Skip to content

About the Dragon Banner Image:

Chen Rong (陳容, with the artist name Suoweng 所翁) lived from 1200 to 1266 during the Southern Song Dynasty. He was a famous Taoist painter, who could have lived in ease and celebrity as an Imperial Painter. Chen Rong was too wild to do so. He was most noted for his paintings of dragons, which he had personally seen perhaps while drunk.

Theodore fell in love with the Nine Dragons Scroll at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston before he was five. Over many years he visited it often. You can see the whole wonderful scroll here by using the scroll bar at the bottom.

After doing so, can you doubt that Chen Rong had really seen these wonderful, good-hearted animal which embody the wildest, most elemental powers of nature?

Wagner, Camp, Becker Bibliography

I will now post some of the hundreds of books I own listed in this important bibliography.  In order to postpone listing my most valuable books I will start with 1850.

Wagner, Henry R[aup] (1862/9/27 – 1957/3/28) Charles L[ewis] Camp (1893/3/12 – 1975/8/14); Robert H. Becker (unknown dates); HENRY R. WAGNER & CHARLES L CAMP | The Plains | & | the Rockies: | A CRITICAL BIBLIOGRAPHY OF EXPLORATION, | ADVENTURE AND TRAVEL IN THE AMERICAN WEST | 1800-1865. | FOURTH EDITION | Revised, Enlarged and Edited by | ROBERT H. BECKER | San Francisco | JOHN HOWELL-BOOKS | 1982, ISBN: 0-910760-11-1, xx, 745 pp. , octavo, 26 x 17 cm., 33 illustrations, colophon.


Printed at the Arion Press with two color title page. This revision of the premier reference book of Western Americana gives thorough bibliographic treatment of each known issue and edition of each title, with line-by-line transcriptions of every title page and every map, full collations, references and confirmed locations of copies, together with brief editorial comments, and an index of authors, titles and subjects. (Since this bibliography notes all blank pages, I will not do so.)

(Additional new copies in original maroon cloth for sale at $150.00)

Imago Mundi

Imago Mundi, Journal of History of Cartography; Volume I (1935) to Volume 57, Part 2 (2005). All original editions except Volume XIII which is the 1965 reprint. All very good to fine.


Vol. I (1935, Berlin); Vol. II (1937, London); Vol. III (1939, London); Vol IV.(1947) through XIII (1957), Stockholm); Volume XIV and XV Mouton & Co., ‘S-Gravenhage; Volume I to Volume XV edited by Leo Bagrow. Volume XVI (1962) to XXVI (1972) Nico Israel, Amsterdam; Volume XXVII (1975) to XXXV Lympne Castle; XXXVI (1984) to LVII, Part 2 (2005) London. Volumes I to XXVI cream stiff printed paper wrappers. Volume XXVII to Blue paper covered boards with gilt lettering and decorations, Volumes to LVII, part 2 blue printed stiff paper wrappers. Most issues well over 150 pages heavily illustrated often with folding maps and illustrations, all 29 x 20.5 cm.

This is the premier publication on the history of cartography with important articles and other information in each issue. Complete runs of any length are extremely rare. $5,000.




Some Journals for Sale

The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society / Oregon Historical Quarterly; Almost complete run from Volume I, Number 1, 1900 to present. Lacking only Volume III, Number 1 and Volume VII, Numbers 2 and 3. All in very good or better condition. None bound, each issue in its original wrappers. Vol I, 1 to XLVIII,3 24 x 15.5 cm.; Vol XLVIII, 4 to CII, 4 23 x 14.5 cm.; Vol. CIII, 1 to present 25.5 x 17 cm.; Vol. I, 1 to LXI, 4 and LXV, 1 to LXVI, 4 cream to tan printed stiff paper wrappers; Vol. LXII, 1 to LXIV, 4 red printed stiff paper wrappers; Vol. LXVII,1 to LXXXVII,4 and XC, 2/3 to present varicolored pictorial slick printed wrappers; Vol. LXXXVIII, 1 to XCIV, 1 Gray and white slick printed wrappers.


Contains numerous valuable illustrated articles on Oregon and neighboring regional history, biography, culture, politics, etc. $5,750.



Transactions of the Oregon Pioneer Association: Complete run except for the very last issue, 1928. Volumes 1875 through Volume 1909 in four volumes: 1875-1886 (both covers detached but binding sound), 1887-1893 (fine), 1894-1902 (not uniformly trimmed and top of spine damaged), 1903-1909 (not uniformly trimmed and scuffed), 1910-1911, 1912-1927 in original wrappers or individually neatly bound except for 1924 water damaged in original wrapper. The final (thin) 1928 volume not present. $2,800.


Selling books.

I have collected books since I was a teenager and more seriously since 1961.  I now own over 7,000 rare, scholarly and more common books on subjects that interest me.  In 1975 I created T. W. Palmer Books thinking I would need to begin selling some.  I did not need to do so then.  In 1999 I made the company into a limited partnership with my wife and I owning 1% each as General Partners and our three children owning the rest in equal shares as Limited Partners.

Today I will begin preparations to sell my collection by posting a few items on my next blog.  Most books concern the scientific exploration of the American West.  I also have many on western American railroads, botany, historical cartography, fine printing (particularly Grabhorn Press and Book Club of California) and Chinese Art, Archaeology  and History.

Theodore W. Palmer
Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
University of Oregon
(Proprietor of T. W. Palmer Books
259 West 23rd Avenue
Eugene, OR 97405-2855
(541) 343 6536)


Geology of the Happy Jack and Four Aces Mines

Let me explain the very interesting geology of both the Four Aces claim and Happy Jack Mine mentioned in my last blog post.  They are both on the southwest side of White Canyon in Southeast Utah. In 1955 Utah Highway 95 was an unimproved track through the desert sand of White Canyon leading north west down to Hite on the Colorado River.  Although it was unsuitable for an ordinary two wheel vehicle, it was shown on road maps as an ordinary highway without any warning.

The floor of White Canyon is the Cedar Mesa white aeolian (wind blown) sandstone of Permian Age, about 270 million years ago. It creates an approximately two mile wide almost horizontal platform with a narrow canyon eroded deep into this floor. The Moenkoepi Formation is widespread throughout the southwest USA. It is a red, brown to purple (particularly in White Canyon) 200 to 350 foot thick very fine grained sandstone which erodes into nearly vertical cliffs rising at the edges of this flat white platform in White Canyon. It was deposited in the early Triassic under a shallow sea some distance from shore ending about 240 million years ago. At that time the sea withdrew and the surface of the formation was dry land but almost level. Meandering streams, and tropical swamps developed with a heavy cover of trees. After a geologically brief time the sea returned and Chinle Shale began to be deposited far off shore reaching a depth of up to 1000 feet in our area.

As the sea began to return at the beginning of Chinle time, the existing shallow, meandering river channels filled in with coarse gravel, small rocks and lots of wood. This forms the discontinuous gray Shinarump Conglomerate Formation. At the top of the Moenkopi cliffs these filled stream beds appear as gray lens shaped outcrops about 50 to 90 feet deep and 100 to 250 feet wide.  The very thick soft Chinle shale above erodes into a not very steep slope gaining depth from its lower edge at the Moenkopi-Shinarump cliff top up to the bottom of the much taller bright red vertical cliffs of aeolean Wingate Sandstone.


Theodore learning to operate a cat in the evening, July, 1955. The cliff is Wingate Sandstone and it is named Copper Point because of the late 19th Century Four Aces copper mine just below it. The soft formation sloping up from the cat’s parking place to the Wingate is Chinle shale. It is the shale of the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest National Parks. Note the cat-built, switch back road up to the base of the Wingate.



At some point millions of years later when the previously named formations were buried under thousands of feet of over-burden, mineralized water was injected into the area. The very fine grained Moenkopi sandstone and Chinle shale were impervious, but the coarse grained Shinarump conglomerate was a good conduit for this water. There is controversy, but I think this probably happened when the volcanic Henry Mountains were erupted about 23 to 32 million years ago. (The geology of these mountain was intensively studied by John Wesley Powell and Grove Karl Gilbert who named the mountains after Joseph Henry of the Smithsonian and coined the term “laccolithic” to describe their formation. I have original copies of essentially all the early publications by these pioneer western American geologists who were at the forefront of worldwide geology in the late 19th Century.)


The substantial wood debris in the Shinarump adsorbed both copper and uranium, the two main minerals in the water. It is easy to spot the Shinarump as gray lens shaped outcrops cut into the top of the vertical Moenkoepi cliffs under the gradually sloping Chinle shale. Any prospector would find such outcrops interesting. Copper ore is also easy to see because it is brightly colored blue or green. Thus in the 1890s, prospectors identified most of the Shinarump outcrops as rich copper mines. Several were worked for a year or two yielding rich ore.  However, the expense of getting the ore to smelters (via mule train to the Colorado River, one way raft to another mule train down river)  destroyed any hope of profit, so none of the mines lasted long. Most of these mines had become a patented claim and thus remained legal properties forever. The Happy Jack Mine and the Four Aces Mine (about seven miles further along White Canyon) were two of the copper mines which had substantial mine tunnels into the Shinarump. I believe both were worked mainly in 1893. The yellow uranium ore is also easily recognized, but before the 1940s the main use of uranium was to color glass purple, and a tiny amount supplied this small industry.  It was considered an annoying nuisance.



This picture is NOT near White Canyon but it shows the formations which are seen throughout the southwest including White Canyon. The Navajo sandstone at the top of this picture is all eroded away at Copper Point, but the very top of the point is Kayenta sandstone , while the main cliff is Wingate sandstone. The Chinle shale formation is much thicker at White Canyon. Except for being colored purple near Copper Point, the Moenkopi looks just the same.



Fletcher Bronson, his son Grant and Grant’s friend Joe Cooper lived in Blanding. They were the town barber and ran the garage. After World War II they bought the Happy Jack mine claim and re-opened the tunnel, mostly for fun and adventure but with hopes of eventual profit. They mined and trucked a train-car-load of bright colored high-grade copper ore and shipped it to a mill. The mill rejected it because it was so radioactive. After other misadventures, they began to ship high-grade uranium ore and rake in money. By the time I met them in 1955 they were multimillionaires but still worked the mine themselves for fun. (I already mentioned one of them and his generosity and helpfulness in the story about my first day at the Four Aces claim.)

Now the geological origin of the Happy Jack and Four Aces claims were identical and their 19th Century development was exactly parallel with similar very rich copper deposits. So our company geologist, my friend Richard V. Gaines, had every reason to assume that they would contain the same amount of uranium. Unfortunately it turned out that water had somehow gotten into our Four Aces Shinarump formation thousands (possibly millions) of years earlier. Uranium ore is more soluble than copper ore, so the uranium had been leached out leaving the copper largely behind.  Since Exploration Incorporated, for whom I was working, was looking for ten million dollar mines, and after spending a bit over $100,000 a month we had found only a few million dollars worth of uranium, it sold the lease.  Some other company mined out the Four Aces property so there was nothing left of what I remembered when I visited with my children years later.


[[I have corrected some silly mistakes about geology I made in a previous version of this post by trusting 60 year old memories.  I have also changed details about the post-war history of the Happy Jack Mine because I found a newspaper article from 2009.  However, it seems possible that my original memories on this subject were as reliable as those of the author.]]


A long Day at the Four Aces Claim, White Canyon, south east Utah

(I am republishing some former blog posts in a more logical order.)

In June 1955 I arrived by plane in Grand Junction, Colorado to work for Exploration Incorporated.  My good friend Richard V. Gaines was their chief geologist and had gotten me the job.  He drove me down to White Canyon and back so I would know the way.  We went west from Grand Junction on busy US 50 towards Green River staying south of the Book Cliffs.  In the middle of nowhere we turned south on US 191 through Moab, Monticello and Blanding.  Then again in the middle of nowhere we turned west on Utah 95 over dramatic Comb Ridge and angled north past Fry Canyon (the last settlement with a permanent population of perhaps 10) into White Canyon.  This highway was shown on highway maps with nothing to alert people to the fact that it was just two wheel tracks through sand and rock for most of its length completely impassable to any ordinary two wheel drive vehicle.  In White Canyon, Dick pointed out the Happy Jack Mine and told me that the people there would provide help if I needed it.

To get up to Four Aces Claim one left US 95 in the absolute middle of nowhere and drove along an almost invisible track towards the sheer purple Moenkopi sandstone cliff.  Finally you saw a narrow back-up switch back road up the Moenkopi and headed up with substantial doubt that it was possible to get to the top.  After a sharp turn at the top (which I later widened on my own with dynamite) one wandered around on an adequate recently constructed cat-built the gradually sloping, heavily eroded gaily-colored Chinle shale until arriving at the end of two tunnels driven into the Shinarump outcrop on top of the Moenkopi.

August, 1955.  Me in front of re-timbered 1893 Four Aces Tunnel.


View of Four Aces tunnel from about half a mile north. Note the mine tailings from 1893 below the tunnel. The light colored rock is Shinarump conglomerate, dark rock below is Moenkopi sandstone, eroded sloping stuff piled on top is Chinle shale.

1955 View of Four Aces tunnel.jpeg

Copper Point (Wingate aeolian sandstone), White Canyon, Utah.  Four Aces tunnel was straight in front towards the viewer on top of the lower dark cliffs of  Moenkopi sandstone.


 Dick drove me back to Grand Junction and the next day I started down alone to be the only one at the claim when a drilling crew arrived.  It was a long drive and dusk when I passed Happy Jack Mine.  I was afraid I might miss the minimal road in to the Four Aces Claim, so I bedded down beside the highway where it had been widened to allow a small plane to land.

I got up about 4:00 am and drove on finding the road to the mine without trouble and negotiating the difficult back-up switchback.  I unpacked and made some breakfast.  About 9:00 am I saw trucks pull into the road to the switchback 400 feet below and drove down.

It was quite a sight that met my eyes when I arrived.  Jerry [[I have forgotten his name but this will do]] was a very small 45 year old man in worn clothes leaning on a rifle against the front of his pickup truck with two pistols stuck into his belt one on each side.  Three guys (younger than me) were armed and trying to look as tough as possible and I think there was another guy perhaps in his late 30s not posing.  I introduced myself and ascertained they were the drillers I was waiting for.  I warned them about the difficulty of the switch back road and started to lead them up in my company jeep.  Their brand new compressor truck followed me driven by one of the kids.  Before we had gotten very far up it started to slide off the side of the road.  It seemed to me that it could be driven right back on but all of them said they did not think so and that it was worth $40,000 (that much was a LOT of money in the early 1950s) and that I needed to get something to pull it back on the road.

I immediately thought of the Happy Jack Mine about 7 miles up White Canyon.  I had noted a new bulldozer by the mine as I drove by.  My jeep was trapped up the narrow road from the compressor truck.  They wanted me to drive one of their trucks to get help, but I was not sure I would know its gear pattern and declined.  Eventually one of them drove me up to the Happy Jack Mine.  No one was above ground, but the lights and compressor were running so I knew someone must be underground.  I took a hard hat and battery operated headlamp off the rack and started into the mine, not knowing who might be there or what they might be doing.  Fortunately, before I had gone far, I saw someone rolling out an ore cart by hand towards me.  I made sure that he had seen me and turned towards the entrance.   When the 55 year old guy (I learned that he was one of the Tedesco brothers who owned the mine) came out, I introduced myself and said I was working at the Four Aces Claim and explained the difficulty I was in.  This guy, who had never seen me before but knew my company was working the Four Aces claim, said I could borrow his brand new D-8 cat, but that I had to get a low boy to move it down to the bottom of our cliff.  I asked how I could do that.  He said I should go across Utah 95 to the AEC buying station that had been established right next to the Happy Jack Mine to buy their rich output.  The people at the buying station had a radio and could call someone at Fry canyon who had a low boy.

I did as told.  At the buying station folks who had never seen or heard of me called up the guy at Fry canyon who was in the same condition.  I asked him if I could borrow his truck saying my company would pay for it.  Without question he said he would come right up.  In about an hour he appeared and I think the mine owner loaded his cat on the truck and we (the truck owner and I) headed down the road towards Four Aces followed by the drilling crew ruffians.

We arrived and the drillers announced that I was to pull their truck back on the road.  I had never operated a caterpillar tractor at that time, but was reluctant to say so.

An amazing deus ex machina arrived exactly at this point.  My older brother, Macdougall, was still working for Dick Gaines in Washington State, but when he learned I was coming out to Utah he got permission to drive down to see me.  He showed up.  After a more than usually friendly greeting I explained the situation and he skillfully pulled the air compressor truck onto the road.  We got all the drillers up to where they were to set up and loaded the cat back onto the low boy.  I think the truck owner must have taken the cat back to the Happy Jack Mine.  Macdougall left and I cooked some supper and went to bed at 3:00 am. I recall charging the company for a 23 hour day and they paid me.


Today (at last)

Burglars took our computers and with all the security changes necessary it has taken this long to get back on my site.  Thanks to the HappinessEngineers at WordPress.

I will write some new posts soon, but for now I am just going to post a few random pictures:

1946-06-06  Elizabeth, Macdougall, Grace, Theodore, Ernest J. Palmer about to climb Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.MGT1946Mt Washing.jpeg

Later same day: photo by EJP with me (no pack) in lead.  I was 9.


1946-07-25  About to climb Mt. Katahdin in Maine.  The three guys made it to the top over the Knife Edge.  My Mother could have easily done so but Grace did not want to.

Katahdin 7 1946.jpeg

Knife Edge.  Very steep on both sides!


1948/08/09 On the way from the Arnold Arboretum in Boston to Webb City, Missouri in our 1937 Ford (which accumulated over 350,000 miles (many off road) before we sold it).  The Great Translation. MGTtoMO1948.jpeg