Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2010 Issue

American Indians from Almagre Books

The Kickapoo Dream Book promoted dubious medical remedies.


If Sitting Bull could speak Latin, then part-Mohawk Rev. Eleazar Williams was King Louis XVII of France. Louis XVII was the son of Louis XVI, and when his father was guillotined during the French Revolution, XVII became king. It wasn't a pleasant reign. He spent the entirety of it in prison, a rough fate for someone who ascended to the thrown at just 7 years of age. The brutality of the French Revolution subjected the child to punishment for the sins of his father. He finally died in prison at the age of 10 ... or did he? According to John H. Hanson, young Louis was spirited away to an Iroquois community in America, where he grew up to be the Rev. Williams. If you don't believe this, maybe this will convince you: The Lost Prince, Facts Tending to Prove the Identity of Louis the Seventeenth, of France, and the Rev. Eleazar Williams, Missionary Among the Indians of North America. This book was published in 1854, and evidently young Louis was the Anastasia of the era. Item 464. $225.

Item 264 is the Kickapoo Indian Dream Book, published by the Kickapoo Medicine Co, circa 1893. While Indians were generally portrayed as ignorant savages, people were at the same time frequently convinced they had discovered great medical remedies. There were always merchants ready to ply the gullibility of the uneducated. This book promotes Healy and Bigelow's Kickapoo remedies, showing pictures of Indians aged 92 to 123 whose long lives could be attributed to these elixirs. $275.

Actually, if you would like to see for yourself, item 265 is a bottle of Kickapoo Pills from the Kickapoo Medicine Co. (Healy and Bigelow). The bottle notes "None genuine without our seal which must be entire and unbroken." The little red pills inside are genuine. They will help you if you suffer from "lazy and disordered liver, biliousness, constipation, sick headache, and torpid bowels." You have my sympathy. Hopefully, there's no expiration date on these pills as they have been around since 1906. $300.

Almagre Books may be reached at 505-989-9462 or wwroth@kiva.net.

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

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