Curious Adventures & Rare Discoveries: A Look at Freeman's Books, Maps & Manuscripts Auction
Freeman's October 22 Books, Maps & Manuscripts auction is an invitation to a world of adventure for armchair travelers, political scholars, and bibliophiles of all creeds. Whether following Alice on her adventures in Wonderland through the pages of an inscribed first edition of Through the Looking Glass, charting the untamed New World with Captain John Smith, or celebrating the rediscovery of noted statesman Pierre Samuel duPont de Nemours's long-lost manuscript, bold navigators of history and literature will find no trouble "believing at least six impossible things before breakfast."
No figure speaks more directly to the lost world of our childhood than the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Charles Dodgson, the mathematician and precisian, turned himself inside out in the Alice stories to reveal the emotive and alchemical musings of unfettered madness that was Lewis Carroll. Above all, Carroll tethered us to the realm of childhood and the mercurial nature of self and experience, of what is real and possible. Freeman's October 22 sale Books, Maps & Manuscripts includes no less than a dozen variations of the beloved classic Alice in Wonderland - from the first editions to be published in French and German, to a suite from a musical adaptation belonging to, and signed by, members of the Roosevelt family.
Featuring prominently in the auction is a first edition, first issue presentation copy of Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (Estimate $5,000-8,000). The volume is inscribed by Carroll to a young friend Blanche Helen Davys, and dated Jan. 8. 1876. Carroll was known to present copies of his books to children whose parents he befriended during his travels. This particular copy of Through the Looking-Glass also contains a letter to her mother, in which he writes “I’m glad Blanche likes the Looking-glass.”
The discoveries Alice made beyond the looking-glass are not the only wonders to be found in this October auction. Cartography enthusiasts and devotees of American history will be drawn to a rare English printing, from the original year of issue, of one of the most important and influential maps of America ever produced. "Virginia, Discovered and Discribed by Captayn John Smith, Graven by William Hole" (Estimate $10,000-15,000) is considered to be one of the most significant maps of colonial America ever published.
The adventures of Captain Smith as he navigated through the lands of the Powhatan and Susquehanna people have become the stuff of legend. Smith was aided in his surveys by Native Americans, who were able to supply information regarding remote or hostile districts which he was himself unable to visit. The result is that in addition to local topography, this map records in detail the location of 166 Native American villages in the region, which archaeologists still consult to locate village sites of vanished tribes. It provides other notable details as well: a vignette, upper left, illustrates a chief, perhaps Powhatan, the father of Pocahontas, presiding over an assembly in his community’s longhouse.
Another lot of note comes from the estate of the late philanthropist and artist Nancy duPont Reynolds Cooch, daughter of industrialist and board member of the DuPont corporation Eugene Eleuthère duPont, comes a manuscript long believed by scholars to have been lost to time. This treatise, written by Pierre Samuel duPont de Nemours, Ms. Cooch's great, great, great grandfather, a French statesman, economist, and gentleman scholar, was never published and has been unread for two hundred years.
Throughout the years 1815 and 1816, Pierre Samuel duPont de Nemours (1739- 1817), wrote several letters to his friend Thomas Jefferson. Amid broader debates over contemporary affairs—which the men often discussed in their congenial exchanges—duPont proudly mentioned that he had penned one of his latest literary works, namely a treatise on the first principles of democratic government, the Memoire pour les républiques équinoxiale. Freeman's is very excited to bring the only known existing copy of this manuscript (Estimate $30,000-$50,000) to auction this fall.
Other highlights of the Books, Maps & Manuscripts auction include an outstanding selection of rare and early maps of the American Southeast, most notably the first in-depth map of North and South Carolina by American cartographer and surveyor Henry Mouzon, dated 1775. (Estimate $8,000-12,000). The Photography portion of the auction will include works by famed fashion and celebrity photographer Bert Stern.
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