Saturday, February 26, 2011


These books are for sale at Buckingham Books  I never buy any of them, but I like to receive the lists in order to ponder them, partly because the books are carefully curated.  Here I’m editing the regular mailing list which I’m sure they’d be happy to send you.
These guys have what I’m calling “Wounded Knee Syndrome,” meaning they are in love with the 19th century mythic accounts of battles, captures, heroism, and their artistic portrayal.  Somehow they see it as “key” to the world.  I ponder how and why.
What is the juju of the prairie clearance Indian wars?  Why does it grip some men so thoroughly that it has the same power as Greek mythology or Shakespeare, crowding out any thoughts of studying, say, the Indian Health Service or why half the land on the Blackfeet reservation is now owned by Hutterites?  Look at the rhetoric in these descriptions.
[MONTANA/WYOMING]. MCDERMOTT, JOHN D. RED CLOUD'S WAR: THE BOZEMAN TRAIL 1866-1868. TWO VOLUMES. Norman: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 2010. First edition. 8vo. Two volume set. Cloth, xx, 325 pp., / ix, 326 - 651 pp., preface, acknowledgments, illustrated, portraits, facsimilies, maps, footnotes, postscript, bibliography, index. The author's masterful retelling of the Fetterman Disaster is just one episode of Red Cloud's War. The discovery of gold in Montana in 1863 led to the opening of the 250 mile route from Fort Laramie to the goldfields near Virginia City, and the fortification of this route with three military posts. The road crossed the last, best hunting grounds of the Northern Plains tribes, and they mounted a campaign of armed resistance against the army and Montana-bound settlers. Among a host of small but bloody clashes were such major battles as the Fetterman Disaster, the Wagon Box Fight, and the Hayfield Fight, all of them famous in the annals of Indian Wars. The setbacks suffered by the U. S. Army were many, and what reputation for effectiveness it had gained during the Civil War dissipated in the skirmishing in Big Horn country. By successfully defending their hunting grounds, the Northern Plains tribes delayed an ultimate reckoning that would come a decade later on the Little Bighorn, on the Red Forks of the Powder River, at Slim Buttes, at Wolf Mountain, and in a dozen other places where warrior and trooper met in the final clashes on the western plains. As new, without dust jacket as issued. $75.00 (30398)
The more ephemeral, the least public, the privately printed works never quite published, are the most valuable.  Sort of a Wikileaks factor, maybe.  The idea that something privileged will be revealed. 
CARROLL, JOHN M. [EDITED BY]. THE UNPUBLISHED PAPERS OF THE ORDER OF INDIAN WARS IN TEN BOOKLETS. New Brunswick: Privately published, n.d. (1977). First edition. 8vo. Each booklet is blue printed wrappers, each booklet is limited to 100 numbered copies and signed by the author. Each booklet is numbered 2. Fine copies. Housed in a cloth slipcase with a paper label on spine and titles stamped in black ink. $575.00 (29570)
I have a copy of the following, which I am hoarding in case I need the money.  I acquired it for thirty bucks when the cataloguer spelled Reiss wrong, therefore not accessing the true value, and so did I, accidentally bringing it up.  There’s a motive: investment.
LINDERMAN, FRANK B. BLACKFEET INDIANS. [St. Paul: Great Northern Ry, 1935]. First edition. Large quarto. Cloth and decorated boards, yellow endpapers, 67 [1] pp., foreword, full-page illustrations in color, index. Forty nine full color drawings of Blackfeet Indians by Winold Reiss. All historical and biographical text by Frank B. Linderman. A handsome tribute to the Blackfeet Indians. Light wear to extremities of boards, else very good, tight copy in dust jacket with light wear to spine ends. $400.00 (25009)
Frederick Turner has become an iconic figure and his understanding of the frontier controls much thinking.  This is the guy to overturn if you want to make an impression.  Good luck.  You may need this book.
[WISCONSIN]. TURNER, PH.D., FREDERICK J. THE CHARACTER AND INFLUENCE OF THE INDIAN TRADE IN WISCONSIN. A STUDY OF THE TRADING POST AS AN INSTITUTION. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1891. Issued as No XI-XII, Ninth Series of the Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical & Political Science, edited by Herbert B. Adams. Turner's Ph.D. thesis, a substantially expanded version of his similarly titled master's thesis, The Character and Influence of the Fur Trade, published by the Univ. of Wisconsin, where he taught American history in 1899. Turner's views on the impact of the receding frontier on American democracy, first articulated in his 1894 monograph, The Significance of the Frontier in American History, influenced an entire generation of historians, and despite recent controversy are still essential to our understanding of how we became the nation we are today. Printed wrappers, 94pp. plus 16pp. of ads. Internally fine, but the original tan wrappers have been reinforced around the cover perimeters with masking tape, which no doubt has served to insure the integrity of the booklet. It is not a professional job and may, at sometime, need to be rebound. $350.00 (7512)
One can add to the thrill by factoring in the Confederates.  
[CIVIL WAR]. DAVIS, WILLIAM J. [EDITED BY]. THE PARTISAN RANGERS OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES ARMY. Louisville: Geo. G. Fetter Company, 1904. First edition. 8vo. Original maroon cloth, gold stamping on front cover and spine, decorated endpapers, xii [2], 476 pp., frontis. [portrait of Brigadier General Adam R. Johnson], preface, illustrated, plates, portraits. Jenkins' Basic Texas Books 108 says, "This is one of the most interesting first-hand narratives of Texas Indian fighting, stagecoaching, and Confederate cavalry operations. Johnson fought Indians in Texas in the 1850s, was a driver for the Butterfield Overland Stage in Texas, and surveyed a vast amount of virgin territory in West Texas. In the Civil War his famed Texas Partisan Rangers cavalry unit fought under Nathan Bedford Forrest and John Hunt Morgan. Wounded and blinded, he was imprisoned in Fort Warren. After the war, in spite of his blindness, he was so active in pioneering business ventures in West Texas that his home of Marble Falls became known as 'the blind man's town." Graff 2213 says, "The story of a very brave and daring man. His Indian warfare experiences in Texas in the late 1850s, when he was connected with the Butterfield Stage outfit and also when as a surveyor he surveyed much virgin territory, are almost beyond belief. The same or more can be said of his Civil War service in Kentucky as a Partisan Ranger." Original maroon cloth has light cosmetic professional retoration to head of spine and along bottom edge of front cover, and former owner's inked name on front pastedown sheet, else very good copy. $875.00 HOWES J122. COULTER 257. GRAFF 2213. BTB 108. NEVINS I 113. (30403)
Everybody loves a loser, esp. when they make money from it.  So this has double juju, maybe triple:  Civil war, Indian war, town founding.
[TEXAS]. BROWN, JOHN HENRY. INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS. Austin: L. E. Daniel, Publisher, [1896]. First edition. Thick quarto. Full leather with spine professionally restored in full leather, 762 pp., all edges gilt, double column, dedicatory preface, introduction, illustrated, portraits, index. Basic Texas Books 23 says "This is Brown's most important book and one of the best works on Texas Indian fighters and early pioneers. The information was gathered over his entire fifty years in Texas, and the text was completed shortly before his death. Most valuable of all are accounts of the numerous fights and skirmishes between early Texans and Indians. Only in J. W. Wilbarger and A. J. Sowell does one find a comparable amount of historical data on this facet of Texas history. Brown was himself a participant in some of the bloodiest battles." There are many photographs of early prominent Texans, along with a biographical sketch of each pioneer. Endpapers replaced, internal spine hinges have been strengthened, else a near fine, tight copy of a very scarce book. $1750.00 BTB 23. HOWES B857. RADER 514. (30404)
I won’t go much further, but a leather binding really gives a book a boost.  So nice to have on the shelf or casually out on the table for people to admire.  There's no such thing as e-leather bindings!  These are books as objects with juju like weapons or armor or (gasp) a scalp.
CARTER, ROBERT G. THE OLD SERGEANT'S STORY, WINNING THE WEST FROM THE INDIANS AND BAD MEN IN 1870-1876. New York: Frederick H. Hitchcock, 1926. First edition. 8vo. Presentation inscription by Carter in the year of publication to his daughter, Nellie. Cloth, 220 pp., 8 plates. The author was a recognized Medal of Honor recipient; a participant in many campaigns against Comanche and Kiowa hostiles with Col. Ranald Mackenzie's 4th Cavalry. In 1919 & 1920, he published several pamphlets, now rare, about his Indian-fighting experiences on the southern plains. John B. Charlton, the "Old Sergeant", a comrade of Carter's throughout their years with the 4th Cavalry, read Carter's stories and wrote to Carter in 1921. This began a year and a half of frequent, lengthy correspondence between Carter and Charlton, that ended with Charlton's death in March, 1922. Through the detailed, warm correspondence between the two, Carter presents an insightful, first-hand account of the legendary campaigns of Mackenzie's 4th Cavalry from 1871 through 1874. "Mackenzie's Raid" into Mexico; the capture of outlaw "Red" McLaughlin by Charlton and, famous scout, Jack Stillwell; and the 4th Cavalry battles against the Comanches and Kiowas at McClellan's Creek, Palo Duro Canyon, and the north fork of the Red River are among the many incidents recorded. Of special interest is Charlton's account of the killing of Setank, by Charlton, when Setank, Big Tree, and Satanta were being transported to Ft. Richardson, Texas to stand trial for the killing of 7 teamsters of the Warren Wagon Train when they were attacked by Indians east of Ft. Richardson. In addition, Charlton tells Carter about his experience in Colorado, as an \pard softlineindependent freight hauler, when, under escort of Major Thornburgh, they were attacked by Ute Indians and kept under siege for 6 days before being rescued. Charlton was hauling freight to the White River Agency in 1879, when the Utes killed Agent Meeker, captured Meeker's wife and daughter, and wreaked havoc throughout the region. Great history, and a warm and occasionally touching reflection of two "old soldiers." Indian wars historian, John M. Carroll wrote that "Carter's enormously important writings on frontier military history will be recognized as source material for all future historians." An important, first-hand record. Completely recased in the manner of the original publication, with both the cloth and text being in fine condition. An elusive title. $1000.00 HOWES C194. SIX GUNS 383. (30156)
Nothing quite so stirring as a captive story.   (Intimations of exotic sex!)   And personal inscriptions count for a lot.
ALESHIRE, PETER. THE FOX AND THE WHIRLWIND: GENERAL GEORGE CROOK AMD GERONIMO, A PAIRED BIOGRAPHY. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., [2000]. First edition. 8vo. Boards, xii, 372 pp., preface, prologue, illustrated, maps, notes, bibliography, index. Captivating dual biography chronicles the lives and battles of two famous warriors, the legendary Apache shaman, Geronimo, and the nation's most successful Indian fighter, General George Crook. Fine in dust jacket. $45.00 (30528)
By the time one gets to these reconciling “let’s make up or at least look at both sides” sorts of accounts, both the money and the juju have gone out of the books.  Juju follows violent victory, money follows juju.  Did you think someone READ the old books?  They’re too fragile, too potent, too capitalist investment.  Too Ronald Reagan triumphalist old white man.  
If you’d be embarrassed to read such books, I have a suggestion:  “THE LOST JOURNALS OF SACAJAWEA, visionary narrative written by a contemporary Indian woman, a prize-winning college professor; illustrated by haunting ghostly photo images on fine paper; letterpress printed -- 70 copies.  This is an ultimate book-as-fine-object with a portfolio-style cover of smoked buffalo rawhide, the spine embellished with trade beads and bullet cartridges.  $3500.  An investment for the sophisticated.  Hopefully there are women who will be able to afford a copy.  To take a look, go to:

1 comment:

Mary Scriver said...

Peter Koch asks me to add:

Please don't forget to suggest that any potential reader of the LOST JOURNALS
can read it for free in Special Collections at:
University of Montana Missoula Library
The Bancroft Library in Berkeley
Yale University Library
University of Delaware Library
University of Washington Library
University of Alberta Library, Edmonton
and others.