First Appalachian Mountain Club Guide to the White Mountains, in superlative condition

GUIDE TO THE PATHS AND CAMPS IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS / PART I. Boston: Department of Improvements of the Appalachian Mountain Club, 1907.
5 ½”h x 3 5/8”w. ix,blank,206,[16 “Memoranda”]. Map in text plus two blueprint maps folded in pocket. Old (original?) pencil inserted in slot on back flap. Green pebbled cloth with title and AMC logo stamped in gilt on front cover. Slip of paper with bibliographic note laid in.
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A superlative copy of the first Appalachian Mountain Club guide to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

The Guide is broken down into 11 geographical sections, beginning with “Mt. Washington” and ending with “Jackson and Vicinity.” The text provides detailed information for hiking each section’s various trails, often leavened by historical notes, descriptions of viewpoints &c. Neither Franconia Notch nor the Moosilauke region are included, though the intention was to address them in a Part II, which was never published. The Guide includes two maps, folded and placed in a pocket inside the front cover: Louis Cutter’s “Map of Northern Slopes of Madison Adams and Jefferson” and Robert Blakeslee’s “Contour Map of the Southern Peaks and Vicinity.”

The Introduction explains the rationale of the Appalachian Mountain Club for issuing the Guide:

“The need of a comprehensive guide book of the White Mountains, to replace Sweetser’s [aka Chisholm’s White Mountain Guide Book], now out of print, has long been felt by the camping public and to meet this demand Part I, the present Guide, appears, covering the section of the mountains in which the need seems to be the greatest, it being the only large territory not covered by local guide books.

 

“Constant changes are occurring in the trails owing to depredations of the lumberman and forest fire, and the modest form in which the Guide Book is issued readily allows frequent revisions tending to keep the work up to date, as well as the addition of new trails as they may be created.” (p. 1)

The Guide was available for $1 to the general public and 80 cents to members. It was issued in a print run of just 600, which no doubt explains the scarcity of this first edition today, given that copies were no doubt subject to hard use in the mountains. As mentioned at the beginning, our copy is in superlative condition, complete with both maps and what may be the original pencil! The cloth binding has just a hint of scuffing and bumping, but the contents are tight, and the maps are clean, crisp and without a fault worth mentioning.

The White Mountain Guide proved useful, and a second, expanded edition appeared in 1916. Indeed, it has become a smashing success, with a 29th edition appearing in 2012 (I recently purchased this, probably the fourth edition I have owned.) Modern editions of the Guide are much larger than the first, and the maps are made of waterproof Tyvek, but the content and format remain true to the original.

References
Bent, Bibliography of the White Mountains, p. 10. OCLC identifies 10 institutional holdings of this first edition (February 2017).

Condition

Excellent, with just a hint of scuffing.