Printed and Manuscript Americana from Michael Brown Rare Books
Michael Brown Rare Books' latest catalogue, with Teddy Roosevelt cartoon on cover.
By Michael Stillman
Recently issued was catalogue 41 of Printed and Manuscript Americana from Michael Brown Rare Books. This is a collection of just over 200 rare and unusual works in the Americana field, mostly from the 18th and 19th century, but with a few items extending outside of those borders. They cover just about everything that arises, from revolution to war, expansion, religion, slavery, politics, arts, trade, law, Indians, women's rights, and plain everyday life when everyday life was a constant battle to get by. This catalogue will be of interest to anyone who collects Americana, or any of these many fields in relation to the people of America. A lot of territory is covered. Undoubtedly, you will find something that fits with your own interests. Here are a few samples.
This is a report of one of the most momentous events in American history, though it probably didn't seem that way at the time. From May 16-18 of 1860, the still relatively new Republican Party met for its convention in Chicago. Eleven names were placed in nomination for president, including 1856 nominee John Fremont, New York Senator and future Secretary of State William Seward, Ohio Senator and future Supreme Count Chief Justice Salmon Chase, and Massachusetts abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner. Seward was the heavy favorite, and led after the first ballot, but was regarded by some as too radical and possibly alienating of moderates. As a result, by the third ballot, the votes had swung to hometown favorite Abraham Lincoln. As they say, the rest is history. Item 123 is Press & Tribune Documents for 1860. No. 3. Proceeding of the National Republican Convention, Held at Chicago, May 16th, 17th & 18th, 1860. This is a contemporary report from a Chicago newspaper covering the proceedings, speeches and balloting at this convention, which would determine the future course of American history. Priced at $2,500.
Joseph Rodes Buchanan was a pioneer in the paranormal sciences (or "sciences") of the 19th century. He established two new fields in parapsychology: "psychometry" and "sarcognomy." The former still has its share of followers, although the latter seems less influential. Psychometry has to do with the influence of others or events on the brain through some sort of energy bursts; sarcognomy the interaction between soul and body. Buchanan felt that a trained psychometer could diagnose any patient's disease by simple contact with him. A sarcognomist could heal those diseases. Unfortunately, a century and a half later, there is still a shortage of psychometers and sarcognomists, so we still get sick and die. Another example of the weaknesses in our educational system. Too many MDs, not enough sarcognomists. Buchanan's pioneering work, published in 1842, just as he graduated from the University of Louisville's medical department, is Sketches of Buchanan's Discoveries in Neurology. Item 133. $450.
Printed and Manuscript Americana from Michael Brown Rare Books
Britain declares war with Spain over Jenkins' severed ear.
Item 63 is a biography of a most unhappy Revolutionary War era family from Bucks County, Pennsylvania -- the Doans (or Doanes). The Doans were loyalists, not unique, but ultimately a mistake when the Revolution went against the British. In 1783, the new government seized the land of patriarch Joseph Doan, Sr., for his support of the enemy. Details of what happened are sketchy, but Joseph reportedly escaped to Canada. His sons, and their cousin, did not choose this route. They fought back, becoming marauders who attacked and stole from their former neighbors. Eventually, the brothers' leader, Moses, was killed in a shootout, and two other brothers hanged. One was pardoned. Another's fate is unknown. H. K. Brooke wrote a book about the family, published in 1848, titled Annals of the Revolution: or, A History of the Doans. Item 63. $400.
Now it's time for a brief history lesson, as there are many people who are not familiar with the War of Jenkins' Ear. This war, as silly as its name, took place in the Americas from 1739-1742. The combatants were the Spanish and the British. The British had previously agreed not to trade with the Spanish colonies, and afford the Spanish the right to board British ships in Spanish territorial waters. One such ship boarded by the Spanish was the Rebecca, captained by Robert Jenkins. For reasons unclear, the Spanish allegedly chopped off his ear. Years later, Jenkins reported this to the British parliament. Supposedly, his report made little impact until he returned to parliament with the lopped off ear. The British were forced to go to war with the dastardly Spaniards. The war continued for four years, and essentially ended in a stalemate. In North America, the British were unsuccessful at capturing Spain's colony in Florida, but the Spanish were similarly unsuccessful attacking the British in Georgia. The fighting in the Americas died down as forces were diverted to the much larger War of the Austrian Succession in Europe, which ended in little more than a stalemate itself six years later. Item 197 is a broadside printing of His Majesty's Declaration of War against the King of Spain, printed in 1739. $8,500.
Want to double your money in a year? Here is a circular that shows you how: How It Happened They came to Hereford, Texas, and invested their money in Cheap Land, thereby making 100% on their investment in one year. You can do the same if you will only investigate. The Climate is Right. The Soil is Right. The Price is Right. And if you don't get it right it is your own fault, not Hard Luck. It sounds like the promoters for the Edwards Land Company did a masterful job of covering their backsides in case things didn't work out as promised. Hereford is located just up the road from Bovina (is this cattle country!), in the Texas Panhandle, not far from the stockyards of Amarillo. It is known as the "town without a toothache" because of healthy teeth resulting from the naturally high incidence of fluorides in the local water supply. The folks at Edwards Land evidently were unaware of this added selling point. Hereford, logically enough, is home to the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and is county seat for Deaf Smith County. Land is still relatively cheap here, so perhaps the great land boon predicted in this 1907 pamphlet is about to take place a century later. Item 193. $250.
Michael Brown Rare Books may be found online at www.mbamericana.com, phone number 215-387-9808.