Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2011 Issue

More Western Works from Old West Books


Books from the Old West.

Old West Books of Colorado Springs has issued their Catalog 31 of Rare, Out of Print Books on the American West. Old West Books brings together another collection of material related to those thrilling times on the frontier a century or two ago. There are the battles between good and evil, justice and lawlessness, outlaws and lawmen, rustlers and cattlemen, cowboys and Indians, and, explorers, settlers, and gold seekers against the elements and the terrain. Life may not have been easy then, but it didn't lack for excitement. Well, perhaps there were long expanses of boredom crossing the plains, or carving farms out of western wilderness, but we will focus on the dramatic events that made the Old West the land of our imagination and dreams.


Before describing a few of the older, out of print works, we will start with a new book, just published, authored by Old West Books' proprietor Tim Phelps. Western collectors (and dealers) will be most interested. The title is A Photographic Reference for the Western Americana Collector. It is described as "a supplement to the major references in the field," and contains 1,550 photographs of items related to Western Americana. It has been published in a limited edition of just 100 copies, so you don't want to wait. The cost reflects expenses of color printing in a very short run. Item 125. Priced at $165.


Here is a wonderful saga of crossing the continent in the years before the railroad:  The Life Story of a California Pioneer Written for His Grandchildren to Show Them How the Emigrants Crossed the Plains, and Also What Manner of Person Was Their Great Grandmother. Elisha Brooks was but 11-years-old when he, his five young brothers and sisters, and their mother embarked on a 2,800-mile journey from Michigan to California in 1853. Their father wasn't present, he having gone to California three years prior to search for gold. Sixty-some years later, Brooks would take the same journey by railroad, and from the ease and comfort of his car, reminisce about the difficulties and great hardships they had endured (he notes that it took the train 15 minutes to do what was a day's worth of traveling). Brooks had to be strong, handling the oxen that pulled their load, wading through endless mud, and protecting them from elements and potentially unfriendly Indians. However, Brooks saves most of his praise for his mother for leading six children across the long and dangerous expanse. Offered is a copy of the true first edition of 1922, signed by the author. Later that year, the book was republished under the title A Pioneer Mother of California. Item 22. $1,250.

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