This Ranching Catalogue evolved as a result of our firm accepting on consignment Dudley R. Dobie's massive library on Texas and the West. In truth, it was the two lovely editions of Mary Austin Holley's wonderful 1833 and 1836 guides to Texas that initially caused an acquisitive gleam to sparkle in my eyes. However, the first logical question was: "What in the world will we ever do with the other 49,998 books?" Confronted with a veritable avalanche of books, we decided to organize the material into subject catalogues that had the potential to enhance the understanding and bibliography of Texana and Western Americana. We began this process with our publication of the first catalogue of the Dudley R. Dobie, Sr. series, devoted entirely to the life and work of his cousin, J. Frank Dobie. Over 3,500 individual items were offered in our Catalogue Ten (Part 1), the J. Frank Dobie Catalogue. Our next catalogue in this series was for an auction of select rarities from Dudley R. Dobie's library. The third catalogue in the series was our Catalogue Ten (Part 3), documenting the life and work of master printer Carl Hertzog of El Paso (over 1,100 entries). Serendipity reigned, and we were asked to handle Carl Hertzog's own library, which was included in, and greatly enhanced, the Dudley R. Dobie Hertzog catalogue.
The present catalogue is the fourth in the Dudley R. Dobie series, and it is
devoted entirely to the subject of ranching. This is but the first installment
(letters A-C) of the four parts of the Ranching Catalogue. After the four parts
of this Ranching Catalogue, the other catalogues to be published in the Dudley
R. Dobie series will be Texas County and Local History; the Big Bend; and a
quite extensive auction of general Texana and Western Americana.
At the moment when we were on the verge of publishing the first part of the
Dudley R. Dobie Ranching Catalogue, the Autry Museum of Western Heritage in
Los Angeles approached our firm about handling their duplicates from the collection
of Fred R. Rosenstock, the well-known Colorado bookman. Several years ago, the
Autry Museum astutely purchased the fabulous Rosenstock Collection as the foundation
of their important Research Center library. After several years spent selecting
all of the books and other materials appropriate to the Autry Museum's institutional
scope, the Museum was left with a huge number of Western Americana duplicates,
rivaling in number those of the Dudley R. Dobie Library. Fred Rosenstock and
Dudley R. Dobie were both avid bookmen and respectable bibliomaniacs whose passion
led them to accrue vast numbers of books.
With the library of Dudley R. Dobie, Sr., I already had more books than I ever
imagined would pass through my hands in my professional life. Thus, I felt some
trepidation about taking on yet another huge consignment of books from the Autry
Museum. But all caution and prudence were thrown to the four winds in the blink
of an eye when I visited the Autry Museum to view their Rosenstock duplicates.
Never had I seen such enticing "leftovers" as those that remained
after the Research Center staff had made their selections of material to retain
for their library. Among the very first books spied on the shelf was a very
fine copy of the first printing of E. C. ("Teddy Blue") Abbott's We
Pointed Them North: Recollections of a Cowpuncher edited by Helena Huntington
Smith and illustrated by Ross Santee (appropriately, Item 1 in the present catalogue).
Not only was the Rosenstock duplicate of Abbott's book in wonderful condition,
it also had the elusive dust jacket! That was one of the books that Dudley R.
Dobie did not have in a first edition in his collection. That was it-one of
those fateful moments when the door opens wide and one falls through. Never
mind practicality. Never mind that each day has only twenty-four hours. Never
mind the questionable bottom line. It suddenly seemed not only proper and desirable,
but absolutely necessary, that I boldly assume responsibility for not only the
Dudley R. Dobie Library, but the Autry-Rosenstock duplicates as well.
As I worked my way through a swift inspection of the huge gathering of Autry-Rosenstock
duplicates, I became more and more excited in realizing how perfectly the Dobie
and Rosenstock ranching books complemented one another. Dobie's collection emphasized
Texas and the Southwest, with interesting inroads into Mexico and Argentina.
Rosenstock's collection, while rich in Texas material, had great strengths in
Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, California, and the Pacific Northwest. Between the
two collections, the range of variants, editions, and unique association copies
was marvelous. Here was a unique opportunity not only to catalogue and sell
good, solid books, but to do something significant with them that would honor
both Dobie and Rosenstock.
I must admit that deciding how to organize the sale of these tens of thousands
of books was a dilemma for us, since we are much more accustomed and inclined
to deal with the few, select rarities, such as rare cartography, high spots
of Western Americana and Texas, or the Zamorano Eighty collection of
the most important books on California. Seeing the large number of mint copies
of the worthy Arthur H. Clark publications, our first step was to create a bulletin
of those wonderful titles as a way of gingerly dipping our toes into a vast
river of Western Americana in which we feared we might drown. Next, we conducted
a careful roundup of the Rosenstock duplicates that related to ranching. This
meant reviewing tens of thousands of books and pulling titles found in Ramon
Adams' bibliography, The Rampaging Herd: A Bibliography of Books and Pamphlets
on Men and Events in the Cattle Industry (Item 54 herein). Since Adams'
bibliography was published in 1959, we encountered many ranching books published
after Adams' book was completed; of course, we added those books. In reviewing
every single Rosenstock duplicate, we also discovered many books that were not
in Herd, but which had good ranching content, or in some way illuminated the
wide horizon or the nooks and crannies of the cattle country. We felt that such
books offer important insights and present an opportunity for libraries and
collectors with ranching collections to expand their existing holdings in a
meaningful way with Western Americana titles of tangential interest.
When we went back to the ever-patient and understanding Dobie family and explained
what we wished to do with respect to the Dobie Ranching Catalogue, Marcelle
Dobie Smith, Dudley R. Dobie, Jr., and Jim Dobie graciously agreed to allow
us take temporary leave from their consignment to work with the Autry Museum
of Western Heritage in Los Angeles. In November of 1999 we conducted an auction
at the Autry Museum of the non-ranching Rosenstock duplicates-over 20,000 individual
items relating to American and Western history. The Autry staff, including Manola
de la Madrid, Jeanette Hoskinson, Sharon Johnson (rest in peace), Kevin Mulroy,
and many other hardy souls at the Museum kindly assisted us in this unusually
Next we brought the Rosenstock duplicates of ranching titles from Los Angeles to Austin, where we had constructed a special climate-controlled library with compact shelving to properly and securely house the Rosenstock and Dobie ranching books. The fortuitous commingling of these ranching books, along with other consignments from generous, interested parties, is the catalogue you now hold in your hands (or view over the Internet); three additional parts to this Ranching Catalogue will be published over the next year and a half.
Perhaps we are not the most fit to loose this motley herd on the bibliophilic
world. We find particular delight in the arcane corners of the cattle country,
such as photographs of herding turkeys in Texas, a little gem of an essay on
horse slobber, and epic gaucho poetry. Other tales that piqued our interest
involved the heartbreak of a tough cowboy reduced to licking horse sweat from
his saddle after the chuck wagon's salt was lost on a rough trail drive; the
daring introduction of the "divided skirt" for women riding astride
in Ouray County, Colorado; Philip St. George Cooke's account of "The Battle
of the Bulls" during the 1846-1847 Mormon Battalion march across the jornada
de muerte from New Mexico to California; a masked ball in wild and woolly
Deadwood at which one lady wore a dress emblazoned with all the regional cattle
brands; Captain Jack Crawford's hilarious account of "Broncho vs. Bicycle,"
complete with wacky photographs; and little girls trapped atop a large boulder
on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake, terrorized by wild cattle.
We have been fascinated to encounter material that falls outside of the usual
Marlboro-man stereotype: a good selection on women in the cattle country; many
accounts and descriptions of gauchos, charros, and vaqueros; several items relating
to Australian and aboriginal cowhands; an account of rustling problems in the
Boer Wars; a great number of items on the Spanish missions and the Spanish Southwest
(generally unheralded in spite of their foundational role for the cattle trade
in the Americas); an account of a vaquero's experiences in the 1950s on the
Dadanawa Ranch near the Guyana-Brazil border on the Rupununi River; two rare
and early ephemera on the Calgary Stampede; an uncommon, lively chromolithographed
program for Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in 1893; and much, much more.
The history of the cattle industry is the history of far more than just cowboys,
trail drives, and ranching. It is the history of the spread of European domination
over the landscapes of the American West, and indeed, much of the New World.
While trappers were generally the first to open a new region, discovering and
establishing trails, and decimating select species of native fauna, it was cattlemen
who wedged open the door for an incoming flood of "civilization."
When opening a new frontier, livestock raising was often the first major endeavor,
allowing both subsistence and a chance for some economic gain in regions where
no infrastructure or economy was yet in place. The vast herds of bison that
once roamed the American West, and the Native Americans, so many of whom were
dependent on the bison, were cleared to make way for domesticated grazers. Once
the perils of the frontier were somewhat mitigated by the persistent presence
of the cattlemen, others-more civilized, more fearful, or both-began to arrive
and establish homesteads, settlements, towns, and agriculture. As settlement
increased, so too did land-use conflicts, and thus arose the need for fencing
and the invention of barbed wire.
Just as cattle came to dominate many Western landscapes, so too has the mythic
image of the American cowboy branded itself upon the American psyche. The cowboy
was larger than life even at the beginning of his fleeting hey-day (from the
end of the Civil War to the mid-1880s). Sometimes the individual cowboy had
difficulty swaggering up to his own self-imposed tough stereotype. The average
age of the American cowboy was twenty-four years, about one in three was Mexican
or Black, and the most common end for a cowboy was being dragged to his death
by his horse. These young men were as various as any group, despite facile typecasting,
and the "real" face of the cowboy is not so easy to discern. In fact,
the "real" face of the approximately forty thousand men who rode the
range is approximately forty thousand faces. Values like courage, individuality,
stoicism, and freedom are often associated with the American cowboy, but in
the early days, the term "cowboy" was sometimes used to refer to outlaws.
The term "cowboy" is said to have been the name used for armed Tories
in the American Revolution who softly clanged cowbells to lure patriot farmers
into being ambushed in the brush while searching for lost cows.
Contradictions abound regarding the cowboy, and little wonder this is, when
one considers the time and place in which the American cowboy dwelled. Against
a background of rigid Victorian values, the cowboy lived desperately by the
tough Code of the West, often in hazardous conditions, and with his employer
having scant regard for his welfare. The cowboy pitted his body and mind against
a landscape of sweeping grandeur which often was rife with misery and death.
The dichotomy between the glamorous mystique of the cowboy and the stark reality
of his harsh and frequently mundane life is one of the most intriguing aspects
of the many historical and cultural threads relating to cowboys and ranching.
What does this mythologizing tell us about our culture? Are we searching for
an American identity, or are these creative and sometimes ludicrous and humorous
interpretations a result of idealized notions? As postmodern life becomes more
complex and technology increasingly pervasive, are we attempting to hearken
back to the seeming simplicity of a pastoral existence that is for the most
part gone with the wind? Perhaps the answer is more simple. Recently a friend
emailed that because he feels concern about his adolescent son's values and
rebelliousness, he is planning a working vacation this summer with his son on
their family ranch on the Montana-North Dakota border, far from urban trappings.
He wrote: "Ranching is a life attached to the land, simple and fundamental.
I want him to learn as I did. I never learned so much as when I was left in
charge of all the cattle calving on their own in blizzards with me to keep the
coyotes at bay and help them through birthing. It's remarkable, the cycle of
Fascination with ranching history and the cowboy has spawned an incredible
wealth of printed material. It sometimes seems that almost any historical account
of the American West will yield information and asides on cattle and ranching
if examined closely enough. We were interested to learn that the Hudson's Bay
Company for a time held a virtual monopoly on the incipient cattle trade in
the Pacific Northwest. The most unpromising Utah county history might reveal
the surprising information that not only the entire town, but sometimes even
their livestock, were hired out as extras when Westerns were filmed in the region.
Through the pages of this catalogue (and the next three in this series), many
lesser-known corners of the cattle county will come to light: the Southern Trail
whereby Texas cattlemen supplied California and the miners for several decades;
Wild West shows other than Buffalo Bill Cody's; rustling not just by
Native Americans but also from them; women and children in the cattle
country; the economic side of ranching; and rodeo and its evolution.
In Bill Reese's excellent bibliography, Six Score: The 120 Best Books on
the Range Cattle Industry, we found the following quote which really says
it all from the collecting perspective: "[Philip Ashton Rollins] was one
of the great collectors of Western Americana.... He once walked into Charles
Everitt's store in New York and said he wanted 'every damn book that says cow
in it.' All great cattle collectors since have observed this maxim" (Reese,
Six Score 92). And while we were sorely tempted to cast our lasso that
wide, we chose to let some of the mavericks go, facing the reality that oxen
and dairy cows really do not belong in this corral. Even so, we cannot resist
observing that some ranchers in California made their start in ranching by purchasing
and nurturing the exhausted, emaciated oxen that had faithfully transported
the overlanders west.
Because this is a bookseller's catalogue, and not a bibliography or the catalogue
of a comprehensive collection, the selections herein are of necessity dictated
by our stock on hand, and in no way represent any attempt at completeness. We
certainly hope that we do not see future statements of "Not in Dobie-Rosenstock."
There are quite a few important and rare ranching books that will not make their
appearance in these pages, we are sorry to say (consignments of ranching rarities
are invited and encouraged!). However, we believe that the variety and depth
of the material that is present will compensate for any shortfall. And while
some high spots may be missing from these pages, there is virtually no corner
of ranching history that is not illuminated: all of the great cattle trails,
and a few quite obscure ones; every aspect of life and work on the range, from
equipage, roping, and branding to chuck wagons, entertainment, and outlawry;
range wars great and small; the coming of fences and the cutting of fences;
nesters and cattle barons. This wealth of information comes in many forms, including
ephemera, fiction, poetry, photo-essays, art, scholarly studies, and innumerable
biographical accounts. Most of the Western illustrators are well represented,
including Frederick S. Remington, Charles M. Russell, Ross Santee, Edward Borein,
E. Boyd Smith, Maynard Dixon, Tom Lea, and José Cisneros.
Aside from content, the books herein are interesting purely from the standpoint
of collecting. One would be hard-pressed to find a private collection of ranching
books with so many binding variants and as many signed and association copies.
There are many books from the libraries of Carl Hertzog, Dudley R. Dobie, Sr.,
and J. Frank Dobie. Those from J. Frank's Dobie's library often bear his manuscript
notations in regard to the book (some of Pancho's comments are quite caustic,
to say the least). Often the books offered here are exceptionally fine copies,
and many scarce dust jackets are present.
Since ranching is such a pervasive element in the American West and its history,
this catalogue also presents an excellent cross-section of Western Americana.
Every Western state is represented in these pages, and there are many local
and regional histories that provide information at great depth. Perhaps nothing
makes the ubiquity of stockraising so clear as how this effort was undertaken
upon every variety of Western landscape-from the arid brush country of South
Texas to the lush Pacific Northwest, and from the Great Plains to the Rocky
Mountains and on to the shores of the Pacific. Every era from early Spanish
exploration to the present is covered. And while most early explorations were
clearly ruled out as having no relation to the cattle trade, many other facets
of the West are well represented: fur trade and mountain men, overland narratives,
mining, railroads and transportation, Native Americans, military history, women's
history, social history, material culture, law and lawlessness, Black history,
natural history, agriculture, literature, local history, economics, politics,
missions and missionaries, etc.
We are pleased to have gathered so many items in Adams's The Rampaging Herd and surprised that we have even more from Adams's Six-Guns and Saddle Leather: A Bibliography of Books and Pamphlets on Western Outlaws and Gunmen (Item 57). Although we do not have all of the titles in Merrill's Aristocrats or Reese's Six Score, in the four parts of the Ranching Catalogue, we are offering a very respectable grouping of those collectibles. And while this catalogue contains many appealing and arcane detours in the cattle country that allow an expanded and enhanced view of ranching, bedrock ranching books are abundant throughout.
We have learned a great deal in working with these books. We hope that you will enjoy this catalogue as much as we have enjoyed compiling it.
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