AE Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2005 Issue

Franklin and Other Rare Americana from George S. MacManus

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Item 365 is Philosophical and Miscellaneous Papers. Lately written by Benjamin Franklin. The book includes the earliest chart of the gulf stream. Another article is titled "Description of a new Stove for burning Pitcoal, and consuming all its Smoke." Yet another of Franklin's accomplishments was the invention of the highly efficient for its day Franklin stove. $8,500.

Item 366 is The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin....Written Between the Years 1753 and 1790. Well it sure isn't very private anymore. This collection was published by Franklin's grandson in 1817. It includes letters pertaining to Franklin's political negotiations over his career. $500.

James P. Beckwourth was a large character of the Old West. Born of a slave mother and white father, he was raised and educated free. Finding it hard to secure regular work, he went off to the West serving in various expeditions. According to his biography, which is likely somewhat embellished, he spent six years with the Crow Indians and was made a chief. He would later return to the "white" world, where he would serve with the military, including a scout under General John C. Freemont. He discovered Beckwourth pass over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, named for him. Beckwourth's biography, which was published in 1856, was quite popular in its time. This book picks up where the biography leaves off. It's called James Pierson Beckwourth, 1856-1866, an Enigmatic Figure of the West. A History of the Latter Years of His Life, by Nolie Mumey. Beckwourth died under mysterious circumstances in 1866 after returning to the Crow Indians. Item 67. Published in 1957. $225.

Moses Gage Leonard was a one-term congressman from New York who joined the gold rush to California in 1849. After his unsuccessful re-election bid in 1844, Leonard had gone into business, and went to California to be a merchant rather than a miner. Leonard kept a diary of his trip to California. He sailed to Panama, crossed the isthmus by riverboat and foot, and then caught a steamer up the Pacific coast. Starting from New York in April 1849, Leonard arrived in San Francisco two months later. He continued to keep the diary for a year, through April of 1850. With some struggle he would set up a successful business and be elected to the San Francisco city council, but he was evidently homesick and in time would return to New York. Item 136 is Leonard's manuscript diary, 140 pages or about 50,000 words. It is a personal window on Gold Rush California by an educated participant. $25,000.

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