Item #4163 Songs of the Sierras. Joaquin Miller.
Songs of the Sierras
Songs of the Sierras
Songs of the Sierras

Songs of the Sierras

Miller, Joaquin

Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1871.

First U.S. edition. 5 x 7 inches, 299 pp. Printed cloth over boards. Hinges cracked, cloth mottled, wear and small losses to crown and foot of spine; a good copy only. With folded check laid in (see comments following). Item #4163

The check laid into this copy of Miller’s best-known book represents an intriguing literary mystery. Made out to Miller and endorsed by him, it comes from the account of Allen Thorndike Rice (signed for Rice by his attorney), and features on the back, among various stamps and endorsements, the stamp of James Redpath.

Charles Allen Thorndike Rice bought the North American Review in 1876, and remained its publisher and editor-in-chief until his death in 1889. He ran for Congress unsuccessfully in 1886, and in 1889 he was appointed Minister to Russia by President Benjamin Harrison, but he died in New York City before he could take up his post.

James Redpath, crusading journalist and abolitionist, became managing editor of the North American Review in 1886, but appears to have begun his association with the magazine before that date. In several letters to Walt Whitman from October through December of 1885, for example, located in the Whitman papers of the Library of Congress, Redpath clearly is acting on Rice’s behalf regarding a Whitman article on Lincoln intended for the Review. So it would seem logical to presume that Redpath’s stamp on the check to Miller indicated similarly that it was compensation for contributions to the review (or “other of Mr. Rice’s literary enterprises,” as Redpath puts it in one of the letters to Whitman), however a search of the North American Review index for the decade 1880–89 turns up no mention of Miller.

The check, dated December 15, 1885, is for the not-inconsiderable sum of sixty-five dollars (equivalent to roughly $1735 in current buying power), leaving one to wonder just what service Miller had rendered, and what Redpath’s involvment might have been.Check partially separating at fold, but still intact.

Price: $300.00

See all items by