Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2009 Issue

Western America from Old West Books

Oldwest26

Rare books from the Old West.


By Michael Stillman

Old West Books has issued Catalog 26 of Rare, Out of Print Books on the American West. Old West features materials from the aforementioned time and place, with a section on the larger-than-in-life General Custer, and one on everything else western. This is a land that has intrigued Americans and many non-Americans as well since the time it was first explored. Old West offers a catalogue full of books that will take you back to those early days when the horse was the mode of transportation, and a six-gun did your talking. Let's go back.

Item 66 is a Letter from the Secretary of War Transmitting in Response to Resolution of February 11, 1887 Correspondence with General Miles Relative to the Surrender of Geronimo. Geronimo was an Apache warrior, one of the last to hold out against the encroachments of the United States and Mexico. The Apache had held out for centuries, first against the Spanish, later the Americans. To the settlers, they were brutal killers, but they held onto their homeland longer than most Indians. Eventually, they were too far outnumbered, and Geronimo and his remaining warriors surrendered to General Miles in 1886. This item is the official report of the surrender prepared for the Senate. Priced at $625.

Item 56 is a biography of one of the "mountain men" of the 18th century: Uncle Dick Wootten. The Pioneer Frontiersman Of The Rocky Mountain Range, by Howard Conard, published in 1890 (during Wootten's lifetime). Wootten was born in Virginia, raised in Kentucky, and in his early 20s headed out west. He started as a trapper, but this was just as the interest in and value of furs was collapsing. He turned to scouting, buffalo hunting, and serving as a guide. He hauled freight for the government along the Santa Fe Trail, and then in 1866, at the age of 50, he obtained the right to build a toll road across Raton Pass in northeastern New Mexico and southeastern Colorado. In 1878, Wootten sold his road to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, which completed rail service over the old Santa Fe Trail the following year. He secured a lifetime stream of payments from the railroad that allowed him to comfortably live out his years in his home on Raton Pass. $500.

It was one of the more spectacular trials the nation had seen. It would have been even more spectacular had the defendant's younger brother been the one on trial, but since Jesse James had been convicted without trial at the barrel of a gun, Frank had to serve as a stand-in. Item 104 is The Trial of Frank James for Murder... by George Miller, Jr., published in 1898. After Jesse was shot in the back by a former comrade seeking reward money, Frank concluded his life was at great risk. He turned himself in to Missouri's Governor, who agreed not to extradite James to Minnesota where he faced murder charges. Instead, he was tried for a separate murder in Missouri, where the James brothers were still something of folk heroes. This book provides the evidence and key testimony and arguments at trial. James was acquitted, despite the evidence, and went on to live a reasonably respectable, law-abiding life for his remaining 33 years. $525.

Fifty years later another set of outlaws roamed the plains, though they rode automobiles instead of horses. Item 70 is The Story of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker As Told by Bonnie's Mother Emma Parker, and Clyde's Sister, Nell Barrow Cowan. Bonnie and Clyde's family reminiscences was published in 1934. That was shortly after the untimely deaths of Ms. Parker and Mr. Barrow. This book covers the two from childhood to their time on the run to their deaths in a hail of gunfire. It is not exactly an objective look at their "careers," but does give great insight about them from the families' point of view. This copy has been signed by Fay Dunaway and Warren Beatty, who played Bonnie and Clyde in the noted movie of that name in 1967. $1,350.

Item 63 is the Life and Adventures of Billy Dixon Of Adobe Walls, Texas Panhandle... by Olive K. Dixon (his widow) published in 1914. Dixon served as an army scout, hunted buffalo for the railroads, and was involved in a couple of notable Indian fights, at Adobe Walls and Buffalo Wallow. Buffalo hunting by settlers was threatening the food supply and way of life of the Comanche and Kiowa Indians. They responded with attacks. The settlers managed to defend the Adobe Walls trading post, and the next day, with the Indians encamped on a ridge, Billy Dixon fired "the shot of the century." He picked off an Indian from almost a mile away, discouraging further attacks. However, it was later at the Battle of Buffalo Wallow, where all of the defenders were injured, that Dixon became a rare civilian winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. $975.

Old West Books may be reached at 719-260-6030 or oldwestbooks@earthlink.net. Their website is www.oldwestbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 817. Bellin's complete five-volume maritime atlas with 581 maps & plates (1764). $24,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 325. An early and important map of the Republic of Texas (1837). $11,000 to $14,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 45. De Bry's early map of North Pole depicting Willem Barentsz' expedition (1601). $3,500 to $4,250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 154. Poignant map of the United States documenting lynchings (1931). $250 to $325.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 457. Extremely rare matching set of pro-German propaganda from WWI (1914). $2,000 to $2,400.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 815. Homann's world atlas featuring 110 maps in contemporary color (1751). $14,000 to $16,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 60. Miniature pocket globe based on Herman Moll (1785). $3,500 to $4,500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 8. Visscher's rare carte-a-figures world map (1652). $14,000 to $16,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 158. Matching satirical maps of the US by McCandlish: "Ration Map" & "Bootlegger's Map" (1944). $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 820. One of the finest English atlases of the early 19th century (1808). $4,750 to $6,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 59. Important milestone in preparation for 1969 moon landing (1963). $750 to $900.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 805. Superb bible leaf with image of crucifixion of Jesus with gilt highlights (1518). $800 to $950.
  • <center><b>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>including Americana<br>February 16, 2023</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. CHAUCER, Geoffrey. <i>The Works…now newly imprinted.</i> Edited by F.S. Ellis. Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1896. $100,000 to $125,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> [EINSTEIN, Albert (1879–1955)]. –– ORLIK, Emil (1870–1932), artist. Lithograph signed (“Albert Einstein”). N.p., 1928. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel. <i>[The Lord of the Rings trilogy:] The Fellowship of the Ring.</i> 1954. –– <i>The Two Towers.</i> 1954. –– <i>The Return of the King.</i> 1955. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne ("Mark Twain") and Charles Dudley WARNER. <i>The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.</i> Hartford and Chicago, 1873. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> LOVECRAFT, Howard Phillips. <i>Beyond the Wall of Sleep.</i> Collected by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1943. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
  • <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Gideon Welles, <i>Extensive archive of personal and family papers of Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy,</i> 1791-1914. Sold September 29 — $281,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Rock Climbers,</i> cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> watercolor, ink and gouache, 1954. Sold December 15 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Brontë, <i>Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. Edited by Currer Bell,</i> three volumes, first edition, 1847. Sold June 16, 2022 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Geoffrey Chaucer, <i>The Workes of Geffray Chaucer Newlye Printed,</i> London, 1542. Sold October 13 — $106,250.
    <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Dorothea Lange, <i>Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age 32),</i> silver print, 1936. Sold October 20 — $305,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> George Washington, Autograph Document Signed, with two manuscript plat maps in holograph, 1751. Sold October 27 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Winfred Rembert, <i>Winfred Rembert and Class of 1959,</i> dye on carved & tooled leather, 1999. Sold October 6 — $233,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> M.C. Escher, <i>Relativity,</i> lithograph, 1953. Sold November 3 — $81,250.
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Original Film Posters<br>27 January - 10 February 2023</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Vertigo (1958), poster, US. The ultimate poster on this classic Hitchcock title, one of three known examples. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Lawrence of Arabia (1962), roadshow poster, US. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Star Wars (1977), style C poster, printer's proof, US. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> The Navigator/ La Croisiere du Navigator (1924), re-release poster (1931), French. £5,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Bullitt (1968), special test poster, US. £3,000 to £5,000.

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