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186. STRAHORN, Robert E[dmund]. The Resources and Attractions of Idaho Territory . Facts Regarding Climate, Soil, Minerals, Agricultural and Grazing Lands, Forests, Scenery, Game and Fish, and Reliable Information on Other Topics Applicable to the Wants of the Homeseeker, Capitalist and Tourist. Published and Circulated by Direction of the Idaho Legislature Special Act of the 11th Session.  Boise City : Idaho Legislature, 1881 [copyright 1881, by Robert E. Strahorn, Omaha Republican Print]. 88 pp., engraved text illustrations (some full page, including Karst and Manz), tables, folded lithograph map:  Map of Idaho Territory Compiled from Government Notes, Actual Surveys, and Personal Examination. By Robt. E. Strahorn. 1882 [lower center above neat line] Matthews, Northrup & Co., Engrs. & Prs., Buffalo, N.Y., neat line to neat line: 35.7 x 20.7 cm. 8vo, original pale green pictorial wrappers, sewn; upper wrapper with illustration of landscape and title: Idaho, The Gem of the Mountains; lower wrapper with  railroad map: Map of the Union & Central Pacific, Railroads. Matthews, Northrup & Co., Engrs. & Prs., Buffalo, neat line to neat line: 9.5 x 18.9 cm.  Spine moderately chipped, wrappers slightly wrinkled and with a few minor spots, interior fine except for a few scattered pencil markings, folded map very fine. Two contemporary rubber ink stamps on upper wrapper, both for Union Pacific Railroad offices in Denver .  Contemporary ink signature of James L. Onderdonk, who wrote the digest of Idaho laws on pp. 85-88.

    First edition, but without the ads and errata slip sometimes found in copies. Adams, Herd 2183 (calling for 8 pp. of ads at end): “Scarce.”  AII, Idaho Imprints 172.  Bradford 5264. Howes S1056 (calling for 8 pp. of ads at end). Smith 9954.  Many of the illustrations have an odd surreal quality to them, not found in Strahorn’s other promotionals.

    Here Strahorn, who was been called “The Propagandist of the West” (Oliver Knight, Pacific Northwest Quarterly, January, 1968), has produced another promotional supposedly issued by the Territory of Idaho, but in reality put forth by his railroad employer, who hoped that the increased traffic caused by this publication would be reflected favorably in its bottom line.  In this pamphlet Strahorn dangles particularly the bait of wealth to be had from mining, although he does give some attention to other enterprises, such as stock raising and agriculture.  Of the former, he says, “Almost without exception, those who have engaged in stock raising in Idaho have either become rich or are in fair way to do so quickly” (p. 74)

     “[Strahorn’s] Resources and Attractions of Idaho Territory-published in 1881 by Idaho's legislature but secretly underwritten by the railroad-bubbled with braggadocio: ‘the healthiest climate in America, if not in the world...the richest ores known in the history of mining...the peer of any mining region in the universe...luxuriant crops, emerald or golden, trees blossom- and perfume-laden, or bending to earth with their lavish fruitage’" (J. Anthony Lukas, Big Trouble: A Murder in a Small Western Town Sets Off a Struggle for the Soul of America, New York:  Simon & Schuster, 1997, Chapter 1). ($400-800)

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