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Auction 14: Americana

Lot 64: Woodman's Guide to Texas Emigrants

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One of the Fifty Texas Rarities

64. WOODMAN, David. Guide to Texas Emigrants. Boston: Printed by M. Hawes, For The Publishers, 81 Cornhill, near the N.E. Museum, 1835. vi [13]-192 pp. (p. 59 misnumbered 29), copper-engraved plate (The Buffalo Hunt [lower left]: Painted by A. Fisher [lower right]: Engraved by W. E. Tucker; 7.8 x 9.9 cm; 3-1/4 x 4 inches), folding copper-engraved map on onionskin paper with original hand coloring (Map of the Colonization Grants to Zavala, Vehlein & Burnet in Texas, Belonging to The Galveston Bay & Texas Land Co. [Lower right below neat line]: S. Stiles & Co. N.Y. 23 x 30 cm; 9 x 11-3/4 inches; inset map at lower right: Plan of the Port of Galveston, Made by Order of the Mexican Government. By Alexander Thompson of the Mexican Navy in 1828. 8.2 x 13.8 cm; 3-1/4 x 5-1/2 inches, grants colored in green, pink, and yellow). 12mo, modern three-quarter brown morocco over marbled boards. Title slightly browned with minor paper losses supplied (not affecting text) and with ink stencil of Mercantile Library Boston and remains of their ink oval stamp. Title and first leaf mounted on stubs, light waterstaining to upper corners of first few signatures (not affecting text), occasional contemporary ink markings scattered throughout. The map, which is detached, is very good to fine (creased where formerly folded and slight losses at fold line, expertly deacidified and restored, reinforced with minor additions in modern pen and ink facsimile). Engraved plate very fine. Overall, a good to very good and complete copy of a book genuinely rare, and difficult to find complete.

    First edition. American Imprints 35502. Bradford 6000. Brinley Sale 4747. Clark, Old South 3:117. Fifty Texas Rarities 12. Graff 4737. Howes W647. Phillips, American Sporting Books, p. 413. Rader 3731. Raines, p. 222. Sabin 105111. Streeter 1177. Vandale 197. This small book was almost assuredly sponsored by the Galveston Bay & Texas Land Company, which at the time was actively promoting its Texas holdings in both America and Europe. The basic text is their Address to the Reader of the Documents Related to the Galveston Bay & Texas Land Company, Which Are Contained in the Appendix (New York: G. F. Hopkins & Son, 44 Nassau Street, January 1, 1831), which is cited on p. [1]. Woodman states that he is using it here by “making it the text for such comments upon the present condition of the country as the change of circumstances and relations require.” In expanding the basic document, Woodman has included numerous articles from newspapers and letters written to describe Texas and the company’s lands.

    Although apparently a hack writer about whom almost nothing is known, Woodman had a way with words. In his introduction he remarks: “The difference between the condition of the farmers in New England and Texas may be summed up in a few words. Here, the owner is at work for the support of his beasts the whole year round; and there, the cattle are at work the whole time for the profit of the owner. There, the cattle are the slaves of their master; and here, the master is the slave of his beasts” (p. iv). The genuine problem that Woodman must address, however, and what may have formed some of the impetus for the publication of this work, is contained in pp. 97-113, wherein questions that had arisen concerning Mexican immigration laws and the security of the company’s title to its lands are covered. The main vehicle for such criticism was the anonymous Visit to Texas (Streeter 1155). On the whole, this publication is very favorable in its descriptions of the company’s lands and the prospects of those immigrating to them.
    The handsome copper-engraved plate of a buffalo is a very early engraving of a Texas scene. Alvan Fisher (1792-1863), the artist who created the engraving, appears to have drawn inspiration from Titian Peale’s American Buffaloe (1832). William E. Tucker (1801-1857), who engraved the plate, worked in Philadelphia between 1823 and 1845 “He was an excellent engraver in line and stipple” (Fielding, p. 281).

The excellent map that appears in this rare guide is also found on a large broadside of the Galveston Bay & Texas Land Company (Streeter 1164).

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