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>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions