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Christie's announces Sale of Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts, including Americana
John Steinbeck (1902-1968). The Grapes of Wrath. New York: The Viking Press, 1939. 8o. Original beige cloth; pictorial dust jacket (price clipped, some pale overall toning). FIRST EDITION. Steinbeck was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1940 for this novel. Estimate: $5,000 – $7,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2012.

NEW YORK, NY.- On December 7, Christie's New York will present two sales offering The Derrydale Press Books from the Le Vivier Library and Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts, including Americana, which includes over 200 works including two important Revolutionary War maps, an important letter by George Washington, an original draft of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, printed books from the 15th century, an important maritime atlas, and first editions of the most celebrated 20th century novels, among many others.

The Derrydale Press Books from the Le Vivier Library
The collection of The Derrydale Press Books from the Le Vivier Library includes over 150 rare, original manuscripts and drawings, books, printing plates and scarce ephemera of the highest quality. The Derrydale Press was founded by Eugene V. Connett, III, after his family’s beaver hat-making company was liquidated in 1925. He soon became an expert printer, and produced his first publication, Magic Hours, the first book to bear The Derrydale Press imprint (estimate: 20,000-30,000). For the next fourteen years, The Derrydale Press would publish 169 titles, most in limited editions, written by the best sporting authors and illustrated by the best sporting artists of the day. With the outset of World War II, Connett was forced to close the business due to the unavailability of quality materials during wartime and the firm’s increasing debts. Highlights include a first edition, deluxe issue of Atlantic Salmon Fishing by Charles Phair, 1937 (estimate: $30,000-50,000); a first edition of Gallant Fox. A Memoir by William R. Woodward, 1931 (estimate: $40,000-60,000); and two hand-colored etchings: "The Fox” and “The Hound” by Marguerite Kirmse, 1933 (estimate: $1,000-1,500).

Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts, including Americana
Leading the sale are two of the most important manuscript maps of the American Revolutionary War, hand-drawn by Charles Blaskowitz (c.1743-1823), documenting key battles, camps and skirmishes in New York and Philadelphia (estimate: $700,000-1,000,000). The New York map is one of only five known finished monumental campaign headquarters maps of the New York region, and the only one based on the original surveys of Blaskowitz. This map is by far the most detailed and comprehensive cartographic record and shows virtually every military event that transpired during the British Army's New York campaign from August to December 1776. It was made for General Sir William Erskine, one of the British officers who played a role in the historic events portrayed, and constitutes one of the finest examples of Blaskowitz's cartographic achievements. A variety of symbols, identified by a reference key, depict the placement of the American, British and Hessian forces at various stages, and the tracks of naval movements are expressed with pictographic symbols.

Among the Americana highlights is very important handwritten letter of President George Washington, addressed in November 1792, to David Stuart, one of the commissioners charged with the layout and construction of the newly established Federal City, soon to bear Washington’s name (estimate: $250,000-400,000). Washington expresses his conviction that the commissioners must appoint a chief architect of the new city and discusses Pierre L’Enfant and a candidate backed by Jefferson. This lengthy letter demonstrates Washington's passionate determination to realize his vision of a capital city on the Potomac. He pointedly questions Stuart: “Have you yet decided on a plan for the capitol?” and inquires “is anything done towards the foundation of the President’s mansion?” A year later, Washington would lay the cornerstone of the Capitol in 1793 and six years later the United States government took up permanent residence in the city of Washington D.C.

The American Civil War is vividly portrayed in poet Julia Ward Howe’s (1819-1910) original handwritten draft of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," 19 November 1861 (estimate: $250,000-400,000). This is the poet's original draft of the best-known American hymn, written in semi-darkness the night after her visit to President Abraham Lincoln and a tour of battle lines near Washington D.C. Published in the February 1862 Atlantic Magazine, the stirring verses were soon married to a rousing tune and given the title “The Battle Hymn of the Republic." An ideal marching song, it became phenomenally popular and followed the Union armies into every theater of the war. In the Confederacy's notorious Libby Prison, it was sung by Chaplin McCabe and other prisoners. Upon his release, McCabe was summoned to the White House, where he sang it for the President. Spectators reported that Lincoln, with tears in his eyes, exclaimed "Sing it again!"

The Americana section also includes a rare 1823 engraved facsimile of the Declaration of Independence, printed on parchment, ordered by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams. It constitutes the only official copy after the original founding document displayed in the National Archives (estimate: $400,000-600,000). Several letters of President Lincoln are featured, including his terse, but highly significant autograph letter to General George McClellan, during the Battle of Antietam, dated 10 September 1862. At 10:15 in the morning, Lincoln asks McClellan “How does it look now.” It was the Union’s narrow victory of this battle, which motivated President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation (estimate: $15,000-20,000).

Highlights of early printed books encompasses Homer’s Opera, printed in Florence 1488 and the most important first edition in Greek literature (estimate: $150,000-200,000); a first edition and of great rarity De humani corporis fabrica librorum epitome by Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), Basel, 1543, a revolutionary study of the human anatomy (estimate: $80,000-120,000); a finely colored first edition of Sir William Hamilton’s Campi Phlegraei. Observations on the Volcanos of the two Sicilies as They have been communicated to the Royal Society of London, Naples, 1776-1779 (estimate: $80,000-120,000); and Le Neptune François, ou Atlas Nouveau des Cartes Marines. Levées et Gravées par ordre exprès du Roy. Pour l'usage de ses armées de mer. Paris: Hubert Jaillot, 1693, a finely colored copy of one of the most beautiful of all maritime atlases, which contains over 100 charts and plates colored by contemporary hand, and heightened in gold throughout (estimate: $100,000-150,000).

The sale will offer a fascinating and important archive of letters, photographs, dog tags and war correspondent badges belonging to Hemingway's third wife, Martha Gellhorn (estimate: $25,000-35,000). The archive includes a rare silver print photograph of Gellhorn and Hemingway, taken at Sun Valley in 1940, letters to her son with references to her World War II experiences, letters that show her hatred for the Vietnam War, and includes a lengthy and even somewhat sympathetic analysis of Hemingway.

Among the selection of 20th century literary works is a newly discovered leaf from Arthur Conan Doyle’s original manuscript of the classic novel The Hound of the Baskervilles (estimate: $60,000-80,000). The Hound of the Baskervilles was first serialized in The Strand Magazine, August 1901-April 1902. The complete manuscript is believed to have comprised 185-190 pages, but sadly, most of the manuscript has not survived. Only about 35 leaves survive. For that reason, the discovery of the present previously unrecorded leaf takes on added significance.

A superb single-owner collection of literature includes the third authorized edition of El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, (1547-1616), Valencia: 1605 (estimate: $40,000-60,000) and the first complete edition in English of The History of Don Quichote. The First Parte. -- The Second Part of the History of ... Don Quixote translated by Thomas Shelton. London: 1620 (estimate: $30,000-40,000); William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The second Impression, 1632, a second folio edition (estimate: $180,000-240,000); Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life, London: John Murray, 1859, a fine first edition of Darwin's most influential work (estimate: $90,000-120,000); a first edition of the first printing of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, 1925, in excellent condition (estimate: $120,000-180,000); a fine and bright first edition of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, 1951 (estimate: $20,000-30,000); and a first edition, first issue of Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, 1903 (estimate: $15,000-20,000). A fine copy of Ulysses by James Joyce, 1922, from another collection is from the scarce issue of 100 copies on Dutch handmade paper (estimated: $100,000-150,000).

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December 1, 2012

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