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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E. & H.T. Anthony Civil War Stereoviews of Libby Prison and Castle Thunder
Lot # 84 - E. & H.T. Anthony Civil War Stereoviews of Libby Prison and Castle Thunder
Lot of 2 stereoviews from Brady & Co. negatives, titled on the verso labels No. 3365 - Libby Prison, Richmond, Va., and No. 3617 - Castle Thunder, Richmond, Va. the place where so many Union prisoners were confined.
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Ca Early 20th Century American Indian Photographs, Including Shots of the Mescalero Apache Tribal Council
Lot # 415 - Ca Early 20th Century American Indian Photographs, Including Shots of the Mescalero Apache Tribal Council
Lot of 4, including:

Ca early 20th century mounted silver gelatin photograph, 5.25 x 4.25 in., penciled on verso America Scene / Indian Boys Bathing.

Ca early 20th century unmounted silver gelatin print, 5.5 x 3.875 in., of a teenage American Indian boy wearing a distinctive headdress.

Two 5 x 7 in. photographs of a Mescalero Apache ceremony, ca mid-20th century, with recto and verso stamp of photographer Bob McNellis of El Paso.



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<i>Mark Twain and His Boyhood Home</i> Photograph
Lot # 195 - Mark Twain and His Boyhood Home Photograph
7.625 x 8.875 in. silver gelatin print on a 10 x 12 in. mount with the imprinted title Mark Twain and His Boyhood Home and Copyright 1902 by H. Tomlinson, Hannibal Mo., with similar credit in the negative at lower right.

It is uncertain exactly how Cody acquired this photograph, but is known to have communicated with his famous contemporary.  In fact, Twain may have played an important part in convincing Cody to take his show to Europe.  After viewing two consecutive performances in 1884, Twain wrote to the showman: "...It is often said on the other side of the water that none of the exhibitions which we send to England are purely and distinctively American. If you will take the Wild West show over there, you can remove that reproach..."
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Sixth Plate Daguerreotype of Painting of Mary Sheldon Lord, Mother of Composer J.L. Pierpont and Grandmother of J.P. Morgan
Lot # 107 - Sixth Plate Daguerreotype of Painting of Mary Sheldon Lord, Mother of Composer J.L. Pierpont and Grandmother of J.P. Morgan
Sixth plate daguerreotype of a painted portrait of a woman, housed in a pressed-paper case with penciled identification on the pad My Great Grandmother Mary Sheldon.  Mary Sheldon Lord (1787-1855) of Litchfield, CT, married John Pierpont in 1810 and had three children: John, Juliet, and James Lord.  James Lord Pierpont (1822-1893) was a musician and composer famous for writing the music and lyrics of the Christmas song "Jingle Bells" in 1857.  Juliet Pierpont was the mother of the famous banker John Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913).
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McKinley & Roosevelt 1900 Campaign Jugate Cane
Lot # 237 - McKinley & Roosevelt 1900 Campaign Jugate Cane
Political campaign cane featuring portraits of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, the 1900 Republican candidates for President and Vice President, 34.5 in. ln. 1 in. ferrule. Handle consists of metal sphere, 2.25 in. ln., with relief portraits of McKinley and Roosevelt on opposite sides. With wooden shaft. 
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[Industry] Oil, ca 1863 J.A. Mather View <i>Nos. 1 & 2</i>
Lot # 86 - [Industry] Oil, ca 1863 J.A. Mather View Nos. 1 & 2
Stereoview by J.A. Mather of Titusville, Pa., from his series Mather's Stereoscopic Views of the Pennsylvania Oil Regions, titled on the verso label Nos. 1 & 2 Geltry Well (remainder illegible). Two cent revenue stamp affixed to verso.
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*WWII Japanese Type 99 Bolt Action Rifle
Lot # 383 - *WWII Japanese Type 99 Bolt Action Rifle
7.7 Japanese cal., 26" barrel, S/N 81658. Intact mum, matching numbers.
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[Autographs and Manuscripts] Smith Thompson DS as Chief Justice of the New York State Supreme Court 
Lot # 323 - [Autographs and Manuscripts] Smith Thompson DS as Chief Justice of the New York State Supreme Court 
Smith Thompson (1768-1843). Secretary of the Navy (1818-23) and U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1823-1843). DS as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New York (Attorney-at-Law license), dated January 11, 1816. Framed together with a Counsellor-at-Law license obtained by the same man, Seth B. Roberts, dated October 1818 and signed by Thompson's successor as Chief Justice, Ambrose Spencer (1765-1848); 16.5" x 18.25" overall.
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Sixth Plate Tintype of Identified African-American Man
Lot # 99 - Sixth Plate Tintype of Identified African-American Man
Sixth plate tintype housed in a half Union case with penciled identification under the plate, Moses Washington. The dress, pose, and casing suggest that the image was produced in the 1860s, so it is reasonable to assume Mr. Washington may have formerly been a slave.
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Sixth Plate Tintype of Young Hunter and his Two Dogs, Posed with Shotgun
Lot # 146 - Sixth Plate Tintype of Young Hunter and his Two Dogs, Posed with Shotgun
Great sixth plate tintype of a young hunter posed with his side-by-side percussion shotgun, and his two hunting dogs.  Housed in a Wreath of Grapes Union case (Krainik-188).
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Unusual Quarter Plate Occupational Ambrotype of A Butcher & Son About to Slaughter a Sheep
Lot # 90 - Unusual Quarter Plate Occupational Ambrotype of A Butcher & Son About to Slaughter a Sheep
Quarter plate ambrotype of a mustached man with a young boy, almost certainly a father and his son, posed with a sheep lying on studio floor before them. The father has turned the sheep's face toward the camera while he holds a butcher's knife in his other hand. The young son stands to the side, with one hand on his father's shoulder, the other holding a meat saw. A huge meat cleaver is propped up against the sheep. The boy's pained expression serves as a strong indication that he and his father are moments away from slaughtering the sheep. A striking and unusual occupational ambrotype. Housed in full case. 
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<i>Gazette of the United States</i>, Philadelphia, PA, October 29, 1791, Featuring Proclamation from George Washington
Lot # 271 - Gazette of the United States, Philadelphia, PA, October 29, 1791, Featuring Proclamation from George Washington
Gazette of the United States, Philadelphia, PA, Oct. 29, 1791. 4pp, 10 x 16 in. This newspaper contains a front page printing of a proclamation dated Oct. 17, 1791, and signed in type by President George Washington. The proclamation is titled, Terms and Conditions declared by the President of the United States this seventeenth day of October, seventeen hundred and ninety-one, for regulating the Materials and manner of the Buildings and Improvements to the Lots in the City of Washington.

This is a "first printing" of the Proclamation by President George Washington for the building of the US Federal Capital City of Washington, DC.
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Early Transportation & Occupational Photographs, Including Horse-Drawn Carts
Lot # 209 - Early Transportation & Occupational Photographs, Including Horse-Drawn Carts
Lot of 8, including: cabinet card featuring men in work aprons posed in front of Hoskins & Co. Stoves and with a Hoskins & Co. cart, inked on verso Wm. H. Whiting; 8 x 6 in. mounted photograph of a farrier's shop, featuring several workers and a horse; 9 x 7 in. mounted photograph of a farrier's/blacksmith's shop, with one worker and a horse; 9 x 7 in. mounted photograph of a butcher shop, with various cuts of meat displayed on the counter; 9 x 7 in. mounted photograph of the inside of a grocery, with many products easily identifiable including Jell-O, Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Quaker Oats, and Heinz products; 8 x 10 in. mounted photograph of workers posed in front of a burned out building with an A.J. Hal(?) Metal Merchant cart; 9.5 x 7.5 in. print on a damaged larger mount, showing men with various horse-drawn farm machines; and a 12 x 9 in. photograph of a horse and carriage.  All anonymous.
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Warren G. Harding Signed Photograph
Lot # 234 - Warren G. Harding Signed Photograph
Handsome silver gelatin photograph of President Warren G. Harding with Harris & Ewing, Washington, D.C. blindstamp in lower left corner, 9 x 13 in., on stock, 13.25 x 18.75 in. (sight), inscribed and signed below: Very Truly Yours / Warren G. Harding. Housed in frame, 16.25 x 21.5 in.
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[Civil War-GAR] Gettysburg Reunion Photograph, Surviving Members of the 40th New York Volunteers 
Lot # 125 - [Civil War-GAR] Gettysburg Reunion Photograph, Surviving Members of the 40th New York Volunteers 
A 7" x 8.75" print on a 10" x 12" Tipton's Gettysburg Photographs mount, inked in the lower margin Gettysburg Pa., July 2d 1893 / Surviving members of the 40th Regt. N.Y. Vols. (Mozart Regt.) who were participants at the Battle of Gettysburg July 2d & 3d, 1863. The group of 30 veterans is posed around the "Mozart Monument" to their regiment, in the Death Valley section of the battlefield, and many of the old soldiers wear commemorative ribbons and GAR badges.
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[Tintype] Sixth Plate Tintype of Hunter with his Dog & Game, Plus 
Lot # 176 - [Tintype] Sixth Plate Tintype of Hunter with his Dog & Game, Plus 
Lot of 3 including: a sixth-plate tintype of a hunter with a shotgun in one hand, his out-of-focus game in the other, and his dog seated in front of him, housed in a quarter plate case; a nice tintype CDV of a hunter aiming his shotgun just beyond the camera; and a tintype CDV of three hunters, one holding a gun and closed book and one displaying an open book, with a dog lying in the foreground.
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[Civil War-Imprints] Confederate States of America Bonds and Stamps 
Lot # 120 - [Civil War-Imprints] Confederate States of America Bonds and Stamps 
Lot of 5, including 4 sheets of bonds, and 2 full sheets of ten cent stamps printed on the same sheet. $1000 August 19, 1861, No. 284, 4 coupons remaining; $500, Feb, 20, 1863, No. 12102, 7 coupons remaining; $500 Feb. 17, 1864, No. 4996, 59 coupons remaining; $1000 Feb. 17, 1864, No. 193, 59 coupons remaining; two full sheets of 100 ten cent stamps, still attached, printed No. 3, Archer, Bank Note Engravers, Richmond, Va.
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[Curved Mount] Keystone & Underwood Stereoviews of Famous People
Lot # 193 - [Curved Mount] Keystone & Underwood Stereoviews of Famous People
Lot of 70+, including:

American politicians: President Roosevelt (6); President Cleveland; Cleveland & Thurman; President McKinley (6), and views of McKinley's inauguration, funeral, etc. (4); McKinley & Hobart; McKinley & cabinet; President & Mrs. Harrison (2); Harrison & Morton; President Wilson and cabinet; "Martyred Presidents" memorial;  William Jennings Bryan; Pennsylvania congressman Henry H. Bingham; Secretary of the Navy Edward Denby; Maine congressman Charles A. Boutelle; Ohio Congressman Charles H. Grosvenor; Missouri congressman Richard P. Bland.

Other Americans: Charles Lindbergh; Booker T. Washington; "Coxey's Army"; John Brown & Frederick Douglas memorial; Jim White, discoverer of Carlsbad Caverns; Lincoln's birthplace; suffragettes marching on Washington, 1913; Frances F. Willard, President of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union; Christian Endeavor Convention attendees; Dallas cowboys "Shooting Up" Philadelphia, Elks Parade, 1907.

Military: General Nelson Miles; Admiral Farragut; Admiral Dewey (2); Commodore Winfield Scott Schley (2); Rear Admiral William T. Sampson; Richmond Pearson Hobson; Lord Roberts (UK).

Foreign: Winston Churchill as Boer war journalist; Pope Pius X (2); Pope Leo XIII, and his "Master of the Chamber"; the Pigmies of the St. Louis World's Fair; Irish nationalist Robert Emmett; Roald Amundsen and other Arctic/Antarctic explorers; Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen; King Albert of Belgium; President Wilson, Lloyd George, and George Clemenceau after signing the Treaty of Versailles.
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Last Photograph of William F. Cody, Five Days Before His Death, at the Office of His Doctor in Glenwood Springs, Colo.
Lot # 62 - Last Photograph of William F. Cody, Five Days Before His Death, at the Office of His Doctor in Glenwood Springs, Colo.
5 x 8 in. silver gelatin photograph mounted to 11 x 14 in., with copyright in the negative to photographer C.E. Krueger, showing a gaunt Cody at the office of his physician, Dr. W.W. Crook, at the Stone Bath House in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The steadily weakening Cody went to visit Dr. Crook on January 3, 1917, and collapsed in his presence. Crook acknowledged the inevitable and sent Cody to meet his family at Denver two days later, accompanying him on the train there. Cody died of kidney failure in Denver on January 10, at the age of 70.
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Nineteenth Century U.S. Politicians, Clipped Signatures
Lot # 217 - Nineteenth Century U.S. Politicians, Clipped Signatures
Lot of 4, including J.J. Crittenden, James. M. Mason, Reverdy Johnson, and J.C. Spencer.
John Jordan Crittenden (1786-1863) was a U.S. Representative, Senator, and Governor from Kentucky, as well as a two-time U.S. Attorney General; his signature reads Very respectfully yours, J.J. Crittenden in black ink on 1.75" x 3.75" paper with part of a handwritten letter the other side.
James Murray Mason (1798-1871) was a U.S. Representative and Senator from Virginia who also represented the C.S.A. to the UK and France during the Civil War; his signature is in black on a 2.5" x 3" clipping.
John Canfield Spencer (1788-1855) was a U.S. Representative from New York and served as U.S. Secretary of War and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury; his signature reads J.C. Spencer/Secy of Treasury in black ink on 1.25" x 3.25" clipping from a handwritten letter.
Reverdy Johnson (1796-1876) was a U.S. Senator from Maryland and and a U.S. Attorney General; his signature is in blue ink below a valediction on 2" x 5" clipping from a handwritten letter.
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