Item #7370 The Poet Scout, A Book of Song and Story. Jack Crawford.
The Poet Scout, A Book of Song and Story.
The Poet Scout, A Book of Song and Story.
The Poet Scout, A Book of Song and Story.
The Poet Scout, A Book of Song and Story.

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The Poet Scout, A Book of Song and Story.

New York: Funk & Wagnall’s, 10 and 12 Dey St., [1885]. 4to (9.5” x 6.25”), illustrated wrappers. 15, [1] pp. Front wrapper inscribed and signed by Crawford, “Fraternally yours, J W Crawford Capn Jack.” CONDITION: Good, old vertical fold through center; pp. 13–15 with some tears and creases in margins; back wrapper has several tears and is soiled.

A rare inscribed prospectus for Captain Jack Crawford’s second book.

Among the representative contents included are such poems as “The Heroes Departed,” “The Mountain Boy’s Letter,” “Mother’s Prayers,” and “Hood’s Children.” Also included are “pen portraits” of Crawford, composed by a retired Cavalry officer and an editor of a New Mexico newspaper, as well as a narrative by B. Beckett of Crawford’s life after his service in the Civil War. A letter from Crawford to his friends and the public (written from New York City on 18 Aug. 1885) appears on page 2:

in 1879 I published a little volume of my poems in California [The Poet Scout]. In three months the entire edition was exhausted, and being called by Genl. Edward Hatch, in 1880, to take command of the American scouts, and having served through the campaigns of ‘80 and ‘81 against Victorios, Na-na, and other chiefs and hostiles, I was unable to republish my book. During those campaigns, while on the trail I discovered and located some mining claims. I was then appointed Post Trader at Fort Craig, NM, by Secretary of war Robert Lincoln, a position I now hold. I made money on hay and freight contracts and expended nearly $510,000 in developing my mining property. I have been here for the double purpose of placing mines and publishing my book. I leave New York on the 25th to join capitalists who have gone to New Mexico to examine my property, and have left the manuscript for my new book with Messrs. Funk & Wagnalls, and will return about the 25th of Sept., when I shall affix my autograph to each copy subscribed for by the first 1,000 subscribers…This pamphlet contains a few of my poems and extracts, as well as a facsimile of [my] autograph. The book, outside of the first 1,000, will be sold by subscription only.

Born in Ireland, John “Captain Jack” Wallace Crawford (1847–1917), who adopted the alias “The Poet Scout,” was an author who chronicled the Wild West and was also a popular performer. After his family immigrated to Pennsylvania from Ireland, Crawford worked in the coal mines. At 15, he lied about his age and joined the Pennsylvania Regulars during the Civil War. After being wounded three times he was nursed back to health in a hospital near Philadelphia, during which he was taught by nuns how to read and write—skills that led to his career as a writer. In 1875 Crawford was appointed as a Captain of the Black Hills Rangers of Dakota and in 1876 he met Buffalo Bill Cody, whom he replaced as Chief of Scouts of the 5th Cavalry. Under the command of Eugene Carr, Crawford made a famous horseback ride with urgent news from the Battle of Slim Buttes to Fort Laramie—a distance of 350 miles in six days. The Battle of Slim Buttes took place in September 1876 and constituted the U.S. Army’s first victory over the Sioux after the defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. In the same year, Crawford became an entertainer in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, often performing lead roles based on his own life. The next year Buffalo Bill and Crawford’s stage partnership ended in Nevada when Crawford accidentally shot himself in the groin during a combat scene. Crawford’s first book, The Poet Scout: Being a Selection of Incidental and Illustrative Verses and Songs was published in San Francisco in 1879. The same year he moved to New Mexico Territory and began scouting for the U.S. Army again, and also found work as a post-trader at Fort Craig in New Mexico. He spent the rest of his life working as an actor, lecturer, and special government agent.

OCLC records one copy of the prospectus, at Brown University.

REFERENCES: McReynolds, Alister. “Captain Jack Crawford” at Smith Rebellion 1765 online.

Item #7370

Price: $575.00

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