Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2006 Issue

Robbers, Liver-Eaters, Bigfoot and More from Gene W. Baade

Baade306

The introduction to Gene W. Baade's latest catalogue.


By Michael Stillman

Gene W. Baade's
latest catalogue (number 306) of Books on the West follows his tradition of offering unusual western items, and at prices any budget can afford. Most are collectible, some are for reading, but his "reading" copies are generally of books you might actually like to read. The West is full of adventures, and Baade gives you a chance to learn about a few you might have missed. Here are some samples from his catalogue.

William Miner was a notorious robber during the era of Jesse James and beyond, and though now mostly forgotten, once achieved the same type of "popularity" for his crimes. Miner, however, was a kinder soul than James, noted for being polite to his victims, and never killing anyone, rarely ever using his gun. Most of his robberies turned out to be disappointingly small, he spent much of his life in jail, and he never learned any lessons from his experiences. He simply did not find the workaday life appealing, and chose crime whenever he ran short on money. Miner's early days were spent robbing stagecoaches, an easier target than trains. His first conviction netted him 4 years in San Quentin in 1866, his second, eight more years in 1872. Upon release, he moved on to Colorado for a few successful hold ups, but made the mistake of returning to California, where he was again captured for robbing a stage, and this time was sent away for 19 years. By the time he was released in 1902, there were no more stagecoaches, so he had to tackle the more difficult art of robbing trains. Miner moved north to Canada, and with a new alias and new accomplices, pulled off the first train robberies in Canada. This time he managed to avoid the law for four years, but was again convicted in 1906, and at the age of 63, sentenced to life. No matter. The following year he dug a hole under the fence and said goodbye to Canada. The next few years he bounced around Oregon and Pennsylvania, robbing a train in Oregon, actually working a job in Pennsylvania, and even visited Europe. By 1911, he was back to his old tricks. Now almost 70 years of age, he held up a train in Georgia. Once more he was captured and sentenced to 20 years. Twice he would escape the Georgia prison, but each time was recaptured, finally dying in jail in 1914. His amazing story is retold in item 3, Bill Miner Train Robber by Frank W. Anderson. Priced at just $7.50.

Here is a biography of another tough man: Indian Killer. The Saga of Liver-Eating Johnson, by Raymond Thorp and Robert Bunker. Of course, anyone who can stand to eat liver must be tough. However, mountain-man John Johnson was tougher than the average liver gourmand. The Crow had killed his Indian wife in 1847, and he went on a two-decade long spree of revenge. He killed countless Crow Indians at the time, and was said to carve out his victims' livers and eat them raw. Johnson would later say this happened only once, the liver stuck to his knife by accident, and he only joked about eating it. Whatever the truth was, the incident earned him his distinctive moniker. Johnson would eventually make peace with the Crow, serve in the military, and become an occasional lawman. Later in life, broke and in poor health, Johnson was forced to move from his Montana home to the National Soldiers' Home in California. He died there and was buried in Los Angeles in 1900. However, 74 years later his remains were removed to and reburied in Wyoming. One of his pallbearers was Robert Redford, who portrayed "Jeremiah Johnson" in the movie of the same name, a character based roughly on Liver-Eating Johnson. Item 160. $125.

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>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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