“MY LIFE WAS TO BE AMONG THE INDIANS AND IN WASTE PLACES”: FIRST EDITION OF FREMONT’S RICHLY ILLUSTRATED MEMOIRS OF MY LIFE
FREMONT, John Charles. Memoirs of My Life… Including in the Narrative Five Journeys of Western Exploration. Chicago and New York: Belford, Clarke, 1887. Large thick quarto, original full blind-stamped brown morocco, gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, patterned endpapers, all edges gilt. $4200.
First edition, with frontispiece portrait, 82 engraved plates (one in color) and seven maps (two in color, four folding, including one that measures 26 by 26 inches, which is often not present), in original publisher’s full-leather deluxe gift binding. “Extremely rare.”
The autobiography of national hero John Charles Frémont, who, in the course of his 77 years, became a Western explorer, a mountaineer, an officer in the Mexican-American War, a speculator in the Gold Rush, Major General in the Union Army, a presidential candidate, and the governor of the Arizona Territory. He was a leader in wresting California from Mexico, and he served as one of the state's first senators and was instrumental in the state's admission into the Union. Fremont's popularity and his antislavery position were equally instrumental in his being chosen the Republican Party's first presidential nominee in 1856, the youngest man yet to run for the office. This volume "embraces [Fremont's] first three exploring expeditions and the part played by him in the conquest of California" (Howes F367). The outstanding illustrations were taken from contemporary paintings, sketches, and daguerreotypes, executed by the leading illustrators of the day, including Darley. "Extremely rare" (Soliday 869). Volume I is the only volume of Fremont's memoirs; the manuscript for Volume II is in the Library of Congress, but was never published due to his death in 1890. Very large folding map of territory explored by Frémont tipped onto rear pastedown, as often. Eberstadt I:150(a). Howes F367. Cowan, 224-25.
Interior clean and fine, a bit of minor color restoration to front joint and corners. A lovely, near-fine copy, highly desirable in publisher's deluxe full morocco.