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Early Directory of Montana Territory

31. [DIRECTORY: MONTANA]. [WARNER, Frank W. (compiler)].  Montana Territory. History and Business Directory 1879. Illustrated. Distances, Fares, and Altitudes. Counties, Towns, Mining Camps. Commercial, Mineral and Agricultural Interests. With a Sketch of the Vigilantes. Helena: Fisk Brothers, [1879].  [12], 136, [6], 137-141 [4] 142-144, [2] 145-148, [4], 149-152, [4], 153-156, [4], 157-160, [4], 161-162, [4], 163-218 pp. (pastedowns are printed ads), 4 engraved plates: (1) Mineral Springs, Deer Lodge Valley, Montana.J. H. Bond Eng. Omaha; (2) “Gate of the Mountains,” on the Missouri, 18 Miles from Helena. J. Manz. Chicago; (3) Helena, Montana, J. Manz, Chicago; (4) Virginia City, Montana, J. Manz. Chicago;  text illustrations (views), folded untitled engraved map: [showing western and central parts of Montana Territory and adjacent country, from approximately 108°-114° west longitude and 44°-49° north latitude] Photo Eng. Co. NY; neat line to neat line: 23.1 x 18.3 cm.  8vo, original black gilt-lettered leather over grey printed and pictorial boards, fore-edges of covers cloth-tipped (skillfully rebacked, original spine laid down, spine tips restored in matching black leather), boards slightly rubbed and lower margin of rear cover gouged, cracked but no loss of text), overall a fine copy.  Modern ownership inscription of T. C. Power, 702 Harrison, Helena, on upper pastedown.

     First edition.   Adams, Guns 2318:  “Contains a twenty-chapter reprint of Dimsdale’s Vigilantes of Montana.  Rare.” Bauer 325 (lacked map).  Bradford 3651.  Eberstadt 168:343:  “The book is an important source, with much on the gold discoveries, the mining camps and settlements, the organization of the Territory, the Road Agents, tables of distances, etc.”  Graff 4539.  Holliday 790.  Howes W108:  “Includes first reprint of Dimsdale's Vigilantes.”  McMurtrie, Montana Imprints 121.  Smith 10725.   Streeter Sale 2251.

     A certain amount of bibliographical confusion surrounds this book.  Some collations call for five plates; however, there are only four plates in the book, the fifth plate being a full-page text illustration included as part of the pagination.  Some bibliographers also seem to imply that Dimsdale’s Vigilantes (Virginia City, 1866) is reprinted here.  In fact, the reprinting here, which is the first one, is partial and includes only nine chapters (pp. 2-50) rather than the usually reported twenty.  For more on Dimsdale’s Vigilantes, see:  Adams, One-Fifty 48; Howes D345; McMurtrie, Montana Imprints 2 (“Charles Dickens is reported to have said: ‘This is the most interesting book I ever read in my life’”); Streeter, Americana-Beginnings 72; Streeter Sale 2221: “The first book printed in Montana and one of the best accounts of the action of the Vigilance Committee, the institution that brought justice to the western frontier.”  No collection of Dimsdale’s work is complete without this genuine second edition.

     This is an early Montana Territory directory published in Montana, the first one having been published in 1868 (McMurtrie, Montana Imprints 36).  Finally, the views of Helena and Virginia City are very early bird’s-eye views of those cities. The Helena view also appears in Strahorn's 1879 promotional Resources of Montana Territory. ($2,500-5,000)

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