Dorothy Sloan -- Books

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256. ROOSEVELT, Theodore. Hunting Trips of a Ranchman Sketches of Sport on the Northern Cattle Plains...Illustrated by A. B. Frost, R. Swain Gifford, J. C.  Beard, Fannie E. Gifford, Henry Sandham. New York & London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons & Knickerbocker Press, 1886. xvi, 347 [1 blank], [4] pp., engraved text illustrations (some full page, including frontispiece portrait of TR), text vignettes. 8vo, original tan cloth, spine gilt lettered, upper cover with decorative title in red, bevelled edges. Some shelf wear, spine moderately dark with gilt lettering dull, lower cover with some light stains, moderate stains to blank margins of first few leaves, text block slightly split at pp. 128-129.  Modern ink signature on front flyleaf.

     First trade edition of author’s second book (the Medora edition limited to 500 copies appeared the previous year). Adams, Herd 1949.  Dobie, pp. 116-117: “Roosevelt understood the West. He became the peg on which several range books were hung.” For the Medora edition, see:  Graff 3560. Howes R430. Johnson, American First Editions, p. 191.  Merrill, Aristocrats of the Cow Country, p. 23. Phillips, p. 319.  Based on his experiences hunting and ranching, Roosevelt here creates an image of the West intended to stimulate people to visit as tourists and sportsmen, a concept warmly embraced by Roosevelt’s ranching neighbors in Dakota, where the Great Die-Up of 1886-1887 prompted many to convert or expand their operations into the dude ranching business. Roosevelt’s book contributed to the perception of Western life as a springboard for building American character.     One of the reasons Roosevelt went to Dakota was his determination to add a buffalo to his trophy collection before the species became extinct. In the chapter “The Lordly Buffalo,” Roosevelt comments:  “From the standpoint of humanity at large, the extermination of the buffalo has been a blessing.  The many have benefited by it; and I suppose the comparative view of us who would have prefered the continuance of the old order of things, merely for the sake of our own selfish enjoyment, have no right to complain.”(pp. 266-268).

     The action occurs primarily in Dakota where Roosevelt had his ranch, but included is an account of a trip made by his brother to the Llano River Valley in Texas to hunt wild turkey. ($100-200)

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