Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2017 Issue

The Southwest, North and South of the Border, from Almagre Books

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The Southwest and more.

Almagre Books has issued a catalogue of New Mexico and the Southwest, Texas and California, Mexico and Latin America. The subheading notes that it contains "books, pamphlets, broadsides, manuscripts, photographs, maps, prints." In other words, everything about the Southwest, both sides of the border included. Most of the material is either from or about the 19th and early 20th century. In it, you will meet cowboys, Indians, trappers, soldiers, lawmen, politicians, criminals, traders, ranchers, travelers, and those quiet people who had the greatest impact – settlers. This is an exciting selection of over 600 items for those who are fascinated by the Old West. Here are a few of them.

 

We begin with what is technically not a Southwest book, and yet it was essential to the existence of an American Southwest. The title, in French, is Histoire de la Louisiane et de la cession de cette colonie aux États-Unis de l'Amérique septentrionale, published in 1829. The author was Francois de Barbé-Marbois, who was the French negotiator of the Louisiana Purchase. This is his account of the sale that doubled the size of the United States, and created a new, long border with Mexico. That border proved too enticing to President Polk a decade and a half later to resist. He invaded Mexico and seized a large swath of adjacent territory. Call it Manifest Destiny. So was the American Southwest born. Item 79. Priced at $1,150.

 

While the Mexican War brought a large chunk of Mexico to the United States, the Civil War led to a fair number of Americans wanting to move to Mexico. A significant number of Southerners considered moving to Mexico after the Union defeated the Confederacy, fearing reprisals or simply not wanting to live in a reconstructed South. Some found support from the temporary, French imposed government of Emperor Maxmilian, others rejection. Ultimately, none of the colonies of Americans came to serious fruition. Item 135 is a Senate report, Message of the President Communicating...Information in Regards to Plans to Induce Immigration of Dissatisfied Citizens of the United States to Mexico, and Especially in Regard to the Plans of Dr. William M. Gwin and M. F. Maury, published in 1866. $125.

 

Another American expansionist was William Seward, a senator and later President Lincoln's Secretary of State. He is most famous for what was at the time called "Seward's Folly," the purchase of Alaska from Russia. For $7.2 million, America added 586,000 square miles of land, and a lot of oil, to its inventory. While Alaska was Seward's only purchase, he attempted to buy other territories, particularly in the Caribbean. Therefore, it is something of a surprise to see opposition to a purchase of Cuba expressed by Seward in this Thirty Million Bill Speech of William H. Seward. In the Senate of the United States, January 24, 1859. Indeed, Seward attempted to buy Cuba later. Nor was the price too high, even if this wouldn't have been the steal that was the Alaska Purchase. The issue was the timing. This was two years before the beginning of the Civil War, and the Cuba purchase was promoted by Southerners who wished to bring Cuba into the nation as a slave state. The abolitionist Seward wanted no part of that. After the war, when slavery was no longer a factor, Seward unsuccessfully sought to purchase Cuba. Item 161. $250.

 

Item 236 is a collection of nine "Wanted" posters from Texas, circa 1900-1912. Some contain rewards. Crimes charged included murder, armed robbery, army desertion, embezzlement, rape, burglary, selling whiskey on Sunday, and just being "a regular crook." Descriptions are provided for the scofflaws, such as for Joe Lightfoot (alias Claud Skipper). He "...don't talk much, can hardly get him into a conversation, has a tattoo of a woman's head said to be on left arm, and usually wears rubber stockings, something being the matter with his legs below the knees, caused from being shot in the legs..." $1,450.

 

Item 493 is an eight-panel brochure with photographs promoting Roswell, New Mexico. It is from the 1930's, and I can't imagine what Roswell was boosting at the time. Today, everything in Roswell promotes the 1947 landing of space aliens in the area, those small, wide-eyed creatures whose arrival the government covered up for years. At least, that's how the story goes, and Roswell plays it up to the hilt. What the city's claim to fame was before the flying saucer appeared is as much a mystery to me as those little space aliens themselves. $20.

 

Are you looking for a surefire way to make a fortune? No, the one-word answer isn't "plastics." It's "frogs." Item 180 is A Fortune in Frogs. It was published in 1934 by the repulsive sounding American Frog Canning Company. They can easily be raised in your backyard. Riches await. "Demand exceeds supply. New York and Chicago alone use over one hundred million (100,000,000) frogs a year..." What do they use them for? Seriously, did New Yorkers and Chicagoans consume 200 million frog legs a year in 1934? Did they not eat anything else? Were there McFrogs and Frog Legs Kings on every corner? The American Frog Canning Co. was run by Albert Broel out of New Orleans, and I suspect he is the only one who ever made any money from this scheme, he by selling instructions on frog farming. In 1936, Broel had to agree to a stipulation with the Federal Trade Commission that many of his claims were either incorrect or not supported by evidence, and I can't find any evidence of the company continuing in business by the 1940's. Evidently, tastes in New York and Chicago changed. $90.

 

Almagre Books of Santa Fe may be reached at 505-989-9462 or almagre@cybermesa.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Antiquarian Books<br>Including a series of views of Milan<br>September 27 to October 4</b></center>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Livius, Historia Romanae decades, Venice, Vindelinus de Spira, 1470, contemporary Morocco. €30,000 to €40,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Blaeu, Nieuw Stedeboeck van Italien (Piemont), The Hague, 1724-1725, 8 volumes, marbled calf gilt. €70,000 to €90,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Baysio, Rosarium decretorum, Venice, 1481, later vellum. €10,000 to €15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> [Niccolò da Poggibonsi], Viaggio da Venetia al santo Sepulchro, Venice, 1529, later half calf. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Hieronymus, Epistole [Italian], Ferrara, 1497, blue crushed morocco with the Rocco di Torrepadula arms. €12,000 to €15,000.
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript Americana<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Extensive archive of papers of Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> George Catlin, <i>North American Indian Portfolio,</i> 1844. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> The Twenty-Four Books of the Holy Scriptures, Carefully Translated…after the Best Jewish Authorities, Philadelphia, 1853-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript Americana<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Wedding book of Eleanor Roosevelt’s bodyguard, Earl Miller, signed by the Roosevelts, 1932. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Textile titled <i>The Resignation of Pres’t Washington,</i> Scotland, circa 1800. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Gideon Welles, Pass for President Lincoln’s White House funeral, 1865. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Confirmation of arms and nobility in favor of the Diez y Mora family, Madrid, 1710. $2,500 to $3,500.
  • <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> JOYCE, James. <i>Ulysses.</i> London: John Lane the Bodley Head, 1937. PRESENTATION COPY OF THE FIRST ENGLISH EDITION PRINTED IN ENGLAND. $50,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [SHACKLETON, Ernest]. –– BROWNING, Robert. <i>Poetical Works of…</i> London: Smith and Elder, 1906. PRESENTED TO SHACKLETON AND THE OFFICERS OF THE NIMROD BY A MEMBER OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> AUDUBON, John James. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York: George R. Lockwood, [1870]. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> ARISTOTLE. Opera, in Greek, parts one and two only: Organon and Natural Philosophy I. Edited by Aldus and others. Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1 November 1495–February 1498. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> COOK, James, Capt. [Collected Voyages]. First and Second Voyages: London: W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1773, 1777; Third Voyage: London: H. Hughes for G. Nicol and T. Cadell, 1785. $14,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne (“Mark Twain”). <i>The Writings of…</i> Hartford: American Publishing Co., 1899–1900. $12,000 to $16,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. SHAKESPEARE, William. <i>The Poems of…</i> Edited by Frederick S. Ellis. Hammersmith: William Morris for the Kelmscott Press, 1893. $12,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> LONDON, Jack. <i>The Call of the Wild.</i> New York: The Macmillan Company, 1905. PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY LONDON. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> CROWLEY, Aleister (1875–1947). <i>The Winged Beetle.</i> London: privately printed, 1910. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> WILDE, Oscar (“C.3.3.”). <i>The Ballad of Reading Gaol.</i> London: Leonard Smithers, January 1898. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> DRYDEN, John. <i>Fables Ancient and Modern; translated into verse from Homer, Ovid, Boccace, & Chaucer: with original poems.</i> London: John Tonson, 1700. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [MAP]. LINSCHOTEN, Jan Huygen van. <i>Delineatio Orarum Maritimarum…</i> London: John Wolfe, 1598. $3,000 to $4,000.

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