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
Strohmeyer & Wyman Stereoview, <i>Troop A, Ninth U.S. Cavalry</i>
Lot # 98 - Strohmeyer & Wyman Stereoview, Troop A, Ninth U.S. Cavalry
standard size arch-top view on peach Strohmeyer & Wyman stock, with the imprinted caption Troop A, Ninth U.S. Cavalry-Famous Indian Fighters and 1898 copyright line on recto, blank on verso.
> Item Details
*S&W Model 686-4 Revolver
Lot # 384 - *S&W Model 686-4 Revolver
.357 caliber,  2.5" barrel, S/N BRB9215. Round butt, S&W logo wood grips; in the original box.
> Item Details
Tom Thumb's Boots, Kepi, Pants, Topcoat, and Vest
Lot # 117 - Tom Thumb's Boots, Kepi, Pants, Topcoat, and Vest
A remarkable archive, consisting of a finely tailored matching dark blue wool "morning" coat and pants, a quilted cotton vest, dark blue wool hat with a tarred visor, and a gold bullion hat device of a patriotic shield surrounded by a wreath, kid gloves, and a pair of finely made leather boots -- all in miniature. The interior of the cap in quilted silk and stamped in faded gilt Prince of Wales. England. The gloves are stamped with a partial stamp of J. & T. Josep(h??), POUILLO, and a largely illegible street address. Both boots stamped in faded gilt in the interior John Brown & Co. Boot Makers to the Queen. Edinburgh.

This ensemble, as well as Lots 118 and 119 were acquired directly from Tom Thumb by his "valet" or "minder," B.F. Sellers. Accompanying the group is a Feb 12, 1946 pencil-written letter signed by A.C. Sellers of Wakeeney, Kansas and addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kolacny of Baldwin, Kansas. The letter relates: ...well it was about 1865 when my father went with the show they showed in town of any size in all of states in east also west...that picture in the coach is my father he had to take care of them and see that they got to the hotel...he went with them....my two brothers & sister got to ride in that coach...i sent you a picture of my father. Let me know if you got the box.

A gem tintype identified on the verso as B.J. Sellers accompanies the lot, along with a group of newspaper clippings relating to Tom Thumb, a tattered copy of Barnum's autobiography Struggles and Triumphs, a copy of Pictorial History of the American Circus, as well as a typed narrative from the consignor detailing how his family came to acquire the group.
> Item Details
[Civil War] Major General Gordon Granger Stereoview
Lot # 74 - [Civil War] Major General Gordon Granger Stereoview
An E.&H.T. Anthony stereoview from their Prominent Portraits series, titled on the verso label No. 2998 / Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, affixed with a canceled three cent revenue stamp, and with the hand stamp of L. Black & Co. / Detroit M.
> Item Details
Civil War Military Supply Receipts from the Army of Virginia, Printed and Manuscript
Lot # 20 - Civil War Military Supply Receipts from the Army of Virginia, Printed and Manuscript
Lot of 2, including:

a manuscript receipt headed Department of the Shenandoah/Major General Sigel's Division Wilson's Brigade/Woodville, Va., August 7, 1862, for Ten Bushels of Corn, Four Bushels of Oats, and Forty Eight ounds of Horse Shoes, delivered by Willian Johnston to Captain Fielding Lowry, A.Q.M; 7.75" x 9.25";

and a partially printed receipt with the imprinted heading First Corps, Army of Virginia, Major General Sigel, Commanding., dated Woodville, VA., August 8, 1862, for Sixteen Bushels of Shilled Corn, also delivered by Mr. Johnston and signed by Captain Fielding Lowry, Assistant Quartermaster United States Army; 5" x 7.5".
> Item Details
History of the A.M.E. Church
Lot # 117 - History of the A.M.E. Church
Lot of 7. Payne, Daniel A. D.D., LL.D. History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Nashville (TN): Publishing House of the A.M.E. Sunday-School Union, 1891. 8vo, brown cloth, gilt spine, beveled boards, 502pp. Heavy wear to spine ends, and spine sunned. Very light toning of leaves. Text block tight.

Smith, Charles Spencer, D.D. A History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Being a Volume Supplemental to a History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, by Daniel Alexander Payne, D.D., LL.D., Late One of its Bishops. Philadelphia: Book Concern of the A.M.E. Church, 1922. 8vo, brown cloth, gilt spine,  517 pp. Minor shelfwear, some scuffing of page edges. Text block tight and clean.

Handy, James A., Rt. Rev. Scraps of African Methodist Episcopal History. Philadelphia: A.M.E. Book Concern, n.d., but probably ca 1902. 8vo, green cloth, gilt spine (mostly gone), 421pp. Wonderful bookplate (loose) used as bookmark, with “Ex Libris, Bishop J.A. Handy. Welcome to the Temple, and when you leave, leave my book.” Minor shelfwear. Surface soil on endpapers. Overall, excellent.

Gaines, Wesley J., Rt. Rev., D.D. African Methodism in the South; or Twenty-five years of Freedom. Atlanta (GA): Franklin Publishing House, 1890. 12mo, maroon cloth, gilt front and spine, 305pp. Hinges going. Spine sunned and worn at head and foot. Leaves toned. Text block “broken” in several spots, but all seems to be present.

Singleton, George A. The Romance of African Methodism: a Study of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  New York: Exposition Press, 1952. Long inscription and signed on copyright page. 8vo, blue cloth, gilt front and spine, w/dj, 251pp. Toning to dj, some scuffing of edges. Text block clean and tight.

Hanson, J.W., D.D., ed. The World’s Congress of Religions: The Addresses and Papers Delivered before the Parliament. And an abstract of the Congresses held in the Art Institute. Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., August 25 to October 15, 1893. Under the Auspices of The World’s Columbian Exposition. Profusely illustrated. With Marginal Notes. Chicago: W.B. Conkey Company, 1894. 8vo, green printed cloth, printed endpapers, 1196 pp. Wear to spine ends, slight sunning of spine. Front hinge going.

AME Hymnal with Responsive-Scripture Readings Adapted in Conformity with the Doctrines and Usages of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. A.M.E. Sunday School Union, 1954. 8vo, green cloth with gilt front and spine, 608pp. Minor foxing of endpapers. Leaves clean.
> Item Details
Strobridge Lith. Co., Theatre Poster, <i>Charles Frohman Presents An Englishman's Home</i>
Lot # 373 - Strobridge Lith. Co., Theatre Poster, Charles Frohman Presents An Englishman's Home
A 1909 Strobridge Lith Co. theater poster for the play, "An Englishman's Home." The dramatic scene shows a man's arms cast towards the sky, "My God! Can't You See--," it reads, "Don't You Understand!" The poster and frame measures 40.5 x 30 in. The dramatic play was a long-running sensation in England and the United States. The title is in refers to the common phrase, "an Englishmen's home is his castle." The plot of the play follows a British family who are oppressed by a foreign power (believed to be Germany) whose soldiers "invade" their home and lives. Out of frustration, the father shoots the enemy officer and is executed for his crimes. The play follows "invasion literature" which was a popular subject at that time due to pressures that would eventually manifest into the first World War.
> Item Details
General Orders No. 43 with Foldout Table of Railroad Distances, 1865
Lot # 38 - General Orders No. 43 with Foldout Table of Railroad Distances, 1865
General Orders, No. 43, dated Quartermaster General's Office, Washington, D.C., July 17, 1865, with the cover message
The enclosed Table of Distances by rail is published for the information of Officers of the Quartermaster's Department, and will govern them in the settlement of accounts of railroads for transportation of troops and supplies after this date.

M.C. Meigs,
Brevet Major General, U.S.A.,
Quartermaster General.
12mo (5" x 7 1/8"), folds out to 19.25" x 32" to reveal a Table of Distances, by the shortest practicable Railroad routes, compiled from "Appleton's Railroad Guide," and other sources.
> Item Details
Chief Seattle's Daughter, <i>Angeline</i>, Cabinet Photograph
Lot # 479 - Chief Seattle's Daughter, Angeline, Cabinet Photograph
The classic cabinet photo of Angeline, Chief Seattle's daughter (some period images labeled "Princess Angeline"). Frontal portrait of the Suquamish/Duwamish woman done in the style of Edward S. Curtis Back, with romanticized biography of the 80-something-year-old. "...[H]er wrinkled visage disdaining to cast any kindly glance at the white man, for Angeline is a patriot!"
> Item Details
Cabinet Card of Jesse James
Lot # 596 - Cabinet Card of Jesse James
Albumen cabinet card with imprinted identification on the mount, and a statement from Mrs. Jesse W. James reading I hereby certify the above is the only late photograph of my deceased husband, taken before death. Credit to Taylor Copying Company, St. Louis, copyright 1882.
> Item Details
[Politics] The Lincoln Farm Association Document, 1907 
Lot # 410 - [Politics] The Lincoln Farm Association Document, 1907 
Typed letter on Lincoln Farm Association letterhead regarding the formation of a committee to direct the development of the Lincoln Memorial Park. Accompanied by a 4pp brochure Concerning the appointment of a Co-operative Committee in each Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, to assist in the work of the Lincoln Farm Association... in which the history of the association is explained. The committee notes that in 1905, the farm where Lincoln was born about 50 miles from Louisville, KY, was put up at public auction for back taxes, and all but one bidder wanted to develop the property, capitalizing on the Lincoln association. Their shameful purpose was defeated by one bidder who represented a private citizen acting through motives of simple patriotism. He conceived the idea of developing the farm into a Lincoln National Park which should stand forever as a fitting memorial to Lincoln's high service - a memorial worthy of the man and worthy of the American people.
> Item Details
Correspondence with Editor & Author, Henry Rood, With Notable Signatures Including John B. Moore, Frederick Grant, Plus Charles W. Furlong Sketch
Lot # 243 - Correspondence with Editor & Author, Henry Rood, With Notable Signatures Including John B. Moore, Frederick Grant, Plus Charles W. Furlong Sketch
Lot of 25+, featuring written and typed letters addressed to editor and author, Henry Rood, including the following highlights: 

Charles W. Furlong (1874-1967) American explorer, writer, artist and photographer. Watercolor painting of Terra-Del-Fuego Indian. 

Z.B. Vance (1830-1894), CSA officer, North Carolina Governor, and U.S. Senator. ANS from Senate Chamber, May 2, no year. 

Frederick D. Grant (1850-1912), first son to U.S. Grant, soldier and U.S. Minister to Austria-Hungary. ALS, Headquarters Department of the East, Governor's Island, New York, March 11, 1906.

John Bassett Moore (1860-1947) authority on international law, who was a member of the Hague Tribunal and the first American judge to serve on the Permanent Court of International Justice. TLS, Sagaponack, NY, October 6, 1933. 

Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933), American author, educator, and clergyman. 2 TLsS from Avalon, Princeton, NJ, one dated October 17, 1907, and one dated January 16, 1908.

William Ordway Partridge (1861-1930), American sculptor. ALS written from "The Studio."

Charles Evans Hughes (1862-1948), New York Governor, Associate Justice of Supreme Court, and more. TLS, State of New York Executive Chamber, Albany, January 30, 1907. 

Ejnar Mikkelsen (1880-1970) Danish Polar explorer and author. ANS, February 22, 1906.

Thomas F. Bayard (1828-1898), Delaware politician, U.S. Senator. ALS, Department of State, Washington, November 22, 1885.

Bernice Miller, Secretary to Herbert Hoover. TLS on "Herbert Hoover" letterhead, Waldorf Astoria Towers, New York, April 8, 1946.

Dr. Charles Eastman (born Hakadah and later named Ohíye S’a; 1858-1939), Santee Dakota physician educated at Boston University. TLS, Amherst, Massachusetts, March 24, 1909. 

E.H. Crowder (1859-1932), American Army lawyer who served as the Judge Advocate General of the United States Army from 1911 to 1923. Crowder is most noted for implementing and administering the United States Selective Service Act of 1917 during World War I, an act which drafted thousands of American men into military service during World War I. 2 TLsS on War Department, Office of the Provost Marshal General, Washington letterhead, one dated November 24, 1917, one dated July 22, 1916.

Theodore Burton (1851-1921), Ohio politician and member of U.S. House of Representatives. TLS, Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., January 29, 1923.

Mildred Howells, ALS on Women's Republican Club of Massachusetts letterhead, September 27, 1904.

Mounted facsimile of silhouette of Henry W. Longfellow; signed cabinet photo of Nettie Wickes Walker (?); memorial cabinet photograph of W.J. Gresham (?).

Henry Rood edited Memories of the White House: the Home Life of Our Presidents from Lincoln to Roosevelt. Being Personal Recollections of Colonel W.H. Crook, some time bodyguard to Lincoln, since then disbursing officer of the executives. (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1911).
> Item Details
Ohio Civil War Squirrel Hunter's Discharge
Lot # 152 - Ohio Civil War Squirrel Hunter's Discharge
Matted to 7.75 x 9.75 in. Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co., Cincinnati. Printed discharge for occasional troops. This one for Charles Blossom. The discharge reads in part: "Cincinnati was menaced by the enemies of our Union. David Tod, Governor of Ohio called on the Minute Men of the State and the Squirrel Hunters came by the thousands to the rescue. You Charles Blossom were one of them and this is your Honorable Discharge. September 1862."
> Item Details
North Carolina Governor Tod Robinson Caldwell DS, 1871
Lot # 2293 - North Carolina Governor Tod Robinson Caldwell DS, 1871
Dated January 7, 1871, authorizing the use of the Seal of the State of North Carolina. The document is affixed with the embossed seal, which is still raised and retains some of its gold gilt, 5.5" x 8.75" overall.

Tod Robinson Caldwell (1818-1874) was the 41st governor of North Carolina and the 2nd after the Civil War.
> Item Details
Quarter Plate Ambrotype of a Village With a Covered Bridge
Lot # 69 - Quarter Plate Ambrotype of a Village With a Covered Bridge
Quarter plate ambrotype of a village, including a covered bridge and several mills. Appears to be in the New England region, possibly Burlington, VT but this information cannot be confirmed. Housed in a brown geometric thermoplastic case.
> Item Details
Dutch Beaumont Bolt Action Rifle
Lot # 41 - Dutch Beaumont Bolt Action Rifle
11.3x50 cal., 23.5" barrel, S/N 863. Matching numbers, cut to carbine length.
> Item Details
Civil War, Company Descriptive Book of the New York 3rd Cavalry, Co. B
Lot # 123 - Civil War, Company Descriptive Book of the New York 3rd Cavalry, Co. B
Folio, bound in suede, paper label on front with "Company Descriptive Book." The unit was formed in late July 1861 to serve for three years, one of the early units to replace the 100-day units of the early war. Co. B was recruited primarily at Syracuse. The book seems to have been more useful as it was printed for recruiting (they have space to record things such as age, height, complexion, eye color, etc.). So the Captain has pasted plain paper over the printed columns at the top, and made his own categories - mostly equipment - Revolvers, Navy; Sabres, light cav.; cap pouches; pistol belt holsters; sabre belts and plates; halters and straps; horse brushes; saddles, cavalry; saddle blankets; spurs and straps; etc. Several pages have been removed, some apparently with information on them since there are remnants of the paper at the top. On one group of pages the officers are first, the enlisted men in alphabetical order, then additional names out of order - presumably as men were brought in to replace the dead and wounded, and those who did not veteranize when their enlistments were up. Company B alone lists 169 men. Henry Sagern is in the list, for example, and he enlisted in Nov. 1864, about the time the original members had to decide whether to re-enlist or return home. Clearly the list was rewritten many times from the inception of the unit to the end of the war.

The 3rd NY Cav. was recruited by James Van Alen. He resigned in April 1862 and was succeeded by Simon H. Mix, who became one of the most intrepid and efficient cavalry leaders of the war. Sadly, Col. Mix fell before Petersburg in June 1864. The unit was assigned to the Eastern Theater where it saw action at places such as Petersburg, Bermuda Hundred, Weldon RR, etc. All together they lost 3 officers and 48 men KIA and 1 mortally wounded; 1 officer and 155 DOD; for a total of 207 deaths, 38 of which were prisoners. Five officers and 170 men are listed as missing.

A "snapshot" of an organization that served most of the war. The unit continued guard duty, finally mustering out at City Point, VA in September 1865.
> Item Details
Mary Custis Lee, Wife of CSA Gen. Robert E. Lee, ALS Relating to Trials of Gen. Lee, April 23, 1866
Lot # 328 - Mary Custis Lee, Wife of CSA Gen. Robert E. Lee, ALS Relating to Trials of Gen. Lee, April 23, 1866
ALS, 2pp, approx. 7.5 x 9.75 in. Lexington (VA), April 23, 1866. Mary Custis Lee to a friend, "Lettie," likely Lettie Burwell, wife of William McCreery Burwell, since she also references "Rosa," which is the name of a Burwell daughter, and "Avenel," which was the Burwell home in Bedford.

At this point, the South had only surrendered a year earlier, and the economy was still in shambles. Mrs. Lee mentions the "Baltimore Fair." She says, I trust it will be the means of relieving much suffering if it can be properly applied, but how much suffering it will not reach. Women organized "Sanitary Fairs" during the Civil War to raise money and needed items (bandages, clothing, etc.) for wounded soldiers after the formation of the U.S. Sanitary Commission. One fair was in Baltimore in 1864 to aid Union soldiers. In 1866, another fair was held with the goal of assisting southern states in their recovery.

She also mentions that the weather has been cold and rainy. It has become so cold again after a week of rain that I do not see how the young plants and chickens are going to live through it. Mildred has 2 broods and another one coming, but even if they live through this weather I suppose they will be stolen as soon as they are large enough, for the crowds of idle Negroes who live here do nothing but steal, they are as bad as the Yankees.

An earlier owner of this letter (maybe Lettie, herself) has attached a newspaper article about Mrs. Lee. Although it has no date, it is likely from a short time after this letter (Mary Lee only lived until 1873, and General Lee is not referenced in the past tense, and he died in 1870). The journalist mentions that he saw Mrs. Lee at Rockbridge Baths, known for healing rheumatism and other diseases. "Alas! I found her greatly changed by time, and still more by disease. The charm of her manners still continues, but her body has been terribly afflicted by rheumatism, which has made such a cripple that, for some years past, almost from the commencement of the late war, her only locomotion is affected in a chair with wheels, which is moved about by servants." Mary Lee suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and was using a wheelchair as early as 1861. The journalist also mentions the loss of Arlington by the Custis-Lee family: "Mrs. Lee...very naturally sighs for her old home at Arlington, from which she has been so ruthlessly and barbarously banished....she will never consent to receive back her estate if tendered with any conditions... by the Government which so cruelly devastated and appropriated property bequeathed by her patriotic father, and never legally acquired by the authority which now retains it."
> Item Details
Historical Engraving of Lincoln by Alexander Hay Ritchie,
Lot # 111 - Historical Engraving of Lincoln by Alexander Hay Ritchie,
Alexander Hay Ritchie (Scottish, 1822-1895) titled Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, dated 1866, in period frame; 27 x 37 in.
> Item Details
Southwest Indian Publications from Fred Harvey, Including <i>The Great Southwest</i>
Lot # 354 - Southwest Indian Publications from Fred Harvey, Including The Great Southwest
Lot of 5, including:

The Great Southwest: along the Santa Fe.  Kansas City, Missouri: Published by Fred Harvey, 1923.  Seventh edition.  64pp including 30 full color illustrations.  Cover worn and at edges and interior leaves bound together but separated from cover, light soiling to title page and page margins.

American Indians: First Families of the Southwest.  J.F. Huckel, editor.  Kansas City, Missouri: Published by Fred Harvey, 1920.  Second edition.  64pp including 30 full color prints.  Very good condition.

American Indians: First Families of the Southwest.  J.F. Huckel, editor.  Kansas City, Missouri: Published by Fred Harvey, 1928.  Fourth edition.  21 of the 30 prints have been removed.  Also with cover wear and light soiling.

Apache Beadwork: Instructions and Designs.  Published by Benham Indian Trading Company and H.A. Austin & Company.  Ca 1903.  40pp.  Soiling and scattered minor stains.

Catalogue of the Frohman Trading Company 1901-1902.  Portland, Oregon, 8pp.   Soiling, two holes punched in upper margin.
> Item Details