Friday, October 28, 2011

CQL Presents: Highlights from the Southwest Rare Books Collection

--by Jason Macoviak

As the oldest continuously-operating public library in Arizona, the Copper Queen Library has purposefully preserved many rare and interesting volumes from the 19th and early 20th centuries in the Rare Books Collection. This post highlights some of the titles from the Southwest portion of that collection.

Arizona Characters (By Frank Lockwood) - Published in 1928 by the Times Mirror Press in Los Angeles, this collection features a series of portraits of “masterful men who have stamped their names indelibly upon the map of Arizona.” Included are Father Kino, “Old” Bill Williams (Hunter and Trapper), Charles Poston (“The Father of Arizona”), Cochise, Henry C. Hooker (Arizona Pioneer Ranchman) and Governor Hunter (“Friend of the Common People”).


Arizona in Literature (Mary Boyer) - Published in 1935 by the Arthur H. Clark Company in Glendale, CA, this collection boasts the best writings of Arizona authors from the early Spanish Days to the then-present. Representing more than 150 authors, of whom almost all called Arizona home, the anthology helped to preserve “much typical and interesting matter that otherwise would have sunk into oblivion” (New York Times). The anthology (compiled by Mary Boyer, an associate professor of English at the Arizona State Teachers College in Flagstaff) includes short stories, tales of adventures, novels, poetry, biography, humor, legends, songs, criticism, and Spanish translations, all of which express the spirit of the early days in the Southwest.

Arizona Place Names (Will C. Barnes) - Will Craft Barnes (1858-1937) first came to Arizona as a cavalryman and went on to become a rancher, state legislator, and conservationist. From 1905-1935, his travels throughout the state, largely on horseback, enabled him to gather the anecdotes and geographical information from “old timer, Indians, Mexicans, cowboys, sheep-herders, and historians, and any and everybody who had a story to tell.” The result is a book chock full of oddments, humor, and now-forgotten lore. Arizona Place Names was published by The University of Arizona in Tucson in 1935.

Brewery Gulch (Joe Chisholm) - Written mostly in the early ‘twenties and published in 1949 by The Naylor Company of San Antonio, TX, Brewery Gulch is a first-hand account of “the last outpost of the great Southwest.” Chisholm arrived in Bisbee in 1881, which was then considered “little more than a perch in the Apache-infested Mule Mountains, until such men as his father and John Slaughter tamed that desert wilderness.” Exciting and authentic, Chisholm’s story follows the men who poured into Tombstone and Bisbee in the 1870s, “when copper and silver meant sudden wealth, or a bad man’s bullet.”

Cactus and Pine (Sharlot Hall) - Sharlot Hall (1870-1943) was an historian, an adventurer, and a teller of tales whose stories, poems, and passion for collecting helped keep the early days of Arizona alive. In this autographed second edition of Cactus and Pine, published in 1924 by The Arizona Republican Print Shop in Phoenix, AZ, Hall presents a collection of poetry deeply rooted in her intense fascination and love for Arizona and Southwest frontier life.

Cartoon Guide Of Arizona (Reg Manning) - Born in 1905, Reg Manning moved to Phoenix, AZ in 1919 and was hired at the Arizona Republic as a photographer and artist in 1926. Although he was interested in drawing comic strips, the popularity of his editorial work led him to focus on editorial cartoons. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1951 for his editorial cartoon entitled “Hats,” which was a commentary on the Korean War. In Cartoon Guide to Arizona, published in 1938 by J.J. Augustin in New York City, Manning combines his infamous cartooning with interesting travel facts and humor, as he takes his readers on the grand tour of the state he called home.

Cowman’s Wife (Mary Kidder Rak) - Mary Rak’s career as a ranch woman, and eventually an author, began in 1919, when she and her husband Charles purchased 22,000 acres about 50 miles north of Douglas, AZ in the Chiricahua Mountains, which came to be known as Camp Rucker. In her book, published by the Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston and New York, Mary recounts her struggle to learn the cattle business and cope with the numerous problems of life on an isolated ranch during the early days of the settlement of the American West.

Geronimo’s Story of His Life (Geronimo) - In his autobiography, Chiricahua Apache medicine man and leader Geronimo (1829-1909) tells, in his own words, his side of a long and notable controversy with the American Government. Published in 1906 with the help of President Roosevelt, the book was transcribed by author and friend, S.M. Barrett. Of his native Arizona, he said, “It is my land, my home, my fathers’ land, to which I now ask to be allowed to return. I want to spend my last days there and be buried among those mountains. If this could be, I might die in peace, feeling that my people, placed in their native homes, would increase in numbers, rather than diminish as at present, and that our name would not become extinct (p. 215).

Helldorado (Billy Breakenridge) - In his memoirs, published in 1928 by The Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston and New York, Arizona and Colorado lawman Billy Breakenridge offers cinematic images of wagon trains crossing the Great Plains, of Phoenix and Denver emerging from the dust and mud, of Tombstone blazing through the silver bonanza, and of the railroad joining East and West to change history. As deputy sheriff in early-day Tombstone, Breakenridge encountered the Earp Brothers, Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, Luke Short, John Ringo, and Buckskin Frank Leslie.

Romantic Copper (Ira Joralemon) - Published in 1942 by the Appleton-Century Company in New York, this definitive account on the history of copper describes both the “lure” and “lore” of early mining life. Of Bisbee, he wrote, “The scum from Tombstone took the trail over Mule Pass into Bisbee. With the Mexican border only nine miles away, the hardest characters on both sides of the line made the new camp their haven. The early citizens of Bisbee were a tough lot, and they looked it.” (p. 119).

Saga of Billy the Kid (Walter Burns) - First published in 1926 by The Garden City Publishing Company of New York, this entertaining and dramatic biography forever installed outlaw Billy the Kid in the pantheon of mythic heroes from the Old West and is still considered the single-most influential portrait of the outlaw legend in this century. Describing Billy, Burns wrote, “Men speak of him with admiration; women extol his gallantry and lament his fate… the boy who never grew old has become a sort of symbol of frontier knight-errantry, a figure of eternal youth riding for ever through a purple glamour of romance.” (p. 53).

Some Strange Corners of Our County (Charles Lummis) - In 1884, Charles Lummis walked from Ohio to California to take a job as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. A New Englander by birth, he gained a deep appreciation for both the natural beauty and cultural diversity of the Southwest, where he remained for the rest of his life. Published in 1892, Some Strange Corners of Our Country features Lummis’ prose portraits of the American West, including the Grand Canyon, of which he wrote, “Those who have long and carefully studied the Grand Canyon of the Colorado do not hesitate for a moment to pronounce it by far the most sublime of all earthly spectacles.” (p. 14).

Vanished Arizona: Recollections of my Army Life (Martha Summerhayes) - Although Martha Summerhayes’ recollections span a quarter of a century and life at a dozen Army posts, the heart of this book, published in 1908 by The Press of J.B. Lippincott Company in Philadelphia, concerns her experiences during the 1870s in Arizona, where the harsh climate and “perennial natural inconveniences from rattlesnakes to cactus thorns and white desperadoes, all made [it] a less than desirable posting for the married man and his wife.”