The Wild West from Gene W. Baade
Gene Baade's catalogues aren't fancy, but they are interesting.
By Michael Stillman
Gene W. Baade has issued Catalogue 806 of Books On The West. With a very few exceptions, that's the American West, and most pertain to what we know as the "Old West." That can only mean cowboys and Indians, gunslingers, outlaws and lawmen, overland journeys, railroads, buffalo, mining camps and ghost towns, and some of the usual celebrities, such as Davy Crockett, Wild Bill Hickok, Annie Oakley, and George Armstrong Custer. There is both good reading and collecting available within the pages of this latest Baade catalogue. Here is a glimpse of a few of the 200+ items being offered for sale.
Item 50 is a classic Indian history, Massacres of the Mountains. A History of the Indian Wars of the Far West. Howes dubbed this title the "best single volume covering this subject." Tribes described include the Apache, Navaho, Pueblo, Spokane, Couer d'Alene, Nez Perce and Ute. While primarily covering wars of the far west, Little Big Horn does make it into the pages. This is an 1886 first edition, written by Jacob Dunn. Priced at $275.
Item 181 is a very different, though still interesting Indian piece. It is Sioux Indian Claims, a legal brief prepared in 1939 by attorney Ralph Hoyt Case on behalf the Sioux. An act adopted in 1928 allowed the Sioux to file claims for horses taken from them by the U.S. after the cessation of various hostilities. Some of these claims went as far back as 1863. Of course, losing horses was undoubtedly more meaningful in 1863 than in 1939. Nonetheless, the history provided in this legal brief should be interesting for those conducting research or just trying to better understand U.S.-Indian history. $175.
Item 34 is your requisite Davy Crockett book. It is Davy Crockett's Own Story as Written by Himself. However, it was not published by himself, as it was released in 1955, over a century after the frontiersman and former congressman died at the Alamo. The year 1955 was the height of the Davy Crockett craze. Fess Parker was appearing on screen as Davy, and Bill Hayes topped the musical charts with the "Ballad of Davy Crockett." Crockett may not have been the clean-cut Hollywood type portrayed by Disney, but he was nonetheless a remarkable man, unsophisticated Tennessee hick in the Halls of Congress, defender of the downtrodden Indians, Texas hero at the Alamo. $10.
For those looking for a word with more "A's" than Alaska, item 4 is A Treasury of Alaskana. Ethel Becker's book about the land of the midnight sun was published in 1969 in Seattle, the sunny south compared to its subject. Item 4. $25. Item 21 sounds downright painful: 92 Days in the Saddle. Mike Butler's 1975 book is about modern cowboys in Wyoming and North Dakota. $13.50.
The Wild West from Gene W. Baade
Item 130 is an obscure, scarce autobiography of a man of some note, though not a household name. Charles Fessenden Morse was born in Boston in 1839. He graduated Harvard in 1858 and went on to serve as captain for the Union Army in the Civil War. He is portrayed in the 1989 Civil War film "Glory," his role played Donovan Leitch, Jr. Leitch's father is familiar to the peace and love generation, the singer who used just his first name, "Donovan." Morse moved to Kansas City in the 1870s, where he went on to be a successful businessman, involved with the stockyards, railroads, and real estate. In 1920, he wrote A Sketch of My Life written for my Children, and a Buffalo Hunt in Nebraska in 1871. However, according to a note by his son, Arthur Holdredge Morse, Charles asked that the Sketch not be opened until he died. Morse died in 1926, and his obscure autobiography was privately printed in 1927. $300.
Item 203 is a wanted poster from the Wild West, but not the Old West. The subjects of this poster are Patty Hearst and fellow "outlaws" William and Emily Harris. "Self Proclaimed Members of the Symbionese Liberation Army...All Three should be Considered Armed and Very Dangerous," it warns. The FBI eventually got their woman, though she probably wasn't all that dangerous. $200.
There is a certain irony to Steven Longstreet's 1952 book, A Century on Wheels. The Story of Studebaker. A History, 1852-1952. Studebaker was one of the foremost wagon makers of the 19th century, and one of the most innovative automakers of the 20th. Half of the chapters in this book deal with Studebaker's pre-auto days. However, while Studebaker was a premier automaker in 1952, it soon afterwards lost its ability to seriously compete with the Big Three, and it would only last in the business for a little over one more decade. Item 108. $15.
You may reach Gene W. Baade at 425-271-6481, email firstname.lastname@example.org.