How to Cure Oregon Fever for 25 Cents

“The best account of the first overland-to-Oregon migration of settlers”—Streeter Quoting Herschel V. Jones

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630. FARNHAM, Thomas J[efferson]. Travels in the Great Western Prairies, the Anahuac and Rocky Mountains, and in the Oregon Territory...Price Twenty-Five Cents [wrapper title]. New York: Greeley & McElrath, Tribune Buildings, 1843. [1] 2-112 pp., printed in double columns. 8vo, original brown printed wrappers within typographical border, sewn. Spine chipped with small voids, fragile wraps in very good condition, occasional very mild foxing to text. Overall, a fine copy, far superior than usually found, with contemporary ink signature of E. Lyman on upper wrap (Lyman is a big name among Oregon pioneers, but we were not able to establish a connection). In new quarter leather over cloth slipcase.

     Second American edition of a popular edition which must have launched a thousand covered wagons (first edition Poughkeepsie, 1841), this edition was issued as an extra to the New York Tribune. Campbell, p. 137. Field 525. Flake 3306 (early mention of Mormons). Howes F50. Jones, Adventures in Americana (Check List) 1070, Plains & Rockies IV:85:3: “The popularity of the book is attested by three separate editions in 1843. Rader 1340n. Rittenhouse 201n. Sabin 23872. Smith 3001. Tweney, Washington 89 #20n. Wynar 217.

     Streeter Sale 3349 (entry for first edition, 1841, quoting Herschel V. Jones):

Farnham’s party left Peoria May 1, 1839, met Meek on Bear River, and reached Whitman’s Mission on September 23. Thomas Jefferson Farnham, a high-spirited young man, caught the Oregon ‘fever’ in its most potent form as the result of hearing Jason Lee lecture in his home town. This is the first and most interesting of his several books on the West. It has the freshness of the viewpoint of a young man entranced with early Oregon and its possibilities. It is the best account of the first overland-to-Oregon migration of settlers.—H.V. Jones, Adventures in Americana.

     In the New Mexico section there is a short account of an unusual captivity ca. 1780 in which Comanche warriors stole the daughter of the Governor-General at Chihuahua, who purchased her ransom. But she refused to return to her parents, advising that the Comanche had tattooed her face, given her to a young warrior by whom she was “enciente,” and that since she was happy in her new life, she preferred not to return. According to the story, she lived out her days in the Comanche nation and raised a family of children (p. 32).


Sold. Hammer: $100.00; Price Realized: $122.50.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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