Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2006 Issue

Western Fiction from Between The Covers Rare Books

Bn123

Western Fiction from Between The Covers.


By Michael Stillman

The American West was peopled with the tallest heroes and the vilest of bad guys. It was a black and white world, with few shades of grey. At least, that's how it was in the "western." Of course, the typical western novel had little to do with reality. The setting may have been right, but westerners came in all shades of grey, much like easterners. Nevertheless, this new and exciting land became the ideal setting for morality plays. So, the good guys were bigger than life, the bad guys more horrible than death. Few westerners fit anywhere in between.

We have reviewed many catalogues of western Americana before, but this is our first of western fiction. It comes from Between The Covers Rare Books, from, of all places, Merchantville, New Jersey. Perhaps that isn't as weird as it sounds. Western fiction was very popular in the East, perhaps more so than in the west where this fiction may have seemed more to be bending the truth. If not entirely accurate, western fiction never wanted for excitement. You will undoubtedly find thrills galore within the covers of these 250 books, mostly from the first half of the 20th century. Between The Covers 123rd catalogue is entitled Western Fiction, and here are a few samples of the books it has to offer.

Zane Grey is probably the best known of all of the western writers, one of the creators of the genre. His most popular book was Riders of the Purple Sage, published in 1912. Item 81 is a copy of this novel with the bookplate of the University of Pennsylvania. Attached to it is a letter from Grey to U. of P. publicity officer George E. Nitzsche saying he would "be delighted to have a list of books at the University." This would have been particularly meaningful to Grey since he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1896, but of all things, from its dental school. Priced at $1,250.

Item 83 is a reprint edition of the same title, also from 1912, but one that was in Grey's library. It contain Zane Grey's embossed ownership stamp, plus the signature of his son, Romer Zane Grey, himself an author of several fishing books. $850.

Item 87 is an inscribed copy of Grey's The Call of the Canyon, signed in the year of publication (February 12, 1924) at Long Key. The recipient was one Blanche M. Bosworth. Included are two photographic postcards from the era. One is of a young woman, the other of three women and a man, the latter of which appears to be Zane Grey, despite the hat brim which shades his face. The postcard has a pencil notation indicating it was taken at Long Key. $1,000.

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.

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