Common and Unusual Books On The West from Gene W. Baade
By Michael Stillman
From Gene W. Baade Books On The West we have received Catalogue 309. Besides the obvious geographical link which connects these books, Baade describes them as "a nice mixture of welcome, if slightly commonplace, titles mixed with the unusual and hard-to-find." I would reckon, to use a commonplace western expression, that most of these fit the unusual and hard-to-find category. Even though most are unusual, they are not expensive, the typical book in this catalogue being priced in the low to mid double digits. Good choices for tough times. However, there are a few that are particularly special and run a bit higher, and we will start with one such book.
Item 23 is one of the rarest Buffalo Bill biographies, though it came from the man who was his promoter for 34 years. John M. Burke ("Arizona John") was a smalltime actor, theatrical manager and newspaperman who was managing Mlle. Morlacchi, the Italian ballerina who made her career touring America. She and a young, not yet a star Buffalo Bill appeared together in the early 1870s, and by 1873, Burke was managing Bill Cody as well. They would be close associates for decades, and in 1893 he published Buffalo Bill. From Prairie to Palace. An Authentic History of the Wild West. Despite their close association, this biography of Buffalo Bill is very rare and mostly forgotten. Offered is a first edition. Priced at $600. Item 22 is a reprint of this book with additional information about Cody published in 2005: From Prairie to Palace. The Lost Biography of Buffalo Bill. $37.50.
Item 119 is a guide that will help prepare you for a trip to the Pacific Northwest: The Northern Pacific Tour. From the Lakes & Mississippi River to the Pacific including Puget Sound & Alaska. This was published by the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1888, when there wasn't any other way to reach this region unless you had a lot of spare time on your hands. It offers views of the trip from Minneapolis, through the Dakotas, Butte, Spokane Falls, the Columbia River, Portland, Rainier and Seattle. There also are views heading south to California and north to Alaska. Here is a chance to see the Northwest as it was when tourists to this region were still few. $185.
For a look at the bookseller and book collector's chase in the first half of the 20th century, item 45 is The Adventures of a Treasure Hunter. A Rare Bookman in Search of American History, by Charles P. Everitt. Everitt was one of the leading booksellers of the time, and in this work he recounts his searches in various venues for forgotten copies of great books, and the dealing in which he participated to stock his inventory. These were the days when booksellers would scout the back roads instead of the internet for the lost gems, and Everitt was evidently one of those individuals who thrived in this environment. $45.