AE Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2005 Issue

Franklin and Other Rare Americana from George S. MacManus

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For anyone having a hard day, here's something to help you appreciate your situation: West To Kansas, Being a Thrilling Account of an Ill-Fated Expedition to that Fairy land, and Its Sad Results...., by Mrs. Miriam David Colt. She and her family left their home in Potsdam, New York, to settle in Kansas in 1856. They join up with a vegetarian communal society, but it proved no utopia. They suffer through depredation, poverty, skirmishes with the border ruffians of Bleeding Kansas, storms, snakes, mosquitoes, illness and death. This is an unhappy story with no happy ending. Eventually Mrs. Colt returns to Potsdam a widow with little to show for the extreme hardships she endured. Item 219. Published in 1862. $750.

One of the most popular fields for collecting today is Texas. Here is a real rarity from the brief Republic period. The title is Topographical Description of Texas. To Which is Added, An Account of the Indian Tribes, by George Bonnell. Published circa 1842, this book not only contains an extensive topographical description of Texas, but also is an account of the people, particularly the native Indians who lived there at the time. Bonnell had served as Commissioner of Indian Affairs for Sam Houston, so he was an expert in the customs of the various tribes. Item 92. $25,000.

There was probably never a more loyal wife than Elizabeth Custer, also known as Mrs. George Armstrong Custer. She outlived her military, not-so-successful Indian fighting husband by over half a century, and dedicated those years to defending his reputation. She published her first book, "Boots and Saddles" or Life in Dakota With General Custer, in 1885. It was an immediate success as her husband's reputation was already firmly established. While perhaps not an entirely objective portrait of the man she admired, it is still a fascinating account of his life and times. Item 250. $2,500.

There is a bit of irony in Alexander Garden's Anecdotes of the Revolutionary War in America, With Sketches of the Character of the Most Distinguished, in the Southern States, for Civil and Military Service. Published in Charleston in 1822, its focus is primarily on Revolutionary patriots from South Carolina. The irony is that within a few years, South Carolina would become the leader of the secessionist movement and would initiate the Civil War in 1860 to dissolve the Union created by that Revolution. This book harks back to an earlier day, when Robert E. Lee's father was an important figure in creating the Union. Item 386. $1,000.

The George S. MacManus Company may be found online at www.macmanus-rearebooks.com or reached by phone at 610-520-7273.

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