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Songs of the Sierras by  Joaquin Miller - Signed First Edition - 1871 - from Passages Bookshop (SKU: 4163)

Songs of the Sierras

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Songs of the Sierras

by Miller, Joaquin

  • Used
  • hardcover
  • Signed
  • First
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About This Item

Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1871. First U.S. edition. 5 x 7 inches, 299 pp. Printed cloth over boards. Hinges cracked, cloth mottled, wear and small losses to crown and foot of spine; a good copy only. With folded check laid in (see comments following).

The check laid into this copy of Miller’s best-known book represents an intriguing literary mystery. Made out to Miller and endorsed by him, it comes from the account of Allen Thorndike Rice (signed for Rice by his attorney), and features on the back, among various stamps and endorsements, the stamp of James Redpath.

Charles Allen Thorndike Rice bought the North American Review in 1876, and remained its publisher and editor-in-chief until his death in 1889. He ran for Congress unsuccessfully in 1886, and in 1889 he was appointed Minister to Russia by President Benjamin Harrison, but he died in New York City before he could take up his post.

James Redpath, crusading journalist and abolitionist, became managing editor of the North American Review in 1886, but appears to have begun his association with the magazine before that date. In several letters to Walt Whitman from October through December of 1885, for example, located in the Whitman papers of the Library of Congress, Redpath clearly is acting on Rice’s behalf regarding a Whitman article on Lincoln intended for the Review. So it would seem logical to presume that Redpath’s stamp on the check to Miller indicated similarly that it was compensation for contributions to the review (or “other of Mr. Rice’s literary enterprises,” as Redpath puts it in one of the letters to Whitman), however a search of the North American Review index for the decade 1880–89 turns up no mention of Miller.

The check, dated December 15, 1885, is for the not-inconsiderable sum of sixty-five dollars (equivalent to roughly $1735 in current buying power), leaving one to wonder just what service Miller had rendered, and what Redpath’s involvment might have been.Check partially separating at fold, but still intact.


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Passages Bookshop US (US)
Bookseller’s Inventory #
Songs of the Sierras
Miller, Joaquin
Book condition
Quantity available
First U.S. edition
Roberts Brothers
Place of Publication
Date Published
Bookseller catalogs
Literature; Poetry;

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Passages Bookshop

All books are first editions in very good or better condition unless otherwise noted. Dustjackets are noted when present. Books will be held for one week unless other arrangements are made, and all purchases are returnable for any reason with advance notification. Institutional billing is available with standard terms.

About the Seller

Passages Bookshop

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since 2008
Portland, Oregon
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About Passages Bookshop

Passages Bookshop stocks fine, rare, and unusual books and graphic art, with a concentration on modern and contemporary literature and art (particularly poetry and the avant-garde), artist's books, fine printing, and the book arts. The successor to New York City's Bridge Bookshop (late 1980s), Passages opened in Albuquerque in 1994 and relocated to Portland, Oregon, in 1997. In November of 2015 we moved to a new retail shop and gallery centrally located in Portland's east side, two blocks north of the convention center, where we are typically open Thursday through Saturday from 12:00 to 6:00 pm, as well as by appointment or chance. Proprietor: David Abel,


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

In reference to a hinge or a book's binding, means that the glue which holds the opposing leaves has allowed them to separate,... [More]
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched... [More]
A new book is a book previously not circulated to a buyer. Although a new book is typically free of any faults or defects,... [More]

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