Rare Book Monthly
Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2006 Issue
Western Americana From William Reese Co.
Item 9 is one of the more remarkable Indian captivities, made even more remarkable by the fact that it is apparently essentially true. It was written by (or perhaps ghost written for) Matthew Brayton and published in 1860. The title is, The Indian Captive. A Narrative of Adventures and Sufferings of Matthew Brayton, in His Thirty-four Years of Captivity among the Indians of North-Western America. Brayton was captured at the age of seven from his Michigan home, and from then until 1860, was held by the Potawatomi, Winnebago, Chippewa, Sioux, and finally, the Snake Indians, who made him a member of their tribe. He eventually returned to "civilization" in 1860, joined the Army in 1861, and ironically enough, after surviving all of those years as a captive of Indians, died in 1862 during the Civil War. He never should have returned. $6,000.
Item 14 is En El Puerto de Monterrey de la Alta California... It is the California Declaration of Independence, and contains the printed signature of "Juan Albarado" (Alvarado). The document is dated November 3, 1836. These rebels were unhappy with attempts by Mexican authorities to centralize control over the nation. Alvarado appointed himself governor of Northern California, and Roman Catholicism was named as the only religion that could be publicly practiced (however, the Declaration notes that no one would be prosecuted for practicing other faiths in private). Two years later, Alvarado would be appointed as a legitimate provincial governor by Mexican authorities. He was removed in 1842, but fought his way back to power in 1844. However, he was not able to withstand the influx of Americans and the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846. He retired from politics, went into business and farming, and lived in northern California until his death in 1882. This is one of three known copies of this broadside declaration. $125,000.
Item 59 is a photo album containing 24 photographs of President Warren Harding's journey to Alaska in July 1923. It is accompanied by the Speeches and Addresses of Warren G. Harding...June 20 to August 2, 1923. This is certainly a melancholy collection. Harding was in the early stages of the Teapot Dome scandal, which would forever tar his presidency as one of the least competent and most corrupt. However, Harding had at one time been enormously popular, and the corruption took place without his knowledge. The trip to Alaska, the first by a U.S. president, was labeled a "Voyage of Understanding," as Harding went out to speak to the people. Reese notes that Harding looked well and in good spirits in the photographs. Unfortunately, he took ill on his return trip from Alaska to San Francisco, and suffered a fatal heart attack a few days later, dying on August 2. The photographer of this collection is unknown, though it was probably someone who accompanied Harding on his voyage, or an Alaskan who followed him around. $2,250.
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