Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2013 Issue

The West (and Everything Else) from Back of Beyond Books

Backbeyond10

Rare books from Back of Beyond.

Back of Beyond Books has issued Rare Book Catalogue No. 10. Back of Beyond specializes in Western America, and the four corners states of the Southwest in particular. Their books are not so much cowboys and gunslingers, but explorations, archeology, geology, and western based writers and artists. While this describes their primary concentration, they do not put any limitations on themselves, so there are books totally unrelated to their specialty. T.S. Eliot's Wasteland doesn't have much to do with the Southwest, though Lt. Joseph Ives, one of the earliest explorers of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon, concluded it was essentially that, not destined to be of much use to anyone. It is unlikely Oscar Wilde ever visited the area, and certain that Leonardo Da Vinci did not. Western slang never made its way into Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language. Nevertheless, these works make their way into this catalogue alongside books related to the West. Here are a few.

For those wishing to take a trip out west after the Civil War, a handy reference was Turner's Guide from the Lakes to the Rocky Mountains... Written by T.G. (Timothy Gilman) Turner and published in 1868, this is not an Oregon Trail type book. The railroads now reached this area, and this guide provides information on riding the rails. While the guide's terminus is the Rocky Mountains, it includes details about places along the way, such as Cleveland and Chicago. It was published in Chicago, thereby fitting a collection of ante-fire imprints as well as railroads and travel. The book contains 52 pages of advertisements for businesses along the rail lines, including a hand-colored one for Studebaker wagons. Studebaker would be one of the rare wagon makers to make the successful transition to automobiles a few decades later. Item 83. Priced at $1,150.

The most spectacular remnant of an ancient Indian community is found in Mesa Verde National Park. The main structures of these cliff dwellings were discovered by a couple of southeastern ranchers in 1888. While their discovery didn't elicit much interest from the Smithsonian at the time, Swedish scholar Gustaf Nordenskiöld was so intrigued that he rearranged his plans to visit the American site. He conducted archeological excavations, and if his activities were not quite as careful as those today, they were far more scientific than typical amateur digging. Nordenskiöld published his findings, including many of the first photographs of these dwellings, in 1893 in his book Cliff Dwellers of the Mesa Verde, Southwestern Colorado: Their Pottery and Implements. It includes an appendix on human remains by G. Retzius. The residents of this early, complex civilization, variously called Ancient Pueblo People or Anasazi, disappeared around the year 1300. Not only did they disappear, but so did their neighbors throughout the region, in communities large and small. No one is certain why, but the most likely explanation is the great drought that arose in the 13th century and continued for many years, or possibly encroachment by more warlike tribes from California. The inhabitants of Mesa Verde most likely moved south, to be absorbed by other people, and while later tribes visited the area, none ever again inhabited the dwellings of Mesa Verde though they still stand today. Item 12. $4,500.

Here is one of those books from the non-Southwest part of the catalogue, under the heading “Fiction and Poetry.” And yet... It is Woody Guthrie's autobiographical Bound for Glory, published in 1943. Guthrie spent most of his early life around the edges of the Southwest, growing up in Oklahoma, some time in Texas, and moving out to California in the Dust Bowl era. His book depicts his life, written as the ordinary, not well-educated man of his surroundings, though Guthrie was hardly an ordinary man. Though best known for his songs, Guthrie was also a writer and poet, and chronicler of America during difficult times. Item 20. $725.

Item 79 is A Historical, Descriptive, and Commercial Directory of Owyhee County, Idaho, author unstated, published in 1898 (this copy is missing the title page). Owyhee County is located in the southwestern corner of Idaho, the second largest county by area in the state. Nonetheless, it is lightly populated even by Idaho standards, with most of its residents located on the other side of the Snake River from Idaho's largest city, Boise. In 1898, there was an active mining industry, and this book provides information about that industry, early settlement, and even Indian conflicts. Today, ranching and irrigated farming are the major industries in this semi-arid land. Many will recognize “Owyhee” as an early spelling of Hawaii and wonder why a county in Idaho would have such a name. The name comes from three early trappers who came from Hawaii and disappeared into the wilderness in 1819. $550.

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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