Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Collection of Civil War Memorabilia- Where to Start?

1911- The Photographic History of the Civil War

The collection of Civil War memorabilia could be a daunting task but a good place to start is the "Semi Centennial Memorial- The Photographic History of the Civil War in Ten Volumes. By Francis Trevelyan Miller; Editor-in-Chief and Robert S. Lanier; Managing Editor. Thousands of Scenes Photographed from 1861-65, with Texts by Many Special Authorities." Copyright by the Patriot Publishing Company, Springfield, Mass. 1911. Stated First Edition.

Ten Volumes Weigh in at 40 pounds

Our Civil War in the United States was a complicated progression of social, communal and political disorder, that was much more complicated than just only the civil rights of the oppressed and exploited slave populations in the Southern States, it was also about the expansion of the United States, past the Mississippi River and into the far west; as well as the Southwest. In the Northeast, Copperheads sprung up who wanted to dissolve the Union and there was a mini-civil war amongst Northerners between the abolitionists, copperheads and unionists. Very complicated.

Racism, bigotry, and fascism abounded across the States, no single State could claim sole proprietorship to the demagoguery, innuendos and outright discrimination against anyone or any institute or group that disagreed. Ideologies regaling or disapproving of the 'Ascent of Man' (Darwin) sprung up across the country. In the South, any 'science' debunking the theory that 'all peoples of the earth are equal' was widely supported (see the story of Louis Agassiz). Religious and moral societies along with a wave of protestant revival across the Northeastern United States, starting in the 1840's led to the 'abolitionists' who were sometimes violent (John Brown) in their approach to freeing the slaves but also holding a philosophical, moral and societal belief, that the slaves were 'lesser' people and even though they should be free, they would not hold the same rights as a white, protestant, christian, educated man and would they be allowed to vote, certainly not. That was the general consensus amongst a vast majority of the population in the US, whether North or South. Adding to this confusion was the continuous prodding by the British, French, Dutch and Spanish monarchies at the shores and borders of the US, also surreptitiously wishing the Union would fail. Also added to the milieu of political, social and economic forces that rapidly spiralled out of control, was the fight between States rights and the Federal government, all leading to one of the worst and bloodiest series of battles in the US.

Antietam -September 17, 1862 -22,717 dead, missing or wounded (the Union Lost)

Mathew Brady photographed the Dead of Antietam: "The New York Times published a review on October 20, 1862, describing how, "Of all objects of horror one would think the battle-field should stand preeminent, that it should bear away the palm of repulsiveness." But crowds came to the gallery drawn by a "terrible fascination" to the images of mangled corpses which brought the reality of remote battlefields to New Yorkers. Viewers examined details using a magnifying glass. "We would scarce choose to be in the gallery, when one of the women bending over them should recognize a husband, a son, or a brother in the still, lifeless lines of bodies, that lie ready for the gaping trenches." [source: wiki} Many of the Brady and other photographers images are found in this series of 

No photos were taken of the actual battle

As the war raged on, Lincoln and his staff became more and more distraught by the events and 
starting with Lincoln's firing of McClellan (who was too cautious) and appointing Grant and 
Sherman, plus his judicious use of the Railroad system in the Northeast, they could move very
large quantities of food, munitions, troops and horses to staging areas; the war turned to their 
favor. This book series with all the photographs will give a collector a look into the actual war. 
Many photos of staging, camps and other recorded actions on both sides, tells the story. It also 
provides the collector with some semblance of some order to collecting. What to hunt for and how
to document a discovery or a find. Close inspection of the uniforms, arms and equipment are good
sources for helping to verify an artifact. The civil war is one of the most documented of wars thanks 
to the advent of photography. This series of volumes is one of the best.

Richard Gabriel         The Photographic History of the Civil War, 1911
                                  Ten Volumes:                                                                      $975.00
Calix Books

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Moravian Church- First Edition- 1749

Rare First Edition Book on The Moravian Religion

The story of the Moravian's and Parliament in Britain starts with the loss of the Protestant Tudor Dynasty and the Scottish King; King James I and his son, James II(the last Stuart to be King) and the twisted Religious Politics between France, Spain, Rome, Holland, England, Scotland, Ireland and North America. Also, the recent spat Parliament had with Queen Anne and William and Mary (the Dutch rulers). The new Hanoverian Kings (George I and George II), were seeking groups who would help cement their new reign. 

The Moravian's were, amongst other religious groups, arguably a pawn used by the Hanoverian descendant King of England (King George I and his son, King George II and ultimately King George III) for their own court ends. The Moravian's were ultimately used in Royals and Parliament's attempts to gain control of regions of the world, including the Americas, that frankly were relatively newly acquired by the English.  However, the Moravians saw it differently and behaved differently; as they sent missions not for conquest but to help indigenous peoples and spread their word of God amongst them. While not religious zealots, the group often provided a sanctuary for oppressed protestants from the Continent and set up communities around the world.

Long before Martin Luther nailed his work to the doors of the Catholic church, the Unitas Fratrum (Latin for the "Unity of the Brethren") with its heritage dating back to the Bohemian Reformation in the fifteenth century (Jednota bratrská in Czech) established in Kingdom of Bohemia. The name by which the Church is commonly known comes from the original exiles who fled to Saxony in 1722 from Moravia to escape religious persecution, but its heritage began in 1457 in Bohemia and its crown lands (Moravia and Silesia), then an autonomous kingdom within the Holy Roman Empire (today the Czech Republic). So it's easy to understand, opposing the 'Holy Roman Empire' and the Pope, only led to torture and execution by various means.

Source: Wiki

"The Moravian Church’s emblem is the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei) with the flag of victory, surrounded by the Latin inscription: Vicit agnus noster, eum sequamur (English: "Our Lamb has conquered, let us follow Him"). The Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) came to England in the early eighteenth century and was recognised by Act of Parliament (Acta Fratrum 1749) as an ancient Protestant Episcopal Church descended from the Bohemian Brethren of the fifteenth century. Under the leadership of Nicolaus Ludwig, Count von Zinzendorf, who in addition to being a German nobleman (the George's filled their courts with Hanoverians and other German speaking nobles and ladies) was a Bishop of the Moravian Church, it took an active part in the great Evangelical Revival of the eighteenth century and was a pioneer of modern Protestant missionary work (1732). The evangelical revival in Scotland was a series of religious movements in Scotland from the eighteenth century, with periodic revivals into the twentieth century. It began in the later 1730s as congregations experienced intense "awakenings" of enthusiasm, renewed commitment and rapid expansion. This was first seen at Easter Ross in the Highlands in 1739 and most famously in the Cambuslang Wark near Glasgow in 1742." (source: Wiki)

Parliamentary Shift and a New Dynasty Emerges in Britain

The Hanoverian king, George I; after King James II was sent into exile, largely because James sided with the Catholics for control of the Kingdoms of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland with the help of the French Catholics, the Pope and others. This political, religious and governmental nightmare, made the German speaking King George I, uneasy. He often spent more time abroad (in Hanover, Germany) than he did in England. While he and his heir apparent, George II did not get along, they both had keen survival instincts and applied them liberally, aiding and abetting, protestant religious groups to narrow the gap between Parliament and the Royals and further cement their protestant beliefs. The kings also hoped that protestant religious groups like the Moravians could help strengthen their hold on Scotland and attempt to make inroads into Ireland and all the colonies, including the Americas and Canada.

 Portrait of a group of Moravian Church members with King George II of Great Britain, attributed to Johann Valentin Haidt, circa 1752–1754 (wiki)

The Book

Moravian Church.; Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Committee to Whom the Petition of the Deputies of the United Moravian Churches, in Behalf of Themselves and Their United Brethren, was Referred.; Great Britain. A composite volume. Some exemplars arranged differently. First item ([2], 635-638 p.) includes, with separate t.p.: Anno regni Georgii II Regis Magnae Britanniae, Franciae & Hiberniae, vicesimo secundo : at the Parliament begun and holden at Westminster the tenth day of November Anno Dom. 1747 ... London : Printed by Thomas Baskett ... and by the assigns of Robert Baskett, 1749, London: Printed by the Assigns of R. and Edw. Atkins Esquires. For Thomas Basset at the Sign of the George near Cliffords Inn in Fleetstreet. Small 2vo, 12x 7.75 in.  First Edition. [Blank]; 2, [Tittle page, iii]; 7F-5; B-F2; A-I2; K-O2; X-Z2; Aa-Ii2; Kk-Qq2; [Blank].  This copy is bound in full contemporary sheepskin, the pages are crisp but the boards are detached and last section of Epilogue is disbound from major work. Rest is holding. Loss to spine with chips and edges bumped on boards.  Signed on front board by Charles Russell Lowell, Sr. and opposite page by Charles Russell Lowell, Jr. 

Report from the Committee to Whom the Petition of the Deputies of the United Moravian Churches, in behalf of themselves and their United Brethren, Was Referred, together with some extracts of the most material vouchers and papers contained in the Appendix to the said report --Appendix of the most material vouchers and papers referred to in the Report (58 p., 2d count) -- “Unitatis Fratrum fidei, liturgiae et praxeos expositio, tum etiam circa credenda paritèr atque agenda dispensandi ratio -- Enchiridion theologiae patristicae -- Epilogus. (MORAVIAN).

An interesting look at the British government's early encouragement of the settlement of Moravians in the American colonies. OCLC locates only 17 copies. 

The Lowell's

Charles Russell Lowell, Sr. (15 August 1782 in Boston – 20 January 1861 in Cambridge, Massachusetts) was a Unitarian minister and the son of judge John Lowell. Biography: He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and attended The Roxbury Latin School and later Harvard College in 1800 where he studied law and then theology. After two years in Edinburgh, Scotland and one year on the Continent, Lowell was, from 1806 until his death, pastor of the West Congregational (Unitarian) Church of Boston. From that year until 1840, he traveled extensively in Europe and the east. During the latter part of his life Lowell officiated only occasionally in his church. Lowell was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1814, and served on its board of councilors from 1820 to 1853.[4] He married Harriet, daughter of Robert T. Spence, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, an officer in the U. S. Navy. Harvard gave him the degree of D.D. in 1823. He was a fellow of its corporation from 1818 until 1833.  Almost alone, he spoke out from the pulpit against slavery to Boston’s elite. Charles Russell Lowell, Jr (1807-1870), son of Charles Lowell, Sr. and Harriet Traill (Spence) Lowell, solidified the already strong ties between the Lowell and Jackson families by marrying Anna Cabot Jackson, daughter of Patrick Tracy Jackson, in 1832. Jackson, a merchant whose business failed in the Panic of 1837. Charles Russell Lowell devoted the remainder of his career to cataloguing the books of the Boston Athenaeum, while his wife opened and conducted a successful school for young girls in Boston. 


The Book can be Found at our STORE

Saturday, July 22, 2017

1487 The Tudor Rose in the Book Binding of Anton Koberger's Printing of Nicolas De Lyra's Bible

Setting the Stage

I was wandering the hall of the annual Boston Antiquarian Book Fair and found volume 3 of Nicolas De Lyra's work (of a 4 volume set) printed by Anton Koberger in Latin and printed and illuminated in 1487 and in a binding that was missing its hardware (except the clasps). On closer inspection the binding had in small marginella tooled around the borders, what appeared to me to be the 'Tudor Rose'. The bookseller had not noted this in his description, and assuming he was too old and his eyesight was poor, he had overlooked this remarkable tooling or thought it not important. Perhaps it isn't, but it still remains a mystery that after purchasing it, I have been determined to try and solve.

I'm not in any of the photos and these were from the 2016 show, which I was unable to attend as I was on a business trip in Poland at the time of the show (much to my regret as I love going to this show, but I also like going to Poland too).

I have kept this book for many years, looking at it and inspecting it and trying to find out more information about to whom it might have been made for during the period (1487). It certainly was made for the English market (because of the Tudor Rose and the Stag deer and other markings) and that started a long quest which has revealed some interesting hints. But yet no clear answers. The other three volumes with similar bindings would have completed the picture. So somewhere out there in the world is an incomplete set of Tudor Rose bindings of the Latin version of Nicolas De Lyra's (1487 Latin Text) Bible, printed and perhaps bound by the Koberger binder of choice for someone in the Tudor family or a closely related and allied Royal Family.

1480's and the Tudors

There were three royal houses (with great wealth and armies of men associated with them) that fought one another during the 100 years war (off and on) and this was known as the 'War of the Roses' symbolized by the White Rose for the house of York and the Red rose for the house of Lancaster. Also in the mix was the house of Plantagenet symbolized by a Sprig of Broom.

The Tudor's dynasty started with a Welshman technically; by birthplace, but who was a male descendant of the infamous Owen Tudor who secretly married King Henry V's (Henry V was a Plantagenet) widow and sprung the dynasty, culminating in the last royal heir of Queen Elisabeth I. Henry VII claimed the throne through royal (somewhat sketchy links) as the last male Lancasterian and fought and won on the battlefield (he was the last king to take title to the English throne through battle, forget Cromwell, he was no King). Rather than trying to paraphrase the information, here is a direct excerpt from Wiki.

"By 1483, Henry's mother was actively promoting him as an alternative to Richard III, despite her being married to a Yorkist, Lord Stanley. At Rennes Cathedral on Christmas Day 1483, Henry pledged to marry the eldest daughter of Edward IV, Elizabeth of York, who was also Edward's heir since the presumed death of her brothers, the Princes in the Tower (King Edward V and his brother Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York). Henry then received the homage of his supporters.

With money and supplies borrowed from his host, Francis II, Duke of Brittany, Henry tried to land in England, but his conspiracy unravelled, resulting in the execution of his primary co-conspirator, the Duke of Buckingham. Now supported by Francis II's prime-minister, Pierre Landais, Richard III attempted to extradite Henry from Brittany, but Henry escaped to France. He was welcomed by the French, who readily supplied him with troops and equipment for a second invasion.

Henry gained the support of the Woodvilles, in-laws of the late Edward IV, and sailed with a small French and Scottish force, landing in Mill Bay, Pembrokeshire, close to his birthplace. He marched towards England accompanied by his uncle Jasper and the Earl of Oxford. Wales was traditionally a Lancastrian stronghold, and Henry owed the support he gathered to his Welsh birth and ancestry, being directly descended, through his father, from Rhys ap Gruffydd.[23] He amassed an army of around 5,000 soldiers.

Henry was aware that his best chance to seize the throne was to engage Richard quickly and defeat him immediately, as Richard had reinforcements in Nottingham and Leicester. Richard only needed to avoid being killed to keep his throne. Though outnumbered, Henry's Lancastrian forces decisively defeated Richard's Yorkist army at the Battle of Bosworth Field on 22 August 1485. Several of Richard's key allies, such as the Earl of Northumberland and William and Thomas Stanley, crucially switched sides or left the battlefield. Richard III's death at Bosworth Field effectively ended the Wars of the Roses, although it was not the last battle Henry had to fight." [Direct quotation from Wiki: Henry VII].

The Roses 

The House of York

The House of Lancaster

The Tudor Rose
(all images from Wiki)

Reportedly, Henry VII had great celebrations to cement his reign that went right through the coronation of his Queen in 1487. Magnificent gifts were brought to court and presented to the kings and queens as well as all their respective 'household'. It was the household that took care of the accounts, managed the personal affairs of both king and queen, each having their own representatives.

Anton Koberger

Anton Koberger (ca 1440-1513) was born to an established Nuremberg family of bakers, and makes his first appearance in 1464 in the Nuremberg list of citizens. In 1470 he married Ursula Ingram and after her death he remarried another member of the Nuremberg patriciate, Margarete Holzschuher, in 1491. In all he fathered twenty-five children, of whom thirteen survived to adulthood. Koberger was the godfather of Albrecht Dürer, whose family lived on the same street. In the year before Dürer's birth in 1471 he ceased goldsmithing to become a printer and publisher. He quickly became the most successful publisher in Germany, absorbing his rivals over the years to become a large capitalist enterprise, with twenty-four presses in operation, printing numerous works simultaneously and employing at its height 100 workers: printers, typesetters, typefounders, illuminators, and the like. In addition, he often contracted with other printers, including Adolf Rusch of Strassbourg and Jacob Sacon of Lyon, to do additional printing work. Koberger printed over 200 titles of incunabula, including 15 different copies of the Latin Bible. His most famous work was the illustrated Nuremberg Chronicles which he published in 1493 in both German and Latin editions. It is believed he printed over 1000 copies of each at a time when most printers issued editions of only 300 copies. It is said that his only business blunder was when he turned down Martin Luther’s request to become Luther’s publisher. Constantly improving his business prospects, he sent out traveling agents and established links with booksellers all over Western Europe, including Venice, Europe's other great centre of printing, Milan, Paris, Lyon, Vienna and Budapest. At the supply end, he obtained two paper mills. His printing house survived his death only until 1526, and the family continued as goldsmiths and jewelers.

Anton Koberger (1440-1513) 'not engraved by Albrecht Durer'

The period of printing and distribution that Koberger started and mastered was later copied in England by William Caxton (1422-1491), who directly served the Tudor family with his publications. While Caxton and Koberger never worked together, Caxton repeated Koberger's successful strategy of integrating all aspects of the book publishing, printing, binding and distribution.

The Koberger Bible Volume 3 with Tudor Roses

The tooling is done on tanned pig skin leather, one of the toughest and most durable leathers (oink, oink...).

Running Stag and Tudor Rose

Over all binding (white areas are where the 'Bosses' were removed, center and corner.

The Center Emblem Surrounded by Vines and Tudor Roses

An Additional Feature that is not clear but appears to have grapes and a bunch of flowers? Could it be Plantagenet Broom Flowers?

Prologue- Opening for Volume 3

Previous ownership and period hand titling, notice on the inside seam the exposure of an older velum document...

Only a few lines are visible of the older velum document (used to bind the book).

Koberger signature and declaring the volume to be the work of Nicolas De Lyra

One of the engravings found in the book...


A floor plan---

The Book Description

De Lyra, Nicolaus. Bible in Latin. Nuremberg, 1487; Anton Koberger. 348 leaves, complete and in a contemporary binding of blind-stamped pig skin, with clasps remaining; possibly from the Koberger workshop. Emblems include the Tudor Rose and the running Stag as well as an unknown center board symbol. Worm holes are present in the first and last few leaves with occasional browning on some of the leaves. Small paper loss on several of the leaves but not affecting text. Illustrated and a fine example of a incunabula of this period. Part 3 of the 1487 bible in Latin. BMC vol. 2, 431; Unusual collation but complete: AA10-GG10, HH12; JJ10-MM10, N12; OO8; PP10-TT10, U6; XX6; YY10-ZZ10; aaa10-fff10, g8; hhh8, jjj10-mmm10, n8.

Nicholas Of Lyra (c. 1270–October 1349), or Nicolaus Lyranus, a Franciscan teacher, was among the most influential practitioners of Biblical exegesis in the Middle Ages. He was a doctor at the Sorbonne by 1309 and ten years later was appointed the head of all Franciscans in France. His major work, Postillae perpetuae in universam S. Scripturam, was the first printed commentary on the Bible. Printed in Rome in 1471, it was later available in Venice, Basel, and elsewhere. In it, each page of Biblical text was printed in the upper center of the page and embedded in a surrounding commentary Nicolas of Lyra's approach to explicating Scripture was firmly based on the literal sense, which for him is the foundation of all mystical or allegorical or anagogical expositions. He deplored the tortured and elaborated readings being given to Scripture in his time. The textual basis was so important that he urged that errors be corrected with reference to Hebrew texts, an early glimmer of techniques of textual criticism, though Nicholas urged as a good Catholic that the traditions of the Church were of equal weight to Scripture:

"I protest that I do not intend to assert or determine anything that has not been manifestly determined by Sacred Scripture or by the authority of the Church... Wherefore I submit all I have said or shall say to the correction of Holy Mother Church and of all learned men..." (Second Prologue to Postillae).

Nicholas utilized all sources available to him, fully mastered Hebrew and drew copiously from the Talmudic commentaries, the Pugio Fidei of Raymond Martini and of course the commentaries of St. Thomas Aquinas. His lucid and concise exposition, his soundly-based observations made Postillae the most-consulted manual of exegesis until the 16th century. Martin Luther depended upon it. When E.A. Gosselin compiled a listing of the printed editions of works by Nicolaus de Lyra, it ran to 27 pages (in Traditio 26 (1970), pp 399-426). He was born in the village of Vieille-Lyre, Normandy, hence his name. Like others in the 14th century, he was occupied by the possibility of the conversion of the Jews, to whom he dedicated hortatory addresses. He wrote Pulcherrimae quaestiones Iudaicam perfidam in catholicam fide improbantes, which was one of the sources Martin Luther used in his On the Jews and Their Lies.

This item along with many other rare works can be found at: 

SOLD- 10-2017

Saturday, July 15, 2017

First Book of the Smithsonian Institute- 1848 Native American Mound Builders

First Book Printed by the Newly Formed Smithsonian Institute


I'm always amazed when I research a book that I have recently found. It sometimes is like a mystery and this is one of those rare moments when talking about a first edition, first printing from the Smithsonian Institute is a pure joy. Unfortunately, I will sell this book and hope that the buyer will treasure it as much as I do.

As a book dealer, you have to learn to let go. Sometimes letting go is very difficult because the book becomes somehow attached to your being, sometimes without your even knowing it. This is one of those books. It crept up on me. Historically, it is nearly a one of a kind compilation of provenance as I doubt that any other similar copies exist, unless more than one copy was sent to Britain's 'Royal Institution' signed on tipped in lithographic letter form by Joseph Henry, the first Smithsonian Secretary; no small man of accomplishments on his own, and his assistant, Charles Coffin Jewett, who later went on to run the Boston Public Library and help set up a National Union Catalog (NUC) later in his life. It also has the small subtle stamp of the Royal Institution as well, confirming the books' receipt in England. How it wound up in public hands is another story, but I found it, or rather this book found me.

I was browsing a book store in London, which I always try to do when I'm on business to the continent or to the UK and I always ask the annoying question of 'do you have any books related to the American Revolution?' Sometimes the subtle and very British squirming is a pleasure to watch. I usually always joke with them as well about being from Boston, 'you know, the one that got away...'

Sometimes there is laughter and a good joke or two back from my victim about Americans and Britain and 'King George the 3rd' who by the way could barely speak a lick of English, let alone American English. Let's not forget Parliament and the disastrous course of taxation without representation, appalling. No wonder George III and his cronies lost the colony!

Well 1849, the year that book was published is not that long after the burning of the Whitehouse by the British invasion forces in 1814. Why is that important, well the British government was still stoking the fires of Southern secession in the 1840's and 1850's and assisted the Southern States during the Civil War!

Public Domain,

And adding to this the continuous wars with our Native American peoples, slavery, the talk of secession in congress and in our Southern States; spurred in part by The British who would have been delighted at the thought of re-capturing a significant chunk of the Southern United States in a split with the North by the way.

I searched Wiki and found the following list of Native American Tribal wars with the US Government a compelling listing:
  • Texas-Indian Wars 1820-1875
  • Arikara War 1823
  • Winnebago War 1827
  • Black Hawk War 1832
  • Second Seminole War 1835-42
  • Second Creek War 1836
  • Osage Indian War 1837
  • Ute Wars 1849-55
  • Apache Wars 1849-1924
  • Jicarilla War 1849-55

So when Joseph Henry decided to publish a work comprising the 'Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi 1846' it was a bold statement about more than just Native Americans; because throughout the country, hostilities, discrimination and outright murder of Native American peoples and vice versa was happening and the stories were in the press regularly. If you have ever wondered about the opinions of Americans about Native Americans and African Americans, reading Mark Twain's accounts will provide you with an excellent view of the way a majority of the press and the reader's thought in 1849. The work was actually commissioned in 1846 and accepted for publication in 1847, printed in 1848 and sent to the Royal Institution in 1849.

The Book Description:

Squier, Ephraim George, and Edwin Hamilton Davis. Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley. Comprising the Results of Extensive Original Surveys and Explorations...Accepted for Publication by the Smithsonian Institution, June, 1847, [New York, Edward O. Jenkins for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington]. 1847 and dated 1848.

Large 4to. Original publisher's cloth, spine lettered in gilt, covers with blind-stamped rules; pp.xxxix (including one blank), 306, with 207 fine wood-engravings in the text, 2 plates of tinted lithographic views (one bound frontispiece) and 46 lithographic plates (mostly plans and elevations, two of skulls and several of artifacts, tools, pots etc.); cloth and gilt faded; rear hinge weakened, corners a little worn, a few preliminaries with short tears to gutters, p. 90 with small paper flaw to gutter, occasionally light spotting; and some separation of the upper spine but holding. Provenance: it was presented by the Smithsonian Institution to the Royal Institution (of Britain) with a lithographed letter form, printed on blue paper, dated Washington, January 1, 1849, the addressee's name filled in by hand, signatures of the Smithsonian's founding Secretary, Joseph Henry and his assistant secretary tipped onto the front fly-leaf, lower outer corner of the series title with Royal Institution Stamp. This book does have some flaws in its binding (separation along the spine, internal but holding slightly), toning and minor tears but it is a remarkable survivor.

Lithographed Plate

Signed Letter of Transmission to the Royal Institution of Britain

Henry and Jewett's signatures
Stamp of the Royal Institution showing receipt
Title page
Images of tools an other items
Topographical surveys of the actual mound structures

This book is a testament to the very hard work and dedication of the two researchers who approached the Institute about the project and were eagerly encouraged by President Polk and John Henry.

Smithsonian History (bear with me, you will see the full circle)

"Smithson, the illegitimate child of a wealthy Englishman, had traveled much during his life, but had never once set foot on American soil. Why, then, would he decide to give the entirety of his sizable estate—which totaled half a million dollars, or 1/66 of the United States' entire federal budget at the time—to a country that was foreign to him?

James Smithson, c. 1765-1829
Artist: Hattie Elizabeth Burdette

Some speculate it was because he was denied his father's legacy. Others argue that he was inspired by the United States' experiment with democracy. Some attribute his philanthropy to ideals inspired by such organizations as the Royal Institution, which was dedicated to using scientific knowledge to improve human conditions. Smithson never wrote about or discussed his bequest with friends or colleagues, so we are left to speculate on the ideals and motivations of a gift that has had such significant impact on the arts, humanities, and sciences in the United States.

Smithson died in 1829, and six years later, President Andrew Jackson announced the bequest to Congress. On July 1, 1836, Congress accepted the legacy bequeathed to the nation and pledged the faith of the United States to the charitable trust. In September 1838, Smithson's legacy, which amounted to more than 100,000 gold sovereigns, was delivered to the mint at Philadelphia. Recoined in U.S. currency, the gift amounted to more than $500,000.

James Knox Polk, 2 Nov 1795-15 Jun 1849
Artist: Max Westfield

After eight years of sometimes heated debate, an Act of Congress signed by President James K. Polk on Aug. 10, 1846, established the Smithsonian Institution as a trust to be administered by a Board of Regents and a Secretary of the Smithsonian. Since its founding, more than 170 years ago, the Smithsonian has become the world's largest museum, education, and research complex, with 19 museums, the National Zoo, and nine research facilities." (quotation directly from: The Smithsonian Institute- Our History, highlights and underlining by me, Richard Gabriel).

NOW, the full circle connection is made! The VERY First Administration includes the President of the United States, James K. Polk, the First Secretary Joseph Henry and signed by Joseph Henry on a tipped in lithographic printed letter and sent to the Royal Institution, that Smithson deeply admired, making this find a very rare book with an even rarer provenance!

See the listing at our Web Store:

SOLD 7-17-2017

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Books of Hours grew out of the Psalter and the Breviary and for more detailed information on collecting, grading and buying Books of Hours; there are a number of authoritative texts available to the curios reader.
  • Books of Hours Reconsidered (Studies in Medieval and Early Renaissance Art History) Hindman, Sandra Published by Brepols Publishers ISBN 10: 1905375948 / ISBN 13: 781905375943
  • The Book of Hours. A textual explanation of 15th century illuminated manuscripts Published by Barbara J. Raheb, Van Nuys, CA, 1979
  • French Books of Hours: Making an Archive of Prayer, C.1400 - 1600 Reinburg, Virginia Published by Cambridge Univ Pr, 2012 ISBN 10: 1107007216 / ISBN 13: 9781107007215
  • An Intimate Art : 12 Books of Hours for 2012 Hindman Sandra and Bergeron-Foote Ariane Published by Les Enluminures, Paris-Chicago-New York, 2012 ISBN 10: 0983854637 / ISBN 13: 9780983854630
  • Books of Hours and Their Owners Harthan, John Published by Thames & Hudson Ltd, 1977 ISBN 10: 0500232172 / ISBN 13: 9780500232170
  • Time Sanctified: The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life Wieck, Roger S. Published by George Braziller, 1988 ISBN 10: 0807611891 / ISBN 13: 9780807611890
  • Painted Prayers The Book of Hours in Medieval and Renaissance Art Wieck, Roger S. Published by W. W. Norton & Co Inc., 1997 ISBN 10: 0807614181 / ISBN 13: 9780807614181
Just to highlight a few books about books of hours. There are also many individual books written about books of hours as well as facsimiles of the books. A beginning collector can first purchase the texts about books of hours (some of which are somewhat hard to find and can be pricey (~$75-$250) and can be found at Advanced Book Exchange or on Biblio and once the appetite has been educated, collecting the facsimiles of famous works; while not the same as possessing an original work, can be rewarding. One thing we don't recommend is buying individual 'leaves' of Books of Hours, unless you know exactly which book they came out of and it is worth. Collecting, individual leaves is a market but unless it is a very rare leaf, while unique, offers a fraction of what a complete book of hours possesses in the way of presentation and worth. Retail pricing of books of hours can vary widely, ranging on the low side for incomplete works in the $15,000 to the upper end of $900,000 for a well-documented rare book of hours.

The books of hours were made mostly for women, but books are also made for the male of the house. Books of Hours were passed down and sometimes were divided amongst family members to keep the peace within the family. Books prior to printing could be as expensive as possessing rare gems, silver, gold and even land. The rare books made for the kings, queens, princes and princesses that have been identified and are a part of medieval history, are quite expensive and many are held by museums and rare books libraries across the world. The works usually always have facsimiles made and reproduced in limited editions so they too have become valuable.

Examples of the Structure of a Typical Book of Hours:

The Calendar

The Calendar page is filled with information and is actually a regional guide to where in Europe or in what we now call the United Kingdom the book was intended. There are usually three columns, one for the calendar. The first column is known as the ‘Golden Numbers’ or the days of the new moons or full moons throughout the year. The second column is known as the ‘Dominical Letters’ (a through g) that help a reader find the ‘Sundays’ of the month. The third column is the ancient Roman calendrical system listing the Ides (id), the middle of the month and the Kalends (kl), the first day of the month and Nones the ninth day of the month. These three fixed points were used to count backwards to all other dates.

The Red and Blue lettering are for the Saints days and were known as ‘Red Letter’ days, which were the more important dates to celebrate the Virgin Mary,  and other more important Saints. The calendar in the Books of Hours were also known as ‘perpetual calendars’ as they did not include the more important celebration holidays such as Easter or Christmas, but those dates could be calculated backwards from the perpetual dates. The listing of Saints also helps regionalize the origin of the Book of Hours, also known in the Latin form as ‘Horae’.

Hours of the Virgin

Also known as the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a set of inspirational lessons, prayers and brief phrases that refer to the ‘eight’ canonical hours of the day that date back to Roman times and were and are still chanted in monasteries. The eight are Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext None, Vespers and Compline. Matins and Laud were often sung before sunrise. Prime was often used to teach children to read, hence the word ‘Primer’ is derived from this section. The structure is usually laid out as a series of vesicles that are followed by responses: “Lord open my lips and my mouth shall tell forth thy praise” Response: “God, come to my assistance”. Everything, of course is in Latin. “Domine labia mea aperies et os maeum annunciabit laudem Deus in adjutorium meum intende”

Below is an example describing the time of day and the miniature

  Time Of Day
  the wee hours
  Annunciation– Angel Gabriel greets Mary
  Visitation– Mary visits Elizabeth
  Nativity– Birth of the Christ child
  late morning
  Annunciation– Angels appear to the shepherds
  Adoration of the Magi– Magi come to see the Christ child
  Presentation in the temple– Mary presents the Christ child
  Flight into Egypt– Mary & Joseph flee Herod as directed in a dream
  late evening
  Coronation of the Virgin– Mary crowned Queen of Heaven


The Litany:  Invocations to God, the Blessed Virgin and assorted saints, each followed by the abbreviation "or", the Latin incipt for "ora pro nobis" ("pray for us"). HRC MS 4, p. 174. Mid-15th Century. Latin and French. Leaf size 7.3 x 5.2 in. One or more litanies of the saints normally follow the Penitential Psalms. In a litany, the reader invokes, one by one, a long list of favorite saints, martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins, ending each phrase with the Latin words ora pro nobis ("pray for us"). Economy-minded scribes often abbreviated this common ending with the letters "or," as in the pictured example from HRC MS 4.

An example of a Litany page in a book of hours

Office of the Dead

During the middle ages, death, famine, early loss of life was more common than living a full rich life. Lives were in the words of a famous English scholar Thomas Hobbes: “Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”. The church realizing the nature of existence and the need for solace through the divine spirit of Christ, Mary, the angels and God, created the rather lengthy section known as the Office of the Dead.

“As in the examples shown here, the illustrations frequently present the evangelists at work writing their gospel onto a scroll or codex and using the implements employed by medieval scribes. The traditional symbol, or attribute, of the evangelist often appears in the illustration, as in these examples from the Ransom Center collections.

The illustration for St. John nearly always shows the apostle seated on the Isle of Patmos—as in this example from HRC MS 5—where Christian tradition holds that he composed the Book of Revelation. The remaining illustrations normally show the relevant apostle working in a scriptorium or study.”

Penitential Psalms

“A Book of Hours often contains one or both of two well-known cycles of Psalms: the Seven Penitential Psalms and the Gradual Psalms (Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143 and Psalms 120–134, respectively, in the King James Bible).

These and other Psalms were so well known to medieval worshipers that each Psalm is often indicated only by its incipit, or opening line. The reader is expected to recite the remaining lines from memory.

When the Penitential Psalms include miniatures, they often open with a scene from the life of King David—a bad example of adulterous behavior but a comforting model of repentance and forgiveness—as in these wonderfully illuminated images from an early example of a printed Book of Hours.”

Bravery in Battle and Absolution and Gratitude from the King…

Prayers of the Virgin

This section is mostly text in many books of hours and if there is an image, it is always Mary and her Son, Jesus. “The Obsecro te ("I beseech thee") and the O intemerata ("O immaculate Virgin"), two prayers addressed to the Blessed Virgin, are present in nearly all 15th-century Books of Hours. Each of these prayers is written and recited in the first person and makes a plaintive appeal directly to the Virgin Mary for aid and intercession with her Son. The prayers are sometimes personalized, with the name of the book's original owner inserted into the text or the accompanying illustration. The Obsecro te specifically asks that death not come suddenly or unexpectedly, a plea that may have provided some comfort against the toll of plague and war that afflicted late-medieval Europe.

An image depicting the Virgin Mary at prayer, usually with her Son, symbolizes Mary's role as intercessor in these prayers and is the traditional image for this section. As shown in the example from HRC MS 6, the Virgin is sometimes pictured alone next to the Obsecro te prayer. The Prayers to the Virgin have no fixed position within a Book of Hours, but often the prayers are placed between the Gospel Lessons and Hours of the Virgin.”


This is the section where particular Saints and their trials and tribulations and exaltations overcoming the injustice that usually results in the loss of their lives for God and their beliefs. “God or the three Persons of the Trinity always begin the Suffrages, followed by the Virgin, the archangel Michael, and John the Baptist (the last two prominently positioned because of their importance as judge and intercessor, respectively, at the Last Judgment). The apostles appear next, followed by male martyrs and confessors (non-martyr saints), female saints and virgin martyrs.
Each Suffrage is composed of four elements: three ejaculations (antiphon, versicle, response) followed by a longer prayer (oratio). The first three elements constitute a string of praises. As for the prayer, its first half recounts an episode from the saint's life or touches on some important aspect of the saint's holiness; the second half of the prayer is always a petition for aid from God through the saint's intercession.”

The Gospels

A strange outcome of the church’s domination of the canonical writings is that households during the middle ages did not own a complete bible or even a partial bible. In 405 the definitive version of the bible known as the Vulgate and it reigned supreme for over 1,000 years. Anyone not a priest could NOT own a bible. Bibles prior to the printing press were hand scribed and far too expensive for anyone to own. The possession of bibles is a relatively new and the first really popular bible that was effectively marketed and distributed in Europe and England was by Anton Koberger and is known as the Koberger bible, printed in Latin and High German.

The Gospels in the books of hours were the only way that families could read them, other than attending church and having the priest include a gospel in their liturgy.  The gospels allowed the books of hours to become divine religious possessions that families could look to in their own dire hours of need for prayer and comfort when the church or a priest were not available. The gospels is really the cornerstone of the entire books of hours, linking all of the sections and making the book of hours an important family possession.

Richard Gabriel- Calix Books