V.p. 1808-1996. A collection of 372 titles written by and about Women in the West. Condition Statement: Overall, most of the books in the collection are in “good” or “good+” condition, which typically describes a book that is sufficiently worn, the binding soiled, scuffed, stained or spotted and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc. To a lesser extent there are books in “fair” condition, namely a well-worn book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, half-title, etc. The binding and/or jacket may also be worn. Item #3406
Women in the American West: Books and Ephemera from the Collection of Dorothy Sloan. SEE DETAILED FINDING AID on our website.
Dorothy Sloan (1943-2021) was one of the great scholar-booksellers of Western Americana, Texana, and Latin Americana. Dorothy Sloan Rare Books auction catalogues are recognized as models of their kind, and feature an unusually broad array of printed books, maps, manuscripts, and ephemera, and are particularly strong in 19th-century materials. In many instances, Sloan’s bibliographic descriptions have become the description of record.
She began her career at John Howell in San Francisco, and thence to Jenkins Company in Austin. She issued her first rare book catalogue in 1984, and her first auction catalogue in 1994. Suffice it to say that as a woman, she was literally a pioneer in such an endeavor.
Over the years she built a collection of Women in the West, which is described in our 29-page Inventory. Here is a collection of both women authors, and women as the subject of historical and literary narrative. Most of the collection was kept in storage for the last twenty-eight years, awaiting cataloguing and eventual sale. As we all know, “Life” often interferes with our plans, particularly as we grow older.
After Dorothy retired in 2020, we acquired her Women in the West Collection. We are pleased to offer it en bloc for the price of $7,200 which includes FREE SHIPPING in the Continental United States.
Of the 372 titles in the collection, nearly 25% are more than a century old. The earliest book in the collection is Sally Hastings’ Poems, on different subjects. To which is added, a descriptive account of a family tour to the West. (Lancaster, 1808). The author describes her travels from Lancaster County to Washington, PA. through the Alleghenies, and gives an account of the Ohio River at Pittsburgh.
Only a handful of titles in the collection were published in the last 30 years, the “newest” one dated 1996, namely: Anne Butler and Ona Siporin, Uncommon common women. which contains culturally and ethnically diverse accounts of women who lived in the American West.
The physical size of the collection is considerable. Without any packing material it would encompass 15 large boxes. There are photographs, gum cards, engravings, various inscribed books, plays of the California Gold Rush, memoirs and captivity narratives, travelogues, captivity narratives, autobiographies, Western novels, pamphlets, private press material, a few ‘zines, journals, catalogues, and magazines. It is the culmination of decades of labor, spanning all genres in the Western Americana tradition. The collection represents women’s voices of a myriad of ethnicities, including various Native American tribes, African and African-American women, Hispanic women, prostitutes, madams, cowgirls, ranchers, pioneers, and their struggles in the face of physical, social, and cultural adversity.
We are reluctant to mention “highlights” as it would suggest that “lowlights” do not merit attention from scholars and bibliophiles alike. We invite readers to peruse the Inventory of the collection (capably prepared by Hunter Corb), to allow readers to make that determination for themselves.
Included is the first edition of Miriam Colt’s autobiography, which describes her ill-fated expedition to Kansas (Went to Kansas, 1862) in which she traveled more than 1300 miles to establish a communal vegetarian colony. Colt provides vivid and frightening details of a family’s ordeals on the frontier landscape, including severe illness and encounters with lawless gangs. Defrauded of their investment in the Vegetarian Settlement Company, the Colts left Kansas in the fall of 1856. Colt’s husband and son died en route, leaving only mother and daughter to return to New York.
Another work of interest is Sarah Hopkins’s Life Among the Piutes, an autobiography written at the encouragement of Ralph Waldo Emerson. This is considered to be the first book written and published in English by a Native American woman. It provides “extensive information about pre-White northern Paiute culture, the types of foods, marriage, and other social practices, as well as political leadership” (Paher), while simultaneously increasing awareness and sympathy for the plight of Native Americans.
Melinda Rankin’s Twenty Years Among the Mexicans describes her missionary labor in south Texas and Mexico. Herein are depicted the experiences of the first Protestant woman missionary in Latin America. Although laws in Mexico at the time forbade the introduction of any form of Protestantism into the country, Rankin traveled there in 1852 and established the first Protestant mission in Northern Mexico, continuing her work there for a few decades before returning to the United States due to health problems. This narrative describes not just Rankin’s missionary labors, but also many dramatic events in Texas and Mexico including revolutionary turmoil, the American Civil War, and her capture by the notorious military leader, rancher, and outlaw, Juan Cortina.
From early settlers of the West during and shortly after the American Revolution; to ranchers and pioneering women in the early days of the Republic of Texas and the fight for independence; to overland travels in covered wagons on the famed Oregon Trail at the outset of the American Civil War; to excursions into Mexico and Latin America at the end of the 19th and into the 20th centuries. Over two hundred years of women’s experiences can be found within this collection, and as such there is something for every student and subject matter.
SEE DETAILED CATALOGUE ON OUR WEBSITE which enumerates each and every one of the 372 titles.