Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2009 Issue

Cowboys, Cattle, Custer and More from Old West Books

Rare books on the American West from Old West Books.


By Michael Stillman

Old West Books of Arlington, Texas, has released Catalog 23 of Rare, Out of Print Books on the American West. As they note in their letter to collectors, "It's the collector who searches for and obtains the rare or unique items that makes his collection stand apart from others." Old West has gathered a collection of these rare and unique items about their small but larger than life corner of the universe. Among the topics highlighted are cowboys, the cattle industry, military, Indian wars, Texas, and the inimitable George Armstrong Custer, famous more for his demise than his life. To this day, scholars debate what went wrong that June day in 1876, and who bears responsibility for the catastrophe that befell Custer and his men. Here are some of the items being offered.

Item 184 is one of those rare pre-Republic Texas books: A Visit to Texas Being the Journal of a Traveller Through Parts Most Interesting to American Settlers With Descriptions of Scenery, Habits, &c. The anonymous author (names suggested include Dr. M. Fiske and Colonel Morris) arrived in Texas in early 1831 to inspect land he had purchased from the Galveston Bay and Texas land Company. Evidently, the land he purchased was worthless, and the author has a few caustic comments about the land company. However, he goes on to tell much more about a land that was very intriguing to Americans, but about which little was known at the time. This was an era when American settlers were still welcomed by Mexico. That would soon end when Mexican authorities realized they were peopling the land with settlers who had little natural loyalty to their country. Offered is a first edition, without the account of the 1835 revolution contained in the second edition (published in 1834, the first predates that uprising). Streeter described the plates found only in the first edition as "perhaps...the earliest of sporting scenes in the West." Priced at $775.

Here is another account of early Texas: Scraps of Early Texas History, by Mary S. Helm. Though this first edition wasn't published until 1884, Mrs. Helm went way back, having traveled to Texas in 1828 to accompany her first husband, Elias Wightman. Wightman had gone to Texas is 1824 as a surveyor for Stephen F. Austin. The book begins with an account of the Texas Revolution from a woman's eye, but also covers her trip to Texas and the years from 1828-1835. Additionally, it contains a description of Texas written by Wightman in the 1820s. She and her first husband helped found the town of Matagorda. Item 186. $1,750.

Item 30 was a dose of reality: Our Barren Lands. The Interior of the United States West of the 100th Meridian and East of the Sierra Nevadas, by General W.B. Hazen. The Northern Pacific Railroad had been touting the land from Texas to the Dakotas as suitable for farming. That was based on their experiences in the early 1870s, and reports from Custer on abundant grass during his expedition in 1873. However, General Hazen was aware that this was an unusually wet period, and that most of the time, the land was far more dry and barren. This 1885 first edition of his book provides information from the military and civilians concerning typical arid conditions of this land. $2,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000
  • ALDE, May 28: KIPLING (RUDYARD). Le Livre de la Jungle. – Le IIe livre de la Jungle. Paris, Sagittaire, Simon Kra, 1924-1925. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: NOAILLES (ANNA DE). Les Climats. Paris, Société du Livre contemporain, 1924. €50,000 to €60,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MILTON (JOHN). Paradis perdu. Quatrième chant. S.l., Les Bibliophiles de l'Automobile-Club de France, 1974. €2,000 to €3,000.
    ALDE, May 28: LEBEDEV (VLADIMIR). Russian Placards - Placard Russe 1917-1922. Saint-Petersbourg, Sterletz, 1923. €1,000 to €1,200.
    ALDE, May 28: MARDRUS (JOSEPH-CHARLES). Histoire charmante de l'adolescente sucre d'amour. Paris, F.-L. Schmied, 1927. €1,500 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: TABLEAUX DE PARIS. Paris, Émile-Paul Frères, 1927. €2,000 to €3,000.
    ALDE, May 28: LA FONTAINE (JEAN DE). Les Fables illustrées par Paul Jouve. S.l. [Lausanne], Gonin & Cie, 1929. €4,000 to €5,000.
    ALDE, May 28: SARTRE (JEAN-PAUL). Vingt-deux dessins sur le thème du désir. Paris, Fernand Mourlot, 1961. €1,500 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: [BRAQUE (GEORGES)]. 13 mai 1962. Alès, PAB, 1962. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MIRÓ (JOAN). Je travaille comme un jardinier. Avant-propos d'Yvon Taillandier. Paris, Société intenationale d'art XXe siècle, 1963. €1,000 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MAGNAN (JEAN-MARIE). Taureaux. Paris, Michèle Trinckvel, 1965. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: PICASSO (PABLO). Dans l'atelier de Picasso. 1960. €15,000 to €20,000.
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD

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