Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2013 Issue

Outlaws and Lawmen from Kenston Rare Books

Kenstonwinter2013

Granville Torbett on the cover of the latest Kenston catalogue.

Kenston Rare Books has issued a catalogue of Outlaws & Lawmen. Kenston is a specialist on Texas and the American West, the Old West to be specific. This one, as the title indicates, is not so much focused on cowboys and Indians as on outlaws and those who pursued them. There is not much about the the Custers and Sitting Bulls here, but Billy the Kid, Jesse James and Wyatt Earp fill many of its pages. The personalities cover the Kid and James' era up to that of Bonnie and Clyde, half a century later. The books, however, range from contemporary to recent. You will find books for collecting, reading, or mostly, both. Let's take a look.

That picture you see on the cover of this catalogue is probably that of Granville Torbett, author of the title 78 Days in Muskogee Jail and What I Seen There. Merle Haggard may have thought Muskogee was the most wonderful place on earth, but Mr. Torbett strenuously disagreed. His 78 days were evidently most unpleasant. Torbett does not tell us exactly why he was thrown in jail, but he says the defense attorneys are but “confidence slicks and grafters of the legal profession.” The marshals are interestingly described as a “cross between humans and measles.” Conditions in the jail were deplorable, with rotten food, inadequate clothing, indifferent guards, and generally inhuman treatment. However, Torbett saves his worst attacks for the government of what was then Indian Territory, saying it was run by “carpet baggers from New Jersey.” This is a very obscure title, and while this copy is not in the best of condition, you may never come across another. Item 182. Priced at $385.

Here is Wyatt Earp as you never knew him. Earp is today remembered for his winning role during the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. He was the good guy, the U.S. marshal who gunned down the bad guys. In the days after, Earp bounced around to many locations and many jobs. One of them was as a boxing referee, which led to his receiving the job of officiating a heavyweight title bout in 1896 between champion Bob Fitzsimmons and Tom Sharkey. By the end of this fight, Earp was better known for his role as a referee than a gunfighter, and he was no longer the good guy in most people's eyes. Earp arrived at the ring with his six-shooter strapped to his waist, whereupon marshals were forced to remove it. What was controversial, however, occurred in the ring. In the eighth round, Fitzsimmons knocked Sharkey to the canvas, the latter apparently being in some state of unconciousness or semi-consciousness. The fight was over, but not in the way most expected. Earp ruled that Fitzsimmons hit Sharkey while he was down, a claim disputed by many. He awarded the victory to the unconscious Sharkey. Needless to say, this did not make Earp a popular man with the crowd. Fitzsimmons later sued for the purse, but was rebuffed when the court decided it could not rule on the case because boxing was illegal in San Francisco. Many charged Earp with fixing the fight, but no one knows for sure what was his motivation. He moved on to other pursuits, never returning to San Francisco until his ashes were buried there in 1929. Item 40 is The Earp Decision, by Jack DeMattos, published in 1984. It contains newspaper accounts of the controversial fight and the court case that followed. $30.

Billy the Kid has received much bad press over the years. It's time to look at Billy The Kid: The Good Side of a Bad Man. The Kid has been alleged to be many unpleasant things – cold blooded killer, cattle rustler, thief. Certainly he killed many men, but the circumstances and motivation are not always clear. He had many defenders, who saw Billy as a defender of the underdog against powerful interests. Unquestionably, he was extremely loyal to those he served, and was popular with many at the low end of the social spectrum, especially poor Mexican-Americans who had few supporters outside of their own community. This 1989 book, by Lee Priestley with Marquita Peterson, is based on interviews with families from New Mexico whose ancestors had known Billy and passed down their memories of him. Item 124. $30.

Billy the Kid met his demise in a darkened room, at the wrong end of a gun held by Sheriff Pat Garrett. At least that's how the story goes. As frequently happens when such celebrated people die, rumors persisted that it was not really Billy who was shot that night, that the event was staged, or it was someone else, or who knows what. The theory is that Billy went into hiding to live his days peacefully somewhere else (like Elvis). Item 191 is Billy The Kid:Killedin New MexicoDied in Texas, by Dr. Jannay P. Valdez and Judge Bobby E. Hefner, published in 1994. They support the theory that “Brushy” Bill Roberts, of Hico, Texas, who died in 1950, almost 70 years after Garrett supposedly shot The Kid, was really Billy. Roberts was extensively interviewed in the late 1940s, and said many things that could make you believe he was Billy, and others that could make you question his claim. Sixty years after he died, he still has his supporters and detractors. $45.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on 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. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <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. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on 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. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <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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