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    First guidebook of Texas printed and with copyright secured in the Republic of Texas

    George William Bonnell: Topographical Description of Texas, To Which is Added, An Account of the Indian Tribes. (Austin: Published by Clark, Wing, and Brown 1840). First edition. First and only copyright secured in the Republic of Texas, stating on page iv: "Copy-Right secured in the Republic of Texas and in the United States, according to law, in the year 1840. Cruger & Bonnell, public printers, Austin." Twelvemo in fours (5.5" x 3.5"). 150 pages.

    George W. Bonnell, a native of New York, traveled to Texas in the summer of 1836 with a company of volunteers that he had recruited for the Texas war of independence. During Sam Houston's first term as president of the republic, Bonnell was commissioner of Indian affairs. He advocated a harsh policy against them. In 1839 he moved to Austin, where he and Jacob W. Cruger were selected as government printers. The next year he wrote and printed this book, his only one. In 1841 Bonnell took part in the doomed Texan Santa Fe expedition and was released from prison in Mexico in the summer of 1842, in time to return to Texas to join the Mier expedition. During that campaign Bonnell was shot and killed by a Mexican soldier. Mount Bonnell, on the Colorado River near Austin, was named for him.

    In 1837, Secretary of State Robert A. Irion recommended that the Republic grant copyrights. In 1839, President Mirabeau B. Lamar approved an act which provided for this. Only one was issued and published, George William Bonnell's Topographical Description of Texas. Publishers printed paper covered boards, spine worn with some loss, rubbing, soiling and browning to some pages, else a very good copy. From the collection of Darrel Brown.

    Reference: Streeter Texas 380A: "First guidebook for Texas printed in Texas and distinguished as being the first one printed in the Republic of Texas."

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2007
    1st-3rd Saturday-Monday
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