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Distaff Union Pacific Scout & a Russell Rarity

184. STRAHORN, Carrie Adell [Green]. Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage A Woman’s Unique Experience during Thirty Years of Path Finding and Pioneering from the Missouri to the Pacific and from Alaska to Mexico. New York & London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons & Knickerbocker Press, 1911. xxv [3], 673 [1 blank] pp., frontispiece (photogravure portrait of author), 4 color plates (after art work by Charles M. Russell), numerous photographic and line illustrations (in all, 85 Russell illustrations). Thick 8vo, original green gilt-lettered cloth with illustration by Russell mounted on upper cover, illustrated endpapers (also by Russell), t.e.g. Minor shelf wear, hinges neatly strengthened, otherwise a fine, bright copy, in worn, torn d.j.  Very scarce in collector’s condition and with the elusive d.j. with Russell illustration.  Contemporary ink gift inscription dated Christmas 1912 from Charles and Sara Stebbins to Mrs. Thomas L. Kimball (Mr. Kimball’s portrait appears at p. 183; he was General Manager of the Union Pacific system).

    First edition of a classic description of stage-coaching in the American West, marvelously illustrated with Russell art work and documentary photographs, some of which show the author in full Victorian attire enthusiastically experiencing the rigors of the Wild West. Adams , Guns 2152: “Accounts of the Montana vigilantes and the Plummer gang.” Adams , Herd 2180: “Scarce.” Dykes, Western High Spots, p. 70 (“High Spots of Western Illustrating” #39); p. 191 (“Russell Rarities” #42): “Especially sought [is] any copy of the first in the original Russell illustrated dust wrapper.” Flake 8491. Graff 3999. Howes S1054. McCracken, 101, p. 46: “Narrative of the years she and her husband spent travelling throughout the American West writing guidebooks for the Union Pacific Railway Company.”  Saunders 3171. Wallace , Arizona History VIII:17. Yost & Renner, Russell I:25.

    The author is “glad to linger over the humorous, to separate from its crude surroundings the picturesque element, and to endeavor to perpetuate the romances of the miner and prospector, the cowboy and bullwhacker” (from preface). The author and her husband traveled by stage and horseback extensively throughout the West, British Columbia, Alaska, and Hawaii, and her travels were probably the longest ever undertaken by an American woman up to that time. Strahorn is said to be the first Anglo woman to tour the Yellowstone Park in its entirety and one of the first to travel and write about the Alaska wilderness.  Fortunately, Strahorn is an excellent observer and gifted writer able to capture the personalities, scenes, and events she witnessed.  As she explains in her last chapter, the West through which she passed was already a fading memory by the time this book went to press; “Even the great maddening salt plains are being drawn into the seething vortex of commerce, and trackless deserts are no longer on the maps of our grand and glorious United States.”  The last photograph in the book is of a solitary teepee with the caption, “The Lonely Outpost of a Dying Race.”  ($300-600)















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