Shay’s Rebellion Letter, Texas Revolution Diary Among Highlights of Swann Galleries’ April 14 Auction


New York—On Tuesday, April 14 Swann Galleries will hold an auction devoted to Printed & Manuscript Americana, which offers a fine array of items relating to Latin Americana and the Caribbean and selections from the Milton R. Slater Collection.

From the eclectic Slater collection is a fantastic 1787 letter with an officer’s eyewitness description of the central battle of Shays’ Rebellion, in which an army of thousands of disaffected western Massachusetts men had risen against high taxes, and were preparing to storm the state armory at Springfield, 26 January 1787 (estimate: $5,000 to $7,500); a 1774 manuscript proclamation ordering the arrest of Ethan Allen and other leaders of the Green Mountain Boys, Signed by William Tryon as Governor of New York ($3,000 to $4,000) and Benjamin Owen Tyler’s very early printing of The Declaration of Independence, the first broadside to include facsimile signatures, Washington, 1818 ($5,000 to $7,500).


Fine Mormon material includes a first edition of The Book of Mormon, the only edition listing Joseph Smith as “author and proprietor,” rather than translator, and the only edition with his two-page preface, Palmyra, NY, 1830 ($30,000 to $40,000) and a first edition broadside announcing the Mormon leadership's intention to abandon Nauvoo and emigrate to the Rockies, launching the Utah settlement, Nauvoo, IL, 1846 ($8,000 to $12,000).

A logbook from the Mexican blockade schooner Bravo, while attempting to suppress the Texan Revolution, has accounts of confrontations that provide new insight into the naval operations of the revolution. The 84-page manuscript log, written between 24 October and 12 December 1835, is a crucial source from the Mexican side, and appears to be previously unknown ($20,000 to $30,000).

Another featured manuscript in Spanish is Processo contra Alonsso Garcia, 56 pages of Inquisition proceedings against Alonso Gómez García, a mestizo from Atitalaquía, near the capital, who was brought before the Mexican Inquisition for having a tattoo of a demon on his leg, 1617 ($10,000 to $15,000).

There is also an early manuscript cookbook, containing hundreds of classic Mexican recipes including biscochos (wedding cookies), atole, relleno ellos pollos de Oaxaca (stuffed chicken), and quesadillas both fried and baked, circa 1800 ($4,000 to $6,000)

 Gracing the cover of the auction catalogue is Adriaan Martin de Groot’s accomplished Portrait of Theodore Roosevelt at his desk, oil painting on canvas, 1925 ($5,000 to $7,500). Another presidential item is an archive of Kennedy campaign documents and related papers, 341 items in 12 folders, mostly internal documents from the frenetic final months of Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign, 1957-63 ($1,500 to $2,500).

Also from the 20th century is a first edition, first issue of the Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book,” New York, 1939 ($6,000 to $9,000) and Ron Drummond’s seminal book The Art of Wave Riding, generally regarded as the first book devoted to surfing, Hollywood, CA, 1931 ($2,000 to $3,000).

The auction will take place Tuesday, April 14 at 1:30 p.m. The items will be on public exhibition Thursday, April 9, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, April 10, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, April 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Tuesday, April 14, 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

First image: Log of the Mexican schooner Bravo while attempting to suppress the Texan Revolution, October to December 1835. Estimate $20,000 to $30,000.

Second image: The Book of Mormon, first edition, New York, 1830. Estimate $30,000 to $40,000.

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