We specialize in Americana, especially manuscript materials. We offer manuscript letters and archives, diaries, journals, personal and business correspondence from the 17th century through the 20th.

  • Working Documents for the European Conquest of Africa
    [N.p. Berlin?] 1884-1885, folio, printed in both, letter-press and lithographic facsimiles of handwritten text, various paginations, text in French, in a combination of letterpress and lithographic facsimiles of manuscript documents, the margins of the letterpress pages are very wide, for manuscript notes. Ex-library, old handstamps, bound in contemporary ½ morocco and marbled boards, binding worn, front board detached but present, portion of back-strip lacking, text is very clean. There is a printed list of the documents contained in the volume at the front, the volume does not include the first and fifth documents on that list, however, contemporary manuscript notes in French indicate that they were never included in the volume, and that the text was utilized in other documents.
    This volume consists of working documents from the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 which would have fateful consequences for the continent of Africa. The Berlin Conference, also known as the Congo Conference (Kongokonferenz), or West Africa Conference (Westafrika-Konferenz), regulated European colonization and trade in Africa during the New Imperialism period, and coincided with Germany’s sudden emergence as an imperial power. Called for by Portugal and organized by Otto von Bismarck, first Chancellor of Germany, its outcome, the General Act of the Berlin Conference, can be seen as the formalization of the Scramble for Africa. The conference ushered in a period of heightened colonial activity by European powers, which eliminated or overrode most existing forms of African autonomy and self-governance. The main dispute among Europeans was over navigation and commercial rights in the Congo River basin. The first Europeans to claim the area were the Portuguese who explored the mouth of the river in the 15th century. Although ocean-going ships could sail inland for about 120 miles along the Lower Congo River, a series of gorges and waterfalls blocked the way to the Upper Congo River, which was navigable for hundreds of miles. Before the conference, European diplomacy treated African indigenous people in the same manner as the New World natives, forming trading relationships with the indigenous chiefs. By the mid-19th… more >