Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2011 Issue

The American West, Fiction, Art and More from Back of Beyond Books

Backofbeyond6

A railroad train rambles up Ruby Canyon on the cover of Catalogue 6.

Back of Beyond Books recently published their Rare Book Catalogue 6. The Moab, Utah, based bookseller opens their catalogue by noting, "we're experiencing one of the wettest and muggiest summers that we can remember." Really? I read this in Texas, barely a day's drive away over I-40 and up the old Devil's Highway (before fearful bureaucrats changed its number from Route 666 to something bland and inoffensive). We are experiencing a draught of historic proportions. What's going on here? Is the Devil toying with us?

 

Anyway, Back of Beyond features books about its corner of the world, particularly eastern Utah and western Colorado, along with the Four Corners region. It is an area of spectacular beauty and one of the last parts of continental America to be explored. However, Back of Beyond expands beyond its own borders, also offering books pertaining to the broader reaches of the American West, to Native Americans, the Mormons who settled most of Utah, railroads, Western fiction, general fiction, and art. These are a few selections from this latest catalogue.

 

Robert LeRoy Parker was a Utah native who knew many of the back reaches of Back of Beyond's territory, stretching from Montana to Arizona. He knew the good hiding places because Parker made a career of robbing banks and trains throughout the West. You may not recognize his name, but probably will know his alias - Butch Cassidy. Cassidy, his cohort, the Sundance Kid, and the rest of the Wild Bunch wreaked havoc across the West, and when the heat became too great, they hightailed it to South America. After several robberies there, they were surrounded and killed in a shootout in 1907. That's what most people believe, although there were always those who questioned the identification of the bodies. For years, Cassidy sightings were reported. Supposedly, Cassidy returned to America, may have worked under the name William Phillips in Spokane, and supposedly participated in a family reunion around 1925. These stories were resurrected in just the past few weeks when an old manuscript by Phillips was discovered bolstering these claims. Phillips writes as a friend of Cassidy, but some believe his knowledge of details of earlier events in Cassidy's life could only have come from Cassidy himself. One who believed Butch had survived South America and returned was Lulu Parker, Cassidy's sister. She claimed he lived until 1937, but was not Phillips. Ms. Parker wrote a book about him, Butch Cassidy, My Brother, and she has signed and inscribed this copy of her 1975 book (Lulu was Cassidy's younger sister and she lived to be 96). Item 4. Priced at $50.

 

Item 78 is a Guide to the Route Map of the Mormon Pioneers from Nauvoo to Great Salt Lake, 1846, 1847. It was designed to provide textual explanation of the route map (not included). The author of this 1899 publication was Orson Pratt. Pratt was one of the earliest converts to Mormonism, joining the Church and becoming associated with its founder, Joseph Smith, in 1830, the Church's first year. Pratt would serve numerous missions, mainly in England, and would publish several newspapers and books defending the faith. He would also have a falling out with Joseph Smith after the latter announced his position on polygamy, but Pratt would rejoin the fold and serve until his death in 1881. Pratt was one of the leaders of the advance party for the Mormons' great migration from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Great Salt Lake Valley, reportedly the first to enter. He kept detailed notes of the trek, so when this map was published 18 years after his death, his notes of the journey were used for the accompanying guide's text. $100.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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