DescriptionAlbert Pike. Prose Sketches and Poems, Written in the Western Country. Boston: Light & Horton, 1834. 12mo, 200 pages. First edition. Dark brown leather, lettered in gilt on the spine. A few light penciled notes and a small hole on a preliminary blank leaf. Some foxing throughout. Minor dampstaining to the last two blank leaves.
The first published account of a journey in modern times across the Texas Panhandle. Streeter singles out this great rarity in his introduction as "desirable for a Texas collection." An unusual book by an unusual man, who besides hunting for furs on the Plains, wrote poetry and was later a leading lawyer of the Southwest, and in his final thirty-two years head of the Southern Scottish Rite Masons. On pages -80 are first-hand accounts of an overland journey west from Fort Towson, in what is now Oklahoma, across part of Texas by Aaron B. Lewis, one of Pike's friends, and of a journey east by Albert Pike, where Lewis was one of the party, from New Mexico to Fort Smith, Arkansas. The remaining pages include poems by Pike and three prose pieces relating to his experiences in New Mexico. The preface is dated "Ark. Territory, 1st May 1833." The account of the journey west by Lewis from Fort Towson on the Red River, which lasted from September through December 1831, is based in part on his recollections and in part on what appears to have been his journal. The account of Pike's trip east begins on page 36 with the heading, "Narrative of a Second Journey in [sic] the Prairie." This began on September 6, 1832, and ended at Fort Smith, Arkansas, on December 10.
Thomas W. Cutrer of The Handbook of Texas Online writes of the book: "While serving as associate editor of the Little Rock, Arkansas, Advocate in 1833, Pike wrote in travel narrative, short story, and verse of his recent adventures. These vivid memoirs, tales, and poems, which first appeared serially in the Advocate were published by Light and Horton of Boston in 1834 as Prose Sketches and Poems Written in the Western Country. Pike's narrative is said to be the first book ever printed dealing with the region between Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Certainly Pike was New Mexico's first Anglo-American poet as well as its first short story-writer in English and was among the first to describe in print the Mexican borderlands."
Reference: Streeter Texas 1150. Wright 2045. Sabin 62815. Wagner-Camp 50.
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