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Sale 38 Lot 473

KLONDIKE KATE(d. 1957) Kathleen Rockwell, Yukon Gold Rush stage entertainer whose "flame dance" thrilled miners, later married Alexander Pantages with whom she opened a string of theaters. An excessively rare and undisputedly unique group of material by Klondike, written in two personal signed journals whose content spans from 1919-late 1940s, and which includes multiple pages of fine content typescript and holograph poetry, never before brought to light. The journals were preserved by Klondike's great-granddaughter, who had them since her youth. Several pieces are signed "Aunt Kate", with signatures "Kate Rockwell Matson" found elsewhere throughout the pages. The journals measure 6" x 8 1/2", and together contain over 40 pages of poetry and ruminations, most with extraordinary content that gives an intimate glimpse into the life of her solitary, perhaps lonely, personal life. The first journal is titled in her hand: "Idle Thoughts of an Idle Brain". On the interior cover Klondike has written: "My favorite thought. I heard this first from Paul Carsons Bridge to Dreamland from K.G.O. San Francisco 1934, 'God gave the children Memory, that there might be June roses in December' Gene Campbell Mc Miller". On the opposite first free endpaper, she signs KATE ROCKWELL 1920. The interior pages of this journal contain numerous entries and poems, all in holograph pen and pencil, many of which are melancholy and evocative of Klondike's reclusive nature, in very small part: "My Desert...There is something about the desert that reaches into one's heart and heals the wounds left there by life's Surgeon. Something that sooths [sic] the aches and burns and leaves all beautifull [sic]. I have had sat beside my homestead cabin and looked away across the sage to the distant hills and felt its peace and purity. I seems to cleanse one's very soul. No one could have been more 'world weary' than I was. Faith was dead, or so I thought, and then - I found My Desert and rest - and so I pray than [sic] when my time comes to follow the long trail. Take me back to My Desert & let me rest again...". In another entry, she writes "Love, a mirage, it leads you toward exquisite, happy things, but when you reach them you find they are not there...". Following this are poem, the first entitled "Gypsy Blood" which read, in part: "...The lure of the wanderlust finds me asleep in my office chair, and I dream of a sagebrush campfire and the sentinel juniper there. Dim hills, the rock rimmed canyon, The river's soft Lullaby and the stars keeping watch above us. Just a good old pal and I. And the trails we followed that summer, don't you remember 'Old Scout' The taste of bacon and eggs...The whole of that long summer ride. Do you remember the bumps down near crescent when everything hurt, but your pride...". Next is a "My Lullaby", in part: "...When dying sunset lingers & little fairy fingers Touch up the sky with faintest of golden hue While elves their revels keeping My little one is sleeping And mother dear is watching over you...". There are further poems entitled Kismet, Ochoco Valley (dated 1919), Desert Lands (1932), The Urgan [?] Hour (1932), which reads, again in very small part: "...I sit alone by the fireside & wait for the hour to draw near that will bring once again to me the music I long to hear Once again with you. I wander over your Bridge of Dreams old friends, old memories recurring again in the firelight gleams...". Other entries are earlier, dated 1904, for example, with some being signed "Aunt Kate". In "Waiting", she writes "Lonesome for you, Night and Day, since you went away Listening, Watching; Long hours thru Waiting for one word from you Watching near the same old trail...". On the next page, it continues: "But I wouldn't hide my position For all that you grow to be the smile of a child & the hand of a friend...And the world looks on & wonders why I travel the path that I do of deep in my heart is the secret it is only because of you...". There are several pages of starts to poems, as well as loose pages of further holograph and typed poems (one signed "Aunt Kate" adding "Kate Rockwell Matson", letters, newspaper clippings and so forth. The second journal is titled Idle Thoughts of an Idle Brain as well, and is signed in like manner on the inside cover. It predominantly contains typescript versions of the handwritten poems in the other journal, in sequential order, as well as numerous additional typed poems. There are poems in holograph, too, one of which contains fine prospecting content, in part: "...To all Sourdoughs in my beloved northlane, especially those in the Pioneer home in Sitka. Let us travel together again down the years to Memory Lane to the trail of 98. Thru the years to the present and we will stake our claims on Contentment Hill, and the gold we pan is Friendship. My love you have always & so from my heart I say mush on Sourdough smile. Aunt Kate". There are typed poems in addition to the copies of those in the other journal, including ones with the such titles as "The One Old Tea-Kettle," "That Gay Young Lover DEATH", and "Friends of the Gold Rush Days", which reads, in part: "...I wish I were with you tonight, to talk of the days that are gone....I wish I were there by your side to join in an old fashioned song...But, I can't...So I send you Memories of trails 'neath the far Northern light...And, I send you the love of a Sourdough and the wish for all good thoughts - Tonight!...".Both journals are in fair condition, with some splitting to the spine, loose leaves, marginal wear and so forth. In the second journal, the typescript poems are largely taped-in, and therefore toned and worn thereon. This is a superb grouping and worthy of much further research. Material by Klondike Kate is rare in any format and, with the intimate nature of these writings, certainly near impossible to acquire.
Estimate $ 2,000-3,000

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