Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2010 Issue

Books on the West from Gene W. Baade

Baade1110

From the West by Gene W. Baade.


By Michael Stillman

From Gene W. Baade we have received his Catalogue 1110 of Books on the West. For those wondering about that number, Baade publishes a lot catalogues, but not that many. The numbering system is based on dates, not chronologically assigned. However, the books are based on dates. Some are old, some recent, but they almost all pertain to that period when the West was still young, the 19th or early 20th century. Here are some items from Baade's latest trip back in time.

Here is an autobiography by one of those remarkable western characters from the turn of the century, John R. "Jack" Abernathy: Catch 'Em Alive Jack. The Life and Adventures of an American Pioneer, published in 1936. Abernathy was noted for catching wolves - alive, as the title suggests. He would catch 'em barehanded, wiring their jaws tight so they couldn't bite. That's quite a feet, not one we would recommend trying at home. It was such a feat that President Theodore Roosevelt, quite an outdoorsman himself, had to meet Jack and participate in one of his wolf hunts. Roosevelt traveled to Oklahoma to hunt with Abernathy in 1905, and while he was not able to capture any wolves barehanded, he was one of the few who could keep up in the saddle with Jack. The President was so impressed he appointed Abernathy a U.S. Marshal. By 1936, Jack wouldn't have been catching too many wolves with his hands any longer, but they were still fast enough to write a book. Item 2. Priced at $135.

We usually think of western criminals as gunfighters, shooting their way out of banks they have robbed. This was not the case with Jefferson "Soapy" Smith. Smith was a confidence man, setting up various ways of defrauding trusting but naïve citizens of their money. He frequently used variations on the three-card monte scheme. The one from which he derived his nickname involved tying bills to bars of soap, covering them with paper, then shuffling them around and offering the bars for sale. Smith was fast enough to exchange the ones with money for others. Meanwhile, he would have a few shills in the audience who would buy the good ones, and display their "winnings" to the crowd. Onlookers would be suckered in to buy his soap bars, but naturally, they would never be ones containing money. Smith rose to be a leader in the world of crime, expanding to illegal gambling, prostitution and the like in Denver. When he was driven away, he set up shop in the gold rush mining town of Creede, Colorado, and eventually another gold rush town, Skagway, Alaska, in the late 1890s. However, it was there that Soapy became involved in a confrontation that quickly got out of hand, and he was shot and killed. Smith's story is recounted in Soapy Smith. King of the Frontier Con Men, by Frank G. Robertson, published in 1961. Item 128. $19.50.

Another man who became a legend of the Old West for the wrong reasons was Alfred Packer. In the middle of the winter of 1873, Packer and 20 other men were situated in Montrose, Colorado, looking to make the trek to Gunnison. There is a nice highway between those two cities today, but even so, you wouldn't want to chance the trip during bad winter weather. It was foolhardy to do so in 1873. Nonetheless, Packer and four others left Montrose on February 9. Months later, Packer arrived; the others did not. According to Packer, they became lost and snowbound. Packer went out on a scouting mission, only to return to find one of the men, Shannon Bell, cooking the others. He then shot Bell. The law did not believe Packer's story, believing he was the killer and cannibal. Packer was sentenced to 40 years, but was later paroled. It remains a question whether Packer was the instigator, or returned to find another's cannibalism. Item 54 is The Case of Alfred Packer. The Man-Eater. An Unsolved Mystery of the West, by Paul H. Gantt, published in 1952. $45.

Georgia O'Keeffe was born in 1887 and grew up in Wisconsin, an unexpected start for one of America's most noted western artists. Her art was first exhibited in New York in the teens by famed photographer Alfred Steiglitz, who would later be her husband. By the 1920s, O'Keeffe had become one of America's most successful painters. However, her western art would not come until after a New Mexico visit, which led to her spending much time there after 1930, eventually settling in the state. Over the next couple of decades, she became noted for her western art. However, this book has little to do with the period of her greatest work. Item 113 is Miss O'Keeffe, by Christine Patten and Alvaro Cardona-Hine, published in 1992. Miss Patten, an artist herself, came to work for Miss O'Keeffe as a caretaker in 1983. The latter was then 96 years old. The book provides a look at the artist in her very old age, needing much assistance, half-blind and barely able to paint, and with her affairs run by Juan Hamilton, another artist she had hired, who some people felt took advantage of the old lady. This was a difficult time for O'Keeffe, who loved her independence, but now had to rely on hired caretakers to survive. The fact that she was worth tens of millions of dollars with no obvious heirs naturally complicated matters. Miss Patten left after 18 months, but Miss O'Keefe lived to be 99. $7.50.

Gene W. Baade Books on the West may be reached at 425-271-6481 or bookwest@eskimo.com. The website is www.booksonthewest.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Walt Whitman. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> First edition, first issue, SIGNED in block letters by Whitman. 1855. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Isaac Newton's copy of John Greave's <i>Pyramidographia,</i> London, 1646. $50,000 to $70,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Colonel John Mosby. Robert E. Lee's autograph letter to Samuel Cooper reporting on Mosby's exploits, with Cooper's autograph note ordering his appointment to Major.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Gyula Halasz Brassai. Large archive of autograph and typed letters, over 260, to his family including his wife Gilberte, 1947-1978. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Archive of drawings and letters from Harper Lee to Charles Carruth, including an inscribed first edition of <i>To Kill a Mockingbird.</i> $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> VESALIUS, ANDREAS. 1514-1564. <i>De humani corporis fabrica libri septem.</i> Basel: Johannes Oporinus, June 1543. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. 1578-1657. <i>De motu cordis & sanguinis in animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Leiden: Joannis Maire, 1639. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> BERENGARIO DA CARPI, GIACOMO. 1460-1530. <i>Isagogae breves perlucide ac uberrimae in Anatomiam humani corporis.</i> Bologna: Benedictus Hectoris, 15 July 1523. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790. <i>Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America…</i> London, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> BENIVIENI, ANTONIO. 1443-1502. <i>De abditis nonnullis ac mirandis morborum et sanationum causis.</i>Florence: Filippo Giunta, 1507. $8,000 to $12,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, <i>El Ingenioso Hildalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha . . . Nueva Edición,</i> first Ibarra edition, Madrid, 1780. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Illuminated Prayer Book in Latin and French, France, 1530-40s. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin, France, mid-15th century. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b><br><i>Die Ernsthaffte Christenpflicht,</i> earliest known edition of the first complete Mennonite prayer book, 1708. $300 to $500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Georg Agricola, <i>De ortu & causis subterraneorum Lib V.,</i> first edition, Basel, 1546. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Frederick Ruysch, <i>Icon durae matris in concava [convexa] superficie visae,</i> with 2 mezzotints by Jan Ladmiral, first edition, Amsterdam, 1737. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, <i>Eine Neue Art von Strahlen,</i> Würzburg, 1895. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Pietro Carrera, <i>Il Gioco de gli Scacchi,</i> first edition, Militello, 1617. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> William Lithgow, <i>The Totall Discourse, of the Rare Adventures</i> [etc.], London, 1632. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Michel de Nostradamus, <i>The True Prophecies or Prognostications,</i> first complete edition in English, London, 1672. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Pseudo-Methodius, <i>De revelatione facta . . . beato Methodio,</i> Basel, 1504. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Hrabanus Maurus, <i>De laudibus sancte crucis opus,</i> Pforzheim, 1503. $1,000 to $2,000.
  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Autographs & Memorabilia. February 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Autograph album featuring signatures by prominent actors, politicians, musicians and authors, including Rudolph Valentino. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> An extremely rare working radio script for Crazy People No 29, the first series of <i>The Goon Show.</i> £600 to £800
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Manuscript prayer book, in German. 8vo, 1755 £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Italian Manuscript on Geometry, with diagrams, 18th century. £500 to £700
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Ornithology, Zoology & Voyages. February 27, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Thorburn (Archibald). Sparrowhawk, original watercolour & gouache, signed & dated lower right, 1917. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Burton (Sir Richard Francis). <i>Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah.</i> 3 vol., FIRST EDITION, 1855-56. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> [Mount (Richard) & Page (Thomas)]. <i>The English Pilot. Describing the Sea-Coasts…</i> 31 engraved maps, W. & J. Mount, T. Page, 1756 £4000 to £6000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Ornithology, Zoology & Voyages. February 27, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> D’apres De Mannevillette (Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Denis). <i>Le Neptune Oriental.</i> Paris & Brest, [1775 – 1781]. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Loring (Josiah). Terrestrial Globe Containing all the Late Discoveries and Geographical Improvements. Boston, Gilman Joslin, 1846, £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Shelley (G. E., Capt.). <i>A Monograph of the Nectariniidae, or Family of Sun-birds,</i> FIRST EDITION, by the Author, 1876-80. £4,000 to £6,000
  • <b>Bonhams: Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part VII (Online). March 6-14, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Albert Einstein A remarkable letter on God in English, one of his most eloquent and quoted, 1 p, July 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Benjamin Lincoln's commission as Major General in the Continental Army, February 19th, 1777. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Broadside. A Poem Upon the Bloody Engagement That Was Fought on Bunker's-Hill. 1775. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Early, full printing of the Star-Spangled Banner in The Yankee, October 7, 1814. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Paul Revere. Engraving, “The Boston Massacre Perpetrated on March 5, 1770," in <i>Massachusett's Calendar 1772.</i> $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams: Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part VII (Online). March 6-14, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Earliest known newspaper coverage of Babe Ruth, "a St Mary's schoolboy," Baltimore, April 4, 1914. $6,000 to $9,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Franklin, Benjamin. <i>The Independent Whig.</i> First Magazine Published in America, Philadelphia: Keimer, 1723-4. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Smith, Joseph. <i>The Book of Mormon.</i> Palmyra: Printed by E.B. Grandin for the Author, 1830. First printing. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Last Words of Joseph Smith. Autograph Letter Signed from a Mormon disciple, conveying a contemporary account of the Prophet's final words, Nauvoo, July 27, 1844. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> John Brown's Body. Autograph Letter Signed from the daughter of John Brown attempting to arrange the return of her father's body, North Elba, Essex Co, NY, November 29, 1859. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Powell Expedition. Autograph diary of Rhodes C. Allen kept during the Powell Expedition of 1868, June 29, 1868 - November 16, 1868. $20,000 to $40,000

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions