Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2011 Issue

California and the West Highlight the Argonaut Book Shop's Spring Catalogue

Argonautspring2011

Spring 2011 from Argonaut Books.

The Argonaut Book Shop of San Francisco issued a catalogue of Recent Acquisitions and Selections from Stock, Spring, 2011. There is no stated limitation to the type of material offered, but we can say that the concentration is heavily in western material, particularly California. And, within California, San Francisco and the gold fields are very well represented. You will find many books concerning the Gold Rush and the overland and sea journeys that brought fortune-seekers to this beautiful land. Fortunately, many travelers kept diaries of their arduous journeys to California, and while most were not published immediately, many came out in the years and decades following, often long after the writers had long departed for the gold fields of the non-earthly world.

 

As noted, there are a few items not related to California or western America. There is a copy of the first American edition of the "authorized translation" of Trotsky's book about Lenin. It would be hard to figure a connection between this book and the West, other than that long after it was published, Trotsky spent his final years in exile south of the border in Mexico, where Stalin's agents assassinated him. There is a copy of Sir Edward Belcher's The Last of the Arctic Voyages, an 1855 account of an attempt to find the lost Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin, in a land with very little in common with California. There are also a few pieces of important literature and art to be found. Nonetheless, most items do take us to the American West in an earlier, very different time. Here are a few.

 

Item 69 is the reminiscences of a man who made several journeys through the open west in the middle of the 19th century. William L. Manley crossed the Plains, took a raft down the Green River, and served as a guide for others during the Gold Rush. That led to his most dramatic, and most unpleasant adventure, which serves as the basis for the title of this 1894 book:  Death Valley in '49. He helped to lead a group of gold seekers who wished to follow a map of a new route they had been given, along the base of an east-west mountain range that would provide water and sustenance. Of course, no such range exists. Instead, they traversed dry and barren land in Nevada, before finally reaching a mountain range, half starved and dying of thirst. They thought it was the Sierra Nevada, with their destination on the other side. Instead, on the other side was Death Valley. Now facing enormous danger, the travelers sent Manley and another out to find help or an exit, while they waited by a spring. Somehow, the two scouts did manage to travel 250 miles on foot to reach a settlement, brought back supplies, and took most of the others out alive. Priced at $1,250.

 

It wasn't only Americans who trekked to the gold fields of California to get rich. There were some who actually traveled east to get there. Item 7 is Gold Fleet for California:  Forty-Niners from Australia and New Zealand, by Charles Bateson, published in 1964. It makes sense. They were farther away, but they had a straight shot by sea, something Americans from the east lacked. Argonaut describes this title as "A detailed and accurate look at the seven thousand Australian and New Zealanders who traveled to the California Gold Rush." $45.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> hand-painted collage. Sold for a record $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Couple passing a giant bird house,</i> watercolor cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1948. Sold for $16,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Miriam Troop, <i>Rain on Laundry Day,</i> oil on canvas, cover for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1940. Sold for $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Rockwell Kent, <i>To All Fascists,</i> ink broadside for The League of American Writers, circa 1937. Sold for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Jo Mielziner, <i>Pet Shop Drop,</i> backdrop design for <i>Pal Joey</i> on Broadway, 1940. Sold for a record $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Lee Brown Coye, acrylic cover illustration for the 25th anniversary of <i>Weird Tales,</i> 1944. Sold for $18,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Virgil Finlay, <i>The Outsider & Others,</i> pen & ink dust jacket illustration for H.P. Lovecraft's book, 1939. Sold for $5,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Al Hirschfeld, <i>Paul Robeson as Othello,</i> illustration for <i>The New York Times,</i> 1942. Sold for $68,750
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Frederic Remington, pen & ink illustration for <i>A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers</i> in <i>The Century</i> magazine, 1889. Sold for $17,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> EARLY AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE. Chronicling 20th century aviation from the earliest Wright Brothers images through commercial and military applications. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> FIRST TELEPHONE CALL TO THE MOON. Partial transcription signed by Apollo 11 astronauts and President Nixon. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> SPUTNIK-1 EMC/EMI LAB MODEL, 1957. Full scale vintage test model of the Sputnik-1 satellite, Moscow, [February, 1957]. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> Apollo 11 Beta cloth crew emblem, SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE APOLLO 11 CREW. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> GEMINI 1/8 SCALE MODEL. Rarely seen large-scale contractor's model. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.

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