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.

don't miss

an opportunity to bid. You can't win if you're not in.

sign up to bid

what's it worth?

ask the experts

sell your item

start selling
William F. Cody and Sioux Indians (At Pine Ridge?)
Lot # 14 - William F. Cody and Sioux Indians (At Pine Ridge?)
11.75 x 16.75 silver gelatin print, mounted to 16 x 20, matted and framed under glass to 18 x 22 in.
> Item Details
Sixth Plate Tintype of a Doubly Armed Union Cavalryman with a Glass Eye
Lot # 12 - Sixth Plate Tintype of a Doubly Armed Union Cavalryman with a Glass Eye
Sixth plate tintype of a Union cavalryman who appears to be missing an eye.  His holds a cavalry officer's sabre in one hand and has a Colt 1860 Army revolver tucked in his belt.  He is dressed in full uniform with his coat buttons, belt plate, and sword hilt tinted gold.  The image is housed in a black Union case with floral and scroll designs.
> Item Details
*Mauser C96 Broomhandle Semi Auto Pistol
Two Montana Territory Warrants Dated 1890
Lot # 420 - Two Montana Territory Warrants Dated 1890
Printed summons issued by the Sheriff's Office, County of Madison, M.T. Summons with "Territory" crossed out and "State" stamped above, 3 June 1890. 7 x 8.25 in. Mark Brown, Sheriff, J.B. Carruthers, under Sheriff. Summoning Lee Goelschins as a witness for the Defense in the case of Elliny, et al. and Redfern, et al. vs J.B. Laurain.

Complaint, partially printed 8.5 x 14 in. sheet, 21 July 1890. State of Montana ("Territory" crossed out). William King filed this complaint against Daniel Lydick stating that on the 1st of July, Lydick threatened his life "...and I am afraid he will do me bodily harm." Signed W. H. Lockhart(?).

Montana was admitted as the 41st state on 9 Nov. 1889.
> Item Details
Quarter Plate Tintype of a Civil War Officer
Lot # 174 - Quarter Plate Tintype of a Civil War Officer
Posed with his sword. Sash tinted red, buttons and buckle gilt. No unit insignia visible. In full composition case.
> Item Details
Civil War Era Sewing Kit
Lot # 76 - Civil War Era Sewing Kit
Lot of 3, including a package of Blood's Patent Helix Needles, dated 1863, with five needles remaining, a pair of small metal scissors, and a hand-carved bone thread hook, with L x M on one side and A x C below a flower on the other.
> Item Details
Stereoviews of a Connecticut and Vermont Train Wrecks
Lot # 158 - Stereoviews of a Connecticut and Vermont Train Wrecks
Lot of 7, including:

Five stereoviews by D.S. Camp, Hartford, CT, with verso imprint Photograph Sketches In and About the City of Hartford. The series shows the wreck of a Connecticut Western Railroad train off a bridge into an icy river.

Two views by G.H. Aldrich of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, showing a crowd gathered around a train wreck.
> Item Details
Original <i>Sen. Kennedy</i> Name Tag from JFK/Nixon Presidential Debate
Lot # 254 - Original Sen. Kennedy Name Tag from JFK/Nixon Presidential Debate
Original, printed name tag identified to Senator John F. Kennedy from the third JFK/Richard Nixon presidential debate, which was broadcast by ABC-TV on October 13, 1960. The 6 x 2.5 in. tag, labeled Sen. KENNEDY, is housed in a 15 x 20 in. frame with a portion of an LA Times newspaper article, which discusses the third and fourth debates between Kennedy and Nixon in further detail. The consignor acquired the framed name tag and newspaper article from the Los Angeles Estate of Kenneth Palius, an individual who was involved in the lighting design and set layout for the debate. The LA Times article identifies Palius and shows him with two others preparing the New York set for the broadcast.

The four prime-time debates between Kennedy and Nixon, which took place between September and October of 1960, were the first nationally televised presidential debates that attracted an unprecedented number of viewers, especially during the first exchange, which made Kennedy, the young and less experienced candidate, look like a winner. During the third debate, Nixon and the panelists were in two different Hollywood, CA, ABC affiliate stations while Kennedy appeared on a television monitor from the New York City ABC station. At the time, it was called the "split-screen debate" because Nixon and Kennedy appeared in different news studios. Nixon was considered the victor of the third debate. 

An important survivor from the third of four historic presidential debates.
> Item Details
Spanish American War Collection of Photographs, Including Views of Maj. Gen.
Lot # 107 - Spanish American War Collection of Photographs, Including Views of Maj. Gen. "Fighting Joe" Wheeler (CSA)
About 50 images that document CSA Lieut. General and Span-Am War Maj. General Joseph "Fighting Joe" Wheeler. Wheeler attended the funeral of General Henry Ware Lawton, the highest ranking officer killed in the Philippine Insurrection of 1899. Lawton had a distinguished career from the Civil War through the Indian Wars and the Spanish American War. General Lawton's casket was taken by local oxcart to the port, and was carried onto a small tugboat by his men who asked to be his pallbearers. The casket was then transferred to the USS Thomas for the journey home and burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

Lot includes photos on card mounts ranging from one cdv-sized tintype, to twelve 4 x 5 in. (mount sizes); fourteen 5 x 5 in.; five 3.5 x 5 in.; one 4 x 5.75 in.; two 4.25 x 6 in.; one 5 x 7 in.; one 5.25 x 8.5 in. (Puerto Rico view); seven 7 x 8.75 in. (Philippine Isl.); one 7 x 10 in. (probably Span-Am); and five 7 x 9 in. (most Puerto Rico). Also included is an approx. 8 x 16 in. map, "Bird's Eye View of San Juan and Vicinity." Charles Ourand, 1898. Printed in blue ink.
> Item Details
[Stereoviews - Railroads] Haynes View of the First Train Over the Missouri
Lot # 203 - [Stereoviews - Railroads] Haynes View of the First Train Over the Missouri
A fine photograph by F. Jay Haynes of the first train over the frozen Missouri River. On recto margins, Northern Pacific Stereographs. F. Jay Haynes, Moorhead, Minn. Handwritten onto negative, 387 First Train Over the Missouri. In the image, the train cars can be seen moving over tracks that were laid on ice. Ivory cabinet size mount with rounded corners.
> Item Details
Sixth Plate Daguerreotype of a Man Wearing a Masonic Costume
Lot # 133 - Sixth Plate Daguerreotype of a Man Wearing a Masonic Costume
Rather early, ca 1840s sixth plate daguerreotype of a Mason dressed in full regalia. The image has tinted gold accents and is housed in a brown, pressed-paper Brady-style case.
> Item Details
US WWII Homefront Magazines, Lot of Thirty
Lot # 246 - US WWII Homefront Magazines, Lot of Thirty
Lot includes thirty assorted subjects: eight National Geographic magazines, six pre-war and two post-war, from 1938 to 1949;. and titles.
> Item Details
Hall, James. First Gift Book Printed West of Alleghenies
Lot # 93 - Hall, James. First Gift Book Printed West of Alleghenies
Hall, James. The Western Souvenir. A Christmas and New Year's Gift for 1829. Cincinnati (OH): N. and G. Gilford, 1828. 24mo, original red silk-covered boards, red endpapers, gilt spine lettering, all edges gilt, 324pp. [Howes H-81]

Nice copy of a gift book in unusual silk binding. Gift books, meant as holiday presents, were popular in the 1820s to the 1860s. The first known is from 1825, the Atlantic Souvenir. The Token, edited by Samuel Goodrich was published annually for 15 years, beginning in 1828. Hall's is the first known published west of the Allegheny Mountains. [Antique Week 12/2/91]
> Item Details
Charles Belden Photograph of a Herd of Sheep Gathered on a Snowbank
Lot # 280 - Charles Belden Photograph of a Herd of Sheep Gathered on a Snowbank
Silver gelatin photograph with backstamp Photo Copyright by Charles J. Belden Z/T Ranch Pitchfork, Wyoming. Verso features typed title and caption: A Cool Place on a Hot Day in the Rockies. / Instead of ocean beaches or a convenient lake-front the denizens of the high reaches of the Rockies seek a cool snowbank for relief from the heat., plus a stamp that reads Return to Plain Dealer Rotogravure Dep't, with the penciled date of Sept. 7. Verso includes additional notes indicating that this was a press release photograph from the Plain Dealer. 8 x 10 in.

Charles J. Belden (1888-1963) was born in San Francisco into a wealthy California family. He developed a life-long passion for photography when he purchased his first camera to record his travels throughout Germany and Russia after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1909. Upon his return to the U.S., Belden worked as a cowboy on the L.G. Phelps Ranch in Wyoming. He then went to work on and eventually managed the legendary Pitchfork Ranch near Meeteetse, Wyoming. During his time at the Pitchfork Ranch between the 1920s and 1930s, Belden produced a variety of images that captured life on the dude ranch, including livestock activities, as well as the surrounding western landscape. Many of his western photographs were taken on horseback aboard his reliable pony Pinky. He thought this gave him the desired perspective he was hoping to achieve. Belden's photographs were featured in various publications, including National Geographic and the Saturday Evening Post. Refer to the University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center's Digital Collection of Charles J. Belden Photography for comparable examples of his work.
> Item Details
L.A. Huffman Collection of Western Photographs
Lot # 254 - L.A. Huffman Collection of Western Photographs
Lot of 20 albumen and silver gelatin photographs by noted Western photographer L.A. Huffman, capturing various views of cowboys, camp life, herding cattle, ranches, and the vast, mountainous landscapes of the Western United States. The photographs range in size from 4.75 x 8 in. to 6.25 x 8 in., each mounted on gray cardstock, 10 x 12 in. Four of the 20 photographs include the Huffman-Miles-Mon. blindstamp at lower left.
> Item Details
Sixth Plate Ambrotype of Two Union Cavalrymen Wearing Hardee Hats
Lot # 15 - Sixth Plate Ambrotype of Two Union Cavalrymen Wearing Hardee Hats
Sixth plate ambrotype of two union pards wearing Hardee hats with cavalry insignia and feathers. Housed in a geometric/scroll Union case.
> Item Details
Harrison County, OH Wall Map
Lot # 148 - Harrison County, OH Wall Map
48" x 64"; Drawn and Published by Jacob Jarvis, Cadiz, Ohio, 1862. Engraved by H. Anderson, St. Clairsville, O. Wonderful map with townships hand-colored. Around the border are plans of the various towns and lithographed images of residences and public buildings. The largest plan is of Cadiz, with a business directory. There are smaller plans and lists of businesses for Harrisville, Jefferson, Moorfield, Rumley, Hopedale, Freeport, and Athens. The map is in the style of county atlases that were immensely popular a decade later, through the 1870s and 1880s.
> Item Details
Two Civil War Albumen Photographs of the River Monitor USS <i>Onondaga</i> and
Lot # 150 - Two Civil War Albumen Photographs of the River Monitor USS Onondaga and
Lot of 2 photographs of the USS Onondaga; both are albumen prints on 10 x 12 in. mounts.

The USS Onondaga was a double-turreted monitor ordered in May 1862, launched from Continental Iron Works in Brooklyn in late July 1863, and commissioned at New York Navy Yard March 24, 1864, with Capt. Melancthon Smith in command.  Onondaga was ordered to Hampton Roads and assinged to the James River Flotilla to support Gen. Grant's advance toward Richmond, and remained on the James when most of the other ironclads were ordered to join Admiral Porter's fleet for the assault on Fort Fisher in January 1865.  The Confederates tried to take advantage of Onondaga's lack of support and launched a four-boat attack on her, but all four ran aground a sandbar and were subjected to bombardment by both Onondaga and the Union forces on the shore, resulting in the destruction of the gunboat CSS Drewry, the abandonment of the torpedo boat Scorpion, and the retreat of ironclads Virginia II and Richmond.  The rest of the war proved rather uneventful for her, after which she was sold to the French Navy and remained in service until being sold for scrap in 1904.
> Item Details
Early 19th Century Manuscript Copy Book
Lot # 311 - Early 19th Century Manuscript Copy Book
80 handwritten pages, held together with string. Started in 1818, ended in 1841. School Arithmetic copy book, with rules and examples of Compound Division, Vulgar Fractions, Decimal Fractions, Profit & Loss, and more. Signed David Bone, Treesbank, 1841. 7.5 x 12 in. Treesbank is in Manitoba, Canada, which is probably why these monetary calculations are in pounds, shillings and pence.

Also found in the book were 20 receipts for payment of a life insurance policy on David Bone (for $2000), with dates from 1863-1880. These indicate Bone lived in "Kenosha, Wis." Some of the receipts came out of the Chicago and Milwaukee agencies. Apparently Mr. Bone moved across the border as an adult. There is also a certificate for rental on a safe deposit box in Chicago, 1903.
> Item Details
Fine Collection of Tintypes, Including Portraits of Cowboys
Lot # 385 - Fine Collection of Tintypes, Including Portraits of Cowboys
Lot of 55, including a sixth plate tintype of two armed cowboys, a CDV sized tintype of two Western characters, a whole plate colored tintype of a man, a half plate tintype of a family standing in front of a frame house, 34 more tintypes of various sizes, and 17 CDVs.
> Item Details