By Bruce McKinney
This is the first time I’m reviewing an Almagre Books catalogue and a few notes are in order. This is a substantial catalogue, substantial both for the number of items offered – 829 – and for depth of the descriptions. The listed categories in this catalogue are Books, Maps, Manuscripts, Pamphlets, Prints and Photographs. First and early editions and reprints are found unselfconsciously on the same page. Virtually the entire catalogue is interesting and buyable. Almagre issues one of these major catalogues a year and “lists” at regular intervals.
Fifty of the items are bibliography. Here is one:
[Billy The Kid]. Dykes, J. C. Billy The Kid: The Bibliography of a Legend. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1952. First edition, second printing. 186 pp. Inscribed and signed by Jeff Dykes. $150. If you are thinking about outlaws this is a nice place to start. You can build a collection about specific characters or gather the underlying reference material. Fair warning: Billy may be dead but the market in his and outlaw material generally is very strong.
California has thirty-one items. Here is one:
[California]. The New Almaden Mine. A Letter to the Attorney General on his Report to the President on the Resolution of the Legislature of California, from a California Pioneer. New York: Baker & Godwin, printers, 1860. 23 page pamphlet. This piece contains an excoriation of Attorney General Black and his handling of the California land claims. The author writes, “My method of stating the case, for the information of the President, differs somewhat from yours, in that mine, is a mere statement of facts without comments; yours of comments without facts.” It’s early and it’s interesting. $300. New Almaden finds 42 records in the Americana Exchange Database(Æ Database) while the Civil War era ephemera printers of this piece, Baker & Godwin, find 135.
The Civil War has thirteen items. Following the Civil War many accounts were published of personal hardship and bravery. It’s an interesting category. Here is one:
Harrold, John. The Capture, Imprisonment, Escape and Rescue of John Harrold, A Union Soldier in the War of the Rebellion, with a Description of Prison Life Among the Rebels – The Treatment of the Union Prisoners – Their Privations and Sufferings. Phila.: Wm. B. Selheimer, 1870. First edition. A very nice copy. $175. There are 73 source records in the ÆD that include Andersonville.
There are eight items on the Gold Rush. This account, published in London in 1851, suggests that news of Sutter’s Mills was of interest to worldwide.