Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2011 Issue

Western Books from Old West Books


Old West's Catalog 32.

Old West Books has issued Catalog 32 of Rare, Out of Print Books on the American West. Old West lists its specialties as, “the American West, Custer, the Fur Trade, Overland Travel, the Cattle Industry, and the Civil War.” Those are all western subjects except the latter, but Civil War material generally relates to the less well known skirmishes that took place on the frontier while the major battles were being fought in the South. This is a catalogue that will appeal to anyone interested in the “Old West,” that being the western part of America in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Here are a few items from this latest selection.

Item 138 is the “official” biography of one of the earliest familiar names of the Old West – Kit Carson. Carson headed west in the 1820s, long before any semblance of settlement of the region had begun. He was one of the mountain men and fur trappers who were the only non-natives to inhabit the land. He became familiar with several of the Indian tribes, marrying a couple of native women along the way. As the fur trade died out, Carson became a scout, leading John Fremont in his expeditions through the West. It was this role that made Carson something of a household name. He would next become an Indian agent, and around this time was when his biography was written. Carson did not write it, he dictated it. He could neither read nor write. It was DeWitt Peters who put Carson's words to text in 1858 in The Life And Adventures Of Kit Carson, The Nestor Of The Rocky Mountains, From Facts Narrated By Himself. Carson reportedly said of Peters' biography that he “laid it on a leetle too thick.” The again, what westerner didn't? Hello, Buffalo Bill. Carson's last years are more controversial, as he led a brutal campaign against the Navajos in the 1860s, but that came after this biography was written. Priced at $750.

Kit Carson may have needed the help of a publicist to build his legend, but here is a man who needed no help at all. No one was ever a better self-promoter than Buffalo Bill. William Cody was a very talented scout and buffalo hunter for a few years, but he followed that up with decades of reliving his legend and that of the West for audiences back east. In fact, his legend, and Wild West Show, extended way beyond America's borders. Bill took his show to Europe, and they loved him there as much as in America. Item 85 is a 1908 account of those performances by Charles Griffin, Four Years in Europe with Buffalo Bill. It includes a description and photographs from Bill's successful tour. $275.

As long as we are on a run of legendary western figures, here is another name we all know – Wild Bill Hickok. Wild Bill came out west in the 1850s, looking for work. Along with work, he found trouble. Wild Bill's strong suit was his accuracy with a gun, and a couple of shootouts later, he was a legend. Like many others, his exploits were greatly exaggerated, the five people he actually shot swelling to 100. While Bill skirted the law on occasion, and was tried for some of his killings, he spent more time as a lawman, and one no one wanted to cross. He also had an insatiable attraction to the card tables, and eventually, gambling would be Bill's downfall. He was seated at a poker table in Deadwood, back to the door, when a drifter of unknown motives, pulled out a gun and shot Wild Bill in the head, killing him instantly. Item 22 is the Life and Marvelous Adventures of Wild Bill the Scout, by J.W. Buel, what is believed to be the “true first printing” of the first and perhaps best book about the man. It was published in 1880, four years after Wild Bill died. $2,500.

Theodore Roosevelt was a noted outdoorsman and conservationist, along with being one of America's greatest presidents. He took numerous trips to the American West, which Hermann Hagedorn memorialized in his 1921 book, Roosevelt in the Bad Lands. The copy is inscribed by the author to “T.R. and Mrs T.R.” Wait a minute. This is a 1921 book. T.R. Died in 1919. Surely his biographer would have known. The bookplate reveals the answer. It is that of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. The second T.R. (we are now up to five) never had much of a political career, but he served valiantly in the Second World War, particularly on D-Day, when he was the only General to land with the first wave of troops (at his insistence). He somehow survived, only to die a month later from a heart attack. Item 88. $1,250.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Jenner (Rev. George Charles). <i>The Evidence at Large...Respecting Dr Jenner's Discovery of Vaccine Inoculation,</i> presentation copy from Edward Jenner to Rev. Rowland Hill, 1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>An Entirely New Romantic Drama, in Three Acts, by Mr. Wilkie Collins, called The Frozen Deep,</i> 1857. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Lighthouses and Islands of Ireland, c. 125 drawings, 1867. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Shelley (Lady Jane). Diary, 1853 & 1860. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Scottish Binding.- The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, bound in contemporary brown polished calf decorated with the figure of a Chinese spearman, by ?James Scott of Edinburgh, 1778. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Man Within,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1929. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Mellan (Claude, 1598-1688). The Holy Face, or the Veil of St Veronica, [c. 1649 and later]. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Desaguliers (John Theophilus). <i>A Dissertation concerning Electricity,</i> W. Innys, and T. Longman, 1742. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Le Jeune (Paul). <i>Relation de se qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'anné 1636 enuoyée au R.Pere Provincial de la Compagnie de Iesus en la Province de France,</i> 1637. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Stumpf (Johann Rudolph). <i>Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Völckern Chronicwirdiger thaaten beschreibung, </i> Zurich, Froschauer, 1586. £3,000 to £4,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> George Washington, Letter Signed to General James Clinton, preparing for the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, 1778. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising to send reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Thomas Edison, Autograph Letter Signed, to Western Union President William Orton, 1878. $10,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> William, Bishop of Coventry, vellum charter granting the church of Rochdale to the Cistercian Abbey of Stanlaw, in Latin, 1222. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> FDR, Photograph Signed & Inscribed, framed with wood removed from the White House roof, 1927. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Jean Dubuffet, archive including many letters written while painting in NYC, 1951-72. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Mohandas K. Gandhi, Autograph Letter Signed, describing the source of his patience, 1939. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Lithograph portrait of Albert Einstein by Hermann Struck, signed by both, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Charles The Bold, Duke of Burgundy, Letter Signed to Johann IV of Nassau, in French, 1470. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Jean Cocteau, Autograph Letter Signed, in French, 1919. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Louis Armstrong, two Autograph Letters Signed to Erich Kauffmann, his lip salve purveyor, 1965-70. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Wernher von Braun, Autograph Letter Signed to Jonathan Cross, 1975. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <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>

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