National Parks in the Spotlight at Rare Books LA

Of all the many wonderful books, manuscripts, and ephemera on offer beginning tomorrow at Rare Books LA, one collection stood out to me, both because of its serendipitous dovetailing with our current issue’s feature story on National Park Service libraries and archives, and the alarming news about damage to our parks in the wake of the government shutdown. It is a catalogue called “Our National Parks,” and it is the brainchild of two antiquarian booksellers, Utah’s Back of Beyond Books and California’s Walkabout Books. According to the catalogue’s introduction, it took the booksellers three years to compile this material; while NPS pamphlets and brochures were easy to find, they wrote, “interesting manuscripts, archival, and photographic material appeared on the market less often than anticipated.” But, in the end, they succeeded. “Our National Parks” is astounding in its breadth, covering 323 items related to national parks listed literally A to Z--Acadia to Zion--and including photo albums, diaries, first editions, and vintage posters. Of course, John Muir is here, as are Ansel Adams and Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Here are a few more highlights:

016543 copy.jpgHarry Herzog’s “See America -- Visit the National Parks” promotional poster, a NYC Art Project, WPA, c. 1940. Price: $5,750

015400 copy.jpgFirst edition of Edward Abbey’s nature classic, Desert Solitaire (1968) from the library of screenwriter John Michael Hayes. Price: $975

20245_2 copy.jpgA photo album containing forty-two original photographs by F. Jay Haynes and manuscript text by J.H. Purdy documenting a hunting trip through Yellowstone and Grand Teton in 1896. Price: $18,500

Images courtesy of the booksellers

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