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Che! Wah! Wah!
1883. First Edition . (WEST) STREET, George. Che! Wah! Wah! or The Modern Montezumas in Mexico. Illustrated with photographs taken during the trip by R.D. Cleveland. Rochester, N.Y.: E.R. Andrews, 1883. Octavo, original gilt- and black-stamped orange cloth, watered silk endpapers. $3800.Scarce first edition of a photographic record of an 1882 excursion of railway agents from Chicago across the West into Mexico—one of the rare 19th-century works to include a photograph of Texas—a splendid chronicle of the allure and economic might of the railroad, with folding map of the route, color frontispiece, 32 mounted vintage albumen prints and two full-page illustrations, in original bright gilt cloth.This scarce first edition of Che!Wah!Wah! is one of the rare 19th-century works to feature vintage photographs of Texas and Mexico. One of the period's most unique travel books, it chronicles the journey of over 50 railroad agents who traveled, in late 1882, from Chicago to Mexico on several railroad lines, including the Mexican Central railroad, to Chihuahua. The trip came about at a meeting of line managers of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, the Denver & Rio Grande, and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroads, when agents representing eastern railroads were invited ""on an excursion to Colorado, New Mexico and Mexico… The magnitude of the proposed trip astonished everyone"" (8-9). Che! Wah! Wah!, authored by George Street of Rochester's Blue Line, and featuring 32 vintage mounted albumen prints from photographs by R.D. Cleveland, of the Burlington line, is an exceptional photographic record of that trip—one that was also ""a busman's holiday… The party derived a good deal of innocent amusement from the Che! Wah! Wah! joke"" (Hanna & Reese, From Train to Plane 43). Che! Wah! Wah! reveals the passion of the age, which embraced railroads ""as the epitome of modernity."" In a time of rapid economic growth, railroad lines also ""actively promoted western railroad journeys as modern journeys into the sublime… The 1879 edition of The Pacific Tourist made the transcontinental trip seem both an inspirational immersion in nature and a journey utterly devoid of physical effort."" Che! Wah! Wah! documents, as well, the railroad's looming and powerful impact. The 32 vintage mounted albumen prints in Che!Wah!Wah! offer a rare glimpse into that ""innovation,"" as well as the lives of people in towns across the West and Mexico. Included are images of a train's dining car; depots in Nebraska and Colorado; Denver's majestic Windsor hotel and Colorado's Marshall Pass; a bridge ""In the Grand Canon of the Arkansas""; the Colorado towns of Leadville and Trinidad, of Raton, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas; Indian children in Isleta, New Mexico, and views of Chihuahua's magnificent cathedral, its busy plazas and markets. Also included are images of the luxurious hotel, known as ""The Montezuma,"" near the Hot Springs of Las Vegas, New Mexico. With folding map of the train route, color frontispiece of a woodblock print, two full-page illustrations, 32 mounted vintage albumen prints (each approximately 3-1/2 by 5 inches) and numerous in-text illustrations; ""Mileage Minutes of the Trip"" at rear. Interior fresh with lightest scattered foxing, mild fading to vintage mounted prints, front inner paper hinge expertly reinforced, light edge-wear to bright gilt-stamped cloth.
      [Bookseller: Bauman Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2017-04-03           Check availability:      Biblio    


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