Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2009 Issue

The American West from Clark Rare Books

Corneliuscole100

Cornelius Cole, U.S. senator and anonymous author, at age 100.


Here is a look at California Three Hundred and Fifty Years Ago: Manuelo's Narrative. Actually, that would now be 450 years ago, as this is an account of a Portuguese sailor abandoned near present-day San Francisco in the early 16th century. Then again, neither date is right. This really is what a 19th century American settler in California imagined it was like in the 16th century, for while this is not labeled as fiction, it surely is. It is supposedly a translation of an old manuscript recounting the sailor's amazing experiences, but no such writing exists. Besides which, the characters are too similar to their brethren of 350 years later to be believable. The book was published anonymously in 1888, but is attributed to Cornelius Cole. Cole was a politician, not a writer, and it's unclear what possessed him to write this one supposedly factual, but obviously fictional, work. He was a founder of the California Republican Party, served as congressman during the Lincoln administration, and later as a U.S. Senator from California. His most notable achievements have to do with longevity. He was the last surviving person to serve in Congress during the Lincoln administration, and addressed Congress at the age of 99. He is still the longest living senator in U.S. history, dying in 1924 at the age of 102. Item 37. $100.

Item 122 is Edwin Eastman's Seven and Nine Years among the Camanches and Apaches. Eastman's experience with the Indians was about as realistic as Manuelo's with California. The book has been described as, "A revolting fictitious story written to advertise Dr. Clark Johnson's Indian blood syrup." Supposedly, while Eastman's native experiences weren't a lot of fun, he obtained this remarkable elixir from the Indians, which he was now willing to sell to any suckers he could ensnare. $45.

You may reach Clark Rare Books at 405-307-0088 or info@clarkrarebooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Adam Smith, <i>Wealth of Nations,</i> first edition, descended from William Alexander, London, 1776. $70,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> George Gershwin, photograph signed & inscribed with autograph musical quotation, <i>An American in Paris,</i> 1928. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Friedrich Engels, <i>The Condition of the Working Class in England,</i> first edition, NY, 1887. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> <i>Bury St. Edmunds Witch Trials,</i> first edition, London, 1682. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Robert Rey, <i>Estampes,</i> complete portfolio of 12 wood engravings, Paris, 1950. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Archive of 47 letters by Enrico Caruso to a lady friend, 1906-20. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Books of Hours in Flemish, Netherlands, 15th century. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Jack Kerouac, <i>Doctor Sax,</i> deluxe limited edition, signed, NY, 1959. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Walt Disney, signature on title-page of Ward Greene’s <i>Lady and the Tramp,</i> first edition, first printing. $3,000 to $4,000.

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