Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2018 Issue

The West Mostly as It Was from Old West Books

9a0dee3b-577d-4240-ae32-5fd88227ab26

Books from the Old West.

Old West Books has published their Catalog 44 - July 2018 of Rare, Out of Print Books on the American West. These are not so much the sensational type of books we often associate with the West, exaggerated tales of gunfighters and legendary outlaws whose names we still remember today. Rather, we have more in the way of factual accounts, many coming from soldiers and officers who drove the Indians from their land, and researchers who attempted to piece together the West's past as it truly was. That is not to say their views were not colored by their own preconceived notions. Many books refer to Indians as "savages," but I'm still looking to find one that refers to the people who took their land that way. However, they were true, at least from their own perceptions, rather than attempts to be sensational instead of accurate. Here are a few of them.

 

We start with a book that is not particularly valuable on its own but for the inscription within. The title is General Armstrong Custer by Frederick Dellenbaugh, published in 1917. No, it isn't inscribed by General Custer. He died young. Rather, it is inscribed by his wife, Elizabeth Custer, who outlived him by more than half a century. It is safe to say this book is favorable to the General or Elizabeth would not have touched the thing. She wrote several glowing books about her husband, but they were not intentional exaggerations. She believed every good thing ever said about him to her core. She was intensely loyal, if not totally objective. In her inscription, Mrs. Custer writes, "Two of General Custer's guiding mottos from boyhood were Do not cross bridges till you come to them. Do not cry for spilt milk." Actually, when Custer reached his bridge, he should not have crossed it at all. Included with the book is Mrs. Custer's calling card and a hand-written note. Item 42. Priced at $1,750. Item 43 is a second copy of this book without Mrs. Custer's inscription or memorabilia. $40.

 

This next book was inscribed to Mrs. Custer, rather than by her. The author is Ellen McGowan Biddle, who followed her army officer husband all over the West. James Biddle was a brevet brigadier general during the Civil War, but went back to being a colonel after it was over. Mrs. Biddle's husband did not achieve the fame of Mrs. Custer's husband. However, he did live to be 77 years of age, more than double what Custer reached, a fair enough trade-off. Col. Biddle served in the South during Reconstruction, but then was sent west. Ellen Biddle provides an account of what life was like for an army wife on the frontier, being assigned at various places from Texas to California. It was not an easy life, but she focuses much on the positive things, the friendliness of many of the people she met along the way, the beauty of the scenery. This is an example of a book that attempts to be honest, from her perspective, rather than sensational. She inscribed the book to Elizabeth Custer for Christmas 1912. Item 7. $975.

 

Next we have a biography of a man who saw the West from a different perspective. Item 99 is My People The Sioux, by Luther Standing Bear. He should not be confused with other Standing Bears, including the notable Ponca of the same name. In Luther's case, Standing Bear essentially became the family last name. Standing Bear lived a remarkable life, well-versed in both Sioux and white culture. He was born in 1868, so he experienced native culture before completely confined to the Reservation. However, at age 11, he was sent to the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, which believed the best thing for Indians was to thoroughly Americanize them so as to fit in better. Luther's father believed that with the elimination of the buffalo and any hope for a return to traditional life, the best choice for his son was to teach him how to succeed in the world as it had become. Standing Bear was an outstanding student. He learned how to live in both worlds. After finishing school, he worked as an intern for the pioneer in department store retailing, John Wanamaker. He then signed on with Buffalo Bill, serving as manager of Bill's Indian entertainers as well as a performer himself. He later wound up in Hollywood (he is buried there) and appeared in about a dozen films. This book has an introduction by the first of the famous film cowboys, William S. Hart. Standing Bear also spent many years back with the Sioux, and became intimately involved in the movement to secure greater rights for Native Americans, and to promote greater acceptance of native culture, rather than total assimilation as promoted the Carlisle school and the government. In his book, published in 1928, he recounts tribal life, leaders such as Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, the Carlisle School and Buffalo Bill's Wild West, Custer and Wounded Knee. $250.

 

We will switch viewpoints once again. Alfred James Mockler was, for many years, a newspaper publisher in Casper, Wyoming, and became known as Wyoming's historian. He wrote specifically about his home state, but this is a more wide-ranging account of the West. Topics covered include John Colter and his escape from Indians, Custer and Little Big Horn, Red Cloud, the Fetterman Massacre, and more. However, one can see Mockler's prejudices in the title of his book, Transition of the West. Portrayal of the Indian problem in the West and the trials of the pioneers who reclaimed this country from savagery to civilization. Published in 1927, this copy is inscribed by the author. Item 80. $175.

 

In order for this to be a true catalogue of the Old West, there needs to be at least a little aggrandizement, and who better to provide that than Buffalo Bill, William F. Cody? Bill was probably incapable of writing a factual account of anything. He lived life big, and retold it even bigger. For a decade, he was a scout and buffalo hunter, a man of the West. For the rest of his life, he was a performer and exaggerator of the West and of himself, but it was all good fun. He was storyteller, not a historian. Leave it to Bill to write an autobiography that includes his death. Well, that part was provided by a friend. Bill offered the rest. Item 28 is Life and adventures of "Buffalo Bill", Colonel William F. Cody. This thrilling autobiography tells in Colonel Cody's own graphic language the wonderful story of his long, eventful and heroic career and is supplemented with a chapter by a loving life-long friend covering his last days, death and burial. It was published in 1917. It recounts his career in the West and goings on there, and the days of his Wild West show. $30.

 

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>University Archives<br>Autographs, Books & Relics Including Kerouac Estate<br>& Hemingway<br>February 26, 2020</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest Hemingway's Typewriter Used to Write "A Moveable Feast", Impeccable Provenance From His Biographer A. E. Hotchner. $50,000 to $100,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Samuel Colt, "The Gun that Won the West": 3 Signed Patent Items for "Revolving Cylinder Guns". $40,000 to $50,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Jack Kerouac's Own Typewriter From His Estate Used to Write His Very Last Book. $18,000 to $20,000.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Autographs, Books & Relics Including Kerouac Estate<br>& Hemingway<br>February 26, 2020</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Rare Force Engraving of the Declaration of Independence Printed in 1848. $15,000 to $18,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Superb Tchaikovsky ALS to Napravnik, 4pp on "Mazeppa". $12,000 to $15,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Wounded Knee Massacre Same Day Eyewitness Account by Participant, "the 7th needn't be ashamed of today's record". $10,000 to $12,000.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Autographs, Books & Relics Including Kerouac Estate<br>& Hemingway<br>February 26, 2020</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> F. Scott Fitzgerald Signed Gordon Bryant Portrait -- Finest Known. $8,000 to $9,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Neil Armstrong ALS on NASA Letterhead Regarding His X-15 Flights. $7,000 to $8,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> M. Gandhi Letter: "the life span of human beings is preordained..." -- Fantastic Spiritual Content. $7,000 to $8,000.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Autographs, Books & Relics Including Kerouac Estate<br>& Hemingway<br>February 26, 2020</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> "Damn the torpedoes!" Riveting 24pp ALS of Admiral Farragut's Steward Describing the "Battle of Mobile Bay”. $6,000 to $7,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Abraham Lincoln Signed Order to Suspend Execution. $5,000 to $6,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 26:</b> Napoleon DS Featuring Imperial Eagle and Enormous Great Seal Appointing Norman Politician Baron of the Empire. $4,000 to $5,000.
  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions