia — On Wednesday, April 10, Freeman’s had the privilege of auctioning nearly 500 lots from the Collection of Ambassador & Mrs. Alexander Weddell, deaccessioned by the Virginia House Museum to benefit future preservation, acquisitions and care of collections. With an impressive 98% sell-through rate and unprecedented registration from online bidders, the single-owner sale nearly doubled its pre-sale high estimate, totaling $1.57 million. 

Though originally chosen to describe the diverse contents that were collected by the Weddells during their personal and professional foreign travels, the auction’s overarching title: Across Continents equally befits the strong international interest that the sale ultimately generated. After a comprehensive marketing campaign targeted to a global audience, both new and established bidders from around the world actively participated in the sale, vying to acquire the fresh-to-market furniture, decorative arts, paintings, textiles and books from this time-capsule collection.  Members of the trade, private collectors, and institutions alike expressed serious interest in the collection, either with the intent of bidding or of furthering academic studies and contributing to existing scholarship.  

“This sale provided a rare opportunity to combine rigorous art historical research with the client service and global outreach that Freeman’s is known for,” says Head of Sale Tessa Laney, “Working on this extraordinary and important collection was a true dream for any auction specialist and an honor for us at Freeman’s.”

Success with Ottoman Decorative Arts

Top price was achieved just over eight hours into the marathon auction by Lot 406: A book of various types of Ottoman dress. Exciting a full bank of active phone and internet bidders, the rare book — containing 148 original watercolors by a follower of the artist Fenerci Mehmed — sold to a prominent private collector in the room for an impressive $137,500 (estimate: $4,000-6,000).  Costume albums by Mehmed are in the Istanbul University Library, the Topkapi Palace, and the Rahmi Koç Collection.  This climactic moment crowned a series of strong prices achieved for Ottoman decorative arts, preceded by the back-to-back sales of Lots 155: A large pair of 17th/18th century Ottoman cast and turned brass candlesticks, which realized $25,000 (estimate: $1,000-2,000)  and 156: An early 19th century Ottoman gilt-copper (tombak) ewer and basin that sold for $48,750 (estimate: $4,000-6,000). Decorative arts from the Far East also performed well, led by Lot 199: A finely cast and engraved Tibetan gilt copper alloy figure of a seated Buddha, 16th/17th century or earlier, that realized $42,500 (estimate: $8,000-12,000).  

Furniture Highlights

In spite of a market that is all too frequently bemoaned, furniture from the Weddells’ collection performed remarkably well, with many lots exceeding their estimates. Lot 49: A Nasrid-style early marquetry and ivory inlaid cassone, Venice or Barcelona, late 15th century, skyrocketed past its pre-sale estimate of $6,000-8,000 to sell for $59,375. Bearing similarities to examples found in notable institutions such as the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, this early and extraordinary chest elicited strong interest from national and overseas parties.  Other furniture highlights included Lot 296: An impressive Spanish Renaissance carved walnut refectory table, 17th century, that sold for $37,500 (estimate: $5,000-7,000) and Lot 309: A fine Spanish Baroque iron-mounted and velvet-lined parcel-gilt walnut Vargueño on stand, 17th century, that realized $28,750 (estimate: $8,000-12,000).

Strong Prices for the Arts of Colonial and Latin America

The arts of Colonial and Latin America emerged as a particular area of interest to collectors. Many of the lots the Weddells acquired during their time in Mexico City and Argentina with the help of Austrian art dealer Rene d’Harnoncourt, the former director of MoMA, sparked competitive and lengthy bidding wars. The pattern emerged early when Lot 40: A Spanish Colonial polychrome lacquer tray, second half 18th century, made over thirty-six times its estimate to sell for $11,050. This was succeeded by the lively sale of Lot 234: A Mexican biombo with emblems from Otto Van Veens Horattii Emblemata, 18th century, that brought $17,500 (estimate: $2,000-3,000) and Lot 242: A Mexican silver eight-light votive lamp in the Spanish Colonial style, bearing marks for Cayetano Buitrón, likely late 19th century, that achieved $17,500 (estimate: $2,000-3,000). 

Fine Art hailing from the region also fared well, with Lot 260: Cuzco School (18th century), The Death of the Virgin, selling for $26,250 (estimate: $12,000-18,000) and Lot 232: Mexican School (18th century), The Virgin of Ocotlán, realizing $15,000 (estimate: $3,000-5,000). The highest price for a work of art in the collection was achieved by Lot 253: Le Désenchanté  (The Disillusioned), a root wood sculpture by Stephen Erzia (Russian 1876-1960), which sold for $71,500 (estimate: $15,000-25,000). The Weddells purchased the work directly from the artist, whom they met in Argentina in the 1930s. Alexander and Virginia purportedly purchased three other sculptures by Erzia, which they donated to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. 

Institutional Acquisitions

Numerous lots from the sale will be finding new homes in institutions, both within the United States and abroad. Most notably, several objects - including Lot 79: A Flemish mythological or historical tapestry, mid to late 16th century - will be returning to their former neighborhood of Windsor Farms in Richmond, Virginia, having been acquired by Agecroft Hall and Gardens - the historic mansion directly adjacent to Virginia House.  Additionally, Lot 78: Portrait of a Court Lady, Bust-Length by Franz Kessler (1580-1650) will be presented in a couple of months to the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne, Germany, where the artist was born and spent most of his life.  

Concluding Statements

The consistently strong performance of this varied collection that spanned countries, centuries and collecting-genres is testimony to Freeman’s success with single-owner sales, to its commitment to the proper and careful handling of institutional de-accessions and to its truly international reach. “It was a great pleasure working with the Virginia Museum of History and Culture on this de-accession,” remarks Freeman’s Vice President and Southeast Representative Colin Clarke, “This collaboration and the opportunity to handle such rare, first-rate material has definitely been one of the highlights of my professional career. It resulted in a beautiful exhibition, an in-depth and scholarly catalogue, and an exciting sale with results that speak for themselves."  

Image: Lot 406: A book of various types of Ottoman dress containing 148 original watercolors by a follower of the artist Fenerci Mehmed, sold to a private collector for $137,500 (estimate: $4,000-6,000). 

Brady Portrait copy.jpgDallas, TX - Consignments from five private collections, including one of the most comprehensive private compilations of Robert E. Lee photographs (many of which are signed by Lee) ever assembled, will be among the highlights in Heritage Auctions’ Americana & Political Auction May 4-5 in Dallas, Texas.

“The Dr. Donald A. Hopkins collection of Lee photos is remarkable both for its depth and breadth,” Heritage Auctions Americana Director Tom Slater said. “The auction includes some 100 lots, many of which contain multiple images, and includes numerous signed photos, rare poses, and images by noteworthy photographers both North and South.”

A diligent scholar of his subject, Dr. Hopkins authored the book Robert E. Lee in War and Peace, which is extensively illustrated with examples from this collection.

Among the top lots in the auction from the collection of Dr. Hopkins:

·         Robert E. Lee: Mammoth Mathew Brady Photograph is a double-matted and framed photo showing a full view of Lee seated next to a table topped with an elaborate clock. This is not the same pose as the commonly seen “clock portrait” because of the position of Lee’s elbow in relation to the clock on the table, and other details.

·         Robert E. Lee: Full Standing "Blockade Portrait" Carte-de-Visite [CDV] by Vannerson & Jones is a post-war printing of the 1864 studio portrait by Vannerson, one of two taken for use by 19th-century artist E.V. Valentine as models for his sculpture. The offered image was printed from Vannerson’s original negative after he entered into a partnership with Jones.

·         Robert E. Lee: Unpublished, Boldly Signed Carte-de-Visite [CDV] is a vignette bust of Lee, taken during fall and/or winter of 1865-66 by Isaac N. White and Joseph Kelley, who took one outdoor view of Lee atop Traveller, Lee’s most famous horse during the American Civil War, and two indoor shots. It has a cancelled two-cent stamp on verso, and is inscribed “White & Kelley.” The offered CDV was kept by the Alexander family in Stuart’s Draft, Augusta County, Virginia from 1866-2013. It descended through the family and was found secured in the Alexander library inside a copy of General Lee: Great Commander Series by Fitzhugh Lee.

Other diverse categories strongly represented in the auction include political and presidential collectibles, Old West artifacts, items from the early days of the Woman’s  Suffrage movement, and antique advertising.  A rare Punch Cigar Store Advertising Figure Cast in Zinc, Circa 1885. Fashioned in the form of one half of the Punch and Judy puppet show, the Punch figurine remains the most elusive for collectors, and rarely comes to the auction market in such exceptional condition. Depicting Punchinello, the Lord of Misrule, with cigars in his right hand, the figure has “Wm. Demuth & Co. Manufacturers New York” cast in the base. A notorious distributor of pipes and cigar store trade figures, Demuth entered into a partnership in 1863 with Brooklyn-based foundry operator Moritz Seelig, to produce cast metal trade figures to sell through Demuth’s catalog.

In addition, General George Washington’s “Christmas Miracle” Crossing the Delaware and the Stunning Victory at Trenton is one of what is believed to be only three known copies of this exceptionally rare broadside hand-bill, titled “Fresh Advices from the Westward…” from the office of The Providence Gazette. American newspapers traditionally did not print Sunday editions in the 18th century because of the Sabbath, but the magnitude of the news in this rarity justified an exception to the rule. The only two other known copies are housed in the Rhode Island Historical Society and at the American Antiquarian Society. This is believed to be the only copy ever to sell publicly, having appeared in the American Art Association’s 1921 sale, “Americana Rarissima: A Notable Selection of Books, Broadsides, Letters.”

Other noteworthy offerings include:

Henry Clay: A Marvelous Rare and Highly Distinctive 1844 Campaign Flag Banner is the first example of this flag seen other the one pictured in Threads of History, which now resides in an institutional collection. The flag features a unique “folk art” portrait of Clay, and each corner of the canton contains part of the slogan “A Natural Currency / Revenue and Protection / Encouragement to Agriculture / Manufactures and Commerce.”

James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok: Perhaps the Most Important Known Autograph Letter Signed from this Old West Legend set a world record when it was purchased for $190,400 at auction by the consignor in 2003. Hickok wrote the letter to his wife, Agnes, in June 1876 at Omaha, Nebraska, where he was trying to put together a prospecting expedition to the Black Hills. He wrote the letter just a month before he was fatally shot by Jack McCall while playing poker, as he held a hand - aces and eights - that became known as the “dead man’s hand.”

John A. Sutter: A Superb Engraved Sword Presented to this Famous California Gold Rush Figure by the Sutter Rifles Militia Group is one of the great early California relics, having sold in 2008 for $172,000. Sutter owned the mill where James Marshall first discovered gold in 1848, and rose quickly to prominence, becoming one of the faces of the California Gold Rush and then becoming a (perhaps honorary) general in the California state militia. A unit known as the Sutter Rifles presented him with this sword, the scabbard of which was engraved with “Presented to Major General John A. Sutter / by Captn / A. Andrews / Sacramento City 1853.”

Zachary Taylor: Only Known Example Campaign Banner for the 1848 Whig Candidate and 12th President is in the style of campaign banners that attained extreme popularity in the 1840 and 1844 political seasons, but many seemed to disappear during the following two presidential elections. They enjoyed a resurgence in 1856 and rode the new wave of popularity through the remainder of the 19th century. This is the only example that Heritage Auctions ever has seen, in private or public collections, making this one of the most important political flags ever to reach the auction market. The flag is emblazoned with “Brave Old Zach” on the front, and “He protected the children” on the back - almost certainly a reference to the first event which brought Taylor national attention - as an officer in his first battle in the War of 1812, he commanded Fort Harrison, which came under attack by Indians who were siding with the British. Taylor rallied the troops, fending off the attack while allowing no harm to the women and children.

Among the 995 lots in the auction are more than three dozen Texana lots, including:

·         William Barret Travis: Legal Document Signed "W B Travis"

·         G. Woolworth Colton. Colton's New Map of the State of Texas

·         Texas: Circa 1840 Map by George Conclin

·         Sam Houston: Receipt Signed as President of the Republic of Texas

·         Texas and Rio Grande Land Grant Certificate

In the  Woman’s Suffrage category, the auction features the widely respected collection of Jeannine Coup of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the founder and editor of The Political Bandwagon, which reports on activity in the world of political items collecting. Highlights include:

·         Boldly Colored Trumpeter Button

·         Angelic Trumpeter Slogan Button

·         Rare Enamel Brooch

·         Susan B. Anthony Birthday Teaspoon

·         Billowing Pennant Enamel Brooch

Other top lots include, but are not limited to:

·         Cox & Roosevelt: An Almost Certainly Unique Black and White Variant of the Customarily Brown Whitehead and Hoag 7/8" Jugate

·         Jordan B. Noble: African American Drummer in the War of 1812 Personally Owned Snare Drum

·         George Washington: A Superb, Large, Signed Oil on Canvas Portrait by Philadelphia Artist Robert Street

·         U. S. Flags: Circa 1845 27-Star Flag

·         Sam Houston: Fabulous Life-Size Pastel Portrait by Harriet Anderson Stubbs Murphy

Young-Whitman.jpgThe Library of Congress will celebrate the 200th anniversary of American poet and changemaker Walt Whitman’s birthday in spring 2019 with a series of exhibits, public programs and a digital crowdsourcing campaign to showcase the Library’s unparalleled collections of Whitman’s writings and artifacts.

The Library’s Whitman Bicentennial series will be part of the citywide Walt Whitman 200 Festival and other commemorations in the Mid-Atlantic where Whitman spent most of his life. Whitman was born May 31, 1819, and died March 26, 1892. He spent about 10 years living and writing in Washington. During the Civil War, he volunteered in military hospitals in the city to provide emotional support to wounded soldiers.

Whitman worked as a schoolteacher, printer, newspaper editor, journalist, carpenter, freelance writer and civil servant, but he is best known as one of America’s most famous poets - and as a poet of democracy.

The Library holds the most extensive array of Whitman and Whitman-related collections in the world, including manuscripts, rare books, prints and photographs. Collection items range from handwritten drafts of poems and early prose writings to rare editions of “Leaves of Grass,” Whitman’s eyeglasses and walking stick and the most famous studio portraits taken in his lifetime. The manuscript collections are digitized and available online, as are many photographs.

The Whitman Bicentennial series is part of a yearlong initiative in 2019 inviting visitors to Explore America’s Changemakers.
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By the People Crowdsourcing Campaign
April 24 - June 

The Library’s crowdsourcing initiative “By the People” will launch a campaign April 24 to enlist the public to help transcribe more than 121,000 pages of Whitman’s writings and papers to make them more searchable and accessible online. Documents selected for transcription will include samples of Whitman’s poetry, prose and correspondence, including versions of poems such as “Oh Captain! My Captain!” and fragments of poems Whitman published in more finished form in “Leaves of Grass.”

This is also a special opportunity for teachers and students to engage with Whitman’s creative process. Drafts and portions of his poems at various stages of composition reveal his active, creative mind, as well as his innovative ways of seeing the world and wordsmithing poetic expressions.

The Library will collaborate with the National Council of Teachers of English to host a Transcribe-a-Thon webinar on April 24 at 4 p.m. Eastern time. The one-hour event will bring together experts from the Library, NCTE and educators to discuss how students can analyze, transcribe, review and tag the Whitman papers. Registration is open to all and available here.
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Whitman Bicentennial Display
May 16 - Aug. 15

To mark the 200th anniversary of Whitman’s birth, the Library will display poetry, images and ephemera from Whitman’s life in the Thomas Jefferson Building. Five cases will display Whitman’s handwritten drafts, published poems, original letters, portraits and other rarely seen materials.

The display will retrace Whitman’s life, from his birthplace on Long Island, New York, his rise as an American poet, his life in Washington - including his intimate relationship with Peter Doyle, his care for Civil War soldiers and his admiration for Abraham Lincoln - his hands-on involvement with the design and publication of his poetry collection “Leaves of Grass” and pop culture references to Whitman and his legacy. It was “Leaves of Grass,” his break-through work of free verse celebrating democracy, sexuality, human potential, universalism and the natural world, that would earn Whitman worldwide fame.
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Whitman in Culpeper
Thursday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Packard Campus Theater, Culpeper, Virginia.

For two months in early 1864, Walt Whitman resided in Culpeper, Virginia, while serving as a volunteer in the Army of the Potomac’s nearby field hospitals. Despite the ravages the war had visited upon the area, Whitman described Culpeper as “one of the pleasantest towns in Virginia.”

Local historian Bud Hall will present a talk at the Library’s Packard Campus Theater in Culpeper about Whitman’s time in the area, followed by a screening of “Shenandoah” (Universal, 1965). Jimmy Stewart stars as a Virginia farmer intent on keeping his family out of the Civil War, but with the battles being fought almost literally on his doorstep, struggles to maintain his neutrality.
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Happy Birthday Walt! - Digitized Walt Whitman Collections from the Manuscript Division
Thursday, May 30, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Manuscript Division historian Barbara Bair will host a webinar highlighting the content and research use of three digitized manuscript collections: the Walt Whitman Collection of miscellaneous manuscripts; the Charles Feinberg collection of Walt Whitman Papers; and the Thomas Harned collection of Walt Whitman Papers. She will also discuss programs celebrating Whitman’s birthday at the Library of Congress. More information is available here.
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Walt Whitman’s Birthday Party
Saturday, June 1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Young Readers Center will host a day for families that will celebrate Whitman and his legacy on June 1 in the Thomas Jefferson Building. Activities will include an author talk from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., featuring author Robert Burleigh and illustrator Sterling Hundley discussing their book “O Captain, My Captain: Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War;” a birthday party for Whitman at 11 a.m.; and a book signing at 11:15 a.m. A Whitman butterfly maker activity and handouts of “Walt Whitman’s Guide to Nature Walking” will be available all day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., visiting families are also invited to participate in the Library’s crowdsourcing initiative “By the People” and help transcribe selections from Whitman’s writings and papers to make them more searchable and accessible online.
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Walt Whitman Open House
Monday, June 3, from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The Library of Congress will present a Walt Whitman Open House display in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, supplementing the ongoing Whitman Bicentennial Display with even more treasures from the Library’s collections. The Open House will feature a special array of rarely seen Walt Whitman collection items from the Manuscript, Rare Book, Music, and Prints and Photographs divisions, as well as Serials and General Collections. The display will include items pertaining to Whitman’s time in Washington, but also other materials from throughout his life, including the walking cane given to him by nature writer John Burroughs, draft poems, artistic renderings of Whitman and rare editions of “Leaves of Grass.”

As part of the celebration, the Library’s Poetry and Literature Center will host a special showing of the new documentary short film “Walt Whitman: Poet Citizen,” directed by Haydn Reiss and Zinc Films and produced in association with the Poetry Foundation. Filmed in part at the Library of Congress, “Walt Whitman: Poet Citizen” features Poets Laureate Tracy K. Smith and Robert Hass, among other poets, discussing Whitman’s life, poetry and legacy.

A reading of Whitman’s poems from his Washington years will follow at the Folger Shakespeare Library that evening.

Image: Walt Whitman in his younger years, as shown in this 1854 engraving by Samuel Hollyer used in the 1855 first edition of "Leaves of Grass." Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. 

 

Compass of the Ephemeral, aerial photograph by Will Roger.jpgSmallworks Press, an independent publishing company specializing in limited edition, exquisitely-printed books focusing on contemporary art and culture, has announced it is producing and distributing the highly-anticipated Compass of the Ephemeral: Aerial Photography of Black Rock City through the Lens of Will Roger, the first book of aerial and drone photography by cultural co-founder of Burning Man, Will Roger.

Compass of the Ephemeral includes a collection of Will Roger’s photographs chronicling the ever-changing cityscape and transformation of Black Rock City, home to Burning Man and one of the harshest climates in the continental U.S. The book traces the history and transition of Black Rock City from a few thousand people in the late 1990s to the growing metropolis required to support over 70,000 citizens today.

As the first Director of Operations of the Burning Man event,Will Roger worked alongside the other five founding board members and all others involved to ensure that Black Rock City becomes a reality each year and then vanishes without a trace. He was instrumental in creating numerous foundations for the event, including: established the Department of Public Works (DPW), a workforce of volunteers dedicated to building and deconstructing the physical infrastructure of Black Rock City; actualized an FAA approved airport, and conceived traditions such as the Gold Spike Ceremony, a pre-event commemoration for the builders of Black Rock City, as the first stake is placed in the ground to survey and build the future city.

Roger says: “Burning Man is a blank canvas for people to come and create on. Burning Man creates a human empathy, then serendipity and creativity happens. Burning Man is the real world; everything else is the default world. People come away with changed lives and a changed culture because at Burning Man, everyone is human . . . there is no class, no color. You become family: human family, world family, global family.”

Compass of the Ephemeral also includes interpretive essays by William L. Fox, director of the Nevada Museum of Art’s Center for Art + Environment; Alexei Vranich, American archeologist at the University of California, Berkley; Tony “Coyote” Perez-Banuet, city superintendent of Black Rock City; Crimson Rose, cultural co-founder of Burning Man; and an introduction by Harley K. DuBois, cultural co-founder of Burning Man. Each essay explores the physical, cultural and artistic context and impact of the Burning Man event.

A preview of the book will take place at the Nevada Museum of Art on May 23, 2019, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Reno, Nevada. Will Roger,William L. Fox and Crimson Rose will discuss aspects of the book with the panel moderated by Smallworks Press publisher, James Stanford.

Stanford comments, “I could not be more delighted that Will Roger chose Smallworks Press as his official publisher. Since 2006, Smallworks Press has been producing exceptional visual and interpretive works that reflect the interconnectivity of art and community, a vision that Roger has made tangible each year for the past 14 years, by visually documenting the uniqueness of Burning Man and Black Rock City and by his involvement and contributions to the Burning Man culture and infrastructure.” The book is scheduled for release June 18, 2019.

About Smallworks Press

Founded in 2006, Smallworks Press specializes in arts and culture publications and treats each book with a commitment to impeccable production, design and marketing. With more than 100 years of collective experience, the Smallworks Press team has enjoyed collaborating with a wide-spectrum of artists, authors and talent to create works with beautiful chromatic illustrations and stimulating interpretation with the finest print quality. Smallworks Press has international fulfillment through IPG and Gazelle, subsidiaries of Ingram Content Group.

For information, visit www.smallworkspress.com, email info@smallworkspress.com or call 702-577-6592.

ImageCompass of the Ephemeral: Aerial Photography of Black Rock City through the Lens of Will Roger, the first book of aerial and drone photography by cultural co-founder of Burning Man, Will Roger

Life magazine copy.jpgMiami Beach, FL — In a focused installation, The Wolfsonian-Florida International University will highlight the transnational legacy of Cuban graphic designer, illustrator, publisher, and caricaturist Conrado Walter Massaguer—a leading voice in shaping early 20th-century Cuban culture who is often credited for bringing modernism to the island nation. Cuban Caricature and Culture: The Art of Massaguer, on view June 8, 2019 through February 2, 2020, presents selections from a new gift of Massaguer material from collector Vicki Gold Levi in addition to loans and other Wolfsonian collection objects. Featuring magazine covers, advertisements, original paintings, rare sketches and personal letters, and caricatures of famous figures from Hollywood stars to royalty and presidents, the nearly 100 works on view call attention to Massaguer’s profound influence on design in both Cuba and the U.S. over his 40-year career.

“Conrado Massaguer’s art left an indelible mark on Cuba, helping to define not only what Cubans considered ‘in vogue,’ but also informing day-to-day culture and politics,” said Frank Luca, Wolfsonian chief librarian and the installation’s curator. “Though he won his international acclaim a century ago, his style remains fresh and imaginative in a way that still feels incredibly modern to us today.”

Added Gold Levi, “I first discovered Massaguer through his magazine Social when I began research for Cuba Style, a book I wrote with Steve Heller—I was immediately captivated! As I continued studying, collecting, and traveling to Cuba over the years, I only fell deeper in love with Massaguer’s witty graphics and simple, pure, evocative lines. I’m honored to collaborate with The Wolfsonian on raising awareness about such a versatile, talented artist.”

Born in the Cuban city of Cárdenas, Massaguer (1889-1965) was educated in both Cuba and America and frequently traveled back and forth, simultaneously building his reputation as a premier artist and art director in Havana and New York City. Over the course of four decades—and particularly during a brief exile in the U.S. during Gerardo Machado’s dictatorship—Massaguer became a prominent trendsetter in America by designing covers and illustrations for many of the leading magazines of the time, including Vanity Fair, Collier’s, Cosmopolitan, and Literary Digest. While he took many cues from American publications and artists for these commissions, Massaguer put a distinctly Cuban stamp on a 1931 exhibition of his work at Delphic Studios, a New York gallery. There, Massaguer’s impressions of his native country were placed front and center, with a uniquely Cuban flavor evident in the style and themes.

Back in his homeland, Massaguer likewise cemented his role in publishing by founding and art directing his own lifestyle magazine, Social, in which he nurtured the careers of numerous Cuban illustrators and caricaturists. From the 1920s into the 1950s, Social set the tone for Cuban values and taste, heavily publicizing the idea of the liberated and sexualized “new woman” (or flapper) and incorporating a bold Art Deco aesthetic. Massaguer was also central to Cuba’s tourism campaigns, creating striking advertising art that packaged Cuba as a product and sought to lure Americans south through vibrant visions of a tropical playground. His status in Cuban society brought him in close proximity to foreign dignitaries, politicians, and visiting celebrities, many of whom he parodied in his signature, New Yorker-esque caricatures.

Key works in Cuban Caricature and Culture are:

  • A humorous self-caricature used by Massaguer to announce his arrival in New York in the 1920s and introduce himself to the American art scene;
  • A sketch of Walt Disney paired with a photograph of Massaguer and Disney;
  • Several illustrations of the artist’s “Massa-girl” types, fashionable women with bobbed hairstyles that popularized the “new woman” ideal in Cuba;
  • Come to Cuba, a vibrant, early-1950s brochure produced for the Cuban Tourism Commission that touts the various attractions (dancing, beach-going, gambling, and horse racing) of “the loveliest land that human eyes have ever seen”;
  • A Social cover showing a Deco-style evolution of the “new woman”; and
  • A Christmas holiday advertisement for Esso made in the aftermath of the Allies’ victory in the Second World War, with caricatures of Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle, Chiang Kai-shek, and Santa Claus.

Massaguer’s immense popularity is reflected in a robust market for fakes that Cuban Caricature and Culture will address through a counterfeit illustration of Albert Einstein. By displaying this fraudulent piece beside a genuine version, The Wolfsonian will reveal the forger’s tactics for, and missteps in, mimicking the designer’s trademark flair.

The installation coincides with the publication of Promising Paradise: Cuban Allure, American Seduction, a new companion book to a 2016 Wolfsonian exhibition of the same name also drawn from Vicki Gold Levi’s gifts. Touching upon many of Massaguer’s groundbreaking works, the book is the culmination of twenty years of Gold Levi’s interest in Cuban memorabilia and photography, and a capstone to almost two decades of Wolfsonian support and ongoing gifts.

“The Wolfsonian’s collection is renowned for its examples of graphic design, yet until Vicki’s gifts just a fraction demonstrated the mammoth impact of Cuban culture on its northern neighbor,” said Wolfsonian director Tim Rodgers. “This new material marks an exciting addition that proves how our cultural exchange was indeed a two-way street paved in large part by Cuban artists and tastemakers. Sharing Massaguer’s story right here in Miami—the gateway to Latin America—is remarkably fitting.”

Image: Magazine, Life, January 19, 1928. Conrado W. Massaguer (Cuban, 1889-1965), cover illustrator The Wolfsonian-FIU, The Vicki Gold Levi Collection 

 

WHAT: The New England Society in the City of New York (NES) is pleased to announce the finalists, or the “shortlist,” for the 2019 New England Society Book Awards, which recognize books of merit that celebrate New England and its culture. The NES Book Awards are presented annually to authors of books published in the previous year. Following tradition, the winning authors will be selected from this shortlist and announced to the membership at the annual Founders’ Day Celebration on May 15. The winners will then be lauded at a special evening at the National Arts Club on  June 27.  “Given the remarkable roster of Finalists and the broad range of categories and subjects explored by them, we look forward to naming the Winners of the 2019 New England Society Book Awards,” said Roland Foster Miller, the committee co-chair. “They will be stellar.” 

THE FINALISTS:  

ART & PHOTOGRAPHY

  • The Art of Curating: Paul J. Sachs and the Museum Course at Harvard
    by Sally Ann Duncan and Andrew McLellan (Getty Publications)
  • Winslow Homer and the Camera: Photography and the Art of Painting
    by Dan E. Byrd and Frank H. Goodyear III (Yale University Press)

FICTION

  • Still Life With Monkey by Katharine Weber (Paul Dry Books)
  • The Maze at Windermere by Gregory Blake Smith (Penguin Random House, Viking)
  • The Late Bloomers' Club by Louise Miller (Penguin Random House, Viking)  

CONTEMPORARY NONFICTION/BIOGRAPHY

  • Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine by Alan Lightman (Pantheon Books)
  • Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World by Eileen McNamara (Simon & Schuster)

HISTORICAL NONFICTION

  • After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America's Greatest Poet
    by Julie Dobrow (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip's War by Lisa Brooks (Yale University Press)

SPECIALTY TITLE

  • Seaweed Chronicles by Susan Hand Shetterly (Algonquin Books)
  • A Naturalist at Large by Bernd Heinrich (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

WHERE & WHEN: The June 27 event is open to the public, offering all NES members and literary enthusiasts a chance to mingle with winners. This year’s event will be held at New York’s venerable National Arts Club and include a panel discussion with the winning authors, book signings and the awards ceremony. To purchase tickets, visit www.nesnyc.org/upcomingevents or call 212.297.2194.

WHO: Founded in 1805, The New England Society in the City of New York is one of the oldest social, charitable and cultural organizations in the United States. For more than 100 years, prominent writers such as Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louis Auchincloss, William F. Buckley Jr., David McCullough, Dominick Dunne and Nathaniel Philbrick have been honored by NES. The New England Society Book Awards carry on these literary connections and recognize books of merit that celebrate New England and its culture.

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