Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2007 Issue

Various New Items from John Waite Rare Books

Hook

Frances Hook dressed as a man to join the Union Army.


Item 8 is a postcard to Ronald Reagan and the then Governor of California's reply. The postcard shows the Governor's Mansion in West Virginia with the comment from the senders, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Napier of Walnut Hill, "Would you believe the poverty? We should do better for you in Calif." Reagan evidently found the card amusing as he responded, "I've always wondered what they did with the money in the Appalacian [sic] program. Do you suppose we have the answer?" Actually, he didn't have the answer, and there really was poverty in West Virginia, but Reagan was not about to miss an opportunity to show his opinion of poverty assistance programs. $1,500.

Item 35 is a copy of the limited issue of the first American edition of Brave New World. This issue consisted of just 250 copies, signed by author Aldous Huxley, published in 1932. A photo portrait of Huxley is included. $3,000.

Item 16 is a most interesting photograph, that of Frances Hook in her military uniform, taken in 1864. Women were not allowed in the army at the time, nor were 14-year-olds. That didn't stop Miss Hook. When her older brother enlisted in the Union Army in 1861, she dressed up like a man, claimed she was 22, and was accepted. One suspects that the enlisting agent wasn't being too picky that day. Miss Hook took part in several battles, including Shiloh, where her brother was killed, and was captured in 1863. She was shot in the thigh while attempting escape. That is when a Confederate doctor discovered that he was a she. Jefferson Davis offered her a commission if she would join the Confederate cause, but she reportedly replied she would rather be hanged than fight the Union. She was released in a prisoner exchange in 1864, and this photograph was taken while she was convalescing at a hospital. $7,500.

John Waite Rare Books may be reached at 802-674-2665 or jwrb@comcast.net.

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