Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2009 Issue

Americana, Californiana, the Southwest, Historical Reference, Etc., from Clark Rare Books

Clark936

Americana, the West, and reference material from Clark Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

Clark Rare Books has issued their Catalog 936 of Americana and the American West, this one with an emphasis on Historical Reference Material and Source Materials, California and the Southwest, Explorations, Indians, etc. Offered are 210 items, a mix of very old material and more recent books about times past. The great majority, even of the older items, are priced inexpensively. This catalogue is an excellent source of books for reference, reading, and collecting, all on a budget.

Item 55 combines the presidency with the American West. That president would have to be Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt loved the West and America's wilderness, being a great supporter of the national park system. Offered is a copy of the 1902 edition of his Ranch Life and Hunting-Trail, published during his presidency. Originally published in 1888, the book recounts his visit to the west, particularly the Badlands of Dakota, along with telling about ranch life. The book includes 94 illustrations from the great western artist Frederic Remington. Priced at $95.

As long as we are reviewing presidential items, number 47 is the awfully titled The Life, Speeches, and Public Services of James A. Garfield, Including an account of his Assassination, Lingering Pain, Death and Burial. Garfield served one of America's shortest presidencies, being assassinated by a disappointed office-seeker just six months into office. Though his accomplishments, naturally, were few, he was very popular, explaining the morbidly sad title of this 1881 book. $40.

Charles Lyell was one of the world's most noted geologists of the 19th century. His belief was that geological processes in ancient times were similar to those today, meaning you could look at current geological events to interpret the meaning of evidence in stone from the distant past. He was a great influence on Charles Darwin, who used Lyell's theories to understand what he saw. However, Lyell was reluctant to accept Darwin's great theory of evolution, it conflicting with his own Christian beliefs. Nevertheless, he eventually came to give Darwin's theory at least his lukewarm endorsement. Item 177 is Lyell's The Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man, with Remarks on the Theories of The Origin of Species by Variation. Lyell's book was published in 1863, just four years after Darwin's work was first published. $95.

If you were planning to visit California a century ago, you would have needed California Hotels and Boarding Houses. This guide to where to stay in California in 1907 was published by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, which wished to have the honor of taking you there. Item 59. $45.

If you delayed your trip a few years, you could have picked up this keepsake at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. San Francisco, California, U.S.A., February 20 to December 5, 1915. This fair was designed to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal, as well as San Francisco's recovery from the great earthquake. Nothing remains today from this exposition besides memories, items like this, and the Palace of Fine Arts, though that building was totally rebuilt a few decades ago. Item 70. $19.50.

Here's another keepsake from a California attraction probably few people remember today: Gay's Lion Farm. This is a four-page folded brochure for a breeding farm and tourist attraction near El Monte, east of Los Angeles, which operated from 1925-1942. Item 63. $12. Or here's one straight outta Compton: The Incorporation of Compton. This is a 1963 typescript of the history of this community south of Los Angeles in very different times by historian Robert Cameron Gillingham. Item 79. $4.

Item 114 is a major report on America's natives as of 1890: Report on Indians Taxed and Indians Not Taxed in the United States (except Alaska) at the Eleventh Census: 1890. This exhaustive piece of research includes folding and full page maps along with hundreds of plates. Full color portraits of Sitting Bull and Washakie are among the many illustrations. $1,350.

You may reach Clark Rare Books at 405-307-0088 or info@clarkrarebooks.com.

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