Bright Young Collectors: Tristan Galloway

Tristan Galloway

Our Bright Young Collectors series continues today with Tristan Galloway, of Nampa, Idaho, who focuses in particular on military manuals from 1804 to WWII.

Where are you from / where do you live?

I was born in Nampa, Idaho, and currently live in Nampa, Idaho. Fortunately, I was able to escape for a few years in my 20s. That experience made me appreciate home even more.

What did you study at University?

Growing up I wanted to be a history professor but decided to keep history as a hobby. I ultimately got a B.S. in Biology/Chemistry (Pre-Med) at Northwest Nazarene University and got my DDS from the University of Southern California.

What do you do now for an occupation?

I currently practice general dentistry and have two smaller side businesses for fun.

Please introduce us to your book collection.  What areas do you collect in? 

Man, where do I start? It pains me to say I have many books in boxes, waiting for the day they can be properly shelved. My interests are eclectic and range from contemporary mysteries and thrillers to military records. The highlight is my collection of military manuals. They span from 1804 to WWII. It is fascinating to see the evolution of tactics and protocols throughout the decades.

How many books are in your collection?

I probably have several thousand books in my collection. These range from novels to reference books to historical texts. Unfortunately, some of them live in storage containers at the moment. Probably 50 or so that are strictly military manuals...almost all of them are pre-1898.

What was the first book you bought for your collection?

My first book that falls in line with collecting interests was an unabridged copy of Robinson Crusoe. It was undated, but just inside the cover someone wrote, "To Johnny, Christmas 1900." Prior to reading this edition, I didn't realize there was so much more to the story of Robinson Crusoe and his companion, Friday.

For my military manual collection, not the first, but close to it was an 1804 British manual. These British and French manuals were the precursors to our American manuals...some of our first were French translations into English.

How about the most recent book?

I recently purchased a near mint 1868 edition of Upton's Infantry Tactics manual. Upton's was the primary infantry manual used just post-Civil War through the 1890s. Emory Upton developed these tactics at the tail-end of the Civil War that became the precursor to WWI and WWII infantry maneuvers.

And your favorite book in your collection?

My most poignant book is an 1862 copy of The Field Manual of Evolutions of the Line (military manual) owned by Major Andrew Barney. Maj. Barney was carrying this book when he was killed during the 2nd Battle of Bull Run (Manassas). This is evidenced by the blood-stained cover. It's a very poignant piece that reminds me of the many personal sacrifices made by our forefathers.

Best bargain you’ve found?

I was gifted an 1858 copy of Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine. This magazine was printed for 5 years in San Francisco and was influential in inducing mass migration to California. Interestingly enough, the inside cover is named to Studebaker -- one of the famed Studebaker brothers.

How about The One that Got Away?

I had a friend offer me the complete military records of the Civil War (both Union and Confederate). He shipped the books in two boxes. One box literally "Got Away." I only received the shipping label shoved in my mailbox. It was cleanly cut with a box knife. Someone along the box's journey removed the label and kept the box and contents.

What would be the Holy Grail for your collection?

I'm on the hunt for more Civil War-era Confederate-printed military manuals. I currently own two and rarely see any others for sale.

Who is your favorite bookseller / bookstore?

As a kid, I spent countless hours in a local bookstore called Twice Sold Tales. I'd spend hours of my youth hunting through the shelves and stacks of books. Unfortunately, the bookstore closed its doors a few years ago.

What would you collect if you didn’t collect books?

As stated prior, I am a pretty eclectic individual. I have a literal museum in my house. I focus on US military history and material culture. The majority of my collection spans from 1861-1918, but I have a fair number of WWII-current items as well. I really have an affinity for uniform pieces and other cloth items. It amazes me how some things have lasted through the ages. The oddest cloth item I own is an identified pair of soldier-identified linen drawers (underwear). I'm a firm believer is displaying, sharing, and educating others with tangible history. Being able to hold and care for artifacts brings the past to life.