Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2009 Issue

The West and More from Clark Rare Books

Clark939

The West and other places from Clark Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

Clark Rare Books has issued Catalog 939 of Americana, The West, and General. Clark has long specialized in books about the American West, though there are a few exceptions in here. Books about the Holy Land, Perry's opening of Japan, and the other Wyoming - Wyoming, Pennsylvania - attest to the fact that there are some non-Western titles. Still, most concern that rugged, untamed land of yesterday, the great frontier that drew Americans' imaginations to the pages of books such as those offered by Clark Rare Books.

Item 43 is a recent biography of the youngest member of the Lewis and Clark expedition: Sakagawea's Child: The Life and Times of Jean-Baptiste (Pomp) Charbonneau, by Susan Colby. The nickname was given him by William Clark. "Pomp's" father, French-Canadian trapper Toussaint Charbonneau, had been hired on as an interpreter. His Indian wife, Sacajawea, was also taken along for her ability to converse with, and seek assistance from, the Shoshone Indians they expected to meet along the way. Jean-Baptiste was born at Fort Mandan on the trip west. In the years following the expedition, after the death of Sacajawea and the return of Toussaint Charbonneau to the wild territory, Jean-Baptiste came under the care of Clark. Clark put him through school in St. Louis, and in 1823, he moved to Europe for a six-year stay. He became fluent in several languages before coming back to America in 1829. He then returned to the wilds, working as a trapper, scout, and because of his fluency in several languages, an ideal guide. Jean-Baptiste would also become friends with many of the legendary "Mountain Men" of the 1840s. He guided the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War to California, where he would be poised to participate in the Gold Rush. It does not appear that he made much money this way, but continued working in California until 1866, when he set off for the new gold fields of Montana. Unfortunately, he contacted pneumonia and died en route. This book is priced at $45.

When you start from California, it's hard to "go west," so George DeLong's expedition for the U.S. Navy went north. The purpose was to find a route to the North Pole, but they got trapped in sea ice well short of their destination. Item 93 is the official government report, Loss of the Steamer Jeanette. Record of the Proceedings of a Court of Inquiry, published in 1883. After 19 months of drifting in the ice, the Jeanette was crushed by its force. The men escaped in three small boats, one of which was lost, one of which was rescued, and one which made it to Siberia, where most of its travelers perished from cold and hunger, their commander included. $235.

A few years earlier, another American mission had attempted to reach the North Pole, with a similar lack of success, though not so many casualties. In 1871, the Polaris, under the leadership of Charles Francis Hall, attempted to reach the pole via the Atlantic. The positive outcome of this trip was that the Polaris reached father north than any ship had before. Just about everything else about this mission was not so impressive. Hall was not particularly well-suited for the job, and his micromanagement made enemies. In the midst of their attempts to go farther north by sledge, Hall became gravely ill. Suspicious of some of his mates, Hall refused their help, fearing he was being poisoned. Nevertheless, he continued to deteriorate, and within a few days he was gone. Apoplexy (stroke) was the official explanation, though his exhumation years later indicated arsenic poisoning. Command fell to others who were even less competent than Hall. A large group managed to get separated from the ship, and drifted almost 2,000 miles on an ice floe before being rescued. Meanwhile, the Polaris ran aground with the others, and it was not until the following summer that they made their way to safety. It is doubtful whether either group would have survived without the assistance of Inuit guides. Item 99 is Arctic Experiences: Containing Capt. George E. Tyson's Wonderful Drift on the Ice Floe, A History of the Polaris Expedition, Cruise of the Tigress, and Rescue of the Polaris Survivors, edited by E. Vale Blake, published in 1874. $135.

Item 192 was a plea on behalf of Kansas farmers from a wealthy New York inventor who traveled to this troubled place in 1860: The Prayer of Thaddeus Hyatt to James Buchanan, president of the United States, in behalf of Kansas...setting forth its deplorable destitution from drought and famine. Kansas had suffered terribly from the infighting of "Bleeding Kansas" in the late 1850s, as it became the first battleground between slavery and anti-slavery forces. It certainly did not need drought and crop failure on top of this, but that is what it got. Hyatt traveled to Kansas at the time, and personally oversaw the distribution of food, clothing, and money to its stricken residents. While this item pertains to his less controversial charitable works, it should be noted that Hyatt was also a strong abolitionist, a friend of John Brown who was imprisoned for refusing to answer questions to the Senate about the latter's movements prior to his raid on Harper's Ferry. Hyatt wrote letters agitating for abolition from his cell. $275.

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

You will find many of Clark's books listed in "Books For Sale" on this site. Click here.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Published Half Plate Ambrotype of a North Carolina Confederate Officer. $2,000 to $4,000
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    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two Books With Fore-Edge Paintings of British Architectual Landmarks. $400 to $600
    <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), "Torte a la Dobosch" from <i>Wild Raspberries</i>. $1,000 to $3,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990), <i>Pop Shop II,</i> One Plate screenprint in colors, on wove paper, 1998. $8,000 to $12,000
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