Texana from Maggie Lambeth Rare Books
Texana and San Antonio from Maggie Lambeth Rare Books.
By Michael Stillman
This month we review our first catalogue from Maggie Lambeth Rare Books, Maps & Prints, of Blanco, Texas. Blanco is located in the Texas Hill Country, west of Austin, north of San Antone, a dividing line between the flatlands to the east and deserts to the west. This was home country for a president, but not one you're thinking of. The LBJ ranch is just down the road. What could be a better place for a seller of Texana? Maggie Lambeth won't disappoint those who collect the Lone Star, of which there are many. Lambeth's catalogue 52 is titled Texana and San Antonio. Of course, San Antonio is the center of historical Texas, it being the site of the Alamo. Remember? Here are a few of the nearly 500 items to be found in this catalogue.
Do you know who was the heroine of the Alamo? Note the operative word is "heroine," not "hero," so that eliminates Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and others of their gender. The heroine was Andrea Castanon Villanueva, wife of Canelario Villanueva, and better known as Senora or Madam Candelaria. According to her account, she was born in 1785 in Laredo. At the time of the siege of the Alamo, she was a resident of San Antonio who acted as a nurse, helping the sick, poor, and raising many orphans. According to her account, she went to assist the defenders of the Alamo and was present during the siege. At the time Mexican troops entered, she stated that she was giving water to Jim Bowie, desperately ill with typhoid. She claimed he died in her arms, she receiving a wound to the chin when Bowie was stabbed, from which she carried a scar the remainder of her life. Madam Candelaria's story did not receive much press until around 1890, when interviews with her were published in San Antonio newspapers. Keep in mind her date of birth. She died in 1899, at the supposed age of 113, which may seem a bit far-fetched, but one of the reporters who interviewed her when she was still only 103 said she looked her age, if not more, at the time.
As for some recent claims that Davy Crockett died not in the Alamo, but was executed later, Madam Candelaria said he was one of the first to fall. Historians are divided on whether she actually was there, but her knowledge of the place and events, and her general location at the time, make her story at least plausible though perhaps not likely. Some believe she had been inside the Alamo, and was nearby during the siege, but not inside at the critical time as she claimed. Item 8 is a 1933 booklet by Maurice Elfer, Madam Candelaria, Unsung Heroine of the Alamo. Including a Personal Account of the Faithful Woman who, Staying in the Mission when the Battle Raged and Doomed men sold their lives dearly as possible, obeyed Sam Houston's Trust and was wounded by Mexican Bayonets while trying to protect dying Bowie. Elfer became aware of her story while researching San Antonio newspapers for information about Bowie. This book is priced at $45.
Texana from Maggie Lambeth Rare Books
Alleged Alamo survivor Madame Candelaria, looking every bit of 113 years old.
Item 126 is a very complete work about a fairly small area: Refugio, A Comprehensive History of Refugio County from Aboriginal Times to 1953. This book will be of interest to anyone who knows how to pronounce "Refugio." It is located in Texas' Coastal Bend, a couple hundred miles southeast of Houston. It was originally inhabited by the Karankawa Indians, later by the Spanish who opened a mission. It was the scene of a battle during the Texas Revolution, with most residents fleeing for safety. It's had its ups and downs since, booming for a while when oil was discovered. This is probably one of the few things missed in this two-volume compilation, since the man was only six-years-old in 1953, but Refugio is the birthplace of all-time strikeout leading pitcher Nolan Ryan. Oh, to speak like a native, replace the "g" with the sound of another "r." $1,750.
For Sam Houston collectors (and doesn't this include every Texas collector?) item 140 is the book Wright Howes described as, the "most exhaustive biography of the great Texan and of paramount interest to all students of the Republic and early Statehood." It includes not only a biography, but a second volume of 400 pages of Houston's state papers, letters, speeches, etc. This is a copy of the first edition of Life and Select Literary Remains of Sam Houston, of Texas, published in Dallas in 1884. $200.
Pedro Jaramillo, or Don Pedrito as the faithful knew him, was a healer at the turn of the century. He developed a wide following in the border area of Texas near Falfurrias. Apparently he cured many, or at least they believed he did. Item 453 is Healer of Los Olmos and other Mexican Lore by Wilson Hudson, published in 1951. It contains testimonials from those who believed in Jaramillo's remedies and passed them down to their descendants. $120.
Item 271 is Paul Lester's The Great Galveston Disaster. Containing a Full and Thrilling Account of the Most Appalling Calamity of Modern Times. If the title isn't clear about which disaster is the book's subject, the publishing date of 1900 is a giveaway. That was the year of the great Galveston hurricane. The storm surge overran the entire island city, killing around 8,000 of its residents. It remains the deadliest hurricane ever to hit North America. This contemporary book includes many photographs taken shortly after the disaster. $50.
You may reach Maggie Lambeth Rare Books at 830-833-5252, or visit them online at www.texanbooks.com, email Maggie@moment.net.