New and Old West Books from Gene W. Baade
The latest from Gene W. Baade.
By Michael Stillman
Just received is Catalogue 508 of Books On The West from Gene W. Baade. Baade describes the catalogue as "slightly unpredictable," the reason being it's a mix of antiquarian books with more recent ones about olden times. Something about the Old West is the common thread which connects almost all of the books in this catalogue. Among the more recent titles are many from Baade's home of the Pacific Northwest, but among older works you are as likely to find something pertaining to Texas, about as far removed, physically and culturally, from the Northwest as any other place in the U.S.A. These are a few of the items Baade is offering.
The Black Hawk War was more a series of small skirmishes than a true war, yet it remains one of the more notable confrontations between American natives and settlers. In 1830, the American government signed an agreement with some members of the Sauk (or Sac) and Fox tribes in what is today Illinois. The agreement ceded large amounts of land east of the Mississippi to the government, placing the Indians on the west side. Among the places to be ceded was the native village of Saukenuk. However, Black Hawk, a Sauk Chief, did not sign on to this agreement and refused to accept it. He and a band of his followers among the Sauk, Fox and other tribes became involved in a series of skirmishes in 1832 with the army, local militia, and settlers. A few random killings of settlers created fear among them, leading to a response beyond one Black Hawk could match. The war was over within a few months, Black Hawk captured. As an aside, two figures with minor involvement on the government side were Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, who would serve as presidents of the opposing sides in the Civil War. Item 8 is The Sauks and the Black Hawk War... by Hon. Perry A. Armstrong of Morris Illinois. Armstrong, who held a variety of local public offices as well as being involved in several businesses, did not get around to publishing his book until 1887, over a half a century after the war, but as a boy he had lived through it and had to seek protection at a local fort for a while. Priced at $575.
Strange religious cults are by no means a new phenomenon. In 1903, Edmund Creffield descended upon the Oregon town of Corvallis, and soon began enlisting converts to his new church. His group was referred to as "Holy Rollers," evidently because of a habit of rolling around on the ground. Other practices, such as shedding clothes to be more like Adam and Eve, raised even greater suspicions. However, Creffield must have exuded charisma with the best, as he gathered many followers, especially women, despite his strange customs and proclamations of his own divinity. In time, the citizens of Corvallis drove him out of town. He resettled in Portland, and eventually moved on to Seattle, where one day a man who claimed his sister had been "ruined" by Creffield shot him. Just three years after he burst onto the scene, Creffield lay dead on the streets of Seattle. His story is told by Theresa McCracken and Robert Blodgett in Holy Rollers: Murder and Madness in Oregon's Love Cult, published in 2002. Item 95. $20.
New and Old West Books from Gene W. Baade
Perry Armstrong wrote a thorough account of the Black Hawk War.
Item 3 is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Alexie is not so much a part-time Indian as a full-time Indian who has spent part of his time away from the Reservation. He left the Reservation to attend high school, then college, where he showed his gifts as a poet and writer. This latest work, set on a Spokane Reservation, was published in 2007. It won a National Book Award for young people's literature. This copy is signed and dated shortly after publication by Alexie. $100.
Item 54 is Heaven on the Half Shell. The Story of the Northwest's Love Affair with the Oyster, by David Gordon, Nancy Blanton and Terry Nosho. I knew the slimy critters were popular in New England, but I thought Northwesterners had more sense that to actually eat these things. You can always learn something new from books. Published in 2001. $19.50.
Gene W. Baade may be reached at 425-271-6481 or email@example.com. The website is www.booksonthewest.com.