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Early Oklahoma Boosterism

2. ALEXANDRE, Philip L[uce]. Alexandre's Compendium Facts about Oklahoma City in Detail, Oklahoma Territory in General Kiowa & Comanche Country in Particular. Price, 50 Cents. Oklahoma City, O.T.: Philip L. Alexandre, 1901. [6], 183 [1] pp., 11 photographic plates (scenes & views from the Santa Fe Route), folding map with original color (main map yellow and white; inset in full color): Sectional Map of the Kiowa, Comanche and Apache Reservation, Oklahoma, U.S.A. Engraved and Printed by Hudson-Kimberly Publishing Company, Kansas City, Mo. [below neat line at lower left] Hudson-Kimberly Pub. Co. Engr., K.C., Mo. [inset map at top left: Untitled map of south central Oklahoma just north of Wichita Falls, Texas, including Fort Sill], neat line to neat line: 52 x 37.2 cm. 16mo, original brown paper-covered boards, covers gilt-lettered. Fragile boards moderately rubbed with a few losses at joints, extremities and edges, interior and map very fine.

     First edition? Foreman, Oklahoma Imprints, p. 257. Rader 95. Cf. Graff 34 (209 pp.) Cf. Howes A125 (208 & 209 pp.). Tate, The Indians of Texas 3287 (208 pp. & cited in section on “Western Oklahoma Reservations 1875-1820”). The printing history of this scarce work has never been satisfactorily explained, there apparently having been three different editions in 1901, the year it first appeared.

     This work is a classic of Oklahoma boosterism, portraying Oklahoma City and the Territory as rapidly expanding and offering many of the amenities and opportunities found in larger cities. Alexandre seems primarily interested, however, in pointing out the possibilities for settlers that will arise when various Native American lands are opened to settlement, as is indicated on the map. The last third of the book is devoted almost exclusively to issues of emigration and settlement. There is some brief mention of the oil and ranching industries. Businesses in Oklahoma City are extensively covered (at this point, the city was only a decade old); this is the beginning of an attempt to compile a directory of businesses in the city.

     One of the reasons Alexandre gives for writing the book was so that he could make money. As the following obituary indicates, it is difficult to say how his novel marketing methods either enriched or impoverished him.

From a register of obituaries from Oklahoma City in 1901

Old Character Gone - Philip L. Alexandre Dies at the Arcade of Heart Failure

The death of Phillip L. Alexandre, an old man, penniless, homeless and almost friendless, occurred yesterday afternoon at the New Arcade hotel on Grand Avenue.

Alexandre came here about a year ago and issued a compendium of facts about Oklahoma. He had a number of the books printed which he sold about the streets, subsisting upon the proceeds of his sales. He was a very unique character. He was probably 60 years old and came here from Texas, where he had been engaged in the manufacture of baking powder. There is at this time a baking powder sold in that state which is branded Alexandre's baking powder. He sold his institution in that country and has been wandering about the country.

Alexandre was born on the Isle of Jersey. He had traveled a great deal and was a very fair scholar. During his stay here he had been an inveterate drinker, and this no doubt hastened his death which was due to heart failure. A half hour before he died he wrote on a card and handed it to Mr. Smith, the real estate dealer who has an office in the hotel, these words. "Brother Smith, please loan me 50 cents. Don't let anyone see this. Alec."

The old man had no money nor relatives here to take charge of his remains and they will be cared for by the county. There is no doubt that Alexandre came of good family and that he has seen much better times. His troubles, however, are all over now. (12/3/1901)


Sold. Hammer: $1,400.00; Price Realized: $1,645.00

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