Howes: "The first - and best - cowboy autobiography"Charles A. Siringo. A Texas Cow-Boy; or, Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony, Taken from Real Life by Chas. A. Siringo, an Old Stove Up "Cow Puncher" Who Has Spent Nearly Twenty Years on the Great Western Cattle Ranges. Chicago: M. Umbdenstock, 1885. First edition. 8vo. 316pp. Two color plates (the front and rear wraps from the paperback version issued simultaneously) precede the frontis portrait of Siringo as a young cowboy. Date to title page. Verso of title page features a humorous portrait of the author, older and "stove-up - financially". Original brown cloth over boards, with significant sunning. Gilt lettering and portrait of author on front board; blind-stamped designs. patterned endpapers.
A Texas Cow-Boy is the first memoir to come from Charles Siringo's ongoing chronicles of his varied careers: cowboy, merchant, and detective. Charles Angelo Siringo (1855-1928) began his work in the cattle industry as a teenager, and eventually published this, his first book, at the age of only 30. Asked what his motivation was for writing his memoirs, he answered simply, "Money - and lots of it." William Reese, in Six Score, calls it the "first autobiography of a cowboy, and unquestionably one of the most important range books." Written well over a century ago, the book continues to elicit praise for its authentic observations and engaging prose. Charles Peavy writes that the "unaffected honesty and the straightforward, unsophisticated style of the narrative [...] make Siringo's books such fascinating examples of a distinct literary genre." In his preface to a later edition, J. Frank Dobie writes: "His cowboys and gunmen were not of Hollywood and folklore. He was an honest reporter."
A Texas Cow-Boy is popular title, and much sought-after in the first edition. The is only the first third edition of this title that we have handled; and on both previous occasions, it has sold for $28,860!
Condition: Heavy sunning to cloth covered boards, and bumped corners. With wear and gentle fraying to top and bottom of spine. Some foxing to endpapers, and gentle toning to interior pages. A few stray stains to early pages, and top corners are bumped and/or creased throughout. Still, a very good copy of a scarce title.
References: Basic Texas Books 185 (A). Dobie, p. 119 ("No other cowboy ever talked about himself so much in print; few had more to talk about"). Dykes, Western High Spots ("The first autobiography of a cowboy and first in the hearts of many a range rider - it was virtually the cowboy's 'bible' for nearly half a century"; and, quoting Dobie: "now scarcer than hen's teeth"). Eberstadt 105:281. Graff 3804. Herd 2077. Howes S518 ("The first - and best - cowboy autobiography"). Peavy, Charles A. Siringo, A Texas Picaro, p. 9 ("a strange blend of braggadocio and self-effacement, of cunning and naivete"). Raines, p. 189. Six-Guns 2032 ("exceedingly rare"). Six Score 99 ("the first edition is virtually unprocurable").
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