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Early Tourist Account of Yellowstone with First-Rate Map

234. WINGATE, George W[ood]. Through the Yellowstone Park on Horseback. New York : O. Judd Co., David W. Judd, Pres’t, 1886. 250, [6 ads] pp., text illustrations (scenes and views, some full page), rear pocket with folding lithograph map with waterways in blue: Map of the Yellowstone National Park Compiled from Different Official Explorations and Our Personal Survey 1882. Carl J. Hals and A. Rydström, Civil Engineers [inset at lower left] Map of the Yellowstone National Park and Surrounding Country; neat line to neat line: 59.7 x 45.8 cm. 8vo, original brown cloth lettered in gilt on upper cover and spine, bevelled edges, tan and beige floral endpapers. Binding with light shelf wear, especially to extremities of spine, front pastedown slightly abraded, otherwise fine. Map with a few splits at folds (some with minor losses); map printed on extremely thin, brittle paper.  Very scarce these days, particularly in good condition and with the map.

     First edition of an early tourist travel account of Yellowstone. Bradford 5941:  “An account of a trip on horseback by the author, his wife and daughter, for the benefit of the health of the latter.” Eberstadt 107-393g.  Wingate (1840-1928) wrote the first American book on rifle marksmanship and was a co-founder of the National Rifle Association, of which he was President for twenty-five years. His interest in shooting is reflected often in this work, which includes a fairly significant disquisition on the proper type of rifle and loads for hunting large game.  Wingate was an angler, too.

     Wingate comments extensively and enthusiastically on the natural wonders, flora, and fauna of Yellowstone that he saw during his trip, which covered about 460 miles by horseback in little less than a month.  The map, which includes a compilation of earlier routes through Yellowstone , presents a considerable advance over any available for the use of the tourist or visitor.

     After passing through the park, the party entered the cattle ranges, and a chapter is devoted to their observations there. Wingate remarks of the cowboy:  “It is the rule for the men of the plains, and particularly for cowboys to speak most contemptuously of Eastern fashions and Eastern ‘dudes.’ But in fact, some of them are as much the slaves of fashion as any one.  No man, who can by any possibility avoid it, engages in any part of the business of cattle raising, however subordinate, without first procuring a white felt hat with an immensely broad brim, and a band consisting either of a leather strap and buckle, or of a silk twist like a whip lash... A cowboy must also have a pair of fancy chapareros, or overalls, made out of calves skin, or stamped leather.  Boots with high French heels are very popular... I asked them why they wore such French affairs, I was told that there was no sale in Montana for boots with anything but French heels, and consequently few others were imported for cattlemen.  A red handkerchief doubled, the ends knotted around the throat and the rest streaming out over the shoulders, but adjusted a little to one side, is also de rigueur among the cattlemen... Many cowboys, particularly further south, spend a large part of their earnings in fancy ornaments for their pistols, such as carved ivory handles and gold mountings. To the owner of a regulation hat, chapareros, boots, silk handkerchief and revolvers, the style and quality of the rest of his clothing is of little or no importance.”

Some of the lively illustrations are signed W. M. Cary or W.M.C., perhaps William de la Montagne Cary (1840-1922).  Hamilton (Early American Book Illustrators, I, p. 88) comments on Cary :

  “ Cary went West in 1861 and was one of the first to paint western scenes and incidents of Indian life directly from what he himself had observed.  While best known for his paintings, his wood engravings, most of which appeared in Harper’s Weekly and The Aldine, are of real value in their depiction of frontier and Indian life.  Very little of his work appeared as book illustrations.  His son, Clinton Cary, has told the writer that in later years their New York home was near that of the Roosevelts and young Teddy Roosevelt would often come over to listen to the elder Cary’s tales of Western life.  It is possible that Roosevelt ’s love for the West began in his way.”  

See also Taft, Artists and Illustrators of the Old West, pp. 52-53, 292. ($400-800)

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