Helena, Mt. 1894. 48pp., including eleven full-page illustrations and a full-page map. 12mo. Original printed green pictorial wrappers. Previous ownership signature on front wrapper (see note below). Wrappers lightly soiled. Near fine. In a folding cloth chemise and cloth slipcase, spine gilt. Item #WRCAM55246
A satirical work on the serious subject of locating the Montana state capitol, in the guise of a survey of Helena society and its mores. This pamphlet was issued by the supporters of Anaconda as Montana's capital city, and though they ultimately lost that war they won this battle, attacking the pretensions of Helena's elites. Home to a number of mining millionaires, Helena is described as "Montana's center of fashion, refinement, gentility, etiquette, kettle drums, high fives, progressive euchre and mixed drinks." In the contest between Helena and Anaconda for state capitol, Helena is shown to be vastly superior, civilized and cultured, whereas in Anaconda "the merchants do not even carry silk stockings in stock." The humorous line-drawn illustrations are excellent, and the map shows Helena as the railroad center of the state. The illustration on the rear wrapper shows Helena as an octopus ensnaring surrounding towns (including Butte and Virginia City) in its tentacles, and the facetious advertisements on the final three pages are for businesses such as "Sin Brothers and Bum: Finest Opium Dens in the City" and "Bustem & Skinem," real estate and mining agents who specialize in the "salting of mines." The Eberstadts loved this title, asking $200 for a copy in 1965: "A witty satire on the dead-serious subject of locating the capital....The alleged villainy of Marcus Daly - who spent half a million dollars to bring the capital to Anaconda - is painted blacker than black; he is even accused of consorting with miners and common laboring men, and being interested in the miserable affairs of their families. A comparative table demonstrates Helena’s overwhelming superiority in the number of silk hats, No. 7 shoes, silk night shirts, kid gloves, cocktail and champagne guzzlers, ladies who rip other ladies up the back, and skeletons in closets." This copy bears the ownership signature on the front wrapper of Richard Lockey, Jr., son of Richard Lockey, a pioneering Montana real estate agent, banker, and merchant. As a partner with Peter Winne in the Denver and Helena Investment Company, Lockey (senior) arranged for the donation of the site for the Montana State Capitol in 1895. He was, therefore, intimately involved with the subject of this work. SMITH, PACIFIC NORTHWEST AMERICANA 4318. GRAFF 1846. EBERSTADT 168:334. DECKER 26:223.