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About Us
  • Jane Austen, watercolor portrait
  • Origin of Species manuscript leaf (1859)
  • Thomson, Foochow and the River Min (1873)
  • Thomas More, Utopia (1516)
  • “The most valuable Lincoln photo in existence” -Ostendorf
  • Copernicus, De Revolutionibus (1543)
  • The First Folio (1623)
We offer the most important rare books, manuscripts, and photographs representing mankind’s greatest achievements.

Our collection, spanning antiquity through the 21st century, includes landmark works in science, literature, Americana, exploration, economics, philosophy, and other fields of human endeavor. Books from our stock now reside in the collections of many important institutions, leading figures in science and commerce, and world leaders such as President Clinton, the Dalai Lama, Pope John Paul II, Benjamin Netanyahu, Mikhail Gorbachev, Yitzhak Rabin, Tony Blair, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, and the Sultan of Brunei. Our books have often been purchased as state gifts by Presidents George H. W. Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. We have participated in exhibitions at institutions around the world including Cornell University, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Shrine of the Book.

In recent years we have placed with our clients a wide range of great books including five examples of Shakespeare’s First Folio, the first editions of More’s Utopia, Luther’s 95 Theses, Machiavelli’s Il Principe, Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus, the King James Bible, Ortelius’s Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, John Smith’s True Relation of Virginia, Shakespeare’s Poems, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, numerous copies of The Federalist, Ricardo’s annotated copy of Malthus’s Political Economy, Poe’s annotated copies of two of his books, a presentation copy of the first edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Hawthorne’s corrected proof sheets for The Scarlet Letter, Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and Einstein’s own annotated copy of the theory of special relativity.

Historic photographs are of great interest. We have assembled and continue to build a major collection of 19th-century photographs of China, the most important collection remaining private hands. This collection includes superb examples of the finest work of Lai Fong, John Thomson, Kung Tai, Thomas Child, Liang Shitai, Ernst Boerschmann, William Saunders, and dozens of other masters of China photography. The great American photographers of the 19th century are also a specialty. We have handled some of the most important Mathew Brady photographs and related items to appear for sale in the past half-century. Other leading Civil War photographers including Alexander Gardner, Timothy O’Sullivan, Andrew Jackson Russell, and George Barnard are of particular interest. We also offer important collections and individual images by the foremost photographers of the American West and Native Americans, including Carleton Watkins, William Henry Jackson, Eadweard Muybridge, and Edward Curtis. Our collections of 19th-century photographs in our areas of expertise are unmatched in the trade.

We also specialize in important historical and literary manuscripts. Among the manuscripts we have placed in recent years have been the only Poe short story in private hands, a 1492 letter by Ferdinand and Isabella concerning the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, important letters by Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, a substantial portion of the first draft of Thoreau’s first book, leaves of the original manuscript of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, and a chapter from Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, and a draft manuscript of Whitman’s “Song of Myself” written in preparation for the first edition of Leaves of Grass.

Through long-term advisory relationships and expert consultation we have helped our clients develop some of the most important collections ever formed. We invite you to contact us to discuss the possibility of working together to build a collection of enduring importance.

We are willing to pay the highest prices for fine material; we regularly travel across the country and around the world to meet with clients and to buy and sell fine books and collections. Please call or write if we may be of assistance, or send us an email.



Stephan Loewentheil, President & Founder

Stephan Loewentheil, escaped from the practice of law to become an antiquarian over 35 years ago. He founded and has guided the 19th Century Rare Book and Photograph Shop and its subsidiary Luxury Catalogs in the buying and selling of important rare books, manuscripts and photographs.

Stephan has worked for over three decades to build sophisticated collections at the nexus of intellectual and financial values. His specialty is the creation of collections transcending fleeting trends or popular culture, and instead reflecting a long-term perspective on human achievement.

Stephan’s areas of specialization include the early editions of Shakespeare, the great 19th-century American authors from Poe through Whitman, the classics of science from Copernicus to Darwin to Watson & Crick, the classics of economics, and significant Americana, among others.

Over the decades, he has created world-renowned collections of 19th-century photography including the Civil War era, early Western American photography, and the photography of China.

Stephan’s clients have included all of the Presidents of the United States from George W. Bush through Barack Obama, and his books have been in the personal collections of Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama, Gorbachev, Blair, Mitterrand, Rabin, Chirac, Berlusconi, the Sultan of Brunei, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, and many others.

Stephan has specialized in developing long-term relationships with some of the greatest collectors from the world of finance and industry, creating extraordinary collections of enduring value..

Early in his career Stephan became deeply concerned about the lack of professional focus on the problems of stolen objects in the antiquarian markets, and that concern became a focus in his professional life. He has always believed that a respect for due diligence in the issues of provenance is a primary duty of a dealer to his clients.


Thomas L. Edsall

Tom Edsall joined the 19th Century Shop in 1987, just in time for Catalogue 4! His specialties include the history of science, economics, and philosophy as well as American history from the Founding Fathers through the Civil War and Reconstruction.

His many discoveries include working draft manuscript verse for the first edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, working notes for the first edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, as well as unrecorded manuscript leaves from the Origin, a previously unknown example of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, and a manuscript section of Henry David Thoreau’s first book.


Jacob Loewentheil

Jacob Loewentheil is an author as well as a bookseller and photography dealer.  His first book, The Psychological Portrait: Marcel Sternberger’s Revelations in Photography, draws on his academic work and photographic research to explore the work of portraitist Marcel Sternberger through previously unpublished photographs and documents. Like his father, he is drawn to work with intrinsic historical merit; he is particularly interested in the Beat era and 20th Century manuscripts. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated from Cornell University with a degree in psychology.

Stephan Loewentheil Thomas Edsall Stacey Lambrow Jacob Loewentheil
President & Founder