Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2009 Issue

Custer, Wounded Knee, and the West from Old West

Oldwest25

Wounded Knee and other western subjects are featured in Old West's latest catalogue.


By Michael Stillman

Old West Books has released their 25th catalogue of Rare, Out of Print Books on the American West. It is divided into sections on Custer, Wounded Knee, and everything else. The Old West may have gone the way of the stagecoach, cattle drive, and timely rail service, but it lives on in the pages of this catalogue. Here is your chance to travel back to the days of cowboys and cattle rustlers, lawmen and outlaws, soldiers and Indians, and buffalo as far as the eye can see. Here are a few items to be discovered in this newest look at the Old West.

Here is an ironic title from the last great battle of the Indian wars: The Wounded of the Wounded Knee Battle With Remarks on Wounds Produced by Large and Small Caliber Bullets. This is the first separate printing (1892) of an article that originally appeared in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. This work provides a collection of case studies from the attending physician at the battlefield, Charles Ewing. It includes names and details of injuries, including a description of amputating an Indian woman's leg on a table covered with hailstones. This copy is inscribed by the author. Item 4. Priced at $975.

Now here's a look at Wounded Knee from a different perspective. While the last great Indian battle, Wounded Knee was actually more a massacre, with overwhelmed and defenseless Indians being butchered on the snow-covered Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota. Item 40 is a revealing letter from January 15, 1891, two weeks after the massacre, written by the former Indian agent for the reservation, Valentine McGillycuddy. McGillycuddy had served as Indian Agent until 1886. The recipient of the letter was General Leonard Colby of the Nebraska National Guard. Colby and his troops were sent to protect northern Nebraska settlements from any fighting that might spill over the Dakota border from the battle, but it was so quick and one-sided that this never happened. Colby did proceed to Wounded Knee after the fighting, which is likely where he received this letter. McGillycuddy spells out many of the causes of the uprising, noting the repeated breaking of treaties by American officials, failure to provide promised food that led to near starvation, and the incompetence and ignorance of his successors as Indian Agent. $7,500.

Item 98 is the story of Utah's first white settler, and no, he was not Brigham Young or one of the Mormon settlers. His name was Miles Goodyear, a 19-year-old orphan who arrived in Utah in 1836 with the Whitman-Spaulding missionary party. Goodyear decided to stick around, becoming a trapper and one of the legendary mountain men of the era. He then built a fort on the Weber River, which he named "Fort Buenaventura." He was there to meet the arriving Mormon pioneers, and encouraged them to settle along the river. Brigham Young chose a site to the south instead. However, the Mormons later purchased the fort, and developed the city now known as Ogden on the site (the fort is now a state park and Goodyear's home still stands at a separate location). After the sale, Goodyear moved on to California and participated in the early days of the Gold Rush, but died in 1849 at the age of 32. The book is entitled Miles Goodyear First Citizen of Utah; Trapper, Trader and California Pioneer, by Charles Kelly and Maurice Howe. It was published in 1937 in a limited edition of 350 copies. This one is signed by Howe. $450.

Tom Horn was a lawman, detective, Pinkerton agent, scout, soldier, and agent for some cattle companies. He was a man who pushed the envelope in pursuit of his version of justice. It was in his role as private detective and agent that he went too far, reportedly killing a number of thieves and cattle rustlers. It was his representation of wealthy special interests that made him unpopular with average citizens. This unpopularity would come to a head in 1901, when Willie Nickell, the 14-year-old son of a smalltime rancher, was murdered. Suspicion quickly fell to Tom Horn, who stuck both feet in his mouth during a two-day, boasting-filled drunken confession. Item 89 is Life of Tom Horn Government Scout and Interpreter Written By Himself Together With His Letters And Statements By His Friends A Vindication. Perhaps this 1904 book vindicated him, but it was too late for practical effect. He was hanged in 1903 for the murder of Nickell. There is serious doubt as to whether Horn murdered the young man, but that didn't bother the people of Wyoming too much because while he may not have murdered Nickell, he surely murdered a few others for whom he was never tried. $575.

Old West Books may be reached at 719-260-6030 or oldwestbooks@earthlink.net. Their website is www.oldwestbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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>

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