Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2007 Issue

Tales of the Old West from Old West Books

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If Jesse James served as an example to people in 1882 of how not to get rich, James Brisbin offered an alternative means that year in his The Beef Bonanza; or, How to Get Rich on the Plains Being a Description of Cattle Growing, Horse-Raising and Dairying in the West. Brisbin may have been an unrealistically enthusiastic supporter of the opportunities for wealth in the West, but he came about those views honestly. Brisbin was an abolitionist who joined the Union cause in the Civil War, taking command of one of the Black regiments formed of former slaves and freedmen. After the War, he moved west, and would be one of those operating in the area when Custer went off to conduct his final battle. Brisbin was one of those most critical of Custer's actions, concluding his defeat resulted from his disobeying orders, his disobedience motivated by a desire to gain all of the credit for himself. Brisbin did not mince words, whether enthusing about the West, or criticizing Custer (actually, Brisbin was already less than enamored by Custer's behavior well before his annihilation at Little Big Horn). By 1882, Brisbin had risen to the rank of General when he encouraged easterners, in words similar to those of Horace Greeley, to "Go West." Item 44. $650.

Of course, not everyone felt so negatively about General Custer. He had one undying and totally devoted fan (or at least undying for over half a century after Custer's demise). That would be his wife, Elizabeth Custer, who spent the many remaining years in her life attempting to resuscitate her husband's reputation. It was a difficult job, but she did it well. She wrote three books defending Custer's career. Item 16 is one of them: Boots and Saddles, or Life in Dakota with General Custer. This is an 1885 second issue of the first edition. It contains an interesting inscription from someone who knew the Custers and evidently met them regularly from 1870-1873. The inscriber recalls sitting on Custer's knee. $275.

Item 224 is M.I. McCreight's description of one of the uglier, and now forgotten businesses of the Old West -- Buffalo Bone Days. A Short History of the Buffalo Bone Trade...The Story of a Forty Million Dollar Business from Two Million Tons of Bones... Major Israel McCreight was involved in the business of salvaging and shipping the bones of millions of dead buffalo from the mass extermination, when those seeking hides or just sport virtually wiped out America's bison population. Along with the end of the buffalo's way of life, it signaled the end of the way of life of the Indians who depended upon them. The bones were primarily shipped by rail car to fertilizer factories, the phosphorous in the bones making them a useful ingredient. McCreight moved on as the bone business ran its course in the 1880s, publishing his recollections many years later in 1939. $1,250.

Old West Books may be visited online at www.oldwestbooks.com or reached by phone at 817-557-4830.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>The Chap Book</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>Troupe de Mlle Églantine</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Philippe Henri Noyer, <br><i>Limonade Brault</i>, 1938. <br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br><i>The Great Men of the World</i>,<br>designer unknown, circa 1945-46. <br>$7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>James Montgomery Flagg,<br><i>Wake Up, America!</i>, 1917.<br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Alfred F. Burke, <i>Share / Jewish <br>Relief Campaign</i>, circa 1915.<br>$3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Ludwig Hohlwein, <i>Marke Pkz / <br>Burger - Kehl & Co.</i>, circa 1911. <br>$8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br>Gian Emilio Malerba,<i> E.A. Mele / Modo e Novita per Signora</i>, circa 1900. $7,000 to $10,000.
  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION, Chicago, 1968). <i>Collection of papers of John M. Bailey, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, concerning the convention</i>. Various places, 1968.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (ARMSTRONG, NEIL.) VERNE, JULES. <i>A Trip to the Moon.</i> New York: F. M. Lupton, September 9, 1893. Signed by Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> KEY, FRANCIS SCOTT. <i>A Celebrated Patriotic Song, the Star Spangled Banner.</i> 1814.
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    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (WATKINS, TABER &c.). <i>An album of 32 photographs of the Yosemite and American West Various places</i>, c. 1890s
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (BATTLE OF CONCORD.) <i>Powder horn used by Minuteman Oliver Buttrick at the Battle of Concord</i>, April 19, 1775.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (CIVIL WAR.) <i>An Extraordinary Confederate Photograph and Autograph Album of Dr. R. L. C. White</i>, 125 original mounted salt prints. 1859-61.
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    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Full scale vintage <i>Sputnik-1</i> EMC/EMI Lab Model, with live transmitter. US$ 10,000-15,000
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    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown on SOYUZ 9<br>An exhaustive manuscript on life in space. [Trans: On-Board Flight Journal for Spacecraft Soyuz-9, 1970]. US$ 6,000-9,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> SOYUZ 18? Flown Navigation Celestial Globe. Soyuz 18 lasted from May 24-July 26, 1975. US$ 30,000-40,000
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  • <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Leaves from<br>George Washington's Own Draft <br>of His first Inaugural Address. An Extraordinary Rarity!
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Contress Authorizing Alexander Hamilton to Complete Famous Portland Maine Lighthouse.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Emanuel Leutze. Silk Flag Banner designed by Leutze, created by Tiffany & Co., and presented to Gen. John A. Dix, 1864.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The "greatest of early American maps … a masterpiece" (Corcoran). Thomas Holme.
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    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Albert Einstein. Autograph Letter Signed. Einstein Counsels His Son ... Meaning of Life.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Normal Rockwell. Painting/Drawing Signed. Rockwell's "Barbeshop Quartet", 1936.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Frederick Douglass. Autograph Letter Signed to unknown correspondent. Washington, D.C.
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    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Robert E. Lee. Autograph Letter Signed, June 11, 1782. Hours after the Battle of Culpeper Court House, Lee Escapes Again.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington. Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782.

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