A SELECTION OF BOOKS BY THE INCOMPARABLE WILL JAMES
1) James, Will. Cowboys North and South. 1st book by James.
Charles Scribner's Sons, New York and London. 1926. Sm. 4 to., 217 pp.
1st published in 1924, then a 2nd state in 1924; 2nd edition
in 1925; 3rd edition in 1926 with 2 titles listed on the reverse
of the half-title; this copy a second printing of the 3rd edition,
with 3 titles listed on the reverse of the half-title. A series
of 8 short stories about real cowboy life. All the stories
previously appeared in magazine format. Illustrated with 57
separate b/w drawings by Will James (two are also repeated for
a total of 59). Grey cloth with Black lettering. Minor wear and
fading of edges; the poor paper somewhat discoloured; prev.
owner's name on inside front cover; slight smokey odor; o/w a
VG copy of this cornerstone title. $50.00
2) James. The Drifting Cowboy. Charles Scribner's Sons, New
York and London. 1937 reprint (orig. publ'd in 1925). Small 8 vo.,
241 pp. This edition not mentioned in Don Frazier's bibliography
of Will James. Book consists of 7 wonderfull illustrated short
stories with no connecting character. 44 titled drawings and
14 untitled ones. Orange cloth with sketch of a cowboy throwing
a lasso on front cover. Minor wear and some discolouring of the
paper but a handsome VG+ copy in a VG pictorial d.j. with some
tape staining on rear. $65.00
3) James. Cow Country. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York
and London. 1935. Orig. publ'd in 1927. Don Frazier in his 1998
Bibliography of James says he saw no reprint Scribner's editions
between the 2nd printing in 1927 and the 1945 wartime reprint
but other research shows a 1931 edition, this 1935 edition and
a 1938 edition issued by Scribner's, making this 1935 copy a
4th edition. Sm. 8 vo., 242 pp. The book is another selection
of 8 short stories, certainly some of James' best. 40 b/w drawings.
Lt. Orange cloth. Some minor edgewear and some discolouration of
the poor paper; o/w a VG+ copy in a VG pictorial d.j. $65.00
4) James. Sand. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York and
London. 1929. 1st Edition. 8 vo., 328 pp. A novel about a tenderfoot
who works hard to become a working cowboy. 47 separate b/w
drawings...some of James' best. Green cloth with Black titling
and cowboy sketch plus a Red line under the title on the front
cover. Some rubbing and edgewear of the covers; small, minor
stain on foredges; poor paper somewhat discoloured; o/w a
clean VG copy. $50.00(SOLD)
5) James. Lone Cowboy. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York
and London. 1930. 1st Edition. Sm. 8 vo., 433 pp. Don Frazier
in his Bibliography of Will James describes Lone Cowboy in
this manner: "This book is titled "An autobiography". In actual
fact, all the details here of Will James' life up until his mid-
teens are entirely fiction and the rest of the book is a nice
balance between biography and fiction." Photo frontis of James
as well as 35 titled drawings and 36 untitled sketches. This
book is James' most common 1st edition. Frazier speculates that
several reprints in 1930 were not indicated as such and so
there were many more "1st edition, 1st state" copies than usual.
Green cloth with Gold lettering on spine, Gold lettering
and Black sketch on front cover. Some wear and light soiling
of edges; spine somewhat faded; paper somewhat discoloured
as usual; abt. a VG copy. $40.00 (SOLD)
5a) James. Lone Cowboy in the Scribner's Illustrated Classic
Edition. 1947 printing (orig. printed in this edition in 1932).
4 to., 433 pp. A handsome book in Black cloth with a full-size,
full-colour plate pasted onto the front cover. Illustrated e.p.'s.
In all, there are 106 illustrations, including 8 colour plates.
This copy VG+ in a G+ matching d.j. that is price-clipped. $60.00
5b) James. Lone Cowboy in a later printing of the Scribner's
Illustrated Classic Edition. N.d. but probably circa 1959 or 1960.
Orange cloth with illustrated cover and endpapers. Same illustrations
as the above 1947 edition. This is an ex-school-library copy with
stamps on the f.e.p. and the last page, plus a rental slip and
card-pocket on the r.e.p. Moderate edgewear; some minor marks
on covers from old tape. Abt. a G+ copy in a Good Only d.j. $25.00
6) James. Sun-Up: Tales of the Cow Camps. Charles Scribner's
Sons, New York and London. 1931. 1st Edition. There are 16 fully-
illustrated Will James short stories, 9 of which are reprinted
from previous books. Black cloth with full-size, colour illustration
pasted onto front cover. Similar to the Illustrated Classic series
but not one of them. Sun-Up is slightly smaller and has blank
e.p.'s. Moderate edgewear and some rubbing to covers; two bookplates
on inside front cover; a few pages with a corner turned; poor
paper somewhat discoloured as usual; still a G+ to -VG copy of
a much soughtafter James first. $150.00 (SOLD)
7) James. Uncle Bill: a Tale of Two Kids and a Cowboy. Charles
Scribner's Sons, New York and London. 1945 edition (orig. publ'd
in 1932). An episodic short novel in which Uncle Bill teaches
Kip and Scootie what any cowboy needs to know. 8 vo., 241 pp.
Illustrated with 61 b/w drawings. The first of the three "Uncle
Bill" books. This wartime edition is thinner than the earlier
printings but has the same text and illus. Don Frazier mentions
a 1946 edition but makes no mention of this one. Rust-coloured
cloth with Black type and sketches of the kids on the front cover.
Minor edgewear; minor staining of foredges; heavier staining
of the endpapers from the gluing process; o/w a nice G+ to -VG
copy in a Good Only d.j. with pieces missing from spine. $45.00
8) James. All in the Day's Riding. Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York and London. 1936 edition (orig. publ'd in 1933). Sm.
4 to., 252 pp. Don Frazier's comments: "Full of 42 short stories
and monographs, this fascinating book has more detail and more
accurate cowboy lore than is in any other book anywhere. If you
can't find answers to your cow and horse work questions here
they probably don't exist?" Most stories previously appeared
in magazines. There are 104 b/w drawings to illustrate the text.
Same format as the first edition. Red cloth with Gold lettering
and small Black "cow pony" on front cover. Minor edgewear; some
fading of spine and a couple of small faded spots on front
board; some staining in gutters of endpapers; poor paper somewhat
discoloured as usual; a solid G+ copy. $55.00
9) James. The Three Mustangeers. Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York and London. 2nd printing. 1934. (orig. publ'd in 1933).
8 vo., 338 pp. A very good novel about three cowboys who catch
wild horses for a living. Green cloth with Gold and Black
titling and a Black sketch of three horses' heads on front cover.
Same as first edition except for the date and lack of the "A"
on copyright page. 47 b/w drawings. The b/w frontispiece is
repeated in colour on the d.j. Slight edgewear; some staining of
gutters on endpapers from the glue used; pages somewhat discolored
from the poor paper; still a VG+ clean copy in a VG price-clipped,
pictorial d.j. $85.00
10) James. The Dark Horse. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York
and London. 1940. 3rd printing. (Orig. publ'd in 1939 with the
"A" on copyright page; reprinted in 1939 without the "A". By
1998, Don Frazier had seen no other reprints by Scribner's so
this 1940 printing may be rather uncommon.)Sm. 8 vo., 306 pp.
Will James' final novel. Colour frontis plus 38 b/w drawings.
Green cloth with Brown lettering. Covers stained; endpapers
discoloured; a G+ clean copy in a G+ pictorial d.j. with small
piece missing from top of spine (not price-clipped). $65.00
11) James. My First Horse. Mountain Press, Missoula, Montana.
Jan. 2004. 1st Edition Thus (orig. publ'd by Charles Scribner's
in 1940). Oblong 8 vo., 39 pp. A delightful horse book for
children, with 20 coloured drawings by Will James. Glossy
pictorial boards. Near Fine in Near Fine matching d.j. $15.50
12) James. Horses I've Known. Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York. 2nd printing. 1944 (orig. publ'd in 1940). Sm. 8 vo.,
281 pp. A collection of 14 new short stories. Colour frontis
and 33 b/w drawings. Blue cloth with Red lettering. Don Frazier
claims in his James Bibliography that no other Scribner's printing
after the 1940 1st has ever been seen, so this wartime Scribner's
edition would appear to be very uncommon. Minor edgewear; small
minor stain to spine; ding to bottom of spine;
small gift inscription on f.e.p.; poor paper somewhat
discoloured; o/w a clean VG copy in a xeroxed copy of
the colour World Publishing d.j. $65.00
13) James. Will James' Book of Cowboy Stories. Charles
Scribner's Sons, New York. Publisher's code seems to indicate
a 1968 printing (orig. publ'd in 1951). Sm. 8 vo., 243 pp.
A loose group of short stories, all of which had appeared in
earlier Scribner's James books. A bit of a hatchet job with
poor editing and drawings that don't correspond well with
the stories. Rust-coloured cloth with White titling on spine
and a small White illus. of a cowboy and his horse on the
front cover. Slight edgewear; gift inscription on f.e.p.;
o/w a VG+ copy in a G+, price-clipped d.j. $35.00
14) James. The Will James Cowboy Book. Charles Scribner's
Sons, New York. 12 mo., 160 pp. 1st Edition (1938). "A" on
copyright page. Colour frontis. The rarest Will James book.
This book was completely assembled by Scribner's editor Alice
Dalgliesh from stories and pictures previously published in 7
other Will James books. It includes some short stories and
excerpted parts of novels. It is believed that this book was
created solely as a supplementary reader for the Texas (and
maybe other states) Dept. of Education, but only a small number
were ever distributed. Production was halted and the remaining
copies sold off in lots. The book was never offered for general
retail sale and was never reprinted by Scribner's. The endpapers
have sketches from Will James letters to his editor. Orange cloth
with Black lettering and a sketch on front cover. Most of the few
copies that turn up have some form of school library
identification...this copy has just one line on the f.e.p.,
"Catalogue No. 111. Library No. 125". Some fading and staining
of covers; stains in the gutters of the inside front and rear
covers from the glue used in binding; some foxing and smudging
in the margins of some pages (perhaps 20 pages); some soiling of
foredges; o/w still a G+ copy of this highly collectible book.
BONUS: the previous owner has created a lovely d.j. for this book
(originally published without d.j.), copying the front cover of
the book, and adding information on the flaps from other sources
to describe the book and tell us about Will James. SOLD
15) James. Flint Spears. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.
8 vo., 269 pp. plus 18 pp. of b/w rodeo photos. 1st Edition. 1938.
This title is the only Will James book after the first five where
the first editions do not have the Scribner's "A" on the copyright
page. A book of short stories with one central character throughout.
Colour frontis and 30 b/w drawings, as well as 18 pages of 21 photos
of James' choosing to help show the differences between the rodeo
and the range. Orange cloth with Blue/Black lettering and bands on
spine. Minor wear and soiling of edges; some browning of endpapers;
general discolouring of the poor paper; some darkening of topedges;
o/w a clean VG copy in a G+ pictorial d.j. with some chipping and
discolouring (not price-clipped). $185.00
BOOKS ABOUT WILL JAMES:
16) Frazier, Don. The Will James Books: a Descriptive Bibliography
for Enthusiasts and Collectors. Dark Horse Associates, Long Valley, New
Jersey. 1998. 1st Edition of 900 copies. 8 vo., 180 pp. plus 11 pages
of colour pages showing the bindings and dust-jackets of the James
books 1st Editions. Even though Frazier missed a few printings of Will
James' books that have since turned up, this book is an invaluable
guide to the collector and bookseller. As well as the colour section,
there are over 200 selected b/w drawings by Will James which were used
to illustrate his 24 western books. There are also reproductions of James'
signature variations from 1919 to his death in 1942. Brown cloth. Minor
edgewear; minor soiling of foredges; o/w a VG copy in a VG d.j. $56.50
17) Neil, J.M. (editor). Will James: the Spirit of the Cowboy. Published
by Nicolaysen Art Museum, Casper, Wyoming. (1985). An exhibition catalogue
with the following contents: Preface by Neil; Will James: the Lone Cowboy
by William Gardner Bell; Will James, Writer by Jane Nelson; The Art of
Will James by A. P. Hays; a list of Works in the Exhibition; Lenders and
Endnotes. Several examples of James' art, including 4 in colour from oil
paintings. Brown heavy card wraps. Minor edgewear and rubbing; gift
inscription on f.e.p.; o/w a VG+ copy. $25.00