Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2010 Issue

The American West and Other Things from the Argonaut Book Shop

A holiday catalogue from the Argonaut Book Shop.


By Michael Stillman

The latest catalogue from the Argonaut Book Shop is titled Recent Acquisitions and Selections from Stock. Holiday Season, 2010. That doesn't exactly tell us very much about what to expect inside. We will provide a little help. It is primarily filled with books relating to the western states of America, and early travel to and exploration of that region. There are some exceptions, but that's a decent short description of what you will find inside. Let's take a look.

Most people undoubtedly are familiar with the first great exploration into the Louisiana Territory by Lewis and Clark, and many are familiar with the second, by Zebulon Pike. The third is not so well remembered. Item 16 is Edwin James' account of that journey, published in 1823: Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains, Performed in the Years 1819 and 20… Under the Command of Major Stephen H. Long. Long was sent up the Missouri River by steamboat to explore the Yellowstone, but after stopping to winter over, President Monroe sent him a change of directions. Instead, he headed west of the Missouri, across the Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains. He attempted to reach the source of the Red River but did not succeed. Nonetheless, Long's expedition came back with much in the way of geographic and scientific data, as well as information about the area Indian tribes. However, Long made one major miscalculation, though it was not unreasonable at the time. He labeled the territory ranging from Oklahoma to Kansas, Nebraska, and eastern Colorado the "Great Desert," and concluded it was unsuitable for settlement. It was better suited to be a buffer between America and the Spanish colonies to the south. Certainly the territory was sparse by typical American standards of the day - no trees for wood and dry soil not easily employed for farming. It was also completely isolated from the rest of America in terms of transportation and communication. Nevertheless, within a few decades, immigrants would settle the land and make it part of America's farm belt. Priced at $2,500.

Forty-five years later, Samuel Bowles would take his party even farther west, though by this time there were trails to follow. His account is presented in item 36: Across the Continent: A Summer's Journey to the Rocky Mountains, the Mormons, and the Pacific States, with Speaker Colfax. Speaker Colfax was Schuyler Colfax, Speaker of the House of Representatives at the time and the first vice-president under President Grant. Celebrating the end of the Civil War, Speaker Colfax and the others set out on May 21, 1865, from Kansas, crossing the Rockies, passing through Salt Lake, crossed the empty spaces of Nevada, and eventually made their way to San Francisco. From there it was up the coast overland to British Columbia, back to San Francisco by steamer, on to Yosemite, and all the way back to New York by the end of September. Author Bowles was the Editor of the Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican and the book consists of his letters back to that newspaper. $275.

It was a very different San Francisco than the one seen by Bowles and Colfax that hosted the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915. The fair was designed to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal, but San Francisco was also intent on showing its recovery from the devastating earthquake less than 10 years earlier. Some of the latest technology, such as coast-to-coast telephone communications, was on display. Item 196 is one of 35 specially bound copies of The Legacy of the Expedition… prepared for important people, this one for C.S. Stanton, a Director of the Exposition. Printing was by the notable San Francisco fine printer John Henry Nash. The publication includes 17 large photographs of the exposition plus one 8" x 40" panorama. The panorama was taken on "Taft Day," and features the former President and other dignitaries in front of a big audience. A panorama photograph was understandable for Taft as he was a very large man. $125.

Item 4 is a copy of the first book with Ansel Adams' photographs, a follow-up to his Parmelian Prints portfolio. The work is Taos Pueblo, and it features not only Adams' photographs by the words of noted Southwestern writer Mary Hunter Austin. The book was printed by the Grabhorn Press in 1930, and is signed by both Adams and Austin. It is #29 of a limited edition of 108 copies. It contains 12 photographs of the Taos Indian pueblo (sort of an ancient apartment complex) and sold for the huge Depression-era price of $75 (it sold out). Adams was only 28 years old at the time, but his reputation was growing rapidly. $40,000.

The Argonaut Book Shop may be reached at 415-474-9067 or ArgonautSF@PacBell.net. Their website is www.argonautbookshop.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 546. Christoph Jacob Trew. Plantae selectae, 1750-1773.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 70. Thomas Murner. Die Narren beschwerung. 1558.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 621. Michael Bernhard Valentini. Museum Museorum, 1714.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 545. Sander Reichenbachia. Orchids illustrated and described, 1888-1894.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1018. Marinetti, Boccioni, Pratella Futurism - Comprehensive collection of 35 Futurist manifestos, some of them exceptionally rare. 1909-1933.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 634. August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof. 3 Original Drawings, around 1740.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 671. Jacob / Picasso. Chronique des Temps, 1956.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1260. Mary Webb. Sarn. 1948. Lucie Weill Art Deco Binding.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 508. Felix Bonfils. 108 large-format photographs of Syria and Palestine.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 967. Dante Aligheri and Salvador Dali. Divina Commedia, 1963.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1316. Tolouse-Lautrec. Dessinateur. Duhayon binding, 1948.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1303. Regards sur Paris. Braque, Picasso, Masson, 1962.
  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: McCarthy (Cormac). Cities of the Plain, N.Y., 1998, First Edn., signed on hf. title; together with Uncorrected Proof and Uncorrected Advance Reading Copies, both signed by the Author. €800 to €1,000.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Stanihurst (Richard). De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis, Libri Quattuor, sm. 4to Antwerp (Christi. Plantium) 1584. First Edn. €525 to €750.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Fleischer (Nat.) Jack Dempsey The Idol of Fistiana, An Intimate Narrative, N.Y., 1929, First Edn. Signed on f.e.p. by Rocky Marciano. €400 to €600.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Smith - Classical Atlas, Lond., 1820. Bound with, Smiths New General Atlas .. Principal Empires, Kingdoms, & States throughout the World, Lond. 1822. €350 to €500.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Rare Auction Catalogues – 1856: Bindon Blood, of Ennis, Co. Clare: Sotheby & Wilkinson. €320 to €450.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: [Mavor (Wm.)] A General Collection of Voyages and Travels from the Discovery of America to the Commencement of the Nineteenth Century, 28 vols. (complete) Lond., 1810. €300 to €400.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Mc Carthy (Cormac). Outer Dark, N.Y. (Random House)1968, Signed by Mc Carthy. €250 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Three signed works by Ted Huges - Wodwo, 1967; Crow from the Life and Songs of the Crow, 1970; and Tales from Ovid, 1997. €200 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: The Garden. An Illustrated Weekly Journal of Horticulture in all its Branches, 7 vols. lg. 4to Lond. 1877-1880. With 127 colored plates. €200 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Procter (Richard A.) Saturn and its System: Containing Discussions of The Motion (Real and Apparent)…, Lond. 1865. First Edn. €160 to €220.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: [Ashe] St. George, Lord Bishop of Clogher, A Sermon Preached to the Protestants of Ireland, now in London,... Oct. 23, 1712, London 1712. Second Edn. €130 to €180.
  • Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [RUTH, George Herman “Babe” (1895-1948)]. Signed photograph. Circa 1930s. 191 x 248 mm. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HARRISON, Benjamin. Document signed (“Benj Harrison”) as governor of Virginia, certifying the service of Daniel Cumbo, a Black Revolutionary soldier. $6,000 to $9,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: ONE OF THE FIRST PRINTED ANNOUNCEMENTS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: FIRST PRINTING OF LINCOLN’S IMMORTAL GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HIGHLY IMPORTANT MORMON ARCHIVE. ALLEY, George. Archive of 23 Autograph Letters Signed by Mormon Convert George Alley to His Brother Joseph Alley. $10,000 to $20,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [AVIATION]. [ARMSTRONG, Neil A.] Aviation Hall of Fame Gold Medal MS64 NGC, Awarded to Neil Armstrong in 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: NEWLY DISCOVERED FIRST PRINTING OF "WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE... " FROM THE ONLY NEWSPAPER ACTUALLY ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN LINCOLN’S SECOND INAUGURAL PROCESSION. $4,000 to $8,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: THE MOST IMPORTANT GEORGE WASHINGTON DOCUMENT IN PRIVATE HANDS; GEORGE WASHINGTON’S COMMISSION AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF, 1775, ONE OF ONLY TWO ORIGINALS. $150,000 to $250,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: A VERY RARE ACCOUNT OF BLACKBEARD’S DEATH AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PIRATE ITEMS EXTANT. $3,000 to $5,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: EDISON, Thomas. Patent for Edison’s Improvements on the Electric-Light, No. 219,628. [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent Office], 16 September 1879. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [VIETNAM WAR]. The original pen used by Secretary of State William P. Rogers to sign the Vietnam Peace Agreement, Paris, 27 January 1973. $10,000 to $15,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: SONS OF LIBERTY FOUNDER COLONEL BARRÉ ANNOTATED TITLE-PAGE, “WHICH OUGHT TO ROUSE UP BRITISH ATTENTION”. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions