NEW YORK — Printed & Manuscript Americana is at Swann Galleries Thursday, September 30. The sale will feature house specialties such as manuscript diaries, periodicals, historical prints, and more. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Manuscript diaries are on offer with a robust selection of personal narratives, from the Revolutionary War to recollections of travels through California during the late 1800s. The top highlight is a diary from a Connecticut Revolutionary War officer who was imprisoned by the British in an infamous Manhattan sugarhouse in 1777. It is estimated at $12,000-$18,000, and no other known diaries of its kind have been found at auction.
From the Civil War is the diary of Ann Walker Curtis, recording stories about the Boston Tea Party, Abraham Lincoln, the Battle of Lexington and more, estimated at $1,000-$1,500. Additional manuscript diary highlights include an 1898 diary of a rail trip through dozens of southern California towns, estimated at $500-$750, and the diaries of a young clerk in Pennsylvania and New Orleans kept from 1848 to 1855 who eventually hands the transcribing duties off to his wife. This lot is estimated at $500-$750.
Highlights from the early days of America include a set of four 1778 ink and watercolor drawings by St. John Honeywood depicting the Battles of Lexington and Concord, after the famous engravings by Doolittle; the set carries an estimate of $50,000-$75,000. Also featured is a bound volume of the Pennsylvania Herald, which includes 265 newspaper issues from 1887 to 1791, and features a very early printing of the United States Constitution; the volume is estimated at $20,000-$30,000. Another standout is a 1774 mezzotint, Bostonian’s Paying the Excise Man, or Tarring & Feathering, which depicts a scene that occurred a month after the Boston Tea Party. It carries an estimate of $10,000-$15,000.
The sale opens with a strong section of material relating to the American Indian. Featured is an archive of the prominent Cherokee merchant Joshua Ross from 1848 to 1918, estimated at $5,000-$7,500; an edition of History of the Indian Tribes of North America, Philadelphia, 1855, by Thomas McKenney and James Hall, a classic work of American Indian portrait iconography, estimated at $6,000-$9,000; and two Camillus Fly albumen photographs: Geronimo and Natches Mounted, 1886, estimated at $4,000-$6,000, and The Captive White Boy, Santiago McKinn, 1886, estimated at $5,000-$7,500.
Latin American material includes a beautiful 1646 first edition of Alonso de Ovalle’s Historica relacion del reyno de Chile, estimated at $15,000-$25,000, and a complete set of Juana Ines de la Cruz’s collected works, carrying an estimate of $80,000-$120,000, as well as early Mexican printing and interesting Cuban material.
Other strong sections include American children’s chapbooks, material related to early Manhattan, and the Civil War.
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