Lewis and Clark’s “History of the Expedition” leads Fine Books and Manuscripts auction
The upcoming Fine Books and Manuscripts auction on August 5th includes a number of rare and important items that will surely encourage competitive bidding. Highlights of the sale include a first edition of Lewis and Clark’s History of the Expedition, with its original folding map, an extensive cartography session including rare maps of the Americas by Hutchins, Jaillot, Delisle, Jansson, Vaugondy, Bowen and Speed, and a beautiful session of natural history prints and plate books, including first octavo editions of John James Audubons’ Birds of America and Quadrupeds of North America. Additional highlights include a presidential proclamation signed by President Harry Truman issued the day after Germany’s unconditional surrender from WWII and an autograph book bearing the signatures of Herbert Hoover and over 190 members of his administration compiled during his Presidency. The sale will close with memorabilia, featuring a notecard signed by all four members of The Beatles. These lots and over 200 more will be offered for sale online and at Leslie Hindman’s main showroom on August 5th at 12pm CST. Below are three interesting and important highlights that will be offered in the sale.
The first edition of Lewis and Clark’s “History of the Expedition” is considered to be “the definitive account of the most important exploration of the North American Continent” (Wagner-Camp 13:1). It is rare to find complete first edition copies due to the fact that only a small number were printed and many have been lost or destroyed over time. What makes this copy even more rare is that it includes all five of the originally published plates and the original foldout map illustrating Lewis and Clark’s route. Many of the first edition copies printed were not issued with the map and thus those that have it are extremely sought after. The present is a beautiful copy of an important work that is one of the most desirable for collectors of Americana.
John James Audubon is famous for his seminal folio set The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories, published between 1827 and 1838. The octovo edition published later between 1839 and 1844 made the set more widely available to the public and added 65 new plates to the folio edition, making it “the most extensive color plate book produced in America up to that time” (Reese). The present set is a wonderful copy for collectors of natural history prints and of enthusiasts of Audubon, the most renowned naturalist of all time whose name is synonymous with the present work.
This map is considered by many to be the most important map of the Midwest of the eighteenth-century. It illustrates early eighteenth-century attempts to settle the Midwestern United States, Native American concessions, transportation routes, and the location of major land speculation schemes of the period. The present copy is a proof issue, illustrating many geographical points not present in later states. This map is a rare example of early efforts to map the Midwest by a prominent mapmaker of the period. It is highly desirable for map collectors and those interested in Americana.