Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2006 Issue

Western Americana from Arthur H. Clark

Clark927

Catalogue 927 from the Arthur H. Clark Company.


By Michael Stillman

We just received the latest catalogue from The Arthur H. Clark Company. This is number 927 for this century-old bookseller from Spokane, Washington. Clark specializes in Americana, the west in particular, and is well-known and respected for publishing as well as selling books. This month they offer one new title, On The Way To Somewhere Else. This book is filled with accounts from lesser-known European travelers of the 19th century into the West, particularly the Mormon settlements. Unlike most Americans who took a very negative view of the Mormons, Europeans were more open-minded when encountering their customs. Speaking of their most controversial custom, an Italian Count records Prophet and future Church President John Taylor saying in 1853 "we don't think polygamy can last for long." Others who give their accounts include an outraged Catholic priest, a German prince, a liberated Frenchwoman and a French convert. This intriguing book is now available for $39.50.

There is also a selection of half-priced books in this collection, so this could be an excellent time for bargain hunters to get acquainted with Clark's catalogues. Here are a few of the books offered for sale within its pages.

Jedediah Smith was a pioneer among mountain men. He was a trapper and explorer who traveled to more places than any of the other mountain men of the era, the 1820s. He was the first American to enter California from the east, somehow crossing the Mojave Desert and living to tell of it. He was also the first to cross the barren Great Basin of Nevada and Utah, still some of the most uninhabited territory of the lower 48. Yet another first was his trip up through central California and Oregon. Smith would survive a mauling by a bear, several Indian attacks which cost the lives of many companions, hunger and thirst, and all the deprivations of his chosen lifestyle. His luck ran out in 1831, when, at the age of just 32, he was killed by Comanches. His body was never found. Item 108 is Jedediah Smith: Trader and Trail Breaker, a 1936 biography of this trailblazer by Maurice Sullivan. $150.

Here is another story about travels into the wilderness: Travels and Adventures in Canada and Indian Territories, between the years 1760 and 1776. Author Alexander Henry was a trader in Canada, who was granted exclusive trading rights on Lake Superior in 1765. He lived with the Indians and participated in numerous ventures, one of which evolved into the legendary Northwest Company. Unlike Smith, Henry managed to avoid the extreme risks, and went on to live a long and prosperous life, and also unlike Smith, got to complete the story of his adventures. Item 136, published in 1809. $1,250.

Captain James H. Simpson carved out a route from Utah to California in 1859 fairly close to one that Smith had first pioneered. Rather than following the Humboldt River, it worked its way down from Salt Lake City through central Nevada, cutting around 250 miles off the trip. Those looking for off-the-main-road adventures in Utah can still follow the old Pony Express Trail, pass Simpson Springs Station in the Simpson Mountains, and see fairly empty territory that doesn't look that different from when Simpson traversed it. His report, published by the Government Printing Office in Washington, is Report on Explorations across the Great Basin of the Territory of Utah for a direct wagon-route from Camp Floyd to Genoa, in Carson Valley, in 1859. Oddly, the book wasn't printed until 1876, the Civil War intervening before it could be published. Item 261. $850.

Item 288 is the story of Buffalo Jones, by his friend and admirer, legendary western writer Zane Grey. Jones made his name hunting buffalo to feed railroad workers and others, but once realizing the herds were fast disappearing, would be a leader in attempts to preserve the species. He would reintroduce several herds, and even tried to breed a cross with cattle, which he called "cattalo," but they were unable to reproduce. Grey's book about Jones is called The Last of the Plainsmen. Item 288 is a copy of this 1908 book, and one that comes with an inscription from "Buffalo Jones," the "Last of the Plainsmen." $940.

Here is a detailed source for presidential papers from the first century of United States history. It is A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents...published in 1897. It is filled with official messages, proclamations, and addresses of presidents from Washington to Cleveland. Containing 20 volumes, this set is great for historical research or looking erudite and impressive on your shelves. Item 20, compiled by James D. Richardson. $195.

The Arthur H. Clark Company may be found online at www.ahclark.com or called at 800-842-9286.

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