Once again rare, unusual and collectible books have appeared among books donated to the Friends of the Library for the annual sale. Searching for such treasures adds to the enjoyment of the sale, and this year’s special finds include a copy of the off-putting title Executive Document No. 41 of the Thirtieth Congress (1848) of the United States, which is actually Notes of a Military Reconnaissance, from Fort Leavenworth, in Missouri to San Diego, in California, Including Part of the Arkansas, Del Norte, and Gila Rivers, by William H. Emory. It is title #33 in the Zamorano Eighty list of the most significant early volumes published on the history of California: “A library of Western Americana is incomplete without it.” Emory was part of the advance guard of Kearny’s Army of the West, and his report became an essential reference for those heading for California in the Gold Rush. This volume, while lacking the front and rear boards, is notable for its inclusion of the large number of plates, often found incomplete in other copies.
Other interesting and unusual Americana include Little World Waddies, a collection (1946) of short stories and poems by Eugene Manlove Rhodes, with an introduction by J. Frank Dobie; Adventures in Mexico and the Rocky Mountains by George Ruxton; Doniphan’s Expedition: War with Mexico, 1846-1847 and the Conquest of New Mexico and California (1907) by William Connelley; Camp-Fires on Desert and Lava (1908) by William Hornaday; Winter in Taos (1935) by Mabel Dodge Luhan; and the two-volume The Old Northwest, Pioneer Period: 1815-1840 by R. C. Buley, inscribed by the author.
More international in scope is Henri Cartier-Bresson’s From One China to the Other, a first-hand description with 144 photographs of the events in China in 1946-1949, including the withdrawal of the Nationalist government.
Collectors of children’s books will find the 1926 edition of Uncle Wiggily on Sugar Island by Howard Garis and illustrated by Lansing Campbell; Bonny Prince: The Autobiography of a Collie Dog by Marion Sewell; Little People of the Snow, a story of Eskimo life by Mary Muller; and the very special first edition (1903) of Darby O’Gill and the Good People by Herminie Templeton Kavanagh, the basis of the Disney movie which gave Sean Connery his start as a leading man. Related to children’s books is the early The Art of Walt Disney (1942) by Robert Field, containing many period illustrations. Of interest to collectors of folklore and history as well as of children’s books is a first edition of The Book of Hallowe’en (1919) by Ruth E. Kelley, considered “the all time classic exploration of Halloween.”
Art books are always popular at the sale, and this year include the titles From this earth: The ancient art of Pueblo pottery; Michelangelo and Raphael in the Vatican: with Botticelli, Perugio, Signorelli, Ghirlandaio, and Rosselli; Charles Warren Eaton (1857-1937): an American Tonalist Rediscovered; Traces of the Brush: The Art of Japanese Calligraphy; Claes Oldenburg: An Anthology; Manuel Neri: A Sculptor’s Drawings; LA PLAISIR, Musee d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris 17 octobre 2008 – 11 janvier 2009; Edmuld Dulac; and THE WONDROUS SCENE: Early Engravings, Drawings, Paintings & Photographs of Glacier Bay National Monument, Alaska.
Other finds include a handsome copy of Le Morte Darthur: The History of King Arthur and his Noble Knights of the Round Table, published by the Medici Society (1927), with 11 pages of color plates by Russell Flint; and The Strike at Shane’s – A Sequel to Black Beauty, published anonymously in 1893 by the American Humane Education Society but suspected to be the first edition of Gene Stratton-Porter’s first book. Not to leave out the scientists, there is the useful comprehensive reference, the Historical Atlas of Crystallography. Genealogists will want Volume II of the Ninth U.S. Census, The Vital Statistics of the United States, Embracing the Tables of Deaths, Births, Sex, and Age, to Which Are Added the Statistics of the Blind, the Deaf and Dumb, the Insane, and the Idiotic. See? Something for everyone!
by Bill Cochran