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Pingenot Auction, Lot 18

18. BENNETT, Emerson. The Bandits of the Osage. A Western Romance. Cincinnati: Robinson & Jones, 1847. [Bound with]: Kate Clarendon: Or Necromancy in the Wilderness. A Tale of the Little Miami. Cincinnati & St. Louis: Stratton & Barnard, 1848. [And]: The Prairie Flower: Or, Adventures in the Far West. Cincinnati & St. Louis: Stratton & Barnard, 1849. [7]-121 [1, blank] + [3]-135 [1, blank] + [5] 10-128 pp., all printed in double column. 3 vols. in one, 8vo, contemporary three-quarter brown sheep over dark brown cloth, spine gilt lettered, raised bands. Some wear and rubbing to binding, text foxed. Rare.
        First editions; Bandits of the Osage is the author’s first novel. BAL 1049 (Bandits of the Osage); 1052 (Kate Clarendon); 1054 (Prairie Flower). Graff 256. Howes B355("b"): "It seems probable that this romance [The Prairie Flower] was really written by Sidney W. Moss, who accompanied Hastings to California in 1842, so some of the incidents may be factual." Plains & Rockies IV:162:1: "This work [The Prairie Flower] probably first appeared in the periodical Great West in 1848, when Emerson Bennett was its editor. It describes the travels of a party of young men who crossed the Rocky Mountains to California. Sidney W. Moss, who traveled west with the party of Lansford W. Hastings in 1842, stated later that he wrote the story and gave it to Overton Johnson, who returned to the states in 1844. Moss asserted that Emerson Bennett somehow obtained the manuscript and published it as his own. H. O. Lang, in History of the Willamette Valley (Portland, 1885), recalls having heard the story read by Moss at meetings of a literary society in Oregon City in the winter of 1842-43. See also the discussion in Alfred Powers’ History of Oregon Literature (p. 195)." Wright I:295 (Bandits of the Osage); I:298 (Kate Clarendon); I:304 (Prairie Flower).
        Bennett’s novels are an important component within the genre of American frontier and western novels. Bennett’s work, with that of James Fenimore Cooper, Timothy Flint, and David H. Conyer, "provided the inspiration for the avalanche of dime novels that poured off the presses from 1860 to 1895"—WLA, A Literary History of the West, p. 136.
($400-800)