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  • The Marvin Fenn Books

    Hi Everyone,

    I have a little bit of an introduction to explain the Marvin Fenn books, hopefully that is okay.

    When I was in the seventh grade, my mom walked into my room, threw something small on the end of my bed, and left saying "I thought you might like these." I was always suspicious of that phrase as a kid because usually it involved a scoop of creamed spinach or liver and onions being dumped on my plate at dinner. On the end of my bed were two small paperback books that looked like the sort of things adults read. I picked them up: The Guns of Dorking Hollow by Max Brand and The Daybreakers by Louis L'Amour. I flipped through them - hmmm, no pictures. Then I read the back cover blurb - gunfighters and outlaws - maybe these wouldn't be so bad. They might have well as been meth for the addiction to reading that they created. That was a long time ago, but I will still pull out one of Louis L'Amour's books when I want the nostalgia of a couple of simple hours having the good guys beat up the bad guys.

    Then my mother died way too young of cancer and I remember the first Christmas my dad had to shop for us kids (this had always been mom's job). I can just imagine my dad trying to figure out what in the world to buy his teenage son. He was never much of a reader. I never saw him read a novel, only books that were instructional: fly tying, how to reload bullets, wood working, etc. But, on Christmas morning, I opened a gift from him that contained Louis L'Amour's book Frontier - a large book with pictures of the western landscape and comments by L'Amour. For a long time those two Louis L'Amour gifts book-ended important parts of my life. I was about to add a third to that collection.

    I had noticed that Forrest also had a copy of Frontier on his shelves. One day I picked it up to see what was inside of it - hardly daring to hope that it might be inscribed. And it was! See the book on the left in this picture.
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    So I told Forrest the story I shared above and he said, "Let me show you my father's books." Forrest had three books that belonged to his father. First, he handed me two hand written journals by Marvin: one hand MARVIN handwritten on the spine and the other had YELLOWSTONE handwritten on the spine. What Marvin had done was to write a day (say July 1st) with no year at the top of the page and then at the front of every line was a year such that someone could read down the page and see what Marvin had been doing on that day (i.e., July 1st) across a decade or more. Forrest said, "Have you ever seen anyone else do that?" I spent the most time with the YELLOWSTONE book and it contained a lot of fishing entries. I suppose one could call them "day books" since their theme was what happened on a single day across many years - I think Forrest said that the treasure chest might have held a Book of Days?

    Then Forrest handed me the third of his father's books (the book you see on the right hand side of the picture above) and said, "I want you to have this." It was Marvin's copy of Indian Artifacts by Virgil Russell. You can see that Marvin used an ink stamp to put his name on the dust jacket twice. The dust jacket is well worn from use - the bottom edge has several large chunks missing. I have put the dust jacket in a Mylar protective sleeve because it is so fragile. The white you can see between the dust jacket and the actual cover is part of the protective sleeve.

    Here Marvin also stamped the fore-edge of the book.
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    And here he stamped the back dust jacket.
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    There are two more stamps inside the book as well. Marvin REALLY wanted to make sure that he didn't lose this book. I can't even imagine how many times he must have used it to look up arrowheads that he and Forrest found.

    Recently, I read this article that mentions Forrest's mother giving him a copy of Indian Artifacts.
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    Forrest always called it "my father's book," but I now wonder if maybe it was the book that his mother gave him and somehow it ended up with his father's ink stamp on it. I found that article too recently to have asked him.

    Someday, when I find the right person to give Forrest's copy of Ice Age Americans, I imagine that I will give them this copy as well. I can't imagine separating Forrest and Marvin's books.

    Russ

  • #2
    Russ,

    Very nice books and an amazing gift from Forrest. Something to treasure forever.

    Does that mean if there ends up existing a Forrest Fenn Museum, you would donate these books to the museum? That would be a wonderful gift. But, also, I wonder if one could get more reprints of these books for collectors? Or, at least copy all the pages and print more out.

    Last edited by Walking Among Lions; 10-20-2020, 12:54 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Walking Among Lions View Post
      Russ,

      Very nice books and an amazing gift from Forrest. Something to treasure forever.

      Does that mean if there ends up existing a Forrest Fenn Museum, you would donate these books to the museum? That would be a wonderful gift. But, also, I wonder if one could get more reprints of these books for collectors? Or, at least copy all the pages and print more out.
      Hi,
      Yes, I would be very happy to have a place like that as a home for these books. And if one of the existing museums in Santa Fe ever chose to have an exhibit on Forrest, I would donate them to that as well. I would never sell the books - that would feel wrong - so I am looking for a meaningful way to donate them someday.

      On your second question, are you looking for more pages from Indian Artifacts? You can purchase that book for not too much from on-line sellers - I think they run between $10 and $30 depending on condition. I have a second copy that has a poem in it written by Stella Virgil - I was going to give it to Forrest as a gift - and even that copy was only $30. In Marvin's book, he did not markup any of the pages (I was sort of hoping that he had - like Forrest had done with the Wormington books) so there weren't any obvious pages to post from the actual inside of the book.

      Russ

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      • #4
        Russ your stories are the best! I appreciate that you’ve held onto them to share after Forrest’s passing. It’s nice to still
        have so much to learn about him!

        You sound like you have a wonderful father.

        Thanks again for sharing. I’d love to see your book someday and the arrow head collection that you should have bought but didn’t.

        C

        Comment


        • #5
          Another great submission, Russ. Thanks for writing it up. By the way, it's nice to learn that the issue of "Prehistoric American" I sold on Ebay last May went to a deserving home. I kinda wondered who in Santa Fe bought it. I'd have liked to have kept it, but these times being what they are, you know.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by XFiles View Post
            Another great submission, Russ. Thanks for writing it up. By the way, it's nice to learn that the issue of "Prehistoric American" I sold on Ebay last May went to a deserving home. I kinda wondered who in Santa Fe bought it. I'd have liked to have kept it, but these times being what they are, you know.
            Yes - that was me. I have my shelf organized so that Marvin's book is in between Forrest's Ice Age Americans and your copy of "Prehistoric American" so it is in very good company.
            Russ

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            • #7
              Russ, you spent quite a lot of time with Forrest in his final year of life. There's been much chatter on the Web that Forrest might have ended the Chase himself due to any combination of his declining health, the pandemic, family pressure, etc. Looking back now, did you ever sense from Forrest that he was weary of this treasure hunt he started and that he was ready for it end? Feel free not to comment, of course. Now knowing all the things you were able to purchase and be gifted from Forrest, it seems he was "ready to let go"...?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Copper View Post
                Russ your stories are the best! I appreciate that you’ve held onto them to share after Forrest’s passing. It’s nice to still
                have so much to learn about him!

                You sound like you have a wonderful father.

                Thanks again for sharing. I’d love to see your book someday and the arrow head collection that you should have bought but didn’t.

                C
                Thanks Copper, yes, I owe a lot to my father. I'll PM you - if you are ever in Santa Fe, I'd be happy to get together.
                Russ

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                • #9
                  Thank you RussDana for sharing these stories, they're delightful to read and I'm really enjoying them - they give a peek into who Forrest was beyond TTOTC and his other books, scrapbooks, etc.; the more who he was as a person side of him, told by someone other than him.
                  To be right for someone, you have to be willing to be wrong for someone else.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by XFiles View Post
                    Russ, you spent quite a lot of time with Forrest in his final year of life. There's been much chatter on the Web that Forrest might have ended the Chase himself due to any combination of his declining health, the pandemic, family pressure, etc. Looking back now, did you ever sense from Forrest that he was weary of this treasure hunt he started and that he was ready for it end? Feel free not to comment, of course. Now knowing all the things you were able to purchase and be gifted from Forrest, it seems he was "ready to let go"...?
                    I have been thinking about that. It will require a long response on my part. Let me mull it over and I'll do a post in a few days. I can say that I saw a change in Forrest's willingness to let go of his collection - his exact words to me were "you are lucky, a couple of years ago, I wouldn't have sold any of this stuff." But I'll need some time to correctly say what I think about that in relation to the Chase.
                    Russ

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RahRah View Post
                      Thank you RussDana for sharing these stories, they're delightful to read and I'm really enjoying them - they give a peek into who Forrest was beyond TTOTC and his other books, scrapbooks, etc.; the more who he was as a person side of him, told by someone other than him.
                      Thank you - I am having fun doing them and I appreciate that people are taking the time to read them.
                      Russ

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                      • #12
                        Russ -- your posts and photos are terrific -- they are ghost-written Scrapbooks in their own right. Thank you for sharing them!

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