Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2016 Issue

Rare Accounts of Western America from Old West Books

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Books from the Old West.

Old West Books has published their Catalog 40 December 2016. It's not hard to guess what type of material they handle, but just in case, it's "rare, out of print books on the American West." While some books describe the classic names of the West (what western catalogue doesn't have something on Custer and Buffalo Bill?), there are also many accounts written by people most obscure. These are the ranchers, the Oregon travelers, the people who knew the Billy the Kids even if they weren't a Billy the Kid themselves. They are the observers, the reporters, and many lived in those days when the West was won, or perhaps, the Old West was lost. Here are a few.

 

We start with an odd and unusually rare item. The title is A Pioneer of Fifty-Three, by Mrs. S. Watson Hamilton, published in 1905. The 53 refers not to her age but to 1853, when she traveled from Iowa to Oregon with her family. She was just 14 when she went, and she recounts the hardships and challenges they faced, the lack of organized authority, escaping a trap set up by Indians, lost for weeks in central Oregon, and having to cross the Cascades now covered in snow, exhausted, hungry and ill. Ironically, they had undertaken the trip to live in a climate where there was no winter as they had known it in Iowa. In an unusual twist, Mrs. Hamilton recounts her tale in verse. I guess this is something of an epic, or semi-epic poem. As for the rarity, Howes' Usiana states that only three copies survived the burning of the author's home. Eberstadt was a bit more generous, claiming four copies survived. Evidently, her house burned down while Mrs. Hamilton was delivering the few surviving copies to friends. However, the presentation on this copy is signed on behalf of the author by Dr. S. Hamilton, presumably a relative. Item 38. Priced at $4,750.

 

How tough was that journey to Oregon? Evidently tougher than many of us who played the Oregon Trail game realize. Here is another account: David S. Maynard and Catherine T. Maynard. Biographies of two of the Immigrants of 1850, edited by Thomas Prosch, published in 1906. According to the Preface, "The Overland Narrative is in day-by-day form, and the journey was a hard one indeed. The immigrants tired of themselves and of each other, stretching out these conditions for a period of five months, drove some of the participants into suicide, others into insanity, and left many a physical wreck for whom there was no possibility of recovery." Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln... The Maynards were involved in the beginnings of the Washington Territory, traveled to California in 1851, and had to battle Indians. Item 79. $350.

 

General George Armstrong Custer was a great American hero until things went terribly wrong at Little Big Horn. The massacre of Custer and his men, and questions of why he was there in the first place, severely tarnished his reputation. Custer's penchant for self-promotion undoubtedly made the fall from grace that much more dramatic when he proved not to be invincible. His widow, Elizabeth, spent the last 50+ years of her life trying to rehabilitate his reputation, but once she was gone, there was no one left to counter the image Custer had become. That was until Brice Custer wrote this book in 1999: The Sacrificial Lion. George Armstrong Custer From American Hero to Media Villain. Brice was George's closest living relative at the time (he died in 2007). George had no children, nor did two of his brothers. Only his youngest brother kept the name alive. Brice was George's great grand nephew. Brice also served in the military, flying airplanes and obtaining a degree in nuclear engineering, subsequently being assigned to the Physics Department at the Air Force Academy. George rode horses and fired rifles. Times change. Still, Brice's reaction to the characterizations of his great grand uncle are more from the gut, as he defends Custer's reputation against all the assaults and negative depictions that evolved about the man. Item 14. This copy is signed by the author. $45.

 

Speaking of General Custer, item 18 is a biography of a man who claimed to be the first white man to see the Custer Battlefield after the its namesake's disastrous last stand. It is Life and Adventures of Frank Grouard, by Joe Debarthe, published in 1894. Grouard was the son of a Mormon missionary and Polynesian woman he met while serving a mission in the Pacific. He was raised in Utah, but at age 15, ran away. After working as a stage driver and mail rider, he was captured by the Sioux at the age of 19. He was said to have been adopted as a brother by Sitting Bull, but after seven or eight years in captivity, he escaped. He became a scout for General Crook, and it was at the time of the Battle of Little Big Horn that he read smoke signals which revealed that Custer was being overwhelmed. Others were unconvinced, but according to Grouard, he rode all day to the battlefield site, the first white man to discover what had happened. He continued in his role with the army and was present at the Wounded Knee Massacre. $2,250.

 

Item 65 is the rare first edition of Life of the Marlows as Related by Themselves, published in 1892. The Marlows were five brothers, one of whom accidentally killed a sheriff. He managed to escape, but was killed by bounty hunters. The other four brothers were arrested and jailed. They, too, attempted escape. Two of them survived to write this book, Charles and George Marlow, the other two did not. Howes explains, "Five respected, but nomadic, brothers, caught in a conspiracy concocted by a Texas sheriff, had to shoot it out with the county's entire male population. Only the two writing the story survived." They were exonerated. This book became the basis for the John Wayne film, The Sons of Katie Elder." $52,500.

 

Old West Books may be reached at 719-260-6030 or oldwestbooks@earthlink.net. Their website is www.oldwestbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> FIRST EDITION, first issue, 8vo, 1997. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Bible, Italian.- Malermi Bible, woodcut illustrations, folio, Lazaro de Soardi & Bernardino Benali, Venice,1517. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Germany.- Homann (Johann Baptist). <i>Atlas von Deutschland,</i> engraved half title, hand coloured, 87 double page engraved maps, [folio, Erben, Nuremberg, 1753]. £8,000 to £10,000
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> [Mirk (John)].- <i>Liber festivalis et Quatuor sermons</i> [bound with], [Le Roy (Pierre)] <i>A Pleasant Satyre or Poesie,</i> first edition in English, Widdow Orwin for Thomas Man, 1595, 8vo. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Antoninus Florentinus (Saint Archbishop of Florence). <i>Confessionale: Defecerunt…,</i> 8vo, Pietro Quarengi, Venice, 15 February 1499. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Jesuit Letters.- [Froes (Father Luigi) & et al.)] Avvisi del Giapone de gli anni 1582, 1583, 1584…, 1586 [bound with] Avvisi della Cina et Giapone…, FIRST EDITIONS, Rome. £1,000 to £1,500
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Plutarch & Probus (Aemilius). <i>Plutarchi Cheronei et Aemilii Probi Illustrium,</i> folio, Nicolas de Pratis for Jean-Petit, Paris, 1521. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Bible.- English. <i>The Byble in Englyshe of the Largest and Greatest volume,</i> elaborate woodcut border, text vignettes, folio, 1541. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Fore-edge Painting.- Lord George Byron, The Giaour, a Fragment of a Turkish Tale, bound with 10 other titles, 4 plates marked 'Proof.', 1813. £800 to £1,200
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Manson (John). Twelve by Sixteen Papers of John Mason, a collection of 50 sheets of paper, some watermarked, 12 x 16”, c.1978. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Fleming (Ian). <i>Dr. No,</i> FIRST EDITION, original boards, dust-jacket, 8vo, 1958. £700 to £900
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Eliot (T.S.) <i>Four Quartets,</i> NUMBER 121 of 290 COPIES, signed by author, 1960. £400 to £600
  • <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> 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> 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> 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.
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Dubliners,</i> first edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, 1914. £100,000 to £150,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> The Beatles.- Baker (Geoffrey.) 3 Autograph Letters and 1 Autograph Card signed to Ann Gosnell, addtionally sgn’d by George Harrison, John Lennon, Cynthia Lennon and others, 1968. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Pilgrim Press.- Dod (John). <i>A plaine and familiar exposition of the tenne commandements ...,</i> [Leiden], [William Brewster], 1617. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Automaton Chess Player & Mechanical Illusion.- Reynell (H., printer). “The Famous Chess-Player, No.14, St.James's-Street, next Brooks's,” broadside advertisement for "The famous Automaton", [1784]. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Clemens (Samuel Langhorne). <i>Life on the Mississippi,</i> first English edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, 1883. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Arctic Sledge Flag.- Fulford (Reginald Baldwin). Sledge flag... HMS Discovery, 1875. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> first edition, first printing, 1997. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Piranesi (Giovanni Battista). <i>Le Antichità Romane,</i> 4 vol., 1756. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal, called). <i>Urbis Venetiarum Prospectus Celebriores,</i> 3 parts in 1, Richard Ford's copy, Venice, Giovanni Battista Pasquali, 1751. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Atlases.- Speed (John). <i>A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World,</i> bound with <i>The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine,</i> 1631-27. £12,000 to £18,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Anatomical illustration.- Aselli (Gaspare). <i>De lactibus sive lacteis venis... dissertatio,</i> first edition, Milan, Giovanni Battista Bidelli, 1627. £20,000 to £30,000

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