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True Crime in the Black Hills

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79.     BRIDWELL, J.W. The Life and Adventures of Robert McKimie, Alias “Little Reddy,” from Texas. The Dare-Devil Desperado of the Black Hills Region, Chief of the Murderous Gang of Treasure Coach Robbers. Also, a Full Account of the Robberies Committed by Him and His Gang in Highland, Pike and Ross Counties; With Particulars of Detective Norris’ Adventures while Effecting the Capture of Members of the Gang. Compiled from Authentic Sources by J.W. Bridwell. Hillsboro, Ohio: Printed and published at the Hillsboro Gazette Office, December, 1878. [1-3] 4-56 pp., 5 wood-engraved text illustrations (4 portraits: Robert M’Kimie, Seth Bullock, Sheriff Newell, John T. Norris; 1 scene), all signed in print: Folger Sc. Cin. 8vo (22.6 x 14.7 cm), original tan pictorial wrappers with engraved portrait of McKimie on upper wrapper, original stitching. Wrappers with moderate soiling and staining, but no loss of printing or illustration on wraps. Wrappers expertly restored with missing portions supplied in sympathetic facsimile. Last page slightly damaged from adhesions along wrapper. Overall a good copy.

     First edition. Adams, One-Fifty 18: “Exceedingly rare…. I know of but three copies of this book, one of which I once owned.” Howes B765. Jennewein, Black Hills Booktrails 101: “McKimie was a member of the Bevans-Blackburn gang which made a living by robbing the Cheyenne-Deadwood stage coach, and he probably participated along with Sam Bass and Joel Collins in the 1877 holdup in which Johnny Slaughter was killed…. The tale is harum-scarum, with jail-breaks, fake telegrams and women accomplices.” This book is among the crème de la crème of portrayals of the wicked Western underworld, although Adams’ claim for excessive rarity might be a tad overstated.

     “Little Reddy” McKimie (ca. 1855 to post-1879) was a bandit who was arrested and jailed but escaped capture numerous times. His end is mysterious. He was arrested and brought to Hillsboro, Ohio, for trial, but what became of him after that is unknown (Thrapp, Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography, II, p. 914). The engraving of McKimie on the wraps (which is repeated in the text) captures with chilling detail the outlaw’s cold-eyed, heavy-lidded stare, and devil-may-care smirk. The engravings are the work of designer and wood engraver Lewis B. Folger (b. 1853), who was active in Cincinnati from 1878 to 1900. A staff artist for the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1883, Folger also engraved maps (Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers, revised edition, Vol. I, p. 83). In 1898, the Cincinnati Enquirer (October 10 issue) enthused: “Mr. Folger was one of the first artists in his profession in the days when wood engraving was in its glory, but being a true artist…he has accepted the decline of the old and taken the lead in perfecting the new.” See: Haverstock, et al, Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900: A Biographical Dictionary, Kent State University Press, 2000, p. 297.


Sold. Hammer: $1,500.00; Price Realized: $1,800.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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