Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2012 Issue

Texas and the West from Kenston Rare Books

Ageorgehang

Prisoner Andrew George came close to visiting the gallows.

Here is a subject you will not find too many books about: The History of Automobile Registration in Texas. This is a privately printed, stapled typescript from 1959, and while no printing location is stated, Kenston notes it was Ozona, Texas. You probably have nothing in your collection relating to Texas automobile registration, nor anything printed in Ozona. For $75, you can kill two birds with one book. Author R.K. Wimberley traces the history of registration and license plates from 1907-1957. Plates are described by color, numbers, and shapes. You can read this book while waiting in line at the Registry.

Item 186 is an unusual New Mexico piece (though printed in Chicago): Pecos Valley I New Mexico: Farme, Frugthaver of het Hjem; I et Land... This is a circa 1895 piece encouraging Danish emigration to the Pecos Valley of eastern New Mexico. The eight-panel folded piece, written in Danish, shows railway connections and irrigation plans from Roswell (this was before aliens appeared) to the Texas border. Unfortunately, the promoter, the Pecos Irrigation & Improvement Company, went bankrupt in 1898. However, there is a thriving agricultural community along the valley today, despite the area around it being bone dry. $125.

Item 100 is the story of A Texas Prisoner: Sketches of the Penitentiary, Convict Farms and Railroads Together with Poems and Illustrations. Author Andrew L. George was convicted of murder in 1884 and sentenced to be hanged. Fortunately, the Governor commuted the sentence to life, as it was later determined that George was an innocent man when another confessed to the crime. He was pardoned, whereupon he wrote this book, published in 1895. He refers to the aforementioned John Wesley Hardin, with whom he spent time in jail. George writes of how miserable prison is in an attempt to discourage boys from reaching a similar fate, but I am not sure how one protects himself from wrongful conviction. $400.

You may reach Kenston Rare Books at 214-526-7033 or info@kenstonrarebooks.com. Their website is www.kenstonrarebooks.com.

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