Mar 27, 2014 - Sale 2342

Sale 2342 - Lot 140

Price Realized: $ 52,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 10,000 - $ 15,000
A FINE COPY OF A NOTED RARITY (ALMANAC.) BANNEKER, BENJAMIN. Banneker's Almanack and Ephemeris for the Year of our Lord, 1793. [48] unnumbered pages, [A]4 B2 C4 D2 E4 F2 G4 H1/ Last 2 p. are advertisements; signature G partially unopened.. Original self-wrappers, sewn; a couple of minor stains and contemporary ownership signatures of members of the Caleb Kirk family of Providence, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Printed and sold by Joseph Cruikshank, (1792)

Additional Details

an exceptional copy Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806), self-taught astronomer, mathematician, surveyor and author, helped with the survey of the Federal Territory that was to become the grid of Washington D.C. Encouraged by his neighbor friends the Ellicotts, Banneker produced his first Almanack and Ephemeris in 1791. It was published by Baltimore printer Godard & Angell, as "Benjamin Banneker's Pennsylvania Delaware, Maryland and Virginia Almanack and Ephemeris for the Year of Our Lord 1792." Just before its publication, Banneker sent a manuscript copy to Thomas Jefferson, with a cover letter urging the abolition of slavery, which he compared to the state of the country before its separation from Great Britain. He included a quote from a poem by Phillis Wheatley. Jefferson replied to Banneker and there followed a brief exchange in which Jefferson stated that "nobody wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you exhibit that nature hath given to our black brethren talents equal to the other colors of men." He seemed unimpressed by Wheatley's poetry. In short, Jefferson maintained his belief that blacks could occasionally produce someone of the intellect of Phillis Wheatley or Benjamin Banneker; but that the race itself was limited in it's capabilities. Provenance: Private collection, originally Phebe Kirk, whose signature, symbol (?) and date of 1792 appear at the end of the text. Phebe was born in Providence, Pennsylvania in 1778. Shipton and Mooney 24071, citing the AAS copy; OCLC locates 7 additional copies: LCP, Haverford, Emory, Tulane, George Washington, and Cincinnati Public Library. no copy of this almanack has appeared at auction in the last 25 years. a defective copy of the 1796 almanack sold in these rooms in 2006 for $10,350.