December 27, 2007

Fourth Iowa Cavalry - Deluxe Edition

Not too long ago I was doing some book-based internet surfing and came across the Camp Pope Bookshop and Press. It appears that their specialty are "new and used books on the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War." Admittedly, this is one facet of the war that I know very little about. One offering however, immediately caught my eye and that was their reprint of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry's official regimental history. The Story of a Cavalry Regiment: The Career of the Fourth Iowa Veteran Volunteers From Kansas to Georgia was written by William Forse Scott, the regiment's final adjutant. It was originally published by G. P. Putnam's in 1893 and is now a scarce book, what with prices for the first edition in the $400 to $600 range. It is also considered "the best history of a Hawkeye cavalry unit," according to Nevins, Robertson, and Wiley in their Civil War Books: A Critical Bibliography.

Camp Pope reprinted the book in 1992, describing it as "one of the best regimental histories ever written." Of particular note was a ten-copy deluxe edition handbound in Nigerian goatskin and fine linen bookcloth by Jeff Sandlin of Valparaiso, Indiana [see pic]. I wrote to the press asking if they could fill me in a bit on the book's genesis and proprietor Clark Kenyon graciously responded thusly:

This edition was done back when I had the reprint done in 1992. I had met Jeff Sandlin at the Midwest CW Collectors' Show in Wheaton, Illinois, some time earlier and saw that he sold CW books in fine leather bindings. I decided, considering the excellence of Scott's book as a regimental history, to make something special out of my reprint. I sent Jeff 10 copies which he rebound with a numbered edition page that identified him as the bookbinder. These were all shrink-wrapped. I had to hand number the books, but I didn't want to take them out of the shrink-wrap until they were sold, so I put a small sticker on each and numbered that. When someone ordered a book, I took off the shrink-wrap and wrote the number from the sticker on the numbered edition page. I left the choice of materials up to Jeff, with the specification that I wanted the edition to resemble the first edition, which was also 3/4 leather, each copy signed by the author and General Edward F. Winslow, who had been the commander of the 4th Iowa Cavalry. After nearly 16 years there are still two copies left, numbers 3 and 10.

The deluxe edition is priced at $150 and the regular reprint at $40. If you'd just like to read about the 4th Iowa, then a historical sketch of the regiment can be found here. The book itself is available online here via Google Print.

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