Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Arizona Centennial Titles in CQL's 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, housed in the Library Meeting Room on the second floor.

The Copper Queen Library is celebrating this year’s Centennial by highlighting some of the most interesting titles in our Rare Books Collection that were published in 1912. These are the books that the citizens of Bisbee were reading and discussing in the mines and on the streets as Arizona was officially ushered into statehood on February 14, 1912.

The Loss of the SS Titanic: Its Story and Its Lessons
By Lawrence Beesley (1877-1967)

Published within months of the sinking of the Titanic, Beesley’s highly successful memoir tells his first-hand account of the tragedy as a passenger on the SS Titanic on its ill-fated maiden voyage across the Atlantic. It was published by the Houghton Mifflin Company of New York.

Bessley, a widower, left his young son to sail to America for holiday aboard the Titanic. He was in his cabin reading when it struck the iceberg just before midnight on Sunday, April 14. After the collision, Beesley boarded Lifeboat 13 and was lowered into the icy Atlantic with 63 other passengers. After four hours, the lifeboat was rescued by SS Carpathia, and Beesley became one of 705 people who survived the wreck. The now-famous disaster claimed the lives of 1,314 people.

The Concrete House and Its Construction
By Maurice M. Sloan

Until the end of the 18th century, concrete had seen little development since the basic lime mixture of Roman times. But by the middle of the 19th century, companies were beginning to make significant changes in their manufacturing systems, leading to the creation of modern cement and concrete. This system was developed and perfected by Portland Cement, which also became the publisher of Sloan’s book.

In his book, Sloan states the advantages of the concrete house and discusses architectural design, details of construction, and operations in the construction field. He also includes calculations and tables, making this the one-stop reference guide to the “new” construction.

Four-Footed Americans
By Mabel Osgood Wright (1859-1934)

Best known for founding the Connecticut Audobon Society in 1898 and her numerous children’s books and nature writings, Wright dedicated her life to the preservation and promotion of natural beauty. Much of the material to which she gave attractive literary expression she found in the large garden at her home in Fairfield, Connecticut.

In her children’s book, Four-Footed Americans, Wright paints a colorful picture of the natural world, as a family and their friends spend Fall and Winter at Orchard Farm and become acquainted with their “four-footed” friends of the outdoor world, including a “mischief-making” family of squirrels. The book was illustrated by Ernest Seton Thomas, who was an early pioneer of the modern school of animal fiction writing, and was published by The Macmillan Company of New York.

The Desert
John Van Dyke (1856-1932)

In the early Summer of 1898, John Van Dyke, an asthmatic 42-year-old art historian and critic, rode an Indian pony out of the Hemet Valley and headed southeast into the Colorado Desert. With his dog, his guns, and few supplies, Van Dyke wandered, mostly alone, for nearly three years across the deserts of California, Arizona, and Mexico. He sought both health and beauty in the dry country and wrote that the desert “never had a sacred poet; it has in me only a lover.”

Widely acclaimed by noted authors such as Edward Abbey and Joseph Krutch, Van Dyke’s book, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons of New York, is often considered a masterpiece of personal philosophy, containing precise scientific analyses of diverse phenomena (from erosion to sky colors) and prescient ruminations on the nature of civilization.

The Indians of the Terraced Houses
By Charles Francis Saunders (1859-1941)

Taken from his personal experiences and observations during a sojourn of several years among the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico and Arizona, Saunders’ book is told in the form of a travel narrative and includes about 50 illustrations from photographs taken by the author and his companion, E.H. Saunders. It was published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons of New York.

At the center of Saunders’ book is his attempt to paint a new and appropriate view of the American Indian, not as “the warpath-treading, scalp-raising stock of the novels and Wild West shows,” but as “experienced stonehouse builders and town-dwellers, devotees of peace and order, with a fairly well-developed civilization of their own.” He also tried to raise awareness to the defects he saw in the then-present policy of the American Government in regard to the Indians. Saunders wrote: “If any steps are to be taken, they need to be taken quickly; for the native arts and customs of the Pueblos and their individuality as a people have suffered more in the last decade or two of Washington than during the whole three centuries of Spanish domination.”

The Forester’s Manual
Ernest Thomas Seton (1860-1946)

Born in Scotland and raised in Toronto, Seton was a noted author, wildlife artist, naturalist, and a founding pioneer of the Boy Scouts of America. Over the course of his life, Seton created thousands of drawings and sketches of animals and Native American subjects, wrote more than 75 fiction and nonfiction books, and published thousands of scientific articles on animals, nature, and conservation in the environment. His most famous work of fiction, Wild Animals I Have Known, has been continuously in print since its original publication in 1898.

Published by the Country Life Press in New York, The Forester’s Manual was meant to serve as a guidebook (“not a Botany”) to the forest trees of eastern North America. Seton writes in his preface: “In it I am to give the things that appealed to me as a boy: First the identification of the tree, second where it is found, third its properties and uses, and last, various interesting facts about it.”

Pioneer Mothers of America
Harry Clinton Green and Mary Wolcott Green

Published as a two-volume set by Putnam’s Sons of New York, Pioneer Mothers of America served as a record of the “more notable women of the early days of the country.” According to the Greens, it was prepared not only to perpetuate the memory of these women, “but to accentuate the lessons they have left behind in the making of good citizens and broader and better men and women.”

Featured in Volume 1 are the “Women of the Pioneer Days,” which includes Pocahontas, Priscilla Mullins of Plymouth (“The Maiden of the Mayflower”), and Ann Hutchinson (“America’s First Club Woman”). Featured in Volume 2 are the “Splendid Women of ’76,” which includes Martha Washington, Molly Pitcher, and Mary Redmont (“The Little Blackeyed Rebel”).

Three Wonderlands of the American West
Thomas D. Murphy (1866-1928)

With sixteen color reproductions from original paintings by Thomas Moran, Murphy’s “notes of a traveler” covers the beauty and grandeur of the West’s Big Three (Yellowstone Park, Yosemite National Park, and the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River) - a “land of weird mountains, crystal cataracts, and emerald rivers, all glowing with a riot of color that seems more like an iridescent dream than a sober reality.”

Published in 1912 by L.C. Page and Company of Boston (seven years before the Grand Canyon was named a national park), Three Wonderlands of the American West offered readers their first look at these wonders - for in addition to the paintings, Murphy included 32 duogravures from photographs, as well as maps of the regions. Of the Grand Canyon, Murphy writes: “It is so unlike anything else on Earth that the most hardened traveler is unprepared for its revelations; nowhere else has he seen - or may he see - its match for strangeness and beauty in color and form.” (p. 110)

Cowboy Lyrics: The Roundup Edition
Robert V. Carr (1877-1931)

Born in South Dakota, Robert Carr, also known as the “Cowboy Poet,” did not write his lyrics of the western cattle range from the window of a Pullman, or in ease and comfort. He came by his knowledge of cowboy life through experience and observation. In an interview published in the Desert News of Salt Lake City in 1913, Carr explained: “I believe I was about 14 years old when, in addition to an overpowering ambition to be a cowboy, I began to cherish fond hopes of becoming a writer. Possessing a couple of Indian ponies, I drifted from ranch to ranch, from cow outfit to cow outfit, and when I was not annoying the cooks, I was scribbling poetry.”

In Cowboy Lyrics, his third and final book, Carr poeticizes ranch and range life with lyrics that capture the spirit of the cowboy and life lived in the wild and untamed west, with poems like “When Cowboys Jest,” “Love Lyrics of a Cowboy,” and “Voices of the Wolf.” Carr spent the rest of his literary career writing cowboy fiction for Western periodicals, such as True West and Frontier. Cowboy Lyrics was published by The Small, Maynard & Company of Boston and was dedicated to the “Range Riders.”

The Dog Book
James Watson (1845-1915)

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Watson began breeding Collies there and continued with the breed in this country. His Ch. Glengarry was the first American dog to win the breed at Westminster. When he died at age 70, he left his extensive library of personal notes and evaluations of dogs to the American Kennel Club, of which he was a founder. He also served as editor of the American Kennel Register and the American Kennel Gazette and was one of the founders of both the Collie Club of America and the American Spaniel Club. He imported the first Irish Terrier to the U.S. and was responsible for giving the Boston Terrier breed its name.

Considered the most important early American work on dogs, The Dog Book, published by Doubleday, Page and Company of New York, describes the popular history of the dog and offers practical information as to the care and management of house, kennel, and exhibition dogs, as well as descriptions of “all important breeds.” It is illustrated from photographs, paintings, and rare engravings.

The Spider Book
John Henry Comstock (1849-1931)

The self-proclaimed naturalist attended Cornell University just one year after they opened their doors and was asked to teach entomology classes there before he even had the chance to graduate. Over the course of his long career, Comstock became the eminent researcher of entomology and arachnology. But it may be said that Comstock’s greatest contribution lay in his influence as a teacher, which came about through his written word and personal influence on the “first generation” of entomologists trained in the U.S. and through their subsequent influence on the following generation.

In The Spider Book, published by Doubleday, Page and Company of New York, Comstock explores the magical and often misunderstood world of spiders and their close relatives, scorpions. In his Introduction, the author writes: “Of all of our little neighbors of the fields there are none that are more universally shunned and feared than spiders, and few that deserve it less.”