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Daniel Boone tells his story

FILSON, JOHN. (English) The Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucke: and An Essay towards the Topography and Natural History of that important Country: to which is added … The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon, one of the first settlers …

Wilmington: Adams, 1784

Modern calf. Without map as always; H3,4 with long closed tears into text. An excellent untrimmed copy.

FIRST EDITION. A classic of the early American frontier, this is the first book on Kentucky and the first published biography of Daniel Boone, dictated by the legendary frontiersman himself.

“Boone’s international fame was secured with the publication of ‘The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon’ in John Filson’s Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucke in 1784 and its subsequent translation and reprinting in France and Germany the next year” (ANB). While Filson has clearly improved Boone’s spelling and diction, this narrative provides an exciting firsthand view of the exploration and settlement of the old frontier. Boone’s riveting tale concludes, “I can now say that I have verified the saying of old Indian who signed Col. Henderson’s deed. Taking me by the hand, at the delivery thereof, Brother, says he, we have given you a fine land, but I believe you will have much trouble in settling it—My footsteps have often been marked with blood. …”

Boone’s significance to American history and culture is hard to overestimate, for in a very real sense it is impossible to discuss the frontier without discussing Boone.  Historically and imaginatively, perhaps no single individual is more central to the frontier experience. … [Boone is] the prototype of the frontier hero” (ANB).

This is a rare untrimmed copy of a classic of the American frontier. The map called for on the title-page was printed separately in Philadelphia by Tenoor Rook and is virtually never found with the text (none since the Hoe copy, last sold in 1921).

Provenance: the Siebert copy, Sotheby’s, New York, 21 May 1999, lot 297.

$48,000