Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2018 Issue

Rare Western Americana from Old West Books

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Catalog 43 from Old West Books.

Old West Books has released their Catalog 43 of Rare, Out of Print Books on the American West. This is a new selection of obscurities and classics, a place where well-known names, such as Custer, Jesse James, and Sitting Bull, can be found alongside those less well-remembered, such as Frank Rande and Oklahoma Charley. Lawmen and outlaws battled, soldiers forced the native population into smaller and smaller enclaves, cattlemen drove herds across the plains, and the railroads came, opened up the land, and settlers followed. With that, the Old West faded away, but it is still remembered in the books found in this catalogue. Here are a few.

 

We begin with a biography of a famous outlaw, by his namesake son. Item 49 is Jesse James My Father. The First and Only True Story of His Adventures Ever Written, by Jesse James, Jr. James, Jr., explains that he wrote this book to set the record straight, that not a single other account of his father was accurate. "I have read them all, and there is not one of them that did not do cruel injustice to the memory of my father and to his family. In none of these books, and in none of the thousands of newspaper articles that have been written about him, have I seen him credited with having in his nature any of the human attributes of kindness, charity or honesty of purpose." While his father was often away, and invariably heavily armed, Jesse James displayed those aforementioned attributes to his family and friends. Jesse, Jr., says his father could often walk around in public, and though recognized by friends, none ratted on him despite the $20,000 reward. In the second half of the book, James, Jr., recounts his own case of being accused of train robbery. He was acquitted. This is the 1906 edition of a book first published in 1899. Priced at $60.

 

Jesse James got his start with Quantrill's Raiders in Missouri, a group of former Confederates who seamlessly moved from last ditch supporters of the lost cause to criminals supporting their own personal interests. From the Raiders emerged the James-Younger gang, Jesse and his brother, Frank, and the three Younger brothers. Jesse was shot down in 1882, Frank was acquitted of murder, but the Younger brothers ended up in prison. The writer of this book, W. C. (Wal) Bronaugh spent 20 years of his time and his own money to free them. The title is The Youngers’ Fight for Freedom: A Southern Soldier's Twenty Years’ Campaign to Open Northern Prison Doors, With Anecdotes of War Days, published in 1906. Bronaugh saw the Youngers as fellow Confederates, "last relics" of the Civil War imprisoned, though it was their later deeds that put them in jail. Bronaugh's persistence eventually paid off. It was too late for Bob Younger, who died in prison, and Jim Younger killed himself the following year, unable to cope with the outside world. Cole Younger, however, managed to live a normal life, at one point touring in a "Wild West" show with Frank James. Item 14. $165.

 

This next one is what Old West calls "The 'Holy Grail' of Custer / Indian War Books." It is My Life on the Plains or Personal Experiences With Indians, a first edition, second issue published in 1874. It describes Custer's experiences with Indians prior to the one for which he is remembered. This is a significant Western book, but not just any copy is a Holy Grail. This one is because it has been signed by Custer, "With the Compliments of G. A. Custer BVT Major General U. S. Army May 14th 187_. That could be 1875 or 1876. If 1876, it was barely over a month before his demise. Tim Phelps of Old West writes that he has never seen a signed copy for sale in over 20 years of searching and is only aware of four signed copies in existence. In this catalogue, he recounts the tale of first hearing about this copy, and the adventure involved in getting it. Item 26. Price on request.

 

Oklahoma Charley, whoever, if anyone, he was, sounds like an entertaining character. I can find nothing on him, so perhaps he was a fiction. Item 46 is Oklahoma Charley, Miner, Cowboy, Corndoctor, Indian Scout, Invalid, Prospector, Polygamist, Horsetrader, Snakecharmer, Book-agent...and Booze Fighter, by Marion Hughes, published in 1910. A contemporary advertisement says it "will split your sides with laughter." Western bibliographer Ramon Adams was not so kind, calling it "ridiculous" and "drivel." Whichever, it is rare. There is only one way to find out who is right. $600.

 

This rare pamphlet contains nothing but the truth. We know this because the author and publisher emphatically say so. No Oklahoma Charley stuff here. The title describes it well: Real Life on the Plains! Written by Capt. S. S. Van Sickel, During a Short Period of His Life on the Plains, Giving an Account of Some of His Experiences with the Indians and His Narrow Escape from Death During one of the Severest Storms Ever Known on the Plains. During this Storm His Comrades all Died, and He Alone Made His Escape! With the Loss of Nearly all His Fingers, as you will see when he Presents to you this Book; Also the Loss of Portions of His feet, Which is More Severe than the Loss of His Hands, Since Which Time He has been Unable to Perform Manual Labor... This is not a Novel, but a True Story of the Author's Own Experience! Written Wholly by Himself, and he Vouches for the Truthfulness of Every Word Herein Contained, Using as Few Words as Possible to Give Facts. The first word in this story is "In," and like every word in this story, it is truthful. This is the 1885 edition of the rarity first published in 1875. Item 87. $1,750.

 

Item 61 is Life Among the Sioux Indians, by Cicero Newell, published in 1884. Newell was a U. S. Indian Agent, and he includes sketches of various leaders, such as Sitting Bull, and gives descriptions of Sioux life. Most notably, a woodcut on the back cover depicts the aforementioned General Custer's final battle, while Newell's commentary inside is brutal. Newell says, "Had Custer obeyed orders and waited until the command all came up, they could have forced the Indians to come in as prisoners, and thereby ended the Sioux war. But his haste to get all the glory of killing these people, led him to make the attack against the orders of his superior officers." Newell says the Indians are portrayed as murderers, when all they were doing was defending their women and children. He concludes, "Custer found a camp of women and children on the Wichitaw Creek some time before, where he murdered over 300 women and children, who had no one to defend them." This refers to what is politely known as the "Battle of Washita River," or not so politely as the "Washita Massacre." $2,750.

 

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

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750

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