Printed & Manuscript Americana
Vice President & Director, Books & Manuscripts
(212) 254-4710 ext. 27
(212) 254-4710 ext. 13
George S. Lowry
Nicholas D. Lowry
President, Principal Auctioneer
Andrew M. Ansorge
Vice President & Controller
Chief Marketing Officer
Vice President & Director, Prints & Drawings
Vice President & Director, African American Art
Vice President & Director, Books & Manuscripts
Andrew M. Ansorge
Vice President & Controller
(alaska.) william healey dall.
An extremely detailed letter from the Alaskan wilderness in the year of the Alaska Purchase.
Nulato, Alaska, 30 December 1867 and 23 April 1868
Autograph Letter Signed to his father Charles. 12 tightly-written quarto pages, 9¾ x 7¾ inches, on 3 folding sheets of Collins Overland Telegraph illustrated cartographic letterhead; partial separations and minor wear at folds.
The explorer and scientist William Healey Dall (1845-1927) wrote this letter as a young man, after serving in the Collins Overland Telegraph Expedition from 1865 to 1867. The expedition had attempted to lay a telegraph line from California through British Columbia, the interior wilds of Russian-held Alaska, across the Bering Strait, and on to Moscow. This was seen as a more practical alternative to the failed transatlantic cable projects. However, when the first successful cable across the Atlantic was laid in 1867, the Western Union expedition folded its operation.
William’s epic letter was written in what he still describes as “Russian America,” although just two months earlier the Seward Purchase had been completed and the flag of the United States raised. He addressed it to his father, the Unitarian missionary to India, Charles Henry Appleton Dall (1816-1886, see also lot 164). William had remained behind in Alaska after the Americans ended the expedition, wintering over in a small trading post with Russians and “a little halfbreed boy who Ketchum brought down as an interpreter from Fort Yukon, and whom I volunteered to take care of, feed, clothe, & get home again in the spring,” as well as two Inuit: “my faithful Rurill, the other Peetka, whose hand I saved last year after he had blown it pretty well to pieces by careless use of his gun.” He describes the Russian inhabitants as “most of them felons, sent here from Siberia . . . For lying, stealing, and all petty meannesses and gross vices, taken as a whole they would be hard to match.” He goes on to describe his entire past year’s adventures: paddling down the coast of the Bering Sea by night in a small walrus-skin craft, searching for a harbor by the Northern Lights; climbing a 70-foot cliff by himself to collect a cache of fossils, “dropping from ledge to ledge by the light birch which grew in the clefts of the rock.” William held onto the letter all winter without any opportunity for sending it, and then resumed on 23 April, still in Nulato. Here he describes (and draws) the style of fish trap used on this coast. He also describes the frenzied reaction of the Russians who had been told to liquidate the Fur Company, “pack up all the company’s property and put it on a raft, abandon the fort to the elements & the Indians, and float down to the mouth of the Youkon.” Months later, he still had found no means of sending the letter, so added three more pages on 26 September 1868: “I shall give you an account of my trip down the Youkon & narrow escape from being shot by an Indian on the way, when I get home.”
WITH–a much shorter second letter from Dall to his mother, San Francisco, 4 October 1868, while headed home: “You must expect to see a rough sunburnt individual whose nose has been reddened by frequent freezing; and whose complexion has not been improved by the Arctic sun & wind, or a diet of fish and sealmeat; and whose temper has suffered from driving dogs.”
AND–an undated, untitled, unsigned speech on the growth of the Episcopal Church in Alaska, 17 pages on loose sheets, 9½ x 5¾ inches. It was apparently written for an audience of Episcopalians (see page 9). The events of 1886 are described as “less than 20 years ago,” and the term of Bishop Peter Rowe is described as extending “for ten years” (page 15), suggesting a date of 1905.
$2,000 – $3,000
(american indians.) john raphael smith, engraver; after wright.
The Widow of an Indian Chief Watching the Arms of Her Deceas’d Husband.
London: J.R. Smith, 29 January 1789
Mezzotint, 17¾ x 21¼ inches; trimmed within platemark, mounted on early stiff paper, 1-inch closed tear in lower right corner, moderate toning.
The first engraving of a much-beloved 1784 painting, usually known by the simpler title “Indian Widow,” which is now in the Derby Museum in England. It was likely inspired by a passage on Muscogee and Chickasaw funerary rites in James Adair’s 1775 “History of the American Indians,” page 187: “If he was a war-leader, she is obliged for the first moon, to sit in the day-time under his mourning war-pole, which is decked with all his martial trophies, and must be heard to cry with bewailing notes. . . . They are allowed no shade, or shelter.” A stormy coastline and raging volcano can be seen in the background. Perhaps the painting could also be read as an allegory for Great Britain’s recent loss of its American colonies.
$1,000 – $1,500
(american indians.) william webb.
Letter describing the Creek War of 1836.
Coal Creek [AL?], 7 July 1836
Autograph Letter Signed to John Cooper of Upper Alton, IL. 2 pages, 11¾ x 7¾ inches, plus integral address leaf marked only “25” in manuscript; minor foxing, wear and repaired tear to address leaf.
“Our volenters started on yesterday for the Creak Nation. About 150 went out of this county. Thare has bin some fiting olredy and som killed on booth sides. We hope the ware won’t last long. The govener cauld for 25 hundred volenters and I expect that 5000 thousand has gone.”
$500 – $750
(american indians.) george jones.
The History of Ancient America . . . Proving the Identity of the Aborigines with the Tyrians
and Israelites. Frontispiece portrait of the author, engraved additional title page bearing alternate title “An Original History of Ancient America, Founded upon the Ruins of Antiquity.” , 461,  pages including page of publisher’s ads at end. 8vo, contemporary gilt red morocco presentation binding by Lewis B. Gough, minor wear; portrait toned, minor foxing to second title, otherwise quite clean internally; binder’s tag on rear pastedown, all edges gilt.
First edition. George Jones (1810-1879) was an eccentric theatrical star who was born in England but spent most of his career in the United States. He later styled himself “George, Count Joannes.” In this work, written during his residence in England, he attempted to demonstrate that America was first settled by Europeans long before the time of Christ. This copy is inscribed by the author to Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge (1774-1850), uncle to Queen Victoria.
For a portrait of Jones (from a different consignor), see lot 231. Field 801; Howes J214; Sabin 36501 (“The work is entirely speculative in its character, and grandiloquent in style”).
$400 – $600
(american indians.) thomas mckenney and james hall.
History of the Indian Tribes of North America.
120 hand-colored lithographed plates. iv, 333; xvii, -290; iv, 17-392 pages. 3 volumes. Large 8vo, publisher's full morocco with ornamental frame stamped on covers, binding detached on volume II, otherwise minor wear; minimal foxing; all edges gilt, a handsome unsophisticated copy; early bookplates on front pastedowns, owner's inked stamps on free endpapers.
Third octavo edition of the classic work of American Indian portrait iconography, with color plates after paintings later destroyed in the 1865 Smithsonian fire. The original edition in folio format was published in 1836-44. “The most colorful portraits of Indians ever executed”–Howes M129 (“aa”).
$6,000 – $9,000
A SEMINAL TEXT OF SCIENTIFIC RACISM6
(american indians.) samuel george morton.
Crania Americana; or, A Comparative View of the Skulls of Various Aboriginal Nations of North and South America.
Philadelphia: J. Dobson, 1839
Hand-colored map, phrenological chart, 78 lithographic plates of skulls and mummified remains, numerous text illustrations. , v, 296,  pages, plus related circular bound in. Folio, disbound, with original worn and detached paper-covered boards; wear and dampstaining to the frontispiece and preliminary leaves, minor foxing; uncut.
Samuel George Morton (1799-1851) was a Philadelphia medical school professor and well-respected scientist in his time. He collected skulls and other remains from across North and South America, comparing cranial sizes and determining that Caucasians had superior brain capacity. His work was influential in the early years of what is now termed scientific racism, and was used to justify slavery. His collection of skulls made their way to the University of Pennsylvania. A recent report by Paul Wolff Mitchell, “Black Philadelphians in the Samuel George Morton Cranial Collection,” pointed out the disturbing nature of the collection, and just this past April, the university museum pledged to repatriate some of these human remains.
The plates are mostly by lithographers John Collins and Thomas Sinclair; Collins was known for producing views of Philadelphia and Newport, RI. Bound in after the final plate is a circular signed in type by Collins dated Philadelphia, 1 November 1839, 10 x 7¼ inches, explaining that he had been “almost exclusively engaged for two years past” on Crania Americana and was now eager to tackle on new projects, particularly lithography for other anatomical works.
An enthusiastic quote by an 1873 bibliographer shows the seriousness with which Morton’s work was treated at the time: “Both in this country and in Europe, wherever learning and science are reverenced, Mr. Morton’s work has been recognized, as one of the best contributions to exact knowledge of the history of man, ever offered as the work of one individual”–Field 1100. Sabin 51022.
$800 – $1,200
(american indians.) william a. phillips.
Defense of the Cherokee Nation’s right to sell land in Kansas.
[Kansas], circa 1868
4 printed pages, 9¼ x 6 inches, on one folding sheet, signed in type by Phillips “for the Cherokee Nation”; folds, minor foxing.
William Addison Phillips (1824-1893) was born in Scotland and had been an anti-slavery journalist in Kansas, served as colonel of the Union Army’s Cherokee regiment during the Civil War, and then worked as an attorney for the Cherokee Nation. He later served six years in Congress. In this circular letter addressed “To the Honorable, the Senate of the United States,” he argues that the Cherokee held their land by patent rather than treaty: “Their title is as perfect as that to any property in this country. If it is to be called into question, there is an end of all security.” The Cherokee sought to sell these excess lands to help support “nearly 800 orphans of war for the Union alone” and fund thirty English-language schools. The Senate sought to block the sale in favor of other investors including a railroad line. OCLC lists one copy of this letter, at Yale.
$500 – $750
(american indians.) john ross.
Message of the Principal Chief to the National Committee and Council.
Van Buren, AR: A. Clarke, 1856
4 printed pages, 9 x 6 inches, on one folding sheet; foxing, folds, moderate wear.
The important Cherokee leader John Ross (1790-1866) delivers a state of the nation address, lauding the Cherokee progress in Indian Territory: “Peace and prosperity prevail within our limits. . . . The cause of civilization among us progresses, if not rapidly, at a steady and manifest pace. . . . Religion and education have received marked attention.” He acknowledges complaints that missionaries had been fomenting trouble among the territory’s enslaved people: “Slavery being recognized by the laws of the nation, is entitled to protection from agitation and disturbance. . . . The existence of slavery among us is sanctioned by our own laws and by the intercourse of the government of the United States. . . . The disturbed condition of affairs in Kansas in which we have lands . . . attracts attention here as well as elsewhere. . . . Our true policy is to mind our own business, and not travel beyond our own limits to seek difficulties.” Ross also denounces “the nefarious traffic in stolen horses carried on by thieves from the Indian country with citizens of the neighboring states.”
While other similar messages of the principal chief are traced in OCLC for 1859 and other dates, we find no record of this message in OCLC or elsewhere. Nor do we find any record of it being published in full elsewhere, although the New Orleans Times-Picayune of 18 December 1856 quoted the pro-slavery portions approvingly.
$2,000 – $3,000
Papers of Joshua Ross, a Muskogee merchant and prominent Cherokee.
Various places, 1848-1918 (bulk 1872-1907)
230 items (0.3 linear feet) in one box: 176 letters, almost all addressed to Joshua Ross, many with original envelopes, plus receipts, genealogical memoranda, and printed ephemera; condition general strong, with a few items worn.
This archive covers a critical period in Cherokee history, from 1898 to 1906, when the federal government aggressively dismantled the Cherokee Nation’s independent government and transformed the Indian Territory into the new state of Oklahoma.
Joshua Ross (1833-1924) of Muscogee, Indian Territory was a nephew of longtime Cherokee principal chief John Ross (1790-1866). He was an 1860 graduate of Emory and Henry College in Virginia. His wife was Muskogee Yargee Ross (circa 1840s-1913), from a similarly prominent Creek family and also influential in the community. They resided in Muskogee in the Creek Nation, where Joshua became a prominent leader and shopkeeper.
The earliest item in the collection is an 1848 letter from cousin Minerva Murrell to Ross while he was attending boarding school in Fayetteville, AR, exhorting him to be pious and modest: “Show your teacher how well a Cherokee boy can behave himself.” The bulk of the collection begins in 1872. Cherokee politics (particularly the race for Principal Chief which often included a Ross family candidate) and tribal membership claims are frequent topics of conversation from the beginning. H.C. Hedrick of Sherman TX writes in 1878 regarding a friend who wants to settle in Creek Nation for business: “He fears he cannot get satisfactory evidence that he is of Indian blood . . . look him up a good looking smart young Creek squaw and he will obtain rights in the nation after the old plan. But, joking aside, he is willing to go to the nation and operate with you.” Joshua’s cousin William Potter Ross (1820-1891), the former and future Principal Chief of the Cherokees, wrote from Washington on 4 January 1872: “Our people–the Indian people–should not shut their eyes to the fact that sooner of later their political relations must undergo a change. It is no want of patriotism to say so much as that. . . . Called with the unvarnished multitude to pay New Year’s compliments to the President [Grant]. . . . Major Boudinot, Dr. Long, Col. Pitchlynn, Judge Fields & Genl. Cooper are also in the city.” Two letters from Indian agents dated March and April 1873 negotiate the prices to be paid for cattle killed by railroads in Creek Territory.
Ross was a leader of the Indian International Fair from its 1874 inception. The fair brought together representatives from nations across the Indian Territory and beyond. 13 letters relate to the fair, including communications from several other nations. An 1882 letter promises “If you could get Col. Tunstall a full Indian costam I will pay the money for the buck skin suit for him and I will bring him . . . to the Indian Internation Fair.” Also included are a manuscript list of premiums awarded at the inaugural 1874 fair; an undated manuscript list of submitted items arranged by nation, and a printed handbill program for the 6th fair in 1879 which gives the four-day schedule and the rules. OCLC lists only one copy. Finally, an 1891 letter complains: “Our people seem to have lost interest in our fair and the 2 or 3 of us who have kept it up for the last 4 years have got tired of doing all the work, and myself footing all the bills. We have concluded to let it rest for a while.”
The letters get more intense in the late 1890s as the Curtis Act of 1898 started to threaten the Cherokee Nation. H.C. Ross wrote on 13 March 1899: “Things are so complicated. I mean our public affairs. What will become of us? Nobody can tell. As all the government officials are in your town, you may know what they are going to do about the Curtis law, whether it will be enforced in full.” Ross’s sister Jennie Murrell wrote frequently from Bayou Goula, LA during this period. On 8 January 1898 she wrote: “I am astonished at the Cherokee lawyers trying to deny our Cherokee blood. I am willing to leave it to any Cherokee & I dare say ours is purer & better Cherokee blood than those who testify to a lie. I don’t want to be left out, so do all you can.” Similarly cousin George Murrell wrote on 29 October 1896: “I regret that you failed to get our names on the census rolls. . . . I dislike to think I am disowned & have no claim in the country my grandfather & father lived in for so long, and loved so well.” Brother J.M. Ross tried to untangle the history of a family enslaved by the Rosses in a 20 April 1896 letter: “Calvin Ross was a son of Chaney daughter of Sam & Betsey Ross, slaves of mother. His father was Andy Fields, slave of Mrs. Sallie Fields, and after her death was bought by her son Rider Fields, who lived in the Creek Nation. Calvin had a half brother named Buck that lived with bro. Dick Ross.” Ross wrote to a contact in Washington, Simon Walkingstick, on 28 June 1898: “Please send true copy of the Curtiss Bill . . . The Dawes Commission are sending out their wagons . . . to Seminole Nation to take census and about the middle of July or summer will come to the Creeks for the same purpose.” Cherokee leader Jesse Cochran wrote from Washington on 9 March 1908(?): “I have little to write encouraging a hope that the Cherokees will be fairly treated by the Government. Our fate is sealed and we can only take such settlement as they are willing to give us out of our own property. The old treaties have been thrown to the winds. . . . We have no sympathizers here as of old. The Indian Territory is an open door to the people of the U.S., and they propose to go in and help themselves.”
More detailed notes on this important Cherokee archive are available upon request.
$5,000 – $7,500
(american indians.) john p. williamson, compiler.
An English-Dakota School Dictionary. Wasicun Qa Dakota Ieska Wowapi.
Yankton Agency, Dakota Territory: Iapi Oaye Press, 1886
, 144 pages. 8vo, ½ calf, backstrip chipping, moderate wear; minor foxing and dampstaining, a few leaves coming loose.
Second edition. Some of the Dakota words are given in both the Santee and Yankton dialects. The intended audience was the Dakota reader attempting to learn English. The compiler notes in his introduction that “there are one hundred Dakota people who should learn to speak English to one English speaking person who should learn to speak Dakota.” Pilling, Siouan, page 77.
$300 – $400
(american indians–photographs.) david f. barry.
Group of 5 photographs including Sitting Bull at the dedication of Standing Rock.
Various places, circa 1886-1913
Various sizes and formats, condition generally strong except as noted.
Sitting Bull at the dedication of Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Silver print, 6 x 10 inches, on original mount, with “Barry” blindstamp, printed label on verso, and personal inscriptions on mount recto and verso; minor chipping and staining to mount. Standing Rock Reservation, SD, , printed 1913. A copy held by the Smithsonian is titled “Sitting Bull performing ceremonies at Standing Rock, 1886.” Sitting Bull stands to the left, foreground. The man at the right is interpreter Joe Premeau. At center is the Indian agent, Major James McLaughlin, who had a long relationship with Sitting Bull and the Hunkpapa Lakota. He accompanied Sitting Bull to Washington in 1888, and in 1890 ordered Sitting Bull’s arrest which went horribly awry. This copy was printed later by the photographer and inscribed to Mrs. M.H. Jewell.
“Sitting Bull’s Family,” 7¼ x 9¼ inches, captioned in image, with photographer’s gilt stamp in mount. Shows Sitting Bull’s two widows and two daughters standing outside the doorway where he was killed.
A cabinet card featuring the same image, with Barry’s illustrated backmark.
Self-portrait of Barry, 8 x 4½ inches to sight, in his original decorative mat with “Barry” blindstamp in margin and inscribed “For Mrs. Jewell, from D.F. Barry.”
Uncredited cabinet card portrait of Marshall H. Jewell, publisher of the Bismarck Tribune, chipped, not attributed to Barry.
$800 – $1,200
(american indians–photographs.) edward s. curtis.
Unpublished cyanotype of five men in a Piegan lodge.
Montana?, circa 1910
Cyanotype print, 5¾ x 7¾ inches, marked “D87 Piegan” on verso; minimal wear.
This view did not appear in the 20-volume Curtis masterwork portfolio, The North American Indian. However, it dates from the same sitting as another which did appear in Volume VI, under the title of “In a Piegan Lodge.” The man at right here appears in this alternate view, where he is named as Yellow Kidney.
$1,000 – $1,500
(american indians–photographs.) camillus s. fly, photographer.
The Captive White Boy, Santiago McKinn.
Tombstone, AZ, March 1886 image
Albumen photograph, 4¾ x 8 inches, on original mount, with photographer’s copyright statement in the negative, and his printed sticker on verso, image #170 from Fly’s “Scene in Geronimo’s Camp” series; minor foxing and wear.
In March 1886, The Arizona photographer Camillus Fly accompanied General Crook’s forces for their negotiations with Geronimo’s band of Chiricahua Apache, who were holding out in the Sierra Madre mountains about 20 miles south of the New Mexico border. Fly was surprised to discover a fair-skinned child playing among the Apache children, and arranged this photograph.
The child was Santiago “Jimmy” McKinn (1875-1941), aged 11, son of an Irish-American father and Mexican-American mother. The Apaches had raided his family’s New Mexico ranch in September 1885, killing his older brother and taking Jimmy captive. The father John McKinn pursued the Apaches but was told the boy had been killed. During his six months in captivity, Santiago became fluent in the Apache language, and resisted returning to his birth family. He was placed aboard a train with other Apache prisoners bound for Florida, but his parents were allowed to collect him when the train stopped in Deming, NM. He went on to raise a family in New Mexico, spending his final years in Phoenix, AZ.
$5,000 – $7,500
(american indians–photographs.) camillus s. fly, photographer.
Geronimo and Natches Mounted.
Tombstone, AZ, March 1886 image
Albumen photograph, 4¾ x 8 inches, on original mount, with photographer’s copyright statement in the negative, and his printed sticker on verso, image #171 from Fly’s “Scene in Geronimo’s Camp” series; light crease with an inch of image loss around Geronimo’s shoulder, moderate foxing.
In March 1886, The Arizona photographer Camillus Fly accompanied General Crook’s forces for their negotiations with Geronimo’s band of Chiricahua Apache, who were holding out in the Sierra Madre mountains about 20 miles south of the New Mexico border. Mounted on the left is the famed Chiricahua Apache leader Geronimo. The man at his left (holding a baby) is Geronimo’s son. On the other horse is Naices (here spelled Natches), the hereditary chief of the Chiricahua Apaches. Geronimo and his band escaped shortly after surrendering.
$4,000 – $6,000
(american indians–photographs.) [alexander gardner.]
Cabinet card portrait of Thrach-Tche, or True Eagle, Missouria.
Washington, DC, image date 1874
Albumen print, 5¼ x 3¾ inches, on original U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey mount; minimal wear.
About 80 years old when this picture was taken, Thrach-Tche served as chief of the Missouri nation from circa 1860 until 1874, when they joined with the Otoes (Jackson, 1877 Descriptive Catalogue, 481).
$800 – $1,200
(american indians–photographs.) de lancey gill, photographer.
Portrait of the Oglala leader White Mountain.
[Washington, image from September 1907, early 20th century print]
Silver print, 10 x 7¾ inches, unsigned and uncaptioned, pencil number “7276” on verso; a bit of blue along left and right edges of margin, minimal wear.
White Mountain was also known as “Shot in the Eye” because of a wound he suffered at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. In 1901, he went east to participate in the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY, where he gave a remarkable interview to the Buffalo Courier (10 May 1901). In his long account of Little Bighorn, he asserted that Custer was not killed in battle–he committed suicide rather than face capture and torture. This account has not been corroborated by other sources.
This photograph was taken a few years later in September 1907 by De Lancey W. Gill, who was an illustrator and staff photographer for the Smithsonian’s Bureau of American Ethnology. One of his responsibilities was photographing American Indian leaders as they came through Washington on official business. White Mountain is wearing a peace medal depicting George Washington (issued in 1903). This photograph is not signed or captioned, but the Smithsonian holds a captioned negative.
WITH–5 smaller uncredited prints also said to be by De Lancey Gill, although they are mostly field photographs rather than formal portraits. Two are captioned. One of them, “Kindling Fire by Friction,” was actually shot by Jack Hillers for the Geological Survey circa 1870. These prints were apparently produced from earlier negatives in the early 20th century.
$1,500 – $2,500
(american indians–photographs.) john c. grabill, photographer.
A Pretty Group at an Indian Tent.
[South Dakota], 1891
Albumen print, 9¼ x 10¼ inches, captioned and numbered 3639 in negative, on plain mount; minor foxing, minor dampstaining and wear to mount; early inked inscription on verso.
This photograph, likely posed, was copyrighted in the aftermath of the Wounded Knee Massacre. The subcaption reads “Jack Redcloud brings the news of surrender and end of the war to his lady friends.” On verso is a note reading “Brought from the west by Col. N.W. Osborne U.S.A. circa 1877.” That date precedes the copyright by many years, but Nathan Ward Osborne served as colonel of the 5th United States Infantry from 1888 until his death in 1895.
$500 – $750
(american indians–photographs.) harold kellogg.
Buffalo dancers and others at San Ildefonso Pueblo in New Mexico.
Santa Fe, NM, circa 1930s
Group of 4 gelatin silver prints in brass mat, each 2¾ x 3¾ oval to sight; minimal wear. Not examined out of 8¾ x 10¾-inch frame, which bears an inscription on verso: “2880 Buffalo Dancers / San Ildefonso / Rose R Roberts Gonzales / The Harold Kellogg Pictures / Indian Scenes Natural Photos / PO Box 191 / Santa Fe, New Mexico.”
Harold Evans Kellogg (1897-1968) was a photographer in Santa Fe, NM from at least 1932 onward. His photographs decorated the tea room at Santa Fe’s College of Indian Wisdom, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican, 18 July 1932.
$300 – $400
(american indians–photographs.) lenny & sawyers, photographers
Pair of boudoir cards of Kiowa women.
Purcell, Indian Territory [OK], circa 1890
Albumen prints, each about 7 x 4¼ inches on photographer’s mounts; light scuff to one card, otherwise minimal wear.
A woman and her child appear in the shadows of a tipi with wagons in the background; the other shows a woman posed in a studio setting.
$600 – $900
(american indians–photographs.) [george e. trager].
Pair of promenade cards of the Ghost Dance at Pine Ridge.
Chadron, NE: Northwestern Photographic Co., 25 December 1890
Albumen prints, each about 4 x 7 inches, on original mounts, one with photographer’s backmark, the other captioned in negative; one with punch holes in mount corners and moderate wear, the other with only minor wear.
These photographs were taken at the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, 10 days after the arrest of Sitting Bull pushed tensions near the breaking point, and just 4 days before the United States Cavalry killed hundreds of Lakota in the Wounded Knee Massacre. One of these photographs is captioned faintly in the negative “Rose Bud and Sioux Indian War Dance at Pine Ridge Agcy, Dec 25th 1890, S. Dak.,” but has no photographer credit. The other was apparently taken on the same day–a man with the same white shirt and belt appears in the foreground of each. It bears the backmark of George Trager’s Northwestern Photographic Company of Chadron, NE, offering views of “Wounded Knee Battle, Indian camps . . . everything of interest in the late Pine Ridge War.” It also offers a quack epilepsy cure by the firm of Trager & Ford.
$600 – $900
NOTE THE SCALP MOUNTED TO THE SHIELD IN FOREGROUND21
(american indians–photographs.) william soule.
Indian Lodges of Buffalo Skins & Cedar Poles.
Indian Territory, 1872
Albumen photograph, 7¾ x 5½ inches, on original 10½ x 7¼-inch plain mount with manuscript caption, numbered 435 in negative; minor foxing and minor wear to mount.
William Stinson Soule (1836-1908) spent eight years in the west. In 1872 he was the post photographer at Fort Sill in what is now Oklahoma. This large-format card photograph shows an encampment of 4 tipis, with a woman working in the background. The extended caption notes that the tipis measured 18 feet in diameter and 20 feet in height, and calls attention to the “method of fastening covering on frame; also arrangement for ventillation & the entrance as closed when the occupants are out. Shield, with scalp in centre, on tripod in fore-ground.”
$1,000 – $1,500
Group of 11 cartes-de-visite, tintypes, cabinet cards, and stereoviews.
Various places, circa 1870s-early 20th century
Various formats, condition generally strong.
D.C. Herrin of East Portland, OR, “Camp Where Sitting Bull Surrendered,” cabinet card.
Group of 3 uncredited and uncaptioned tintype portraits, about 3½ x 2½ inches, clipped at corners.
Upton’s Minnesota & Northwestern Views of Minneapolis, “Red River Carts,” stereoview.
S.A. Ray, untitled view of a funeral scaffold, 5 x 6½ inches.
“3094 Groop of Apache Indians” (sic), uncredited steroview.
John Nicholas Choate, “Pueblos as they Arrived” from Laguna, NM, at Carlisle Indian Training School, named on verso, cabinet card.
Uncredited and uncaptioned image of seated couple with rifle, mounted cyanotype, 4 x 5 inches.
Buchtel & Stolte of Portland, OR, untitled carte-de-visite of two seated men with sabers.
H.H. Bennett of Kilbourn City, WI, “Among the Winnebago Indians: Ha-zah-zoch-kah (Branching Horns),” stereoview.
$700 – $1,000
Group of 7 unmounted photographs.
Various places, undated but all circa 1900-30
Various sizes and formats, condition generally strong.
“Indian Village, Crow, Montana,” gelatin silver print, 4 x 6½ inches, matted.
“Squaw Dancers,” real photo postcard, 3¼ x 5¼ inches.
Untitled and credited image of 3 men and a wagon backstage at a wild west show, gelatin silver print, 4 x 5 inches.
George Lyman Rose, “Yava Supai Indian Girl, Cataract Canyon,” albumen print, 8 x 6 inches.
Pair of portraits of “Ka-Ti-Sa-Tchi (Don’t Go Out), commonly known on the reserve as Whisky John,” cyanotype prints, each 8½ x 6½ inches.
Shemild of Minneapolis, photographer, “Chief Max Big Man, Crow,” gelatin silver print on heavy stock, light folds, 8 x 10 inches.
$500 – $750
Group of 9 mostly larger-format mounted images.
Various places, circa 1870s-1890s
Various sizes and formats, condition generally strong.
George Benjamin Wittick, “Inauguration Dance . . . View in Pueblo Laguna, New Mexico,” mounted albumen print, 7¼ x 9¼ inches, Laguna, NM, 12 January 1887.
[Joseph K. Dixon?], uncaptioned image of two figures seated in front of tipi, mounted albumen print, 5 x 7 inches, matted.
D.B. Chase of Santa Fe, NM, “Indian Dancers from San Ildefonso,” mounted albumen promenade card, 4¼ x 7 inches.
L.B. Shaw of Elmwood, MA, “Cabin Built by the Indian Princesses at Lakeville” (Wampanoags descended from Chief Massasoit), albumen print, 4½ x 6¾ inches.
Uncredited image of an outdoor council, possibly Cheyenne in Indian Territory, mounted albumen print, 4½ x 7½ inches, mount cracked.
Group of 4 uncredited and uncaptioned images: 3 thought to show Creeks gathered at Okmulgee, Indian Territory in the early 1870s, plus one unidentified portrait, all mounted albumen prints, about 5½ x 8 inches.
$800 – $1,200
"AMERICA MUST IN A SHORT TIME BE THE HABITATION OF BANKRUPTS, BEGGARS & SLAVES"25
Opposition to the Stamp Act as seen in the letterbook of a New York iron merchant.
New York, February 1765 to April 1771
 manuscript pages, including retained copies of 77 letters and 8 detailed merchandise orders. Folio, 13 x 8 inches, disbound; many pages loose and possibly a small number absent, moderate edge wear with minimal loss of text.
Garret Abeel (1734-1799) and his brother-in-law Evart Byvanck (1744-1805) began a successful partnership as Manhattan iron merchants in 1765. This letterbook contains retained drafts for much of their correspondence through 1771, reflecting a tumultuous period which led to the American Revolution. Most of the letters are to the firm’s British suppliers of finished metal goods, and many discuss the dominant issue of the day: organized American resistance to British taxation. Abeel and Byvanck often made their orders contingent upon repeal of the Stamp Act or some other Parliamentary action, and pressured their wealthy suppliers to use their clout to restore trade. They often cited the joint resolutions of American merchants, including a flurry of letters written in the week after the Non-Importation Act of 1765.
The letterbook begins with a letter of introduction to the British firm of Devonshire & Reeve, followed by a 3-page itemized list of iron goods the young Americans ordered from them on 6 February 1765, as well as a similarly large follow-up order placed in August. Abeel & Byvanck was off to a grand start with a major British supplier; imagine their consternation with the imposition of the Stamp Act and the resulting Non-Importation Agreement entered by the leading New York merchants on 31 October 1765. That same day they sent a letter to British merchants Neate, Pigou & Booth: “If it had not been for the late acts of Parliament such as the Sugar and Stamp Acts, should have wanted several large articles sent us by your house, but while they are in being, dare not order a single article in the way of trade, nor do we believe anyone else from this place will order goods till those acts are repealed.” Abeel & Byvanck drafted a stern letter to their main supplier Devonshire & Reeve on 2 November 1765, asking to send their last order “only in case the Stamp Act is repealed . . . for should not the late strictures laid upon our trade by the Parliament be taken off, America must in a short time be the habitation of bankrupts, beggars & slaves. . . . In money we are sure they cannot be paid long. That, like a bird of passage, flies or has already fled from our inhospitable land.” The young merchants took four days to calm down, crossed out this version of the letter, and drafted another less confrontational version which summarized the Non-Importation Agreement: “Altho we are but young beginners, and our success in business has exceeded our most sanguine expectations, yet willing to sacrifice the prospect of private advantage to the good of our country we have joined our fellow citizens in the following resolutions: First, that in all orders they send out to Great Britain for goods or merchandise . . . they will direct their correspondents not to ship them, unless the Stamp Act is repealed. . . . We shall not offer anything against the late impositions put upon us by the British Parliament, making no doubt but abler pens than ours have communicated to you what may be said on so disagreeable a subject.”
On 27 August 1766, the firm wrote again to Devonshire & Reeve to discuss the recent repeal: “Upon the receipt of the account of the repeal of the Stamp Act, the Americans were softned down more speedy that could be imagined. The words tyranny, oppression & rebellion were no more heard. Evryone strove how he should most express his loyalty to the best of Kings and gratitude to the patriotick ministry.” However, “the life of trade is still wanting, circulating mediam is nearly sunk, and we are debard the liberty of making any more paper money.”
The 24 September 1766 letter to Devonshire & Reeve reflects a return to normal trade across the Atlantic, but with a new wrinkle: “As there is some likelihood of a war between England and France. If such a thing should happen . . . send us by first opportunity two tons of best FF powder over and above what we have already ordered as also two tons shot sorted, two cask bar lead, & one doz four foot gun barrels. Please to let the powder be unglazed.” On 16 January 1767 they wrote to Reeve, thanking “those who were our friends at home in obtaining the repeal of the Stamp Act” who “certainly deserve a greatfull return for their services.” Apparently Abeel & Byvanck and other patriotic American merchants were trying to support these allies in trade, but certain shady British merchants were attempting to break into the trade with unrealistic bargains on shoddy goods. A 7 April 1767 letter makes passing reference to the British commander in North America Thomas Gage, who apparently helped settle the firm’s debts in New York. On 24 August 1767 they assured Reeve that “N. Yorkers are far from being separated from the mother country, altho it may be the opinion of many in your part of the world that they are ripe for a rebellion. . . . It’s true the rigorous proceedings of the H of C makes many people think hard of it, but what can we do but grin & bear it?”
The firm’s 19 November 1768 letter to British supplier Henry Cruger finds them again pressuring their British friends to pressure Parliament, offering to place a large order only “if the acts of Parliament imposing duties on paper, paint & glass are repealed, which I hope & flatter ourselves will be done through the influence of our good friends in London, Bristol &c.” They wrote similarly to Cruger on 30 September 1769: “We flatter ourselves that through the struggles of our friends in Europe & the methods pursued by us, we shall get relieved from the oppressive acts at the next meeting of Parliament.” A remarkable long letter dated 12 October 1769 sets forth the many ways which British tax policy has brought the colonies together: “They have been the means of uniting the colonies in a bond of friendship &c which we hope will last forever. They have made the Americans more frugal & industrious by . . . forcing them to enter upon the manufactory of a great many articles which they before imported from Great Britain.”
The American merchants remained firm. Abeel & Byvanck wrote a British merchant on 10 July 1770: “An express being sent by the committee of merchants in this place to acquaint the people of your place that by taking the sense of the inhabitants of this city, a majority was found for importing all articles from Great Britain except those which are dutable.”
Evert Byvanck went to London in 1770, and his partner Abeel wrote him a long letter from New York on 16 January 1771: “The uncertainty of war or peace you know gave us uneasyness when you went away. . . . Must again request you not to send too many goods, knowing the critical situation of affairs as to peace or war.” Although the letterbook ends in April 1771, Abeel remained an avid patriot, and served as a major in the revolution which soon followed.
The mercantile history, to some readers, will be of even greater interest than the machinations over the Stamp Act. The letter book includes several very long and detailed order lists for the finished metalware being imported from England for retail sale in New York. Tools such as hammers and anvils appear frequently, but also great quantities of furniture hardware: cupboard locks, hinges, Chinese handles and much more. The likely market for these goods would be the cabinetmakers of New York, finishing their masterpieces with the latest ornamental hardware from England. Other unusual goods include fish hooks, jew’s harps, mouse traps, pewter candle molds, and razors.
WITH–a small archive of business records of the firm after it was passed on to Garret Abeel’s son Garret Byvanck Abeel (1768-1829). The firm remained active in Abeel family hands under various partnerships through at least the 4th generation by 1915. These later records include:
Expense ledger for mercantile ships. 18 pages, stitched; defective with perhaps 10% of the text area torn away on each page. Each page is related to a separate ship’s voyage, with payments to chandlers, blacksmiths, sailmakers, grocers, advances to crew, and other expenses preparatory to departure. On 20 May 1795, the account lists £16 paid to “the two Negroes who worked their passages” aboard the Brig Diana. July 1794 to January 1796.
Partial daybook of general store sales,  pages, stitched. 7 August to 9 October 1806.
A file of 72 receipts, invoices, shipping documents, and promissory notes, 1795-1829.
A file of 38 letters addressed to the firm, 1810-1827. Many of these letters are orders which go into great specificity about the “old sable Russia iron” traded by the Abeels to merchants in the United States and England; others discuss the trade more broadly.
$4,000 – $6,000
(american revolution–prelude.) [philip dawe, artist.]
Bostonian’s Paying the Excise Man, or Tarring & Feathering.
London: Robert Sayer & J. Bennett, 31 October 1774
Handcolored mezzotint, 14¾ x 10½ inches; dampstaining to lower 2 inches, mount remnants in margins, light wrinkling, 2 short early paper tape repairs on verso.
This print depicts an incident on 25 January 1774 in Boston, just a month after the Boston Tea Party. Loyalist customs official John Malcolm threatened to beat a small boy with a cane. When local patriot George Hewes protested, Malcolm caned him in the forehead and knocked him unconscious. That night a mob dragged Malcolm from his home, stripped him to the waist, tarred and feathered him, threatened to hang him, and forced him to drink repeated toasts of tea to the King and Queen. This print shows a noose hanging from a “Liberty Tree” with the Stamp Act posted upside down. In the background, boxes of tea are being dumped from a ship in the background–believed to be the earliest image of the Boston Tea Party.
The artist Philip Dawe was a student of the great British satirist William Hogarth. This was first in a series of 5 prints he created on the Malcolm incident. In 1904, an entire monograph was devoted to this series of Dawe prints: R.T.H. Halsey’s “The Boston Port Bill as Pictured by a Contemporary London Cartoonist,” where “The Bostonians” is illustrated facing page 85, and described from pages 82 to 87. Cresswell 670; Reese, Revolutionary Hundred 16 (“One of the most famous political cartoons of the American Revolution”).
Provenance: collection of William Gaston (1820-1894), who served as both Mayor of Boston and Governor of Massachusetts; his granddaughter Ruth Gaston Howard (1894-1974); her daughter Anne Howard Karri-Davies (1916-2011); gift to the consignor.
$10,000 – $15,000
(american revolution–prelude.) [stratton]; after paul revere.
The Bloody Massacre Perpetrated in King-Street, Boston.
Boston, 5 March 1832
Engraving, 14¼ x 12½ inches, on heavy laid paper; minimal wear; untrimmed.
An accomplished and honest facsimile by William F. Stratton of Revere’s famous 1770 engraving of the Boston Massacre, with an imprint line added for transparency. “It copied the original Revere print as faithfully as any engraver could copy it”–Brigham, Revere pages 71 and 76.
$1,500 – $2,500
(american revolution–1775.) st. john honeywood, artist.
The Battles of Lexington and Concord, after the famous engravings by Doolittle.
No place, circa 1778
Set of 4 ink and watercolor drawings on laid paper, each about 15 x 18 inches; wear, closed tears, several small areas of loss, creases and wrinkling, pinholes in corners, skillfully stabilized and laid down on light modern board.
These remarkable watercolors were created early in the Revolution by St. John Honeywood (1763-1798), then a boy of about 14 years old, who had twin obsessions with art and the patriot cause. He was raised in Leicester, MA, about 32 miles west of Concord. His father was a physician who had died at Ticonderoga in 1776, leaving him an orphan to be raised by his aunt in Leicester. He was soon sent off to study at Yale College in New Haven, CT, home town of the engraver Amos Doolittle. Honeywood may not have been able to readily afford Doolittle’s recently published views of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, but as an aspiring artist he may have secured access to them and made these copies for his own edification. He was known as an artist at Yale; his 1779 drawing of classmate George Welles was later engraved, and his 1780 pencil sketch was later used to illustrate the collected works of his college president and mentor Ezra Stiles. Honeywood graduated from Yale in 1782 and became a successful lawyer and political figure in Salem, NY. A volume of his poems, which also alludes to his artistic endeavors, was published posthumously in 1801.
A similar set of Honeywood’s renditions of these prints, but in poor condition, was given to the Bangor Public Library in 1913. He signed one of those as “J. Honeywood pinx’t. AEtat 14,” suggesting that it was drawn in 1777 or 1778. They are discussed in Ian Quimby’s seminal article, “The Doolittle Engravings of the Battle of Lexington and Concord” (Winterthur Portfolio, 1968:4, page 96). Quimby describes the Bangor set: “Although crude, they possess a curious attention to detail and felicity in handling the human figure that is lacking in the Doolittle prints.” The present set is different in many details, but similar in style and artistic quality, suggesting that it was done at approximately the same time. Oddly enough, the present drawings are each signed “J Honeywood, sculp,” suggesting that Honeywood was the engraver rather than the artist–quite impossible for a group of original drawings. He was apparently imitating Doolittle’s “sculp” in the source images.
Plate I, “The Battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775,” follows Doolittle’s original composition quite closely, and reproduces his title and caption text almost verbatim, although some of the patriots in the foreground to the left are here out of scale. This plate is the only one from Honeywood’s Bangor Library set which is reproduced in the Quimby article. In the Bangor example, Honeywood has compressed the composition to fit a nearly square sheet, but here he has retained the original proportions.
Plate II, “A View of the Town of Concord,” is probably where Honeywood took the greatest liberties with his source material. His handling of perspective is not on par with Doolittle’s–the gravestones are shown here facing directly to the viewer in straight lines, and the windows in the building at left don’t quite line up. He has, however, added compelling detail to three of the gravestones, making them almost legible–a skull and crossed bones are clearly visible in the central stone. Honeywood’s handling of the figures in the foreground, Colonel Smith and Major Pitcairn, is much more realistic and detailed than Doolittle’s naive treatment. While it’s unlikely that Honeywood had any special knowledge of their appearances, he may have worked from models to present this pair as fully realized individuals. Quimby notes that in Honeywood’s depiction, “Colonel Smith is shown as the fat man we know him to have been, standing in a pose familiar from the conversation pieces of the day. This is in marked contrast with Doolittle’s treatment of the same figure, which is a mere caricature of a man.” Major Pitcairn’s spyglass is here marked “London.”
In Plate III, “The Engagement at the North Bridge in Concord,” Honeywood makes no effort to replicate Doolittle’s treatment of the sky, and has reconfigured the farm field in the foreground. The essential details of the battle scene remain the same, though, with a row of British Regulars at the right of the bridge covering an orderly retreat by their comrades as the “Provincials” prepare to cross in pursuit.
Finally, the dramatic Plate IV is “A View of the South Part of Lexington,” showing houses consumed by flames as the British destroyed supplies prior to their retreat. While the mismatched size of the British troops in the field cannot be blamed on Doolittle, Honeywood’s treatment of the patriots firing behind the stone wall in the foreground is probably an improvement.
Provenance: the renowned New York and Vermont Americana collector Hall Park McCullough (1872-1966), who exhibited them at the Bennington Museum, April 1975; Keno’s McCullough sale, 1 May 2010, lot 271, to the consignor.
$50,000 – $75,000
(american revolution.) james mitan, engraver; after trumbull.
The Battle of Bunker’s Hill, near Boston.
London: A.C. de Poggi, 1801
Engraving, 17½ x 22½ inches; foxing, minor wear, mount remnants on verso, early inked French gallery stamp in margin.
The second engraving of Trumbull’s famous battle scene, after Müller’s 1798 effort. The central figure is the mortally wounded patriot Major General Joseph Warren. British Major John Small, who had previously served with some of the rebel officers in the French and Indian War, is shown preventing one of his men from bayonetting the dying man. General Israel Putnam can be seen to the far left.
$600 – $900
(american revolution–1776.) [matthew & mary darly], artists.
Bunkers Hill, or America’s Head Dress.
[London, 19 April 1776]
Engraving, 9½ x 6¾ inches; cropped to neatline, cropped tightly around caption with loss of final two letters (supplied in manuscript) and the entire imprint line, with the caption portion laid down on a strip of paper; image fresh and clean.
A British satirical print, depicting a comical battle taking place in the folds of a woman’s fashionably enormous hair. The troops fight under the flags of a monkey and a duck, while a naval battle rages in her lower tresses. Matthew Darly was a popular London print-seller, while his wife Mary apparently did much of the engraving. The print was possibly taken from the 1776 book “Darly’s Comic-Prints of Characters, Caricatures, Macaronies, etc.” “Of inestimable interest and, so far as the writer knows, no copy has come to light in this country”–P. Lee Phillips, “A Rare Caricature of Bunker Hill,” Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine 52:7 (July 1918), page 391-4. Cresswell 697; Dolmetsch, Rebellion and Reconciliation 37.
$2,000 – $3,000
(american revolution–1776.) abraham w. de peyster.
Letter describing the deadly lightning storm just before the Battle of Long Island.
Tappan, NY, 24 August 1776
Autograph Letter Signed to an unidentified brother. 3 pages, 9¾ x 7½ inches, on one folding sheet, with docketing on final blank page, but no address panel or postal markings; folds and minor wear. With complete typed transcript.
As the British prepared for an imminent assault on New York in August 1776, an intense and dramatic storm hit Manhattan. For three hours the storm cloud sat immobile above the city, with the thunder more of a continuous rumble than a series of crashes. Lighting strikes killed more than a dozen soldiers, as vividly described in David McCullough’s best-seller “1776” (pages 155-6). The next morning, the British landed in Brooklyn, and five days later came the Battle of Long Island which gave the British control over Manhattan. Offered here is a letter written in the midst of this drama.
The letter was written by Abraham William de Peyster (1742-1799) to his brother. He starts by announcing the death of their mother Margretje Janse Roosevelt de Peyster (1709-1776), and explaining the difficulty of moving her body for burial in New York, “whenever the times will admitt of it, which at present are truly woefull and calamitous round that distressed and devoted city.”
Yet more startling was the sudden death on 21 August of their nephew William de Peyster, the son of their brother William. Young William, an ensign in the 1st New York Regiment, had been out when the storm hit, and taken shelter in a tent full of fellow soldiers: “Sitting on Wednesday evening just after dark in Capt. Abr. Van Wyck’s tent in their encampment on the south side of James Delancey’s house in the Bowery Lane in company with the Capt. and Mr. Peter Vergerou, a leutenant in the same rigement, to which place they all three had but just before fled to avoid the most awfull storm of rain, thunder and lightning within the memory of man. While sitting together, Heaven was pleased to visit them with a flash of lightning which killed them all on the spot and almost instantaneously.” Another officer found young William clinging to life and “had him bled as soon as a surgeon could be procured, but all was vain.” Uncle Abraham had viewed the body and reported that “the lightning had struck him at first on the right side of his head, about an inch above the tempel, and had left its effects all along that side of his face & neck. His left leg and thigh was much brused, and the right side of his breast.” The funeral “was by the general ordered to be on the evening before on account of the enemy having landed and a battle expected in Kings County.”
De Peyster adds in a postscript that “5000 Hessians have penetrated almost to Flatbush and a battle hourly expected.” That battle came quickly, just three days after this letter was written, in which the British gained control of Manhattan for the duration of the war.
$1,500 – $2,500
Issue of the Boston-Gazette and Country Journal.
Boston, 27 April 1777
4 pages, 15¼ x 10 inches, on one folding sheet, with masthead engraving by or after Paul Revere; stitch holes, minor foxing, dampstaining and wear, separation along center fold.
Includes a proclamation offering pardons to double enlistees in the Continental Army, signed in type by General Washington; a lengthy act regarding inoculations in Massachusetts hospitals; an act for the payment of Continental troops signed in type by John Hancock; and a threatening notice to Tories from the pseudonymous uber-patriot Joyce Junior. Brigham, Paul Revere’s Engravings, page 201 (illustration of similar cut by Revere).
$700 – $1,000
"SENT TO THE SUGARHOUSE UNDER GUARD & A VERY STINCKING PLACE"33
(american revolution–1777.) jeremiah beard eells.
Diary of a Connecticut officer imprisoned in the infamous Manhattan sugarhouse.
Various places, 1776-81
 manuscript diary pages and  pages of manuscript memoranda. 12mo, 7 x 4 inches, original worn marbled paper wrappers, tipped into worn early 20th century plain wrappers; contents worn with moderate text loss, intermittent dampstaining, apparently disbound and some memoranda leaves rearranged, rebacked with tape; great-great-grandson’s ownership inscription on outer wrapper.
Substantial diaries by soldiers in the American Revolution are rarely seen on the market. We know of no other diaries at auction which were kept in the hellish British prisons in New York. This one was written on the rear pages of a slim memorandum book which the officer had with him upon his capture. Worn and stained but almost entirely legible, it bears testament to harsh conditions. It has been published, but apparently only in two obscure genealogical publications circa 1985. The memoranda in the front of the volume also provide powerful testimony: recruitment records of a militia company raised on the eve of the Declaration of Independence, which went on to hard duty in the New York campaign.
Jeremiah Beard Eells (1732-1815) of New Canaan, CT was a shoemaker and local official. At the start of the war, he was married and had fathered 11 children; two more followed in late 1775 and in 1780. He volunteered as an ensign, first in June 1776 with the 5th Connecticut State Regiment under Colonel Philip Burr Bradley, serving in the Continental Army’s fall New York campaign; and then in 1777 with the 9th Regiment of Connecticut Militia.
This diary begins with the capture of Eells and 13 companions on 14 March 1777, apparently in a small British raid on Norwalk, CT. By this point, thousands of American soldiers had already either died in prison or been released in a skeletal near-death condition, so Eells was likely nervous about what was to follow. The prisoners were “carried on bord the Speadwell & put in the hole,” shipped across the Long Island Sound to Huntington, NY, and arrived in British-held Flushing on the 17th. At that point imprisonment did not seem a dire fate: “Went to Governors Brown where we rec’d wine and vittuals & was well treated & then had a house provided & two beds for 5 of us & on the 18 day Gov. Brown sent us a flask of rum & a ham of veal & we was well used.”
Three days later they arrived in Manhattan, where they were locked up in one of the three infamous sugar warehouses the British were using as prisons: “Sent to the sugerhouse under guard & a very stincking place & there was 91 prisnoers before we got their.” The sugar houses sometimes saw as many as 15 deaths in a day due to malnutrition and disease; Ensign Eells mainly noted the cold. On the 24th he wrote “we had no blankit & a cold night.” The treat of some smuggled tobacco and rumors of prisoner exchanges are recorded. On 14 April he wrote “We had a number of prisoners brought in, taken at Bound Brook in the parleys.” The patriot defeat at the Battle of Bound Brook in New Jersey had taken place the day before.
After 24 days in the sugar house, Eells and some of his fellow officers were transitioned into parole arrangements, living in the community, and even receiving payment for their labor. Eells’s experience as a shoemaker proved handy. On 15 April, he wrote “Taken out by David Tomson to work at my trade . . . & got me a shirt & Tomson let us have 45 in money.” On 26 April he found lodging at the home of noted patriot Hendrick Wyckoff in New Lots (now East New York, Brooklyn). On 30 April he learned that the British had burned a town in his native Connecticut: “Got nues that the regolers had ben to Danbury.” Smallpox broke out where Eells was quartered on 1 May, and he was promptly inoculated by Dr. Daniel Menema, a local patriot. He nonetheless contracted the disease, but recovered within a month. Twice he received small sums of money via the Continental Army’s prisoner agent Lewis Pintard. The diary ends on 24 November.
The diary occupies the last several leaves of a memorandum book kept by Eells; the earlier pages are interesting in their own right. Several of the entries relate to the first months of his Connecticut militia company in 1776 and early 1777, when they went on active duty in the New York campaign. One page lists the payments he received from 25 June to 5 July 1776 “rec’d of Capt. Sam’l Keeler for the purpose of enlisting soldiers,” followed by sums paid out “for the premium of equipage of soldiers.” £4 is paid out to one Sarah Comstock, presumably for supplying blankets or uniforms; 8 recruits are paid extra for having to find their own blankets, while one sum was “paid to Ebenezer Hickson for the premium of a blankit that Henry Wiat caried in servis.” On another page is a list of soldiers in Eells’s company and date of enlistment, from June through September 1776. Spanning 3 pages are the signatures of the company’s troops in June and July 1776 “in full of our bounty and first month wages for the ensuing campaign.” 38 men are named. One page shows Eells charging 6 of his soldiers for shoes or shoe repair, which he was apparently doing in his free time; one soldier covered the cost of his new soles when he “paid for rum that we drank at Harvey’s in York.” Two other payments were made on this page in Bucks County, PA, on 20 and 25 December 1776, where the Continental Army had recently retreated. A page of faded and worn partial accounts on the inside rear wrapper show payments made at encampments such as Morristown, Phillipsburg, and Ramapo.
Several memorandum pages date from the period of Eells’s imprisonment. On the verso of the final diary page is an insignificant-looking memorandum dated 15 April 1777, representing Eells’s first work outside the sugar house: “Rec’d of David Tomson in cash, 0:19:6 . . . by 1 lb of bread 0:1:0.” After weeks in prison, that bread must have been well appreciated. A running account with his host Hendrick Wyckoff extends over two pages, with Eells making shoes for him, his wife and “Nat” and “Phillis” (presumably servants); on the credit side are cider, grog and bitters provided to Eells. This account extends through 30 November 1778, suggesting his parole in Brooklyn lasted for a full year longer than his diary extends. Several similar brief entries for boarding with Jacobus Cornell of New Lots in December 1778 also relate to his time in Brooklyn. Finally, a handful of entries relate to Eells’s personal work as a shoemaker, or in serving writs as a justice of the peace, back in New Canaan.
References: Earnest Edward Eells, “Eells Family History in America, 1633-1952” (copy included), pages 51-56, including background information and a full transcript of the diary; the transcript also appeared in an issue of the Eells Family Association Bulletin circa 1985. Also see Worthington Ford’s 1893 article “British and American Prisoners of War, 1778,” which confirms that Eells and his compatriots were captured in Norwalk, CT on March 14 1777 and were still in Brooklyn on parole in 1778.
Provenance: inscribed on wrapper by Ira E. Eells (1869-1956) of Harlingen, TX, a great-great-grandson of Jeremiah Beard Eells, whose ownership was discussed in two articles in the Harlingen Valley Morning Star, 6 and 21 March 1938. A photostat copy is held by the New-York Historical Society. Consigned by a great-great-great-great-great-grandchild of Jeremiah Beard Eells. Additional notes on the diary are available upon request.
$12,000 – $18,000
Receipt for blankets for Connecticut troops at Valley Forge.
Hartford, CT, 28 January 1778
Manuscript Document Signed by Eli Mygatt, 4¼ x 8 inches, docketed on verso; folds, minor toning.
The selectmen of Danbury, CT request funds to buy blankets for the company of Danbury troops then a month into the bleak winter at Valley Forge: “Dr. State Connecticut to Select Men Danbury, 7 blankets dd Capt. Chapman’s Co., Colo Swift’s Reg’t, as per Ensign Thomas Storrs, rec’d, 6£ 6s.” Colonel Heman Swift, commander of the 7th Connecticut Regiment then at Valley Forge, was a friend of Washington’s. Captain Albert Chapman was one of his company commanders. Eli Mygatt (1742-1807), a militia colonel in Danbury, signs for the receipt of the funds.
$600 – $900
(american revolution–1778.) joseph woodbridge.
Letter discussing the perils of shipping along the heavily patrolled Connecticut coast.
Groton, CT, 9 February 1778
Autograph Letter Signed to his brothers Dudley and Samuel Woodbridge. One page, 7½ x 6 inches, plus integral address leaf with docketing (no postal markings); minor wear at folds; address leaf worn with separations at folds.
Joseph Woodbridge (1750-1809) was writing to his brothers in Norwich, CT, who dealt in rum, sugar, flour and other staples. Discussing another merchant, he writes that “Eliot has on board him a heavy load, 12 hogsheads of your sugar and rum. . . and as he has been wanting to come some time . . . & as the enemy keep a very sharp look out, and as you have formerly talk’d of insuring, would advise you to get the same immediately done, as young beginners ought not (as I have heretofore mentioned) to expose too much of their interest at this perilous time, to the dangers that attend transportation by water.”
$600 – $900
(american revolution–1778.) john chaloner.
Receipt for cattle delivered to Valley Forge.
[Valley Forge, PA], 15 May 1778
Signed receipt to Colonel Henry Hollingsworth for “eighteen head of cattle for the army,” 2¼ x 8 inches; folds, minor foxing.
John Chaloner was a Philadelphia auctioneer who served as a civilian Assistant Purchasing Commissary at Valley Forge, per the Valley Forge Legacy Muster Roll Project. Colonel Henry Hollingsworth served as a forage master for the Continental Army during this period, and made efforts to send provisions from Elkton, MD around British lines to Valley Forge, under the direct orders of the Commander in Chief–General Washington sent him three letters regarding the urgent need for supplies from Valley Forge in February 1778 per Founders Online.
$600 – $900
Invoice for the support of 25 soldiers’ families in Wallingford, CT .
No place, 11 December 1778
Manuscript document signed by a Wallingford official. 2 pages, 13½ x 8 inches; folds, uncut.
This invoice includes 25 expense lines submitted by the town of Wallingford to the State of Connecticut for the support of individual families, each with a “stipulated price” and a much higher “price given.” Each amount is different, suggesting that the support was rendered as needed, rather than in a fixed stipend. The docketing reads “Wallingford acct for supplying soldiers’ families,” and the first expense is for “Sundrys bought for the family of David Stone as per bill.” Some of the names are easily identified as having served in the Continental Army. Levi Munson was a lieutenant in the 6th Connecticut Regiment, and Ephraim Chamberlain a lieutenant in the 7th. One woman appears on the list, Joanna Page, who may have been a war widow. The account concludes with the payment of £914 to the town of Wallingford, signed for by Gideon Hosford.
$400 – $600
(american revolution–1778.) vasseur, engraver; after borel.
L’Amérique Indépendante, Dédiée au Congrés des Etats Unis de l’Amérique.
Engraving, 20 x 15¼ inches; pinhole in top margin, minor edge wear, 2-inch repaired tear in lower left corner.
An allegorical portrait of Benjamin Franklin, dedicated to the Continental Congress. He is shown surrounded by female allegorical figures of America, Wisdom, Prudence, and Liberty, watching as a warrior beats a crowned figure into submission. The vignette at the bottom shows a chain of 13 links, each inscribed with the name of one of the original states. Fowble 142; Sellers, Franklin pages 120-121, 195-197. 4 in OCLC, and none others traced at auction since 1932.
$1,200 – $1,800
Commonplace books kept by prisoner Rufus Lincoln, a Massachusetts officer.
Flatlands, NY, March 1779 to July 1780
58, , 59-82;  manuscript pages. 4to, each about 8½ x 7 inches, hand-stitched; apparently missing some outer leaves, moderate wear, outer leaves of larger volume with two short tape repairs.
Rufus Lincoln (1751-1838) of Wareham, MA enlisted as a corporal at the Lexington Alarm, and was serving as a lieutenant in the 14th Massachusetts Regiment when captured near Schuylkill, NY in December 1777. As this collection shows, he was imprisoned in British-held New York, where he was paroled in Flatlands, Brooklyn by March 1779. For at least part of this time, he lodged at the home of Petrus Ammerman. He was released by 1781, when he transferred to the 7th Massachusetts as a captain and served until the end of the war.
Offered here are two commonplace books written by Lincoln while on parole in Flatlands. They contain a mix of essays and verse which he copied from books and periodicals, perhaps from Ammerman’s library. Interspersed are a few copies of important documents relating to the Revolution, particularly high-level correspondence on the negotiations for prisoner exchanges. A few items do not appear to be published elsewhere, and may be original compositions by Lincoln or his fellow prisoners.
The smaller of the two volumes contains the war-related material. Possibly original patriotic pieces include:
“Some Birth Day Verses Composed by James Moore while Prisoner on Long Island, October 30th.” Reads in part “My earthy cumforts often snatch’t away / And into darkness sunk my brightest day / And now I suffer for my country’s cause / Because we dare oppose a tyrant’s laws / But you my friends who suffer equal woo / Can best believe the pains I under goo.”
“On Redemption: A Poem Composed by James Moore While Prisoner on Long Island, the Substance Taken from a Small Peace Said to be Found in the Isle of Patmuss.”
“A New Song to the Tune Black Sloven,” which begins “Ye brave sons of freedom, assemble to day / So honest, so hearty, so happy and gay / Come joyn in the choras and chearfully sing / In prais of the land that with freedom doth spring.”
A poem which begins “What means the tolling of the Flatland bell / Or crouds of prisoners there pray tell,” apparently written on 5 April 1780.
Among the important war documents Lincoln has transcribed here, we find no other source for one: “A General State of British and American Prisoners, December 29 1779.” It is a table which counts prisoners on each side, broken out by rank. Eight officers are named at the bottom, who are not counted in the table for various reasons. Other more widely available documents which appear here in transcription include a partial transcript of proposals for a prisoner exchange drafted circa early January 1780; a letter from General Washington on prisoner exchanges dated 1 February 1780; and proposed articles of capitulation at Siege of Charleston, 1780.
Lincoln copied extensive literary material to pass the time. Most notably, poems by the trailblazing Black poet Phillis Wheatley appear in each volume, as well as the introduction to her 1773 collection of poems. It may be interesting to see that Wheatley’s book had made the trip from London to New York by 1779, and that this young patriot officer found resonance in her work, alongside passages from Addison’s Spectator, the Dictionary of the Holy Bible, Robinson Crusoe, and the Universal Gazetteer.
These papers were the property of Lincoln’s descendant James Minor Lincoln (1854-1916), who published portions in his 1904 book “The Papers of Captain Rufus Lincoln.” The larger commonplace book is described briefly in this publication as “Diary Number Three” from pages 62 to 64. The smaller commonplace book is transcribed in full in the 1904 book as “Diary Number Four” from pages 65 to 95 (although the manuscript has lost at least one final leaf since it was published). A full summary of the contents of both manuscript volumes is available upon request.
WITH–manuscript copies of additional Rufus Lincoln papers on about 40 leaves of linen or tracing vellum, apparently done at around the same time as the 1904 book. They include copies of important correspondence, and a long and detailed “Return of American Officers and Other Prisoners on Long Island, August 15th 1778.” While these documents were published in the 1904 book, the book does not include images, and the present location of the original manuscripts is unknown.
$5,000 – $7,500
Letter from a Frenchman in Maryland.
Montgomery County, MD, 23 November to 29 December 1779
Autograph Letter Signed as “Huguon” on third page, and docketed as from “Hugon,” to French consul Barthelemy Terrasson in Baltimore, MD. 8 pages, 13¼ x 8¼ inches, on 2 folding sheets, with no postal markings; 4 short tape repairs. With partial translation.
A letter by a French settler in rural Maryland during the Revolution. He describes his residence as “Montgomery County near Seneca Bridge at Spencer’s Tavern” (the only passage in English); and further clarifies his location as 25 miles from Georgetown, 30 miles from Frederick, MD, and 4 miles from the Potomac River–approximately near the location of Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg today. He writes to the French consul in Baltimore, apparently a good friend, and proclaims his status as a “good Frenchman.” He urges the consul to invest in a much-needed general store in his location, and wonders of the Comte de Grasse’s naval fleet has yet arrived in Virginia. He also discusses the Great Falls of the Potomac, a ball held in Baltimore, a cock fight, and much more. Provenance: collection of Forest G. Sweet of Battle Creek, MI; Parke-Bernet sale, 22 October 1957.
$500 – $750
(american revolution–1781.) strutt, engraver; after pine.
To Those who Wish to Sheathe the Desolating Sword of War–America–and, to Restore the Blessings of Peace and Amity, to a Divided People.
London: R.E. Pine, 6 October 1781
Stipple etching, 19 x 24 inches; 5-inch repaired closed tear in image, other short tears, edge wear, tightly trimmed within plate mark to the caption, laid down on modern paper. Hinged on top edge to modern mat.
This image by Robert Edge Pine, published by the artist, depicts the allegorical figure of America mourning at a monument to four martyred American generals, amid the ruins and desolation of war. Other figures bring her peace (an olive branch), liberty (represented by a cap on a pole), and plenty (a cornucopia). The original painting was done in 1778; the American generals named in the monument all died from 1775 to 1777. The message of this engraving was perhaps even more timely when this engraving was published two weeks before the Battle of Yorktown. Another engraving of this painting, done by Amos Doolittle, is thought by Reilly to be a later production. Cresswell 761b; Fowble 137, Reilly 1781-1.
$2,500 – $3,500
"PATRIOTISM WAS ABLAZE THROUGH THE TOWN"42
(american revolution–1781.) h. ridgely, jr.
Letter describing the festivities in Baltimore after the Yorktown surrender.
Baltimore, MD, 27 October 1781
Autograph Letter Signed to Ann “Nancy” Ridgely of Elk Ridge, MD. 2 pages, 13 x 8¼ inches, with address panel and no postal markings; foxing, seal tear with partial loss of two words, light wear at folds, unrelated passage from Laurence Sterne added below text of letter.
This letter was written just eight days after the surrender by Cornwallis at Yorktown: “I started from my father’s just time enough to reach Baltimore at a reasonable hour, & on arriving in its vicinity, had I not been previously informed of the capture of Cornwallis & his band, I should not have known my what inference to have drawn from the roaring of cannon & discharge of musketry. I have never seen as many smiling countenances since the war as I saw that evening. The gentlemen of Baltimore dined at the court house & drank many patriotic toasts in the evening. There was an elegant illumination through this town, at least I thought it elegant, as I never had an opportunity of a similar scene. In fact, Nancy, patriotism was ablaze through the town, & I should experience very agreeable emotions, could I be induced to believe that it was the genuine rejoicings of Whiggish hearts exhibited to public view in the light of candles. But as the old adage is, ‘we must hope for the best, the worst will come.’ I had almost forgot to tell you that the presence of the ladies added considerably to the illumination.”
The author was likely Henry Ridgely Jr. (1758-circa 1800), son of Major Henry Ridgely of Anne Arundel County, MD, whose niece Ann Ridgely (1759-1850) would soon marry Dr. Francis Brown Sappington (see lots 159, 160, and 229 for related papers).
$800 – $1,200
(american revolution–1781.) j. peltro, engraver; after dodd.
. . . Gallant Defence of Captn. Pearson . . . against Paul Jones’s Squadron.
[London: John Harris, 1 December 1781]
Engraving, 13¼ x 18¼ inches; cropped and worn along lower edge with partial loss of caption.
A contemporary depiction of the Battle of Flamborough Head, in which the USS Bonhomme Richard defeated HMS Serapis. It was this battle where John Paul Jones was credited with the famous words of defiance, “I have not yet begun to fight!” Here we see the Serapis and Bonhomme Richard lashed together in a death grip while the French-captained USS Alliance pours heavy fire into both of them. Both sides regarded the battle as a victory. This British print expresses gratitude to the captain of the Serapis for successfully covering the escape of a British merchant convoy. Provenance: Swann sale, 2 October 2012, lot 101.
$400 – $600
A contemporary French listing of ships which survived their naval defeat at the Battle of the Saintes.
No place, 12 May 1782
Manuscript document, one page with brief docketing on verso, 11¼ x 7¾ inches; dampstaining, folds, moderate wear near bottom edge not affecting text; uncut.
In early 1782, with the fighting in North America almost done, the war continued in the Caribbean with a planned French assault on the British colony at Jamaica. In the Battle of the Saintes, the French and British fleets faced off near the island of Dominica over several days in April 1782, resulting in a humiliating defeat for the French. Many thousands of French sailors and soldiers were killed or captured, six ships were lost including their flagship, and their commander the Comte de Grasse was captured to be paraded before King George. The remaining French ships scattered in a desperate retreat, straggling back to port at Cap-François (now Cap-Haïtien in Haiti) over a period of weeks.
Offered here is a contemporary French listing of the first wave of 20 French ships to limp back into Cap-François on 25 April. The list is dated 12 May, although 4 additional ships not listed here arrived on 11 May.
The list is headed “Noms de vaisseaux que Mr. Le Comte d Grasse commendoit hors du combat naval quil ent avec l’amiral Rodney arrive le 12 May 1782 qui a ete des plus vifs et des plus Longs ou Mr Le Comte de Grasse perdu beaucoup de monde tant tuis que blesses et six des plus beaux vesseaux, M. de Grasse a ete fais prisonnier.” This translates roughly to “Names of vessels that Comte de Grasse commanded in the naval combat that he entered with Admiral Rodney which arrived on 12 May 1782, a long and lively battle in which de Grasse lost many men and six of the finest vessels, and de Grasse was taken prisoner.”
$600 – $900
(american revolution.) benjamin day jr.
A Loyalist returning from British-held Mississippi requests American citizenship.
West Springfield, MA, May 1784
Autograph Petition Signed, to “The Hon’le Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” One page, 13 x 8¼ inches, docketed on verso; folds, ink burn in two spots, a few manuscript revisions in an unidentified contemporary hand.
Benjamin Day (1746/7-1794) of West Springfield, MA graduated from Yale in 1768. In 1776, when many of his former classmates were already fighting for independence, he went to the southwest frontier to help establish a British presence in Natchez territory, a newly claimed part of West Florida in what is now southern Mississippi. The leader of this expedition was a fellow Yale loyalist, Major Timothy Dwight, Class of 1744. Day was soon commissioned as a British major himself. The British settlement at Natchez failed within a year; Day moved on to British-held Savannah and St. Augustine.
At the end of the war, Day returned to Massachusetts, and drafted this petition to the state’s congress: “Your petitioner was formerly an inhabitant of this state, but left it in April 1776 as an adventurer to settle himself and family on the river Mississippi . . . until the year of 1782, when the savages becoming troublesome he left it with a determination of returning immediately to this commonwealth . . . and wishes to become a subject thereof.” He requests to become a naturalized citizen of Massachusetts.
The request was granted and he became a successful wool dealer and hat manufacturer, resuming his place in the New England elite. Per his entry in “Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale,” four of his great-grandsons followed him to Yale.
$500 – $750
UNSOPHISTICATED LARGE-PAPER COPY IN WRAPPERS46
The Order Book of Capt. Leonard Bleeker, Major of Brigade . . . against the Indian Settlements of Western New York, in the Campaign of 1779.
New York: Joseph Sabin, 1865
138 pages. 4to, original printed wrappers, minimal wear; a bit musty; uncut and unopened, title page in red and black.
Sabin (5899) states that only 250 were printed, of which 50 were large-paper copies. As Sabin was the publisher of the book, we will trust his authority. It was printed by Joel Munsell, as shown by his JM-monogrammed “Aldi Discipulus Albanus” insignia on the title page, and comes from the estate of its editor Franklin B. Hough. Howes B532.
$400 – $600
(american revolution–history.) banastre tarleton.
A History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781, in the Southern Provinces of North America.
5 maps and plans, all with hand-colored troop movements. vii, , 518,  pages including publisher's ad leaf. 4to, contemporary ½ calf over marbled boards, worn with both boards detached but present; short tear and light wear to frontispiece map, intermittent faint dampstaining especially to preliminary leaves, minor foxing and wear; early owner's signature on title page.
First edition. A British officer’s perspective on the southern campaigns, including Charleston and Yorktown. Tarleton was the commanding officer at the Battle of Waxhaws, in which numerous Americans were killed after attempting to surrender. He here observes that his troops at Waxhaws were “stimulated . . . to a vindictive asperity not easily restrained.” “Valuable for its critical comments as well as for its narrative”–Clark Old South 317. Church 1224; Howes T37 (“b”); Sabin 94397. This copy is signed by early owner “R.A. Davenport,” likely the British biographer and journalist Richard Alfred Davenport (1777-1852).
$1,500 – $2,500
WITH THE SCARCE PROSPECTUS48