The American West and Frontier From Arthur H. Clark
By Michael Stillman
The Arthur H. Clark Company has issued its Catalogue 922 of material on the American Frontier and West. Generally speaking, if it occurred west of the Mississippi during the 19th or first half of the 20th century, it is a likely subject for a work in this catalogue. But then again, there was a time when the "West" was much farther east, so the Mississippi is not an absolute border here. We will take a look at just a few samples.
For a picture of life in the Old West, you might want to read Reminiscences of Alexander Toponce: pioneer 1839-1923. Toponce was born in France, but came to New York as a young man. Bored, he first ran away from home at age 10, and by the time he was 15, he was out west. His adventures included driving stage, carrying mail, mining for gold in Colorado and Montana, running a freight company, leading a wagon train, and driving cattle. He even served as mayor of the small town of Corinne, Utah, and was friendly with Brigham Young. His was an unbelievably full life, and it was the type of life of which stories are made. His story is item 277. Published in 1923 by his widow. Priced at $135.
He was a man who saved the Union, though not as heroically remembered as the other man who saved the Union, Abe Lincoln. We are referring to General, later President, Ulysses S. Grant, and item number 53 is his autobiography, Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant. This is the book that Grant, dying of throat cancer, struggled to finish so he could leave a little money to his family. A year earlier, he had been swindled out of his money by a business associate. Grant finished the memoirs, which end at the time of his victory at Vicksburg, just days before he died. They helped to restore his reputation, which had been hurt by scandals in his administration, while earning a substantial sum of money for his heirs. $650.
In the interest of being fair and balanced, item 56 is the Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee. This is a 1924 reprint of a book published in 1904. Lee is seen through the letters he wrote his family and friends, while his son provides a narrative. Lee died only a few years after the Civil War, in 1870, while Grant was president. He was pardoned over a century later, by President Gerald Ford, noted for granting pardons. $25.50.
Here is a most topical book: The Red Cross: A history of this remarkable international movement in the interest of humanity, by Clara Barton. Ms. Barton provided supplies to wounded soldiers during the Civil War, and after a trip to Europe where she observed the International Red Cross, she became convinced that a branch was needed in America. She began organizing it in 1873, and in 1881, with a gift from John D. Rockefeller, the American Red Cross was born. As we found out a few months ago, we are very indebted to her. When the government failed, the Red Cross was there. Item 11. Published in 1898 by the American National Red Cross, it covers floods and disasters up to the Spanish-American War. $45.