American History

American History is a semi-annual Live Salesroom Auction featuring everything from 19th century photography, political campaign ephemera, historical textiles, items associated with slavery and abolition, Lincolniana, the Civil War, social history, books, manuscripts and autographs, to flags and historical relics. Online-Only American History auctions also occur throughout the year.

We are always accepting consignments for upcoming American History auctions.Click here for our online consignment form.

Department Director

Katie Horstman, Director
Specialist

Contact Information
Contact Katie at 513-871-1670 x236 or email historic@cowans.com

Katie Horstman is a graduate of The University of Cincinnati with a Masters degree in Art History, where she explored the work of New York photographer, John Oliver Bowman. Working closely with Wes Cowan, Katie has been successfully leading the American History department for the past five years.

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Colonel Strong Vincent, KIA Gettysburg, CDV
Lot # 272 - Colonel Strong Vincent, KIA Gettysburg, CDV
Carte bears imprint on mount recto and verso of Dolph Bros., Erie, PA, the city from which the 83rd Pennsylvania was raised. A fine view of Colonel Strong Vincent (1837-1863) of the 83rd PA. Plucked by fate and General Warren to the summit of Little Round Top just in the nick of time to oppose a surging Confederate attack, Vincent was mortally wounded while rallying the hard-pressed 16th Michigan, and for eternity became a Gettysburg icon. Vincent died in a field hospital on July 7 and his promotion to Brigadier General was posthumous.
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French World War I Posters, Lot of 6
Lot # 148 - French World War I Posters, Lot of 6
Lot of 6.

Jonas, Lucien. “Emprunt de la Liberation. Souscrivez. Sté. Gle. de Crédit Industriel & Commercial”. Poster of three soldiers charging into battle below a winged figure of Marianne pouring out coins and paper money from a cornucopia. Paris : Devambez, Imp., 1918. Measures 47 x 31 in. Condition: linen backed and some minor cracking of the outer margins.

Leroux, Auguste. “Comptoir national d'escompte de Paris. Emprunt National 1918. Pour hâter la victoire, et pour nous revoir bient't, souscrivez!” Poster of two women, one in Alsatian dress and the other in the costume of Lorraine. The title translated says: National discount bank of Paris. Subscribe to National Loan 1918. To hasten victory, and see us again soon! Paris : Joseph Charles, 1918. Measures 47 x 31 in. Condition: a linen back, toned paper, brittle margins. 

Prouve´, Victor Emile. “Noe¨l pour la grande paix qui vient”. Poster of an angel or Winged Victory flying below three bells holding two laurel wreathes in her raised left hand and a laurel branch in her right hand. Four more wreaths fall from the sky next to a poem by André Fontaine, celebrating Christmas because peace has come to the land. Publisher not identified, 1918. Measures: 21.5 x 29 in. Condition: some toning of the paper; otherwise, in good condition.

Prouvé, Victor Emile. “Ils combattent: Souscrivons”. Poster of allied soldiers carrying their country's flag into battle. Translates as: They fight: Let us subscribe. Berger-Levrault, 1918. Measures: 30 x 24 in. Condition: some toning of the paper and wearing on the center illustration.

Royer, Henri. “Pour la Lorraine Libérée”. Poster of a young woman wearing traditional Lorraine costume with a Republican rosette on her bonnet and holding a flag. In the background are the ruins of buildings and the sun rising over Metz Catheral. The coat of arms of Lorraine and a thistle occupy the bottom right corner. The text advertises a charity for liberated Lorraine, its victims, its soldiers held December 16, 1918. Imprimerie Royer et Cie, Nancy, 1918. Measures 23 x 31 in. Condition: some toning of the paper but still brilliant color of the illustration, linen backed.

Foerster, Charles H. “Guerre 1914-15-16. Journée nationale des orphelins”. Poster of a small boy and girl, possibly war orphans, standing over a grave. Translation of title: Orphans' Day. 1914-15-16. Paris : Siège Social du Comité, 1916. Measures 30 x 45 in. Condition: some toning of the paper, linen backed.
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William McKinley Portrait Mugs
Lot # 322 - William McKinley Portrait Mugs
Lot of 4 William McKinley portrait mugs, including: three by George Scott's Sons, Cincinnati O., as marked on the bottom, 4.75 in. high and 2.75 in. high (2, one of which is broken); and a painted mug, unmarked, 2.375 in. high.
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Civil War CDV of Confederate Spy Belle Boyd
Lot # 2033 - Civil War CDV of Confederate Spy Belle Boyd
CDV by Campbell & Ecker's of Louisville, Kentucky, featuring albumen print illustration of Belle Boyd (1844-1900), the "Cleopatra of the Secession", known for seducing and/or eavesdropping on Union officers, then transmitting the intelligence to General Stonewall Jackson and others.
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[N. Pacific] Voyage to the North Pacific and Beering's Strait
Lot # 48 - [N. Pacific] Voyage to the North Pacific and Beering's Strait
Beechey, Captain Frederick William (1796-1856). Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's Strait, to Co-Operate with the Polar Expeditions: Performed in His Majesty's Ship Blossom...in the Years 1825, 26, 27, 28. London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1831, 2 vols. 8vo, 3/4 leather over marbled paper; vol. 1 - xxvii, folding map covering the expedition, plus two other folding maps and 13 other plates; vol. 2 - 452pp, 10 plates, 4 of which are folding. The plates are not always in the positions called for, but they are all present.
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Cabinet Card of Actress Mrs. Langtry
Lot # 233 - Cabinet Card of Actress Mrs. Langtry
A 4.5 x 6 in. cabinet card of actress Mrs. Langtry copyrighted by Pierce & Snyder in 1882. The recto is stamped by Copelin in Chicago. 

Mrs. Lillie Langtry (1853-1929), born Emilie Charlotte Le Breton, was a notable actress and producer whose career was not nearly as dramatic as her personal life. Her beauty allowed her to enter into British high society and her lurid affairs made her a popular topic in the society column. She captured the attention of very famous suitors like the Prince of Wales, the Earl of Shrewsbury, and Prince Louis of Battenberg. She eventually died in Monaco while her second husband lived in Venice. 
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Real Photo Postcards of American Indians and the West
Lot # 148 - Real Photo Postcards of American Indians and the West
Lot of 11 real photo postcards. 

8 images of American Indians and some gatherings, 2 signed in the negative by Dillon and J.W. Fry. 

A postcard of a massive log lying in the redwood forest with two automobiles parked on top and several others gathered around. On the back it reads, Eight machines can be parked on this tree comfortably.  

A group of what appears to be lumberjacks based on the bare twigs and men holding axes. 

An image titled in the negative, U.P. Depot, Rock Spgs. Wyo. 

A silver gelatin real photo postcard of a gentleman in a carriage with his horse. Postmarked in Lawrence, Kansas with a brief note dated 1907. 

A real photo postcard with a decorative frame in the print surrounding an image of a two-horses and an old fire engine? 
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Confederate Niter & Mining Corps, Manuscript Archive
Lot # 62 - Confederate Niter & Mining Corps, Manuscript Archive
Lot comprised of 20 receipts, inventory logs, memos, most from May 1864 to the end of the Civil War. Many are contracts between the Memphis & Charleston Railroad and the Confederate Niter & Mining Corps for lease of engines ("Iuka" and "West Tennessee" and their tenders) and cars for the transport of ore and cotton. For example, the receipt from Nov. 13, 1864 is for Box cars No. 107 and 139 and Flat car No. 468 ("in good running order"). There are also two lists of machinery leased to the government by the railroad, such as 1 Salt Cutting Machine, Complete (2000.00), 1 Screw Cutting Lathe Swing, Complete (2360.00), 1 Large Drill Press, Complete (2500.00), 2 Large Ratchet Jacks (650.00), etc., (9 pages, approx. 8.5 x 13.5 in.), with Wm. Richardson Hunt's signature across one page. There is one lease agreement on the Niter and Mining Service letterhead with Hunt's name printed at top.

The Niter and Mining Corps was a military unit that supplied the Confederacy with essential minerals and metals needed for the war effort. It began as an informal effort on the part of officers overseeing mining activities. Niter (saltpeter) is an essential part of gunpowder, but other minerals are also needed: lead, copper, iron, coal, etc. In June 1863 the Confederate Congress finally authorized the Niter and Mining Bureau as an independent office within the War Department. However, toward the end of the war, as able-bodied soldiers became harder to come by, the men were assigned occasional combat duty.

A rare grouping from a little-known military department.

Accompanying the lot is a set of blank Confederate Pension forms (Soldier or Sailor and Widow - Class 1, 2, and 3) and a group of three documents from 1811 from Claiborne County, Mississippi Territory (statehood did not come until 1817) regarding court cases adjudicated by J. Harmon(?), Esq.
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*WWII Japanese Type 99 Bolt Action Rifle
Lot # 408 - *WWII Japanese Type 99 Bolt Action Rifle
7.7 Japanese cal., 26" barrel, S/N 10842. Ground mum, matching numbers.
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CSA General P.G.T. Beauregard Miniature Painting
Lot # 83 - CSA General P.G.T. Beauregard Miniature Painting
Approx. 1.75 x 2 in. oval portrait in frame, with "Brig. Gen. Beauregard / C.S. Army" on verso. Hung on a cord of material used in epaulets, approximately bracelet-length. Miniature seems to be based on the portrait of Beauregard by George Peter Alexander Healy that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. He only held the rank of Brig. General for a short time before being appointed full General (behind Cooper, A. Johnston, J. Johnston and Lee). The portrait was also painted in 1861. This reportedly came out of an estate in Mobile, AL.

Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard (1818-1893) graduated from USMA in 1838 and entered the engineering corps. Because of Beauregard's engineering experience and Southern gentlemanly demeanor, Jefferson Davis assigned him to Charleston Harbor in March 1861, which included Fort Sumter. He had been a student of Major Robert Anderson's at West Point, and the trust between the men insured that at least lines of communication were open, although each was following his own orders. Beauregard, of course, felt it necessary to bombard the fort, the first shots fired in the Civil War.
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Gen. Albert Pike CDV
Lot # 87 - Gen. Albert Pike CDV
Albumen CDV print on brown paper (print measures 2 x 3.125 in.; style similar the the Belle Boyd CDV offered as Lot 86)

Albert Pike was born in Boston and grew up in surrounding areas of Massachusetts. In 1831 he decided to follow the growing wave of immigrants west, stopping in St. Louis and Independence before moving on to Taos, NM. He joined a trapping expedition, and eventually ended up at Fort Smith, AR. He settled in Arkansas for a while, teaching school and writing for the Little Rock Arkansas Advocate, eventually studying law and being admitted to the bar. He reported on court activities and other legal subjects, wrote poetry, and put out several books. He served in the Mexican War, but a dispute with his commander led to a duel, though neither was injured. 

After the war, he returned to his legal practice, continued writing, and became marginally involved in politics. He was against secession, but an advocate of slavery. When the split came, he sided with his adopted South. His activities on the frontier brought him into contact with Native Americans, and he acted to negotiate several settlements between primarily members of the "civilized tribes" and the federal government. When secession became war, he recruited three Confederate regiments of native cavalry, primarily from Creek, Cherokee, and allied tribes. After winning the Battle of Pea Ridge, Pike came into conflict with superior officers (like previously), unsubstantiated charges were made, and Pike resigned his commission and fled into the Arkansas hills. He was eventually arrested, but when his resignation was accepted, he was released. 

Pike had joined the IOOF in 1840, and then a Masonic lodge. He became active in the affairs of freemasonry, and was elected Grand Commander of the Southern Juridiction just before the outbreak of war. He remained Sovereign Grand Commander for the remaining 32 years of his life. After the war he spent time in Memphis and Washington, DC, where he died in 1891. He is the only Confederate officer with a statue on federal property in Washington.
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*Canadian Inglis High Power Pistol with Canvas Holster
Lot # 290 - *Canadian Inglis High Power Pistol with Canvas Holster
9mm caliber, 5" barrel, S/N OT7193. Matte black finish, black plastic grips, extra magazine, canvas holster; import stamp on right side of frame; missing lanyard ring.
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Map of the United States, General Land Office 1868
Lot # 294 - Map of the United States, General Land Office 1868
Gorlinski, Joseph. Map of the U.S. and Territories...From Plats and Official Reports of the General Land Office, Under Direction of Hon. Jos. S. Wilson, Commissioner, J. Gorlinsky, Draughtsman, 1868.(Washington, 1868). 56.5 x 30.5 in. map, hand-colored, showing the Western states as understood just after the Civil War, and as "Indian fighting" was heating up. Includes proposed railroads, lots of indicators of gold and other mineral resources, particularly in California, Arizona, Colorado.
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<i>Synopsis of the Military Career of General Joe ('Fighting Joe') Wheeler</i>
Lot # 31 - Synopsis of the Military Career of General Joe ('Fighting Joe') Wheeler
Commander of the Cavalry Troops Army of the West. Published in 1865 New York.
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[Books - American Indians] <i>Catlin's Letters and Notes on the North American Indians</i>, 1841, 2 Volume Set
Lot # 385 - [Books - American Indians] Catlin's Letters and Notes on the North American Indians, 1841, 2 Volume Set
Catlin, George. Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians. London: Publ. by the Author, 1842, 2 vols. Subtitled: Written during Eight Years' Travel Amongst the Wildest Tribes of Indians in North America in 1832, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38 and 39. Illustrated with Catlin's sketches. 8vo, green cloth, paper label on spine, vol. 1, 114 illustrations, 264 pp; vol. 2, frontis map of "Indian Frontier in 1840," illustration numbers 115 - 312, plus map of Mandan territory, 266pp. This is the first edition with the line-cut illustrations. For those interested in the author/artist, please see Caitlin's page at the National Gallery of Art. It is a balanced treatment of his life and work, extending beyond the years covered in these two volumes. (ibiblio.org/nga/catlin) Catlin's moving images of native peoples in the last years of "freedom" continue to inspire generations today.
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Wm F. Cody Photo Album Annotated by Daughter Irma, Showing Buffalo Bill in Cody, WY, and Mining at Campo Bonito, 1909-1910
Lot # 9 - Wm F. Cody Photo Album Annotated by Daughter Irma, Showing Buffalo Bill in Cody, WY, and Mining at Campo Bonito, 1909-1910
Black paper album, 7.75 x 10.5 in., holding 69 photographs, many annotated by Cody's daughter Irma. The first 11 are 5 x 7 in. prints by F.J. Hiscock of Cody, Wyoming, titled in the negatives Col. Cody Escorting the first ladies to visit and enter the wonderful Frost Cave near Cody, Wyo., Feb 11, 1909, including "flashlight photos" inside the cave.  Next is a photograph of the interior of the Pahaska Tepee, two shots of armed hunters with the bears they killed, and a series of 25 3.125 in. square photographs of the TE Ranch, about half showing Col. Cody, Fred Garlow, and others. 

Of particular note is  4.5 x 6.5 in. photo of a crowd gathered outside the Irma Hotel, signed by Cody at lower right To Irma, from Father.  This is followed by shots of the Pataska Tepee and Mojo Ranch, a full wagon of visitors traveling the Cody Road to Yellowstone Park, and finally an exceptional series of 19 views of Cody at his Arizona gold mine, Campo Bonito, in 1910.  Most are real photo postcard-size, and many are annotated on the print by Irma.  Several show Cody and his men traveling on pack animals with mining supplies, one shows him posed under the American flag of a one room schoolhouse with a class of Indian schoolchildren, one shows him with an Indian mother and child, one shows him panning for gold in a small creek, and several show him with mining expert L.W. Getchell. Irma's annotations generally refer to Cody as Papa, and are dated Feb. 1910.
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<i>The Tombstone Daily Epitaph</i>, July 13, 1882
Lot # 435 - The Tombstone Daily Epitaph, July 13, 1882
The Tombstone Daily Epitaph, Tombstone, Cochise County, AZ, dated July 13, 1882, 4pp, 17.75 x 24 in., archivally framed, 25 x 31.75 in. A rare Arizona Territory newspaper printed within 9 months after the infamous October 1881 shootout between the Earps, Doc Holliday, and the Clanton and McLaury Brothers at the O.K. Corral. Featuring advertisements and references to various Tombstone, A.T. businesses and personalities, including: the Grand Opening of Spangenberg's Gun Store; the Union Iron Works of San Francisco, CA; $500 Reward for Cattle Thieves; Andy's Club Saloon; the Can Can Chop House; Bon Ton Saloon; Hercules Blasting & Sporting Powder; W.J. Horne's Electro-Magnetic Belt, which cures everything from kidney disease to impotency and nervousness; and Sandy Bob's Stage Line.
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World War II, Original Cable from Reims Announcing the German Military's Unconditional Surrender, May 7, 1945
Lot # 160 - World War II, Original Cable from Reims Announcing the German Military's Unconditional Surrender, May 7, 1945
Typed cable, 1p, 8.5 x 8.75 in., believed to be the original cable announcing the formal signing of the German Surrender at Reims, France, which took place at 2:41 AM on May 7, 1945. 
 
Acquired by the consignor directly from Tech Sergeant Porter E. Whitney, who was supervising General Eisenhower's QED top secret red line net at the Supreme Allied Command headquarters in Versailles. Whitney was working at his terminal when he received the teletype transmission offered here from Eisenhower's SHAEF forward office at Reims, the site where the historic agreement was signed. The cable is believed to be the original due to the six spelling errors it contains, which are shown in bold in the transcription below: 
 
PARA ONE PD A REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GERMAN HIGH CAMMAND SIGNED THE 
PAREN T COMBINED CHIEFS OF STAFF AND TO BRITISH CIEFS OF STAFF FOR A 
ACTION SIGNED EISENHOWER PD THIS IS SCAF 357 PD UNPAREN UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER OF ALL GERMAN LAND CMA DEA AND AIR FORCES IN EUROPE TO THE 
ALLIED EXPEDITIOARY FORCE AND SIMULTANEOUSLY TO THE SOVIET HIGH COMMAND 
AT ZERO ONE FOR ONE HOURS CENTRAL EUROPEAN TIME SEVEN MAY CMA NINETEEN HUNDRED AND FORTY FIVE PD GENERAL SUSLOPAROFF SIGNED FOR RUSSIANS PD 
PARA TWO PD SURRENDER EFFECTIVE AT TWO THREE ZERO ONE HOURS CENTRAL EUROPEAN TIME EIGHT MAY
AT WHICH TIME ALL ACTIVE OPERATIONS WILL CEASE PD PARA THREE PD 
REQUEST MISSION INFORM SOVIET HIGH COMMAND AND ACKNOWLEDGE PD PARA 
FOUR PD NO REPEAT NO RELEASE IS BEING MADE OT THE PRESS BY THIS 
HEADQUARTERS PENDING AN ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE THREE GOVERNMENTS PD 
BT 070410B
   
 
The six typos were corrected by Tech Sergeant Whitney prior to forwarding to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, the British Chiefs of Staff, and the Military Mission in Moscow. However, this remains as likely the first cable announcing the unconditional surrender of the German military forces. 
 
Accompanied by photocopy of original mailing envelope in which the cable was sent to the consignor by Tech Sergeant Whitney, with Whitney's return address included. 
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Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard CDV
Lot # 131 - Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard CDV
Early CDV after lithograph or engraving of CSA General P.G.T. Beauregard in Confederate uniform, with Theo. Lilienthal's, New Orleans backmark.
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*WWI Springfield Armory Model 1903 Bolt Action Rifle,
Lot # 304 - *WWI Springfield Armory Model 1903 Bolt Action Rifle,
.30-06 cal., 24" barrel, S/N 912727. Parkerized finish, walnut stocks, arsenal rebuild, 7-30 barrel date.
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