Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2023 Issue

Life in America's Past from Langdon Manor Books

The extraordinary every day.

Langdon Manor Books has released their Catalog 16 of The Extraordinary History of the Every Day. This latest group includes numerous photographs, archives, personally created scrapbooks and accounts, some individual pieces, and more. Most were the creations of everyday people, living life as Americans did generations ago. This is history from the eyes of people like the rest of us, though they came from many different backgrounds. These are a few.


Secession or division of territory has been a recurring theme in American history. The most notable was when the South tried to secede from the United States during the Civil War, but there have been several attempts for parts of states to secede from that state or for a state to be divided. The most recent success was during the Civil War when West Virginia broke away from Virginia. It tends to come when rural parts of states feel they are overlooked by urban ones. The issue has come up recently with rural northern and eastern California seeking to separate from the urban centers, and rural western Oregon looking to merge into Idaho. Back in 1941, some residents of rural northern California and southern Oregon sought to form a new state to be called Jefferson. Item 20 is a collection of photographs from this time, including one of people standing alongside a “State of Jefferson” sign. There are photographs of an event where armed residents stopped cars along Route 99. They simply handed out copies of a Proclamation of Independence. Another is of the “Governor” of Jefferson, John L. Childs. Along with under-representation there was much objection to what residents felt was poor maintenance of their roads. The movement quickly disintegrated when three days after Childs' “inauguration,” Pearl Harbor was bombed and attention quickly turned to more pressing matters. Priced at $800.


It's still hard to believe this happened in America but during the Second World War, loyal Japanese Americans from California were ordered from their homes and forced to go to internment camps in remote places of the West. Conditions were primitive compared to the way most people lived. Housed in barracks, locked behind fences, sometimes only cots to sleep on. Nothing like this was done to German-American or Italian-American citizens, not even members of the pro-German “America First” movement at the beginning of the war. Somehow, the Japanese amazingly took it in stride, still loyal despite the injustice. They published newspapers from the camps and this is one. It is not from the typical one out in the boondocks. This one came from the Santa Anita Assembly Center in 1942. This was one where Japanese Americans were first required to report. After a relatively brief amount of time there, they would be moved to the other camps where they were held until released. The Santa Anita Assembly Center was set up at the Santa Anita racetrack. It operated from March 27 – October 27, 1942, at the peak holding 18,000 internees. They were all moved out in time for the next racing season. Item 26 is the Santa Anita Pacemaker. It was put together by internees to describe their time at the relocation center, with illustrations of the camp, a map, and various columns and other information of use to those temporarily detained at this center. $3,000.


Next is a personal photograph album compiled by a young African-American woman named Archeleen Scrutchings from 1945-1946. Most of the photos were taken while she was in a state you would never expect – Idaho. There was some slow migration to Idaho by African-Americans at the time, but very slowly. As Langdon Manor notes, they moved to avoid the racism and violence of the South, as “Idaho's Black population went from practically non-existent to miniscule.” Ms. Scrutchings went from Birmingham to Pocatello to attend what later became Idaho State University. There are lots of pictures of friends in Idaho, including a young man of whom she was evidently quite fond. He later went on to become an Assistant Dean at the University of Chicago. Miss Scrutchings returned to Alabama and married another man in 1948. She died in 2021. Item 8. $2,850.


Item 32 is a collection of 14 photographs from Prescott, Arizona in 1931 documenting a Hopi Snake Dance. This is a traditional dance of the tribe generally performed in late August. It starts with a 16-day preparation, four of which are spent by young men and boys gathering snakes, rattlesnakes in particular. The snakes are bathed and placed in a structure made from cottonwood branches. The men are pictured with the snakes, including clenched in their mouth. I would not recommend this unless you are an experienced Hopi. I don't know how the snakes feel about this ritual, but the good news is it does not end as you might expect. At the conclusion, the snakes are released into the desert to let the spirits know the Hopi are living in harmony with nature, their religious beliefs, and each other. $950.


From native customs we move to the exact opposite. Item 33 is a picture of six Choctaw Indian students at Roanoke College, taken in 1877. Roanoke's President visited the Choctaw nation and opened the doors to students from the tribe. These six are pictured in a way no one would guess they were Indians. They are dressed up in very neat suits, looking every bit like ambitious young white men preparing for a career on Wall Street. $950.


This is a 128-page journal kept by an anonymous writer, apparently from Alton, Illinois in 1854. Most of it relates to bible study but 28 pages describe a fascinating journey from New Orleans to San Francisco. He travelled by boat through the Crabin [Caribbean] Sea to Central America, and then up the Nicaragua River. Next they walked two miles to meet up with another ship that took him to California. He describes the trip, the expensive prices, the quality, or lack thereof, of the food, the natives who will steal from you whenever they can. Of note is there are regular fights onboard between passengers or passengers and crew. It sounds almost as unpleasant as flying on an airline today. The food was much better and more reasonably priced in San Francisco, and the journal concludes with his going to Sacramento and then leaving for Nevada. Item 16. $3,850.


Langdon Manor Books may be reached at 713-443-4697 or LangdonManorBooks@gmail.com. Their website is found at www.langdonmanorbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Important Modern Literature from the Library of an American Filmmaker
    8 December 2023
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Kerouac, Jack. Typescript scroll of The Dharma Bums. Typed by Kerouac in Orlando, Florida, 1957, published by Viking in 1958. 300,000 - 500,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Hemingway, Ernest. The autograph manuscript of "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber." [Key West, finished April 1936]. 300,000 - 500,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Miller, Henry. Typescript of The Last Book, a working title for Tropic of Cancer, written circa 1931–1932. 100,000 - 150,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Ruscha, Ed. Twentysix Gasoline Stations, with a lengthy inscription to Joe Goode. 40,000 - 60,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Hemingway, Ernest. in our time, first edition of Hemingway’s second book. 30,000 - 50,000 USD
  • Swannm Dec. 14: Lot 2:
    John Ford Clymer, U.S. Troops' Triumphant Return to New York Harbor, oil on canvas, circa 1944.
    Swannm Dec. 14: Lot 44:
    Edward Gorey, Illustration of cover and spine for Fonthill, a Comedy by Aubrey Menen, pen and ink, 1973.
    Swannm Dec. 14: Lot 50:
    Harrison Cady, frontispiece for Buster Bear's Twins by Thornton W. Burgess, watercolor and ink, 1921.
    Swannm Dec. 14: Lot 54:
    Ludwig Bemelmans, Pepito, portrait of Pepito from the Madeline book series, mixed media.
    Swannm Dec. 14: Lot 79:
    Gluyas Williams, Fellow Citizens Observation Platform, pen and ink, cartoon published in The New Yorker, March 11, 1933.
    Swannm Dec. 14: Lot 86:
    Thomas Nast, Victory, – for the moment, political cartoon, pen and ink, 1884.
    Swannm Dec. 14: Lot 91:
    Mischa Richter, Lot of 10 cartoons for Field Publications, ink and pencil, circa 1940.
    Swannm Dec. 14: Lot 111:
    Arthur Getz, Sledding In Central Park, casein tempera on canvas, cover of The New Yorker, February 26, 1955.
    Swannm Dec. 14: Lot 124:
    Richard Erdoes, Map of Boston, illustration for unknown children's magazine, gouache on board, circa 1960.
    Swannm Dec. 14: Lot 155:
    Robert Fawcett, The old man looked him over carefully, gouache on board, published in The Saturday Evening Post, June 9, 1945.
    Swannm Dec. 14: Lot 170:
    Violet Oakley, Portrait of Woodrow Wilson, charcoal and pastel, circa 1918.
    Swannm Dec. 14: Lot 188:
    Robert J. Wildhack, Scribner's for March, 1907, mixed media.
    Valuable Books and Manuscripts
    London auction
    13 December
    Find out more
    Christie’s, Explore now
    TREW, Christoph Jacob (1695–1769). Plantae Selectae quarum imagines ad exemplaria naturalia Londini in hortus curiosorum. [Nuremberg: 1750–1773]. £30,000–40,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    VERBIEST, Ferdinand (1623–88). Liber Organicus Astronomiae Europaeae apud Sinas restituate. [Beijing: Board of Astronomy, 1674]. £250,000–350,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ALICE & NIKOLAUS HARNONCOURT. Master of Jean Rolin (active 1445–65). Book of Hours, use of Paris, in Latin and French, [Paris, c.1450–1460]. £120,000–180,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    A SILVER MICROSCOPE. Probably by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723), c.1700. £150,000–250,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    C.1311. £100,000–150,000
  • Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Roberts (David) & Croly (George). The Holy Land, Syria, Idumae, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia. Lond. 1842 - 1843 [-49]. First Edn. €10,000 to €15,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Incunabula: O'Fihily (Maurice). Duns Scotus Joannes: O'Fihely, Maurice Abp… Venice, 20th November 1497. €8,000 to €12,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: An important file of documents with provenance to G.A. Newsom, manager of the Jacob’s Factory in Dublin, occupied by insurgents during Easter Week 1916. €6,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: WILDE (Oscar), 1854-1900, playwright, aesthete and wit. A lock of Wilde’s Hair, presented by his son to the distinguished Irish actor Mícheál MacLiammóir. €6,000 to €8,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Heaney (Seamus). Bog Poems, London, 1975. Special Limited Edition, No. 33 of 150 Copies, Signed by Author. Illus. by Barrie Cooke. €4,000 to €6,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Binding: Burke, Thomas O.P. (de Burgo). Hibernia Dominicana, Sive Historia Provinciae Hiberniae Ordinis Praedicatorum, ... 1762. First Edition. €4,000 to €6,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: COLLINS, Michael. An important TL, 29 July 1922, addressed to GOVERNMENT on ‘suggested Proclamation warning all concerned that troops have orders to shoot prisoners found sniping, ambushing etc.’. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Scott Fitzgerald (F.) The Great Gatsby, New York (Charles Scribner's Sons) 1925, First Edn. €2,000 to €3,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Yeats (W.B.) The Poems of W.B. Yeats, 2 vols. Lond. (MacMillan & Co.) 1949. Limited Edition, No. 46 of 375 Copies Only, Signed by W.B. Yeats. €1,500 to €2,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Miller (William) Publisher. The Costume of the Russian Empire, Description in English and French, Lg. folio London (S. Gosnell) 1803. First Edn. €1,000 to €1,500.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Miller (William) Publisher. The Costume of Turkey, Illustrated by a Series of Engravings. Lg. folio Lond.(T. Bensley) 1802. First Edn. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Mason (Geo. Henry). The Costume of China, Illustrated with Sixty Engravings. Lg. folio London (for W. Miller) 1800. First Edn. €1,400 to €1,800
  • Sotheby’s
    Fine Books and Manuscripts
    8 December 2023
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: [Austen, Jane] — Isaac D'Israeli. Jane Austen's copy of Curiosities of Literature. 100,000 - 150,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: [Austen, Jane]. A handsome first edition in boards of the author's debut novel. 70,000 - 100,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Brontë, Charlotte. "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me..." 100,000 - 150,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Eliot, George. The author's magnum opus. 25,000 - 35,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Whitman, Walt. Manuscript written upon the Death of Lincoln, 1865. 60,000 - 80,000 USD

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