Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2009 Issue

Americana and the West from Clark Rare Books

Clark938

Americana and the West from Clark Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

Clark Rare Books has prepared a new catalogue, Catalog 938 of Americana, The West, and General. There are many new acquisitions available this month, along with a few new titles from the Arthur H. Clark and University of Oklahoma Presses. Without further delay we will look inside as there are some great old books being offered.

Here is an early look at American geography and more: The American Gazateer: exhibiting a full account of the civil divisions, rivers, harbours, Indian Tribes, etc., of the American Continent... The book was first published in 1797 and the author, Jedidiah Morse, was the father of the inventor of the telegraph and Morse code, Samuel Morse. Morse believed America needed a serious geography textbook, so he wrote it. This is the second American edition, published in 1804 after the Louisiana Purchase. Clark notes this is the best description of the new territory before Lewis and Clark. The book included six maps, all present with this copy. Item 21. Priced at $295.

Another notable early American geographer was Henry Schoolcraft. His early explorations brought him to the attention of Secretary of War John C. Calhoun, who recommended him for an expedition into what was then Western Michigan with Territorial Governor Lewis Cass. Schoolcraft would prove to be not only a good geographer, but geologist and ethnologist of America's natives as well. Schoolcraft wrote up the account of the Cass Expedition in Narrative Journal of Travels from Detroit Northwest through the Great Chain of American Lakes to the sources of the Mississippi River in 1820, published in 1821. They never made it to the source of the Mississippi, but Schoolcraft would be the one who discovered it twelve years later. Item 83. $525.

Americans did not limit their explorations to America. Commodore Matthew Perry led voyages to Japan in 1852 and 1854 that led to not only much information about that island nation, but forced the reluctant Japanese to open their land to trade. Perry convinced the Japanese to sign a treaty by threatening to bombard their coast with his superior firepower if they didn't. The account of this friendly visit is found in Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan, by Francis L. Hawks with Perry, published in 1856. This copy of the first edition includes all of the plates and maps, even the risqué bathing scene. It provides an excellent example of the phrase "gunboat diplomacy." Item 81. $2,450.

These trips wouldn't exactly qualify as explorations, but they would have been great fun. Item 57 consists of three brochures for the Pacific Electric Railway: See Southern California by Trolley; Orange Empire Trolley Trip; and Little Journeys to Beauty Spots in Southern California via the Big Red Cars. These are all from the 1920s, and describe sightseeing tours for those visiting Southern California in this prosperous, "roaring" era before the fall. $85.

Here is an early item still relevant today. It probably would have been even more relevant during the last election cycle. Item 8 is a Preliminary Report on Petroleum in Alaska, by George C. Martin. This was published by the Government Printing Office in 1921. Oil was plentiful and cheap at the time, the Alaska pipeline still over half a century away. It's good to know someone in the government was preparing for shortages early. Item 8. $34.

Jim White could be called the ultimate spelunker, though I have no idea whether he used that term. He was working as a ranch hand in southeastern New Mexico when he noticed a huge flock of bats arise from the ground one evening. He later tracked down their exit, a large hole in the earth. He built a wooden ladder, and with the aid of a kerosene lamp, ventured inside. He found a huge cave, with rooms full of stalactites and stalagmites, one after another. What he had discovered at the turn of the century is now known as Carlsbad Caverns, America's most famous caverns and today a national park. White's story is told in his book: The Discovery and History of Carlsbad Caverns New Mexico. White has signed this copy. $30.

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

You will find many of Clark's books listed in "Books For Sale" on this site. Click here.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
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  • <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 54. Fanciful engraving of earth's interior with magma core and errupting volcanoes (1682). $1500 to $1800.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 165. Rare state of Jefferys' influential map of New England in contemporary color (1755). $8000 to $9500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 177. Mouzon's foundation map of the Carolinas (1775). $10000 to $13000.
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    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 743. A cornerstone piece in the mapping of Australia and New Zealand (1726) Est. $6000 - $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 781. An uncommon signature during Jefferson's Governorship of Virginia (1779) Est. $9500 - $11000
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    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
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    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.

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