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AUCTION 19

Basic New Mexico History, Profusely Illustrated

209. TWITCHELL, Ralph Emerson. The Leading Facts of New Mexican History. Cedar Rapids, Iowa: The Torch Press, 1911-1917.  5 vols.:  Vol. I:  xx, [2], 506 pp., 85 plates (scenes, views, archaeology, Native Americans, etc., some colored), 3 maps (2 folded), text illustrations (maps, archaeology).  Vol. II:   xxi [3], 631 [1 blank] pp., 100 plates, 7 maps (4 folded), folded table, text illustrations (scenes, maps), text vignettes. Vol. III: xii, 571 [1 blank] pp., 70 plates (photographic and steel-engraved portraits).  Vol. IV:  viii, 567 [1 blank] pp., 56 plates (photographic and steel-engraved portraits).  Vol. V:  viii, [2], 505 [1 blank] pp., 58 plates (photographic and steel-engraved portraits, scenes, views). 5 vols., 4to, original red buckram, embossed seal of New Mexico Territory on upper covers, gilt lettering on spines, t.e.g. Vols. 1-2: fine (vol. 1 is # 587 of “Subscribers’ Edition,” limited to 1500 copies, signed by author); vols. 3-5: spines sunned, ownership stamps, some hinges loose, some signatures carelessly opened in Vol. 3 and browning adjacent to attached newsclipping opposite p. 100 (but Vol. 2 unopened), generally very good to fine.  Overall the set is fine.  Laid in is a small broadside on maize paper, with printed letter of L. Bradford Prince, President, Historical Society of New Mexico, dated at Santa Fé, July 31, 1912, complimenting Twitchell on the accuracy and scholarship of the first two volumes.

     First edition. Originally intended to be complete in two volumes, the subsequent volumes were issued in response to the popularity of the first ones.  Adams, Guns 2254 (calling for 4 vols.): “Tells about the Lincoln County War and claims that Billy the Kid killed only nine men.” Campbell, p. 169. Dykes, Kid 62 (citing Vol. 2): “Rare. Rather complete accounts of the Lincoln County War and notes of the Kid are contained in this volume, when both text and lengthy footnotes are considered... The story of the killing of the Kid is evidently based on an interview with John W. Poe and is probably the first appearance in print, a somewhat abbreviated one, of the now well known Poe account... There is also a biographical sketch of Gov. Axtell.”  Holliday 1108. Howes T443: “[The first two] volumes gave the state history; three later volumes cover the history of the twenty-six counties.” Palau 342608. Rader 3167. Rittenhouse 588. Saunders 4693 (2 vols., 1911-12). Tate, Indians of Texas 192: “The first two volumes...are filled with information on efforts to trade with and ultimately destroy Comanche and Kiowa power from the early 1700s to the 1870s.” Wagner, Spanish Southwest (Bibliography), p. 523 (citing first 2 vols.):  “Mr. Twitchell, who lived in New Mexico, wrote from well-known books and such documents as he could find in the archives of New Mexico. It is profusely illustrated with portraits and facsimiles.” Wallace, Arizona History 15.

     Attorney, politician, and historian Twitchell (1859-1925) arrived in New Mexico from Michigan in 1882 attracted by investment opportunities in railroads, mining, and Spanish and Mexican land title litigation.  He worked for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company until he retired in 1915. Among his public service posts, he was District Attorney for the First Judicial District in 1889, Judge Advocate of the territorial militia with the rank of  Colonel under Territorial Governor Miguel A. Otero, and Mayor of Santa Fe in 1900.  The present work is but one of Twitchell’s important contributions to the scholarship on New Mexico, the second volume of which Lamar assessed as “a storehouse of information and a natural starting point for anyone wishing to do serious research on the territorial period.” Vol. 5 contains a section discussing the livestock industry (pp. 278-290), although many passages throughout the entire work deal with both cattle and sheep industries and related issues such as land grants, including biographies of many ranchers.  Speaking of the classical concept of a “cowboy,” Twitchell remarks, “The ‘puncher’ of that period lives today only at wild west shows and in motion pictures.” (Vol. 5, p. 288).  An example of such a changed man is Lucien B. Maxwell, who after having sold his grant went into banking and issued stock certificates showing him chomping on a cigar, as shown in the plate opposite page 270 in Vol. 5. The final volume includes a section on Santa-Fe and Taos artists.  ($500-1,000)

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