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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hillerman's "The Great Taos Bank Robbery" - The Mystery Of Its Two States

The Great Taos Bank Robbery – The Mystery of its Two States

by       Bob Maddox
           Squid Ink Books
           Tucson, Arizona


Tony Hillerman’s book, The Great Taos Bank Robbery and Other Indian Country Affairs, was first published, in hard cover, by the University of New Mexico Press in 1973. It consists of nine essays written by Hillerman about incidents, characters, and places in New Mexico. This was Hillerman’s first non-fiction book and it followed two mysteries and a childrens’ book. A third mystery, Dance Hall of the Dead, was also published in 1973, but apparently after the non-fiction title.

Over the years Hillerman’s books have become very collectible in their first editions. Louis A. Hieb published a bibliography of Hillerman writing titled, Tony Hillerman: From The Blessing Way to Talking God A Bibliography (Press of the Gigantic Hound, Tucson, 1990). This book has become the definitive reference regarding Hillerman books published from 1970 through 1989. Hieb (p.59-60) describes the two states of  The Great Taos Bank Robbery as follows:

“Binding: Two issues exist which have identical cover and spine lettering but differ with regard to cloth and end-paper colors and dust jackets.  Cover lettering: [decorative band]/The. Great/Taos/Bank Robbery/[two rules]/ And Other Indian Country Affairs / [decorative band]. Spine lettering: [vertically] HILLERMAN / [horizontally, decorative device]/ [vertically] THE GREAT TAOS BANK ROBBERY/ [horizontally, decorative device]/ [vertically] NEW MEXICO.

1. Yellowish gray (93) cloth lettered in black (267) . Light yellowish brown (near 76) endpapers.  Illustrated paper jacket printed in grayish brown (61) with single illustration (Shiprock) on back panel.

2. Grayish yellow (90) cloth lettered in black (267). Yellowish white (92) endpapers.  Illustrated paper jacket printed in medium purplish blue (200) with two illustrations on back panel.

Jacket design[s] by Dan Stouffer.  Price $5.95.

Hieb refers to a state one book and jacket that is bound in gray cloth , with a yellow tint, having a jacket with a single drawing of Shiprock on the back panel. The second state of the book is described as being bound in yellow cloth, with a gray tint, having a jacket with two illustrations on the back. These are a photograph of the Church of San Jose de Gracia, Las Trampas, New Mexico, above the drawing of Shiprock.

The book notes, in both states, on the copyright page, “Designed by Dan Stouffer.” The jacket design is credited to Dan Stouffer on the back flap of both states. Dan is an artist who worked for the University of New Mexico Press until 1979 and several of the illustrations are also by him. The jackets are distinctly different, more so than one would think given Hieb’s bibliographic descriptions. The jacket referred to as state 1 is on textured stock that is of a light yellow color. The jacket referred to as state 2 is on heavier, non-textured stock that is of a light orange color.

Today in the book collectors’ market the book in grey cloth which has the single drawing on the rear dust jacket panel is usually referred to as the first state book and jacket, which commands slightly higher prices than the second state variant. Ernie Bulow (writer, bookseller, and publisher) had written in an article in Firsts Collecting Modern First Editions magazine (“Collecting Tony Hillerman”, June issue of 1994) that Hillerman and people at the University of New Mexico Press did not know which variant came first, but that he had no reason to question Hieb’s bibliography. However, in a NOTE added to a Hillerman price list that Bulow distributed by mail to his customers during the summer of 2007, he wrote:

“When Louis Hieb published his bibliography of Hillerman in 1990 he noted two states of this publication. One dust jacket had a single photo on the back, the other had two photos. Since Hieb listed the books in that order, it was assumed that was the first and second state and everyone has held to that order ever since. I asked Tony at the time and he couldn’t remember. I asked Jack Rittenhouse who had been the director of the press at the time and he couldn’t remember either. Since I found the single photo version more aesthetic than the other, I felt it had to be the second state, since it didn’t make sense to make the jacket less attractive. A few years later a noted book dealer from Southern California gave me a copy for Tony to sign. It was the version with two photos. It had all the review material laid in the front and every indication showed they had been there all along. As far as I am concerned that settled the issue once and for all. The other order persists.”

Bulow had ended up questioning the sequence of the two versions reported by Hieb, but to a limited audience. Currently (early November, 2013) there are 42 first editions listed for sale on ABE Books. Fifteen are indentified as 1st state, 11 are identified as 2nd state, and 14 listings do not mention states of the book. There are two listings that question the validity of the states noted by Hieb. So, the current situation is muddled, but most booksellers follow Hieb’s bibliography.

A visit from Marvin McIntyre

Last spring Marvin McIntyre and his wife visited me here at Squid Ink Books. They were in town for the Tucson Festival of Books. Marvin is an internet book dealer (McInBooks) from Farmington, New Mexico. He noticed a copy of The Great Taos Bank Robbery on my shelves and mentioned that the states of this book were different than had been reported by Hieb. He said that he knew this because they were friends with Dan Stouffer, who had designed the book and jacket back in 1973.

Marvin had mentioned to Dan at an art show (a year or so ago) that there were two states of the book that he (Dan) had designed. Dan was not aware of this and checked the copy that he had when he returned home. He wrote the following noted to Marvin:

“You had asked about the first edition of The Great Taos Bank Robbery, so I checked mine and there are two illustrations on the back of the jacket. A photo of Las Trampas (I think) and my Shiprock illustration below. I know this is the first one, because the bindery foreman always called me down to the printing plant to inspect the first one off the line. I gave my approval and took it upstairs for Tony to sign and he wrote a very complimentary note to me, which I treasure.”

Below are photos of Dan Stouffer holding the first bound copy of The Great Taos Bank Robbery.

The following photos illustrate the dramatic differences between the two states of both the book and the dust jacket (the true 1st state is shown at left or on top).

Louis Hieb had apparently discussed the two states of this book in reverse chronological order when he prepared his Hillerman bibliography. So, part of this mystery has been solved by Dan Stouffer, former employee of the University of New Mexico Press.

The rest of the mystery

I exchanged emails with Dan, hoping to find out when the book and jacket were redone in the second state. He responded that he was never aware of any changes to the book while he was at the Press – i.e., up to 1979. Current staff at the Press were also unaware that there had been changes to the book and jacket. An important question remains: When and why was the book modified? The changes were not subtle or minor changes and the two variants of the book and jacket are quite different. However, the page blocks are identical and the price is the same on both variants.

I have a hypothesis regarding what may have transpired. The Press issued its first trade paperback edition of The Great Taos Bank Robbery in 1980. I think that someone at the Press decided to do a new printing of the hardback version at this time, making changes to the binding and jacket (the second state jacket is clearly more simple, printed on lighter weight stock, and probably more economical). However, the plates were apparently used without making any changes or adding a second printing statement. This makes some sense, since Hillerman’s popularity had increased rapidly as his Navajo mysteries drew greater and greater attention.

Similar things have happened at other University Presses. The example I am most familiar with is that of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac from Oxford University Press. An edition was printed several years after the First Edition had come out. This edition had a slightly modified binding and a jacket with a new price and blurbs on the back panel that clearly show that it was printed several years after the original printing. Some think that this particular edition used left over pages from the original first printing.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Quick Trip To Albuquerque

Katie and I were on a quick trip to Albuquerque this past weekend (September 21st and 22nd). This outing was plagued by travel problems due to weather in Los Angeles (fog) on Saturday and in Albuquerque (thunderstorms) on Sunday - I've written about the flight problems at http://www.madweather.blogspot.com/

We stayed at the Hotel Parq Central on old Route 66 just west of I-25. The hotel (above) is a renovated building that was once a historic hospital for the employees of Santa fe Railroad. The Nob Hill area of old 66 (Central Avenue), just east of the University of New Mexico, once had 4 or 5 used and collectible bookstores. I have brought home many titles from these stores over the years. I drove down old 66 hoping to visit Simmons & Simmons on Sunday morning. Simmons & Simmons was the last surviving store when we were last there a couple of years ago. But alas, what I found is shown below. So the old Route 66 book row in Albuquerque has suffered almost the same fate as Adams Avenue in San Diego. So, no photos of books that returned home with us.

However, Simmons & Simmons is still in business, but now as an online only seller - you can find them at ABE.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Seamus Heaney Gone At 74

Irish poet Seamus Heaney died yesterday, 30 August 2013, in Dublin. Some of his obituary in The Washington Post (by Adrian Higgins) follows:
"Seamus Heaney, the Irish poet whose verse captured the transcendent power, darkness and humanity of his conflicted homeland, died Aug. 30 at a hospital in Dublin. He was 74.

His death was announced in a statement released by his family and his publisher, Faber and Faber. The cause was not disclosed, but he was in failing health after a stroke in 2006.

In accepting the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995, Mr. Heaney acknowledged another Irish Nobel laureate, William Butler Yeats, and the power of Yeats’s verse to define an Ireland beyond the violence of its independence almost a century ago. Mr. Heaney came to give voice to another period of violent upheaval that defined his native province of Ulster for much of his 50-year writing career.

The poet Robert Lowell called Mr. Heaney the greatest Irish poet since Yeats. The poet Paul Muldoon, a student of Mr. Heaney’s in the 1960s, said his mentor was “actually the most popular Irish poet ever,” although Mr. Heaney would have been indifferent to such ranking.

In 1999, Mr. Heaney’s acclaimed translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic “Beowulf” became an international bestseller. ..."

I had picked up a copy of Heaney's Beowulf translation (above) early this summer. I wanted to read it, since my only experience with the tale had been reading a bit of it in High School English many decades ago. The translation assigned back then was essentially unintelligible for young students. So, I wondered about Heaney's highly praised new translation. I found it excellent and easy to follow and have gained a new appreciation of both the ancient myth and also of John Gardner's Grendel, which I had read during the winter.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer Sale Catalogue

I have just picked up a special summer sale catalogue at the printers. Below is a portion of page 1. If you would like a copy sent, please email me     bob@squidinkbooks.com

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Quick Road Trip

We returned a week ago today (Sunday, June 30th) from a quick road trip of four days that took us to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Winslow, Arizona. In Santa Fe we visited Katie's sister and husband, who have just moved into a new house that they built themselves. Very beautiful. In Winslow we visited our favorite hotel and restaurant - La Posada and The Turquoise Room. Santa Fe is blessed with about 5 times as many bookstores as Tucson has - doesn't seem fair. Regardless, I managed to visit four stores while we were there.

Nicholas Potter is closing his open shop that has been on Palace across from the Cathedral for many years. I have stopped in every once awhile for over 15 years now - I will miss his shop and chatting with him. Between now and Labor Day he will continue his draw-down sale and then close shop after that.

I browsed through Gunstock Hill Books (my first visit) and noted many desirable titles - more than I could cope with during my short stay. This store is owned by Henry A. Lewis and can be visited on the web at   www.gunstockhillbooks.com

I have visited Dumont Maps & Books of the West a number of times and always find many items of interest. This store is in a slightly different location than when I last visited. It is owned by Andre and Carol Dumont and is now at 407 West San Francisco Street. Visit them at  www.dumontbooks.com

Finally, I stopped by Books of Interest, another first time visit. Lots of art books plus a diverse stock of both new and used titles. This was a pleasant stop and I will definitely visit again. This store is owned by Leo and Elizabeth Romero. They are on the web at   www.booksofinterest.com  There is a photo gallery of this store at    http://www.flickr.com/photos/booksofinterestsfcomphotos/

Although the landscapes were hot and terribly parched and skies were smokey the whole trip, we had an enjoyable time. Some of the books that adopted us and came home to Tucson are shown below.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lawrence Clark Powell

Lawrence Clark Powell (b. Washington, DC, September 6, 1906; d. Tucson, Arizona, March 14, 2001) was a librarian, literary critic, bibliographer, self-proclaimed "bibliomaniac", and author of more than 100 books.

He received a BA from Occidental College in 1928, a doctorate from the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France, in 1932, and Certificate of Librarianship from UC Berkeley in 1937. He was University Librarian at the UCLA Library and head librarian of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library from 1944 until 1961. He was the first Dean of the School of Library Service at UCLA.

Powell was a Tucson resident for more than 30 years and helped to found the University of Arizona's School of Library and Information Science in the 1970s. After his death in 2001, in memory of Powell's writings and reverence for the Southwest, a lecture bearing his name has been delivered each year by an author whose breadth of work reflects the values, landscape, history and culture of the region. In addition to the lecture, the library honors one person with the Lawrence Clark Powell Lifetime Achievement Award for his/her contribution to southwestern letters. This award, sometimes called "The Powie", was first presented in 2002.

Squid Ink Books has a small collection of books by Powell that are available at our website (www.squidinkbooks.com). A pdf of the special list can be sent on request via email.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The George W. Bush Library

It is ironic that the least literary of our Presidents has built the largest of all Presidential Libraries. It is on the campus of SMU in Dallas, Texas. The grounds cover 23 acres and include hundreds of trees and shrubs. Molly Ivins would be pleased! Entrance to museum and library is shown above, with an armed guard in place. A few facts highlighted in the news this past week.

The new W library will house 80 terabytes of digital data - thus, explaining why the facility had to be so large. I doubt that W could access any of this digital archive without help. It is possible that the number of real, old fashioned books eventually may exceed 100.

It is the first LEED certified Presidential Library - seems strange from a leader with such an environmentally hostile administration (some of the landscaping is shown below). It is rumored that when serious trimming efforts are needed on the grounds that Bush will drive his huge pickup, with chain saw, up to SMU. Some pundits are now speculating that W was really a closet greenie.

Just less than a year ago I noted: In an ironic twist of fate, Ray Bradbury was presented the National Medal of Arts (2004) by one of our most non-literary presidents - ceremony shown below. Kurt Vonnegut would say: "So it goes."

Friday, April 26, 2013

More On Gatsby!

Oh my - There is new edition of The Great Gatsby out that is a tie-in with the new movie. A 3-D, full-color movie of the 1920s classic - sounds very vile to me. The garish cover of the new trade paperback edition is shown above. It is causing a bit of a stir and got its own article in the NY Times. A quote from the article:

“It’s just God-awful,” Kevin Cassem, a bookseller at McNally Jackson, said on Tuesday. “ ‘The Great Gatsby’ is a pillar of American literature, and people don’t want it messed with. We’re selling the classic cover and have no intention of selling the new one.”
Movie tie-in editions are issued regularly in the book business, but rarely has the contrast between two covers of the same title been so pronounced.

Monday, April 15, 2013

"A Book By Its Covers"

An interesting feature appeared in the NY Times during the past week and in their Sunday's "Style" Magazine. The article is by Jeff Oloizia and is focused on various dust jackets/book covers that have appeared on "The Great Gatsby." The examples are from the collection of the late Matthew J. Bruccoli. The article can be accessed at: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/a-book-by-its-covers/ 

Below are six of the examples from the article - note particularly the final paperback cover from Bantam!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Robert Ludlum's First Two Books


I have continued to get far behind in mentioning books that I’ve read recently. “Recent” now means back to around last November.

Back then, I decided to read Robert Ludlum’s first two books: The Scarlatti Inheritance and The Osterman Weekend. The books were published by World Publishing in 1971 and 1972. I had read his first book long ago and, after beginning the second, realized that I had also read it at some time. I didn’t find either book to be good reading this time around. The plots of both are completely beyond any level of credibility. Numerous reviews can be easily googled on line and I will not go into any detail here. I couldn’t really recommend either title. Obviously, Ludlum’s thrillers either improved substantially, or reader’s were just taken with his leading characters, since his titles have sold hundreds of millions of copies over the years. New titles carrying his name are still appearing, even though he died in 2001.

However, both of these books present a real challenge for collectors. They were bound in cheap leatherette boards which were prone to chipping and cracking with age. The jackets for both were printed on clear acetate which did not age well, with copies often having yellowed and chipped jackets. Further, the BOMC versions were identical to the first editions, except for small, square blind  stamps to the lower corner of the back board, near the gutter. The BOMC jackets were not priced. BOMC copies are sometimes mistaken for 1st printings, so caution is needed. Copies of the both books, when found in collectible condition, may be priced at several hundred dollars, more if signed.

Ludlum was an actor and became well-known for his deep vocals in numerous TV commercials over the years. His death, at 73, seems more of a mystery than those of some of his novels. Thirteen days after signing a new will, leaving his entire estate to his second wife of four years, he was engulfed in flames while lounging pool-side at his estate in Florida. There was little investigation of the unexplained fire, and he died shortly after being released from the hospital, following treatment for severe burns. Some relatives contend that he was murdered and fights over his estate continue to this day.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

2013 Festival Of Books Now History

The festival has come and gone, and reports indicate that it was quite a success. The first day was a bit dicey with the wind, cold, and showers, but the second day was very pleasant. Photos below are from the Festival's newsletter. The three authors shown are: Ted Danson throwing a pitch (actor, author, and environmental activist - middle left), Robert Crais (author of the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike mysteries - middle right), and Jodi Picoult (author of fiction best sellers - bottom left). The dates for the next Festival are already set - 15, 16 March 2014.

Photos courtesy of James S. Wood Photography, David Whitney French Photography, and Monica Surfaro Spigelman for the Tucson Festival of Books

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tucson Festival Of Books This Weekend

The Fifth Annual Tucson Festival of Books will be happening on the University of Arizona campus this weekend - March 9 and 10, 2013. The first four of these events have been extremely popular and have brought a wide cross-section of authors to town. The photo below is of the crowds on the Mall last year. The big concern this year is that a strong front will be moving through on Friday afternoon and evening. Temperatures will be much colder and Saturday especially may be raw and damp; bad timing and nasty weather may significantly impact the event this year.

Photograph  by David Sanders, Arizona Daily Star.