A Most Rare Southwestern JournalJohn Coleman Reid. Reid's Tramp; or, a Journal of the Incidents of Ten Months Travel through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Sonora, and California, including Topography, Climate, Soil, Minerals, Metals, and Inhabitants; with a Notice of the Great Inter-Oceanic Rail Road. Selma, Alabama: Printed at the Book and Job Office of John Hardy & Co., 1858. First edition of "one of the great Southwest rarities" (Streeter), the fine Herschel V. Jones-Frank T. Siebert (his sale Sotheby's New York, 28 October 1999, Lot 878)-Jay T. Snider (his sale Christie's New York, 21 June 2005, Lot 283) copy. Octavo in fours. 237, [3, blank] pages. Publisher's original blue cloth, blindstamped with floral decoration and lettered in gilt on the spine. Light shelfwear to the edges of the boards and spine ends; modest scuffing and soiling to boards; front free endpaper and most of rear free endpaper lacking. Small portion of lower corner of pages 77/78 lacking, not affecting text; some toning to contents and occasional light foxing. Generally, a very good copy of this rare and fragile publication. From the Jay T. Snider Collection of Historical Americana, with his ex-libris on the front pastedown. Sold in a custom quarter green morocco slipcase lettered in gilt on the spine.
"Reid's Tramp describes the overland expedition of the author and a small party of neighbors who called themselves the Mesilla Valley Company. They left Marion, Ala., in September, 1856, for the Gadsden Purchase where they intended to choose homesteads. They went by boat from New Orleans to Galveston and Indianola, thence across Texas to San Antonio and then on the Tucson, San Diego, and San Francisco. Reid returned to New Orleans via Panama. The book is more than a travel journal, for wherever possible Reid gives historical details of the scenes visited" (Fifty Texas Rarities 39).
"Reid's work is one of the genuine classics relating to the Southwest; his descriptions of mines and miners, the natives, in fact all the country through which he passed, are vivid" (Decker 36:339).
"The book is very scarce in original binding, and extremely important. The author was first lieutenant of Col. Crabb's Auxiliary Expedition, a filibustering enterprise which resulted in the massacre of all but one of the original participants; many facts of this and other little-known events of history are here brought to light" (Eberstadt, Texas, 162:667). Apparently, only a few copies were saved from destruction during the holocaust in and about Selma during the Civil War (Eberstadt 136:574). The rarity of the work is affirmed by Howes's "d" designation.
References: Bauer 406 ("The author's descriptions are vivid and clear, especially those of the mines and miners, the natives, and the country through which he passed"); Braislin 1536; Cowan, page 528 ("Uncommon, and but little known"); Ellison, Alabama Imprints, 1091; Graff 3450; Howes R172 ("d"); Huntington Exhibit 740 ("Excessively rare. Probably no subsequent overland, and only one or two of earlier date, can in any way compare with it in point of actual rarity"); Jones, Adventures in Americana, 279; Rader 2776; Raines, page 172; Streeter 176 ("One of the great Southwest rarities"); Wagner-Camp 307.
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