Commentaries on the Laws of England. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1765-1769
First edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries, a monument of the Anglo-American legal and political system and one of the key influences on the thought of the Founding Fathers and the shaping of the Constitution.
(DARWIN, CHARLES.) CAMERON, JULIA MARGARET
Profile bust portrait of Charles Darwin, signed by Cameron. London: Colnaghi, 1868
The great Darwin portrait, Julia Margaret Cameron’s 1868 profile of Darwin is probably the most famous photograph of a 19th-century scientist. Darwin remarked, “I like this photograph very much better than any other which has been taken of me.”
TANNER, [HENRY SCHENK]
A New American Atlas containing maps of the several states of the North American union … Projected and Drawn on a Uniform Scale …. Philadelphia: H. S. Tanner, 1823
First edition of “the most distinguished atlas published in the United States during the engraving period” (Ristow). Tanner’s greatest work, A New American Atlas was painstakingly produced and issued in installments between 1818 and 1823. Few complete sets have survived. Tanner’s use of a uniform scale of 15 geographical miles to the inch and his careful selection of sources resulted in a comprehensive American atlas of unprecedented detail and reliability which was the standard by which American atlases were measured until the modern era. This was by a considerable margin the greatest American atlas up to its time.
A Dictionary of the English Language. London: W. Strahan for J. & P. Knapton, 1755
First edition of this enduring classic of English literature. This is Johnson’s “audacious attempt to tame his unruly native tongue … combining huge erudition with a steely wit and remarkable clarity of thought” (Hitchings).
Autograph letter signed to Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Camden, New Jersey, 9 August 1878
“The Good Gray Poet” to the Poet Laureate. Tennyson was the most important of of the many English literary figures who subscribed to the “Author’s Edition” of Leaves of Grass, privately issued by Whitman in 1876. Hearing that Whitman was “in great straits, almost starving,” Tennyson sent him five pounds virtually as an outright gift, rather than the more modest subscription price (Kaplan, Walt Whitman).
ALCOTT, LOUISA MAY
Autograph letter signed to Miss Thurston. No place, [c. 1868 or possibly later]
Louisa May Alcott discusses the impact of Little Women and its place in children’s literature. She observes that “My ‘Little Women’ have much astonished their Momma by making many friends for themselves, & she can only account for it by the grain of truth that lay at the bottom of the little story.”
MUNSON, LAURA GORDON
Flowers from My Garden. Sketched and Painted from Nature. [New York], 
FIRST EDITION, a unique pre-publication copy with 18 fine watercolors, the original art used as the basis for the lithographs in the published edition.
VON BRAUN, WERNHER
Original drawing, “3-Stage Satellite Vehicle (pitch plane)” signed and dated 1952. [Huntsville, Alabama, 1952.]
This is an original signed drawing of a space ship by Wernher von Braun, the father of the American space program. He made this drawing for his landmark Colliers series “Man Will Conquer Space Soon” (1952-54), which played a central role in inspiring a generation of rocket scientists and convincing the public of the possibility of space exploration. These essays covered seemingly every aspect of manned space flight and anticipated many developments including the enormous multi-stage vertical launch vehicle (to become Saturn V), a horizontal landing space ferry (the Space Shuttle), an orbiting space station, a lunar landing, the establishment of a base on the moon, and ultimately a manned expedition to Mars.
Carey’s American Atlas. Philadelphia: Mathew Carey, 1795
FIRST EDITION of the first true American atlas, the earliest atlas of the United States engraved and published in America. This important volume contains several important state maps including the first American map representing Virginia after statehood. In the preparation of this atlas, Carey drew primarily on existing sources including Guthrie’s Geography. Many of the maps were drawn by Samuel Lewis.