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Alexandra Fechin

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  • Alexandra Fechin

    Hi Everyone,

    This photo is a slightly different angle of Forrest’s main bookshelves. I never looked at the books on the very top shelf – maybe that was a mistake on my part, but it would have required something to stand on to reach them easily and I always figured (much like the San Lazaro lab) that Forrest would have the really interesting books within reach. So I ignored the top shelf. The next shelf down, starts with his Evetts Haley collection on the left and then transitions into general western books, some of those Forrest talked about in the book interview he did with Dal and others he did blog posts on.
    Have you noticed the yellow dots under some of the books? Kelly documented Forrest’s more important books (ones he thought of as part of his permanent collection) and those ended up being marked with little round stickers. When I asked him to explain the dots, I was holding a couple of books that I had just bought (and happened to have been in spots that had a dot) and he looked down at the books in my hands and said, “I guess that system doesn’t work now.”

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    The next row down is all fore edge painted books. I thought about buying one of these – mostly because they were of such interest to Forrest but ended up not doing that. Pricing them is complicated because you are buying a painting in addition to a book. So there are a lot of components to the value: rarity of the book, its condition, who did the painting, quality of the painting, etc.. Forrest knew what he paid for each of the books but that didn’t necessarily reflect its current value. And Forrest explained that people are starting to counterfeit these books – they buy an old book and then add the painting themselves. I thought that was interesting!

    If you follow that shelf along, you come to this book that I want to talk about (circled in orange).

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    The title says, “March of the Past.” And it is pretty beat up. The above picture shows how sun-faded the spine has become (it should be royal blue and has water damage no less) and the cover (below) has a faint cat paw print on it and several tears.

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    We had been going through some of Forrest’s Fechin books when he said, “Let me show you something.” My ears always perked up when he used that particular phrase. He reached over and pulled the book I show above from the shelf.
    “This is Alexandra’s personal copy that she gave to me … I used to call her Tinka.”
    I always thought of Forrest’s book collection as having three themes. A large section of classic, famous Western books – I didn’t buy many of these as there are lots of sources where they can be purchased. The books he wrote and had specially bound – he was clearly proud of these books and I have a few of them - the covers and items that Forrest tucked into them made them special. And, lastly, there were books that had been given to Forrest by his friends. THESE were the books that fascinated me.

    Here is the inside cover of March of the Past. It is an interesting mix of time. The newspaper clipping is old and pasted in soon after he got the book. But the tiny book plate is something that he started to use only in later years.
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    And here is Alexandra’s signature.
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    I always read the books I got from Forrest appreciating that it was the same copy that he had also held, and I would send him quotes from the book. This is one of the quotes I sent him from March of the Past:
    "How strange is life! Thunder and lightning - brief moments of sunshine through torn clouds and then the rainbow arches over the misty plains. Hence, the long chain of monotonous days becomes vivified by the echoes of thunders and sweetened by the pastoral melody. In the midst of it all birds pursue flies, cats stalk birds, dogs chase cats, man hunting them all ..."

    When I left that day, Forrest pointed at March of the Past and said, “You are leaving with a piece of my soul.” Beat-up, with water damage and an old newspaper clipping glued into it, a purist book collector probably wouldn’t even look at, but it is possibly the most meaningful copy of the book out there.

    Russ

  • #2
    Thanks again for telling us the interaction you had with Forrest and the pictures. He obviously knew the book would be in good hands or should I say “good soul”

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    • #3
      Very cool!
      Thanks!!

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      • #4
        RussDana
        Hi Russ,
        Thank you for sharing another “time with Forrest” story! Sounds like you will be holding on to that book that meant so much to Forrest. Do you happen to know what the meaning of the blue dots on the shelves near the yellow dots? There was also a blue dot on the back of the frame of Gaspard Memories by Eric Sloane. Do you think the blue dots on the book shelves and on back of that wood frame could be related or have the same meaning? Andy
        Note: Saber tooth tiger skull on top book shelf on first photo…

        Last edited by Andy Mootmann; 02-13-2021, 07:57 PM.
        Don’t whine because the Chase is over, but smile because it happened.

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        • #5
          Great story. Thanks!!! Russ

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          • #6
            JHSharp
            Hi Sharp,
            JHS Patrons blue binder, top book shelf, first photo of Russ's post!!
            Note: Next shelve down, binder belonging to Marvin Fenn!

            Don’t whine because the Chase is over, but smile because it happened.

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            • #7
              Thanks for the story Russ! The Virginian stands out for me.

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              • #8
                Think Fenn "forged" many signatures?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Andy Mootmann View Post
                  JHSharp
                  Hi Sharp,
                  JHS Patrons blue binder, top book shelf, first photo of Russ's post!!
                  Note: Next shelve down, binder belonging to Marvin Fenn!
                  Andy, thanks. Any idea what “JHS PATRONS” means? I can’t tell if that’s written or printed on the binding.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JHSharp View Post
                    Andy, thanks. Any idea what “JHS PATRONS” means? I can’t tell if that’s written or printed on the binding.
                    JHS Patrons could be the customers of artist Joseph Henry Sharp! I would guess hand written or typed out on typing paper. List compiled before personal computers.
                    JHS Patrons could also be the customers of Forrest Fenn who purchased copies of Sharp etchings from him, in the 1980s, before wide use of personal computers.
                    Don’t whine because the Chase is over, but smile because it happened.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Andy Mootmann View Post

                      JHS Patrons could be the customers of artist Joseph Henry Sharp! I would guess hand written or typed out on typing paper. List compiled before personal computers.
                      JHS Patrons could also be the customers of Forrest Fenn who purchased copies of Sharp etchings from him, in the 1980s, before wide use of personal computers.
                      Makes sense! Thanks. That was kind of my first hunch but there is a lot of Fenny/Artsy lexicon I don’t take for granite, like “couse” and “heraldry.”

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                      • #12
                        RussDana Great job. Fenn had a ton of books. Some great, some grand, others fascinating. You show exceptional skills of bootlicking.

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                        • #13
                          Wow!!

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                          • #14
                            I really have to thank Forrest Fenn and Doug Preston. I never read much and because of the chase, I’ve read 30 books or so. Started my own library as well.

                            I left out Lincoln Child, sorry Lincoln your in my #1 category as well. I just ordered “Deep Storm” to add to my collection.
                            Last edited by 1&Only1Trailblazer; 02-14-2021, 04:12 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Nice to hear from you and Forrest again.

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