The Russell B. Aitken Collection of Important Books
by Ernest Thompson
William R. Talbot Fine Art is proud to present an outstanding collection of books
by Ernest Thompson Seton from the library of the late Russell B. Aitkin, the world-renowned
big game hunter and patron of the arts. Seton, a renaissance man internationally
recognized as a naturalist, author, and illustrator, is best known for his realistic
animal tales, which combine the storyteller’s art with the scientist’s
knowledge of natural history. Seton was born in England in 1860 and moved to Canada
as a young man. Captivated by what he observed in nature, he became an authority
on wildlife in Canada and the eastern United States and subsequently produced
some forty-odd books filled with his own painstakingly observed drawings of animals.
His lively prose and remarkable illustrations enabled readers to live vicariously
in the wilderness he recreated. In 1902, Seton’s fascination with the lifestyle
of Native Americans led him to establish the Woodcraft Indians in order to teach
boys about the outdoor life. The organization later became part of the Boy Scouts
of America, of which Seton is considered a co-founder. The collection offered
below contains many first editions of Seton’s most significant books, some
of which Seton signed and embellished with small animal drawings. This is a wonderful
opportunity to acquire a substantial body of masterful tales of nature and the
wilderness, as well as important works of natural history by one of America’s
Superb collection of 10 works in 18 volumes: SOLD.
Wild Animals I Have Known. New York: Charles Scribner’s
Sons, 1898. First edition, presentation copy inscribed on second flyleaf by author
with a small sketch of an animal head and signed with famous paw print. Seton’s
second book. 8vo. Original olive green cloth, spine slightly faded. Original quarter-morocco
slipcase. From the library of actor and humanitarian Jean Hersholt with his signed
bookplate. Front and back hinges professionally repaired. Overall, fine.
Lives of the Hunted. New York: Charles Scribner’s
Sons, 1901. First edition, first impression. Pictorial olive green cloth with
title and embossed border in gilt. Fascinating cover illustration of silhouetted
forest and animals in black ink. Illustrated with drawings and plates by the author.
Back cover slightly stained and bowed. Otherwise, excellent.
Monarch, the Big Bear of Tallac. New York: Charles Scribner’s
Sons, 1904. First edition, first impression. 8vo. Gilt-lettered blue cloth, spine
a little rubbed. Dark blue end papers. Handsome oval pastedown of black-and-white
illustration of bear on front cover. Signed by previous owner on second flyleaf,
loose. Excellent condition. The book is based on many sources as well as Seton’s
personal experience. The bear is a composite character, although Monarch the Grizzly
did actually exist at Golden Gate Park.
Life-Histories of Northern Animals: An Account of the Mammals of Manitoba.
New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1909. 2 volumes. Vol. 1: Grass-Eaters;
vol. 2: Flesh-Eaters. First edition, presentation copy inscribed by author
on the half-title with a sketch of a bear head and signed with paw print: “To
James Carlton Young, these two volumes are my attempt to tell everything that
is known about the home life of the fifty-nine species treated. These are the
facts on which my stories are founded.” Large 8vo. Original tan buckram
boards with red morocco spine labels and gilt animal-head devices on front covers.
Front hinges cracked on both volumes; minor soiling to covers. Overall, fine.
A very important study of northern mammals. Contains 68 maps and 560 drawings
Seton, Ernest Thompson, ed. Famous Animal Stories: Animal Myths, Fables,
Fairy Tales, Stories of Real Animals. New York: Grosset & Dunlap,
Publishers, 1932. Later edition. 8vo. Orange cloth on boards with cover illustration
in blue. Corner of p. 393 missing. Otherwise excellent condition.
Animal Heroes: Being the Histories of a Cat, a Dog, a Pigeon, a Lynx,
Two Wolves & a Reindeer. London: Constable & Company Ltd.,
1920. Fourth impression. Original olive green cloth. Illustrated by author. With
a photograph of Seton laid-in.
The Arctic Prairies: A Canoe-Journey of 2,000 Miles in Search of the
Caribou. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1911. First edition.
8vo. Dark green cloth with title in gilt on cover and spine. Photographs and illustrations
by author. Possibly Seton’s most important book, it records the author and
his colleague Edward A. Preble’s six-month journey by canoe in 1906 from
the Great Slave Lake to the Athabaska River in north-central Canada. Appendices
are devoted to buffalo, yaks, insects, mammals, and birds. One of Seton’s
best and scarcest works.
Wild Animal Ways. Garden City: Doubleday, Page &
Company, 1922. Reprint edition from The Library of Pioneering and Woodcraft. 8vo.
Blue cloth. Photographs and illustrations by author. One of the more unusual Seton
Woodland Tales. Garden City: Doubleday, Page & Company,
1922. Reprint edition. Vol. V of The Library of Pioneering and Woodcraft. 8vo.
Blue cloth. Illustrations by author.
Wild Animals at Home. Garden City: Doubleday, Page &
Company, 1922. Reprint edition. Vol. VI of The Library of Pioneering and Woodcraft.
8vo. Blue cloth. Photographs and illustrations by author.
The Book of Woodcraft and Indian Lore. Garden City:
Doubleday, Page & Co., 1926. Reprint edition. Vol. IV of The Library of Pioneering
and Woodcraft. 8vo. Green cloth. Illustrated by the author.
Lives of Game Animals. Garden City: Doubleday. Doran
& Company, Inc., 1929. 4 volumes bound in 8. Small 4to. Pictorial green cloth
with gilt animal emblem on front covers. Halftone reproductions of drawings by
author, including beautiful frontispieces in sepia ink. Bookplates and signatures
of former owner. Seton’s monumental work on big game animals, for which
he was awarded the John Burroughs Medal in 1926. A very handsome and fine set.
Trail of an Artist-Naturalist: The Autobiography of Ernest Thompson
Seton with Illustrations by the Author. New York: Charles Scribner’s
Sons, 1940. First edition. 8vo. Pale green cloth. Photograph of author as frontispiece.
Slight soiling to cover; spine darkened; front hinge cracked. Interior clean and