Rare and Unusual Americana from Michael Ginsberg Books
Michael Ginsberg's latest catalogue of Rare and Unusual Americana.
By Michael Stillman
We have received our first catalogue from Americana bookseller Michael Ginsberg Books, of Sharon, Massachusetts. This is Ginsburg catalogue 150 of Rare and Unusual Americana. Both of those terms apply well to Ginsburg's collection, which is filled with the unexpected and unusual. For example, how did a collection of 1870s Alabama state documents end up in Massachusetts of all places? It includes everything from reports of the Governor, Treasurer, and Superintendent of Public Instruction, to those of the Inspectors of the Alabama Penitentiary, Officers of the Freedmen's Hospital, Officers for the Alabama Institution For the Deaf and Dumb and Blind, and the Officers of the Alabama Insane Hospital. You can even read about pardons issued by the Governor and his reasons for granting them. Item 3; priced at $1,000. Here are a few more of the items in Ginsburg's latest catalogue.
This is one more interesting southern item: The Interest in Slavery of the Southern Non-Slaveholder. The Right of Peaceful Secession. Slavery in the Bible. This 1860 Charleston item, by James DeBow, touches on one issue that had the potential to divide the South, and make secession, as well as the long-term prospects for the continuation of slavery, untenable. The issue was that most southerners were not themselves slaveholders, and had little personal interest in the institution that they would be called upon to make great sacrifices to defend. A few southerners even argued that slavery was bad for most small white farmers, who were forced to compete against large plantations which had the benefit of unpaid labor. It was essential to the secessionist cause that those who did not own slaves believe they had an interest in maintaining slavery. Item 65. $500.
The last item was an argument to poorer southerners, attempting to convince them that something not apparently in their interest really was. Item 159 is a northern attempt at a similar argument directed toward the South. Item 159 is Profits On Manufactures at Lowell. Letter from the Treasurer of a Corporation to John S. Pendleton, Esq. Virginia, by Thomas G. Cary, published in Boston in 1845. At that time, there was much resentment in the South toward tariffs designed to protect American manufacturers, who were overwhelmingly located in the North. The tariffs raised prices on goods needed in the South, while inviting retaliatory tariffs on southern cotton shipped to foreign lands. In this pamphlet, Cary argues that the tariffs, by protecting American textile manufacturers, who used southern cotton, had the effect of protecting their southern cotton suppliers as well. Cary also claimed that the images of great wealth possessed by northern manufacturers were greatly exaggerated. This is a presentation copy from the author to "Hon. John Quincy Adams," a former president serving in Congress at the time. $475.
Rare and Unusual Americana from Michael Ginsberg Books
Liver-Eating Johnson may not have consumed as much of the delicacy as is now imagined.
There isn't much you can say about this item by Ann Saunders, so here's the title: Narrative of the Shipwreck and Sufferings of Miss Ann Saunders, who was a Passenger on Board the Ship Francis Mary, which Foundered at Sea on the 5th Feb, 1826, on Her Passage from New Brunswick to Liverpool...One of Six Survivors...Subsisting 22 Days on the Dead Bodies...One of Whom was a Young Man to Whom She was Soon to be Joined in Marriage... The Frances (not "Francis") Mary was carrying a load of lumber when a terrible storm rendered her unmanageable. Only six survivors, who lived off the remains of their starved shipmates, remained when they were found a month later. Item 239. $475.
Here is an 1821 review of pestilence, its history, cause and prevention: A History of the Present Systems of Medicine and Chirurgery...Viewed in Connection with...Physiology, Pathology, Nosology... Well there are at least two words in this title for which I do not know the meaning. "Chirurgery" is an archaic word for "surgery." "Nosology" is not the study of nasal passages as I expected, but relates to the classification of diseases. Peter Donaldson's book probably won't provide much help in curing diseases today, but it might help you expand your vocabulary. Item 67. $450.
Item 137 is an imaginary Epistle from the Marquis de Lafayette to General Washington, attributed to Anne Bannerman and published in 1800. In it, Lafayette describes the horrors of his stay at the Olmutz prison in Austria. Undoubtedly, Lafayette could have written such a letter, except that he was not permitted communications during his four-year stay. Lafayette had hightailed it out of France when that country's revolution turned so radical that even reformers such as he were sent to the guillotine. Unfortunately, Austria proved a bad escape route, as that country viewed Lafayette as anti-monarchal. Were it not for pressure from America, it is not clear what might have happened to the Marquis and his family. He was eventually freed in 1797 when Napoleon's armies swept through Austria. $1,000.
Do you know what was Andrew Jackson's favorite music? Here is the answer, from Henry Dielman: President Jackson's Favourite March and Quick Step... Published shortly after his election, this short piece of sheet music also contains Old Hickory's favorite waltz. Item 66. $450.
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