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
White Swan, Omaha, Albumen Photograph by Pierre Petit
Lot # 322 - White Swan, Omaha, Albumen Photograph by Pierre Petit
Albumen, 5.125 x 3.25 in., with imprint of Pierre Petit, Paris, 1883. Ink title inscription, recto: Cygne Blanc--White Swann. White Swan wears a dark cotton shirt with locks of human hair sewn into the shoulder seams and brass or nickel-silver armbands. A golden eagle center-tail feather is stuck into the open top of his otter fur turban. A narrow fur bandolier with circular glass mirrors crosses his right shoulder. There are several necklaces of glass beads and shell, together with a side-stitch choker of glass seed beads. He holds a fan made of the forewing of a golden eagle, with the feathers spread. Designs are painted on his face.

Grandnephew of the deposed Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, Prince Roland Bonaparte was a member and patron of the Académie Française whose special interests were world geology, ethnology and anthropology. He was an early supporter of photography of tribal cultures. When an exhibition of world cultures was held in the Jardin Zoologique d’Acclamtation, Bois de Boulogne near Paris in 1883, the Prince hired Pierre Petit to make a series of 18 photographic portraits of a delegation of Omaha Indians who attended. These are among the earliest photographs of Omaha people, as well as some of the earliest photos of Indian travelers to Europe. For further information see Fleming and Luskey 1986: Figs. 9.17-9.19; Fleming and Luskey 1993: 78-80.
> Item Details
<i>Tombstone Epitaph</i>, Arizona Territory, 1880, Featuring Article on Earp Brothers
Lot # 343 - Tombstone Epitaph, Arizona Territory, 1880, Featuring Article on Earp Brothers
Tombstone Epitaph, Tombstone, Arizona Territory, August 21, 1880. 4pp, 11.75 x 18 in. Volume I issue of this very rare Western frontier newspaper that personifies the lawless old west during its "Wild West era," containing a back page article on Wyatt Earp and his brother Virgil. The issue also contains an inside page reference to Sheriff Virgil Earp. Fourteen months later the Earps would be involved in the most famous shootout in the old west, the Gunfight at the OK Corral. Very rare references to the Earps in the most sought after newspaper of the old west.
> Item Details
Unusual Tintype of Armed Cowboys and Man in Military Uniform
Lot # 236 - Unusual Tintype of Armed Cowboys and Man in Military Uniform
Ca 1890s tintype of two men dressed as cowboys while one man is dressed in a military uniform. Probably a novelty photo.
> Item Details
CDVs of Admiral Farragut and His Wife Virginia
Lot # 34 - CDVs of Admiral Farragut and His Wife Virginia
Lot of 2 cartes housed in a velvet frame, including a standing view of David G. Farragut as Captain by E. Jacobs, New Orleans, and a standing portrait of his second wife, Virginia (1824-1884), whom he married in 1843, by Brady, signed on verso.
> Item Details
Group of Nine Postmortem CDVs
Lot # 117 - Group of Nine Postmortem CDVs
Lot of 9 postmortem CDVs and a tintype. Includes: 2 sibling portraits, one with a living sibling, the other with two dead; 4 infant deaths, one in her coffin with flowers; a seated infant with his/her eyes open; a young man laying on a couch holding flowers; and a tintype of a young teenage boy sitting in a rocking chair with a quilt.
> Item Details
Jenny Lind 1851 Concert Ticket
Lot # 242 - Jenny Lind 1851 Concert Ticket
Ticket printed on one side of 2 x 3 in. green card stock with bottom left corner neatly clipped at the time of admission to M'lle Jenny Lind's Grand Concert. Rochester, Tuesday, July 22, 1851. With Jenny Lind's facsimile signature at bottom.
> Item Details
Alton B. Parker Colorful Serving Tray
Lot # 187 - Alton B. Parker Colorful Serving Tray
Scarce lithographed metal tray featuring a portrait of Judge Alton B. Parker, the Democratic nominee for President in 1904, dressed in his judicial robes, with depictions of the Capitol building, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, two Democratic roosters, and bowers of carnations along the border. 13.5 x 16.5 in. 
> Item Details
Franklin Pierce Document Signed as President, July 1855
Lot # 224 - Franklin Pierce Document Signed as President, July 1855
Franklin Pierce (1804-1869). Partially printed DS as President of the United States (1853-1857). 1p, 10 x 8 in. Dated at Washington, July 13, 1855. Authorizing the Secretary of State to affix the United States seal to a letter addressed to Manuel María Mallarino Ibargüen (1808-1872), Vice President of New Granada (1855-1859).

Mallarino was also Acting President of New Granada during the first two years of his term. New Granada at the time had separate elections for President and Vice President, held two years apart. In April 1854 the President was deposed in a coup, but later was returned to power. He had, however, been impeached by Congress, so executive power was in the hands of the Vice President. The Granadine Constitution did not allow for full succession, so when Mallarino was elected in 1855, he became not only Vice President, but also Acting President. Upon the election of a new President in 1857, Mallarino was again just VP.
> Item Details
John Bell Hood, Clipped Signature
Lot # 351 - John Bell Hood, Clipped Signature
John Bell Hood (1831-1879), Lieutenant General, CSA. Clipped signature. Yours Truly / J.B. Hood; 2 x 3.75 in. (sight), framed, 9.5 x 13.5 in.
> Item Details
Canteen Decorated with Ninth Plate Civil War Tintype of Armed Soldier
Lot # 124 - Canteen Decorated with Ninth Plate Civil War Tintype of Armed Soldier
"Bullseye" canteen by Hadden, Porter and Booth, Philadelphia, decorated with plaster flowers around a ninth plate tintype of an armed soldier. Complete with original leather strap.
> Item Details
Kodak No. 3 Camera
Lot # 134 - Kodak No. 3 Camera
Kodak No. 3 camera, produced by the Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company from 1890-1897. The camera measures 4.25 x 5.5 x 11.25 in. Serial no. 338. The Kodak No. 3 was factory loaded for either 60 or 100 exposures, measuring 3.25 x 4.25 in. With Universal lens, rotating sector shutter, and setting string. The Kodak No. 3 is one of thirteen examples of a "string-set Kodak." (Information obtained from www.vintagephoto.tv, October 10, 2011.)
> Item Details
Autographed Note from Joseph H. Choate, American Diplomat and Lawyer,
Lot # 212 - Autographed Note from Joseph H. Choate, American Diplomat and Lawyer,
5.5" x 8.5" reading 52 Wall St. 15 June 1897 Master Louis Harris; As you requested I send you my autograph and an Yours Joseph H. Choate.

Joseph Hodges Choate (1832-1917) American lawyer, historian and diplomat, born in Salem, Mass., graduate of Harvard Law in 1854, admitted to the bar in 1855, N.Y.C., ambassador to England from 1899-1905, first U.S. Delegate at the Hague Peace Conference. Writings include Addresses on Abraham Lincoln and Admiral Farragut & Rufus Choate.
> Item Details
[Missouri] Six Early St. Louis and Vicinity Scenes
Lot # 124 - [Missouri] Six Early St. Louis and Vicinity Scenes
Lot of 6 circa 1860s stereoviews of St. Louis.  Includes four images by Hoelke & Benecke, titled View from the Dome of the Courthouse, West; Courthouse (showing a Photograph Gallery in the foreground at lower left); Park Views  St. Louis - Rustic Bridge; and Cedar Mountain near Pilot Knob, Mo.  Also two images with the verso imprint of Boehl & Koenig, titled in pencil 4th Str., from Pine north and 4th from Chestnut north.
> Item Details
Civil War Sixth Plate Tintype of an Armed Soldier, Displaying a Remington Beals 3rd Model Revolver
Lot # 26 - Civil War Sixth Plate Tintype of an Armed Soldier, Displaying a Remington Beals 3rd Model Revolver
Sixth plate tintype of a Union soldier displaying a Remington Beals 3rd Model Revolver, with a bayonet hanging from his belt, and wearing a kepi with company insignia "K."  Gold-tinted buttons, buckle, and "K," and light blue trousers.  Housed in a pressed-paper case.
> Item Details
<i>President Garfield and Cabinet</i> Lithograph
Lot # 117 - President Garfield and Cabinet Lithograph
Lithograph with President Garfield and his cabinet shaking hands with the Capitol Building in the background. At the bottom of the image in tiny print, are the names of the people seen. Heading reads Presented by the Weed Sewing Machine Company, of Hartford. Conn, Manufacturers of the "Hartford" and "Favorite" Sewing Machines. In the lower left corner it is marked Copyright, 1881, by Root & Tinker, N.Y. Sight 9.75" x 7.75". With frame, 12.75" x 10.5".
> Item Details
20th Century Musicians, Composers, & Opera Stars, Autographed Photographs, Including Heifetz & Menuhin
Lot # 2318 - 20th Century Musicians, Composers, & Opera Stars, Autographed Photographs, Including Heifetz & Menuhin
Lot of 7 signed photographs, including:

Eleanor Steber (1914-1990).  American operatic soprano.  Two 8 x 10 in. signed photographs.

Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987).  Lithuanian-American violinist.  8 x 10 in. signed photograph, dated 1951.

Gladys Swarthout (1900-1969).  American operatic mezzo-soprano.  8 x 10 in. signed photograph.

Robert Merrill (1917-2004).  American operatic baritone.  8 x 10 in. signed photograph.

Yehude Menuhin (1916-1999).  American-Swiss-British violinist.  4.25 x 6.5 in photograph signed, dated 1951.

Ezio Pinza (1892-1957) Italian operatic bass and stage and film actor.  8 x 10 in. signed photograph.
> Item Details
Two CDVs of US Cavalry BBGs: George W. Cole and William N. Grier
Lot # 49 - Two CDVs of US Cavalry BBGs: George W. Cole and William N. Grier
Lot of 2: Cole, George Washington (1827-1875). Cole enlisted on Lincoln's first call for troops as a Captain in the 12th NY Infy. In September he transferred into the 3rd NY Cav. He was promoted to Major in Dec. 1862 and discharged for promotion a year later. Early 1864 found him as Colonel of the 2nd USCT Cav. He received brevets as Brig. Gen. and Maj. Gen. in March 1865. Once trained, the 2nd USCT saw action all around Virginia. They rode against Petersburg and Richmond, helped in the capture of Bermuda Hundred and City Point. They fought at Swift Creek, Fort Darling, Drury's Bluff, Deep Bottom, Darbytown Road, and more. Once things quieted down in the east, the unit was ordered to Texas, where it stayed until mustering out in Feb. 1866.

Grier, William Nicholson (1812-1885). Grier graduated from USMA in 1835 (Cullum #839) and was posted to Ft. Gibson, I.T. with the 1st Dragoons. He spent most of his career in Indian Territory, with a brief stint at the Academy as instructor in Infantry and Cavalry Tactics 1840-1841. He returned to frontier duty until war broke out with Mexico. He received a Major by brevet for "gallant and meritorious conduct in the Battle of Santa de Rosales, Mex." He returned to frontier duty until the Civil War. 1860-61 found him at Ft. Walla Walla, WA until his commission as Major into the 2nd Cav. (US Army). He received a promotion to Lt. Col. and transferred to the 1st Cav. in Feb. 1862. He received Col. and Brig. Gen. brevets in March 1865. He spent the first couple years after the war on recruiting duty in western PA until receiving a promotion to Col. of the 3rd US Cav. and command of Ft. Union, NM. He retired at his own request after more than 35 years of service in Dec. 1870. Cdv with backmark of Lochman, Carlisle, PA. Pencil ID on verso. A rare pose in uniform.
> Item Details
*Springfield Armory EMP Semi-Auto Pistol
Lot # 474 - *Springfield Armory EMP Semi-Auto Pistol
9mm caliber, 3" barrel, S/N EMP7306. Two-tone finish, wood grips; 3 magazines, holster, double magazine pouch; original box and papers.
> Item Details
[Civil War - Manuscripts] Post-Civil War Broadside Seeking Vermont Veterans Due Money for Service, Plus Disability & Pension Letters and Documents 
Lot # 105 - [Civil War - Manuscripts] Post-Civil War Broadside Seeking Vermont Veterans Due Money for Service, Plus Disability & Pension Letters and Documents 
Lot of 6, including:

Broadside seeking soldiers of the 2d and 3d Vermont Regiments of 1861 in order to pay them or their heirs the $100 U.S. bounty to which they are entitled. Posted by Boston pension attorney Freeman Emmons, listing the names, hometowns, and companies of over 100 soldiers.

Two documents relating to the discharge of August Haehnel (Hahnel in official records), Co. E, 24th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, including a discharge certificate dated October 28, 1861, at Colesburg, Kentucky, and a pay document dated November 4, 1861, for $66.69 for four months of service and travel expenses from Louisville to Chicago to be discharged for disability.

A postwar 3pp manuscript letter by Henry Reilly, 4th U.S. Army Light Artillery, appealing to his congressman for an increased pension, including a record of his service and an additional 1p note from his officer in command attesting to Reilly's actions at Buzzard's Roost, Georgia, February 26, 1864, when he refused treatment and continued to fight following a serious shrapnel wound to the face.

A $30 pension check to Jeremiah Guyette?, dated March 4, 1872, Merchants National Bank, Burlington, Vermont.
> Item Details
William F.
Lot # 299 - William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody ALS to His Sister, Julia, 1905
Cody, William F. "Buffalo Bill" (1846-1917). ALS, 8.5 x 11.5 on Buffalo Bill's Wild West stationary, dated at Verdun, France, July 16 (1905), addressed to his sister Julia in Cody, WY, signed "Brother." Accompanied by the original envelope.  

Writing from Verdun during the Wild West Show's 1905 tour of France, Cody writes: Dear Julia, I hope you are happy in your new home. Don't worry sister mine about paying for it. I am having hard time right now but I will win out. Can't down a man that won't be downed. Can they dear. I feel that I have got four good years hard work in me yet. Then I will be 64. The age all my old Army friends retire. [?] [?] Frank will retire with me. And if he and I haven't a home and some money to live on by that time we are no good. With love, Brother.

In fact, the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show would continue to have financial problems.  Even when it was profitable, Cody was often weighed down by bad investments in mining and other questionable ventures.  The show went bankrupt 1913 and Cody's creditors auctioned off the assets, forcing the then-67-year-old to reluctantly sign on with Sells-Floto Circus just to stay afloat.
> Item Details