Description

    Signed Presentation Copy

    Dennis Sheedy. The Autobiography of Dennis Sheedy. [Denver, Colorado: Privately printed for the author, October, 1922]. First edition. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author in black ink on the verso of the front flyleaf: "December 14 1922 / Presented to George B Berger / By the author / with Compliments / and best wishes / Dennis Sheedy." Octavo (8.75 x 6 inches; 222 x 154 mm.). [6], 7-60, [1], [3, blank] pages. Paper watermarked: "Alexandra Made in U.S.A." Photographic portrait of Sheedy, with tissue guard. Decorative woodcut initials.

    Original navy roan with covers ruled in blind and front cover lettered in gilt. Navy silk doublures and liners. Top and bottom edges uncut, fore-edge uncut. Front cover very slightly faded, with spine and small portion of front cover at joint slightly faded to brown; spine extremities and board edges lightly rubbed; flyleaves darkened slightly at edges and lightly foxed. Paper browned slightly and becoming brittle at the uncut fore-edge. Pages 49/50 mounted on stub, with half-inch split and fold at lower edge of stub. Quarter-inch tear to lower blank margin of pages 27/28 and outer edge of pages 59/60; two additional leaves with tiny edge tears. A few leaves with slight horizontal creases in the lower margin near the page numbers; upper corner of pages 39/40 creased. Slight browning to pages 26 and 27 and 44 and 45 from two newspaper clippings once laid in (now laid in at front). Otherwise a fine copy. Protected in a camel-colored cloth clamshell case with black leather spine label ruled and lettered in gilt. Scarce. Only one other copy has sold auction (earlier this year at Heritage Auctions), and only seven copies are located in OCLC.

    "Printed for a few friends in a very small edition. Mr. Sheedy was one of the important cattlemen of Colorado and also became one of Denver's leading merchants." Adams, The Rampaging Herd, 2046. "Sixty pages bound in leather and as scarce as psalm singing in 'fancy houses.' The item is not very important in the realm of range literature but it exemplifies the successful businessman that the judicious cowman of open ranges days frequently became" (J. Frank Dobie, Guide to the Life and Literature of the Southwest).


    More Information:

    "It is from the fact that I have led a life far more eventful than the average man that prompts me to write this autobiography. The life can never again be duplicated in this or any other country. There are many men who, individually, have had experiences similar to mine, but I do not believe that one other man has had them all. For me these experiences include an active participation in the making of the West and of the Southwest, of struggles against adverse conditions, of plots to assassinate me and to rob me, of Indian raids, of cattle thieves, of one of the developers of the great cattle industry, and at one time as one of the largest cattle owners in the country, of one of the creators of a large smelter, and later of a great department store. My story is of a boy of sixteen who started out alone in the world to carve out a fortune, and did" (Foreword, page [5]).

    Dennis Sheedy (1846-1923) "stockman, merchant, capitalist, organizer, had a career that gives him a place in the early history of almost every state west of the Missouri River. He was born in Ireland, youngest of the twelve children of John and Margaret (Fitzpatrick) Sheedy. Both parents were educated. The father, who was a middle-class farmer, brought his family to the United States when Dennis was an infant. After settling near Rockport, Mass., they moved in 1858 to Lyons, Iowa, where the father soon died. Dennis began work by clerking in a store, but at sixteen he determined to seek his fortune farther west. He first went by wagon train to Denver, where he obtained employment in a store; two years later he was in Montana, engaged in placer mining and then in merchandising. He was very successful with freighting and trading in Utah and Montana and at nineteen had accumulated $30,000. After a winter in a commercial school in Chicago, he bought a wagon train and loaded it with stoves, which he freighted to Salt Lake City and sold at a handsome profit, taking produce in trade. This he took to the Montana mines and sold for gold dust. In 1870, after having been in Nevada, California, and Arizona, he went through New Orleans to Texas, bought 2,000 head of cattle, and drove them north to Abilene. A year later he bought 7,000 more. Having driven them north, with narrow escapes from outlaws, he sold all but 3,000. These he drove to Humboldt Wells, Nev., where he established a ranch that he held three years while he increased his stock and ran other herds in Texas, Nebraska, and Colorado. In 1878 the Cheyennes under Chief Dull Knife raided some of his herds and caused him much trouble and loss; the next year he consolidated his cattle interests on the North Platte River. He was now buying 10,000 head annually and branding 3,000 calves each year, but cold winters entailed heavy losses, about thirty per cent, in 1883. Foreseeing the end of the free range, he sold out his cattle interests-32,000 cattle and 400 horses-in 1884. Furthermore, having been married...he desired to lead a more settled life. Going to Denver, he bought stock in the Colorado National Bank of Denver and became vice-president. When in 1886-87 the Holden Smelting Works of Denver, upon which the bank had made heavy loans, had financial difficulties, he was asked to work out a solution. His work in this shows his versatility. Being entirely unfamiliar with the methods and problems of smelting he set about to learn with the help of a teacher and by private study. He reorganized the smelting company, effected economies, and placed it on a paying basis. As president and general manager of the Globe Smelting and Refining Company he rebuilt and enlarged the plant, increased the annual production from $20,000 to $16,000,000, and founded the town of Globeville, Colo. His work with the railroads for favorable rates and with Congress for a protective tariff on lead ores contributed to the success of the company, with which retained his connection until 1910. In 1894 he became president and general manager of the Denver Dry Goods Company, which under his management became the largest department store in Colorado...His record of his experiences, The Autobiography of Dennis Sheedy, was privately printed in 1922" (Le Roy R. Hafen, in Dictionary of American Biography (1935), XVII, page 57).

    George B. Berger (1869-1939) served as President of the Colorado National Bank from 1911 to 1934, when Dennis Sheedy was a Vice-President. "Charles B. Kountze died in 1911, and was succeeded as president [of the Colorado National Bank] by George B. Berger, who came to the bank as assistant cashier under his father in 1889 and became cashier in 1890, on the death of the elder Berger...Mr. Dennis Sheedy, one of the most successful men in the West, has been a director and vice-president of the institution since 1882" (The Bankers Magazine, Volume XCI (July to December 1915), pages 690-691).



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