Request One of Our
PUBLISHED THROUGHOUT THE YEAR and fully illustrated, our print catalogues present a variety of rare books and manuscripts. We also offer a consistent diet of pamphlets, ephemera and visual Americana, like posters and broadsides.
Published throughout the year, our fully illustrated print catalogues present a variety of rare books, manuscripts, pamphlets, ephemera, visual Americana, and more!
> LEARN MORE
Welcome to Ian Brabner, Rare Americana
Ian Brabner is an antiquarian bookseller and historical manuscripts dealer specialized in the field of rare Americana.
Established in 1995, we offer a selective and dynamic inventory of rare books and pamphlets from 18th and 19th century America, unique historical manuscripts, historical ephemera (from the same time period), and visual Americana —all of American origin or context.
Online, via our Short Lists, our print catalogs, or in our booth at an antiquarian book fair you might find a rare New England imprint, a colonial manuscript sermon, a Revolutionary War-era broadside, or a War of 1812 handwritten diary of an American soldier in Canada.
American scrapbooks really became bountiful in the late 19th century and into the early 20th century. The 1880s–1910s might be considered a golden age where almost anything might have been preserved upon the leaves of an old scrapbook. In this example, a piece of handwritten hardtack (yes, handwritten!) from the Spanish-American War made it’s way there and back again.
Was it printed or created for an ephemeral purpose? Does it concern American history, culture and society? If it does, and it meets our criteria for condition and content or historical rarity, it catches our eye. We are especially interested in historical American ephemera from the 18th and 19th century. That being said, the 20th century is hard to resist.
Vernacular photography, a folk art cloth banner by an unknown woman painter, a whimsical ink and wash drawing from 1849 depicting of a trip to the gold mines of California—these are all examples of what we term “visual Americana.”
Millie-Christine were conjoined twins who happened to be African-Americans. They were exhibited across America in the 19th century; part medical spectacle, part amusement as they were talented singers. This image detail is from a modestly-illustrated pamphlet one would buy or be given gratis when the twins were “on display.” This rare American pamphlet touches on a wide variety of subjects we are especially keen to represent in our inventory: African-American history, the history of women in America, and popular amusements, and general 19th century American society.
Ian Brabner, Rare Americana
Through rare books, scarce pamphlets and booklets, or handwritten diaries and journals; the 18th and 19th century American lives we seek to identify and present are not just the famous statesmen and military leaders.
We’re also interested in the other Americans—of all genders, ethnicities and ages—the marginalized, farmers, quacks and doctors, housekeepers and the affluent, criminals and learned lawyers, the winners and losers, scientists and inventors and crackpots, merchants, ship captains, children, mayors and presidents, self-liberated slaves and the enslavers.
The teachers, clerics, social reformers and never-to-be-reformed, factory owners and factory workers, shopkeepers prisoners, immigrant laborers, Christians and Jews and atheists, artisans, soldiers and sailors, and even combinations of some of the above—all are of us interest.
Alternative views on American history might be seen within a women’s rights pamphlet annotated by an opponent, a photograph of Native Americans visiting Washington, D. C., or a trade catalog for a new railroad car technology that reduces the need for paid labor. Through this historical material, this “rare Americana,” our understanding of 18th and 19th century American history writ large, is enriched, modified, clarified.
An early 19th century American blankbook or commonplace book filled with handwritten sentiments, poetical verse, and scattered examples of original manuscript writing. This example was covered with wallpaper. Historical 18th and 19th century American manuscripts and handwritten letters with significant or unusual historical content fill in the blanks of our own education of America’s history and, hopefully, those of collectors and scholars.