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“An Early, Perhaps the Very First, Cloth-Covered Novel of the Black Hills” (Jennewein)

147. [PILGRIM, Thomas]. Live Boys in the Black Hills or the Young Texan Gold Hunters a Narrative in Charley’s Own Language, Describing Their Adventures during a Second Trip over the Great Texas Cattle Trail, Their Fortune as Gold Hunters, Their Life among the Miners, and Their Experiences with the Indians, Cut Short by Charley’s Sudden and Unaccountable Disappearance in the Night during a Snow-Storm Given in Letters to Arthur Morecamp [pseudonym] Author of “Live Boys in Texas.” Boston: Lee and Shepard, Publishers; New York: Charles T. Dillingham, 1880. [2 ad], 363 [1 blank] pp., 6 engraved plates (including frontispiece). 12mo, original red pictorial cloth decorated and lettered in black and gilt, spine gilt-lettered.  Binding with light to moderate staining (mainly confined to lower cover), upper hinge just starting, interior fine except for very light scattered foxing.  Gift inscription on front free endpaper dated December 25, 1880.

     First edition, intermediate issue, with 363 pages and one leaf of ads at front. Howes states the first edition should be 363 pages with no ads and that the second should be 364 pages with four pages of ads. Adams, Herd 1573: “A sequel to the preceding book [The Live Boys; or, Charlie and Nasho in Texas; see Reese, Six Score 80; Merrill Aristocrats; and Dobie, p. 113], and perhaps even scarcer.” Graff 3293. Howes M789. Jennewein, Black Hills Booktrails 275: “Important to the collector. It is an early, perhaps the very first, cloth-covered novel of the Black Hills. It is a lively adventure story.” Raines, p. 165. Taylor & Maar, The American Cowboy, p. 72: “Although it is doubtful that [Pilgrim] ever went on a cattle drive himself, he certainly got his information from people who a time when there was a good deal of animosity between Anglo-American and Spanish-speaking Texas, these books are remarkable too for their protagonists, who are as the subtitle says, ‘two boys of fourteen, one a Texan, the other Mexican.’” Not in Wright.

     Pilgrim’s books are considered the first authentic cowboy fiction.  Pilgrim (1804-1877), a Connecticut native, came to Texas in 1828, where he assisted Austin’s colony with his Spanish skills.  The first Sunday school, organized by him, had to be discontinued because the Mexican government allowed only Catholicism in the area.  He participated in the Texas Revolution and the Battle of Plum Creek.  The rest of his life he spent working for Baptist causes for the State and was also active in the town government of Gonzalez, where he died.  Handbook of Texas Online: Thomas J. Pilgrim.  ($200-400)

Auction 19 Short Title List | Auction 19 Prices Realized

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