Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2005 Issue

The Old Southwest and a Few of Its Characters from Almagre Books

R0405

The Southwest, and further south, from Almagre Books.


By Michael Stillman

Almagre Books'
List 59A offers a collection of books about the American Southwest, along with South and Central America. The official title is New Mexico, Texas, and the Southwest. Mexico and Latin America. You might wonder how a collection of this sort ended up in the hands of a Bloomington, Indiana, bookseller. So do I. However, it doesn't really matter. If you find books from this area of interest, and I admit to being partial to the American Southwest, Almagre has over 500 to offer. You should definitely take a look. Here are a few, with a focus on those in the English language (many of the texts offered are in Spanish).

Item 123 has the innocent enough heading Headquarters, Dept. of New Mexico, Fort Craig, N.M. March 13th, 1862. General Order No. 18. This is a series of court-martials of New Mexico Volunteers following the Battle of Valverde. Texian troops were proceeding north along the Rio Grande in New Mexico, hoping to capture much of the West for the Confederacy. Union forces at Fort Craig, under Colonel E.R.S. Canby, were initially successful in intercepting the invaders. However, the Confederates battled back, and the Union forces were forced to retreat. Col. Canby blamed the defeat on New Mexico Volunteers. It was charged that they fled, instead of supplying other forces with assistance. Others feel responsibility for the defeat should lay with Canby himself, and that the volunteers, mostly ethnic Mexicans, were an easy target. Those convicted in the court-martial were sentenced to be shot to death, but most sentences were reduced to ten years imprisonment. Meanwhile, the Texans skirted Fort Craig, overran Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and headed for Fort Union in northern New Mexico. There, Union troops and Colorado volunteers held them at bay until, supplies destroyed, the Confederates were forced to retreat all the way back to Texas. Confederate dreams for the West died. This 1862 official printing is priced at $950.

William Ruschenberger was a naval surgeon, writer and scientist who served 38 years in the U.S. Navy. Somehow along the way, he found time to write several books about his voyages. Item 102 is not one of his books, but a letter he wrote to Jean Jacques Smith back in the states while stationed with the "Independence" in Valparaiso, Chile. The date is February 27, 1855, and Ruschenberger was making his first visit to Chile after an absence of many years. He laments, "I have just returned from a walk on shore very sad, for I find none of my old friends among the Chilians; I ask for my old sweethearts, those I saw last some seventeen years since; they are all dead, or gone off as mothers and grand mothers...." It's just as well. Better to remember them as they were seventeen years ago. Ruschenberger points out that prices have skyrocketed since he left, attributing it to wealth obtained from the California Gold Rush. He also notes that the newspapers are saying the "Yankees" are seeking to annex the entire Pacific coast, "from California to Tierra del Fuego" (the southern tip of South America). The fears must have seemed real, as the U.S. had taken California and the American Southwest from Mexico only a few years before. In a positive development, he points out that the law now imposes a fifty cent fine on anyone caught urinating on the outside of a house. A few of our cities might take heed. Item 102. $500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>

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