"ABOUT MIDWAY BETWEEN TONGUE RIVER AND THE BIG HORN": FIRST EDITION OF BOOTS AND SADDLES, 1885, ELIZABETH CUSTER'S DEFENSE OF GENERAL GEORGE CUSTER
CUSTER, Elizabeth Bacon. Boots and Saddles, Or Life in Dakota with General Custer. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1885. Octavo, original gilt- and black-stamped pictorial tan cloth. $900.
First edition, expanded second state of the first book in Elizabeth Custer's trilogy in defense of her husband, a work that added "greatly to the Custer legend," with wood-engraved frontispiece portrait and map of Montana and the Dakotas not present in the first state, a lovely copy in original cloth.
General George Custer's wife, Elizabeth ("Libbie") Custer "lectured widely, fiercely defending his hero image against his detractors" (ANB). To further protect his memory, she wrote this book as the first in a trilogy of autobiographical works focusing heavily on her husband's achievements. Boots and Saddles covers the period just before the battle of the Little Bighorn; the other two books, Tenting on the Plains (1887) and Following the Guidon (1890), describe the Custers' marriage and their experiences during the Civil War and subsequent campaigns against Native Americans. Her spirited accounts have been credited with "adding greatly to the Custer legend" (ANB)—characterizing him as "a loving husband, devoted family man, and conscientious commanding officer," but at the same time "reflecting ethnocentric attitudes common in the Victorian era… and glorifying the army's role in westward expansion" (Lamar, 279). Complete with appendix of Custer's letters. Second state, with the addition of the portrait and map. Rader 1010. Howes C980. Graff 959.
Half title excised, a couple very faint rubs and stains to bright original cloth-gilt. A nearly fine copy.