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#281055 - 06/13/16 05:12 PM Oldest commercially published "survival" book??
WesleyH Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 05/26/16
Posts: 51
Loc: OKLAHOMA
Anyone have any thoughts on the oldest commercially published tome dedicated to just Survival, as opposed to covering it tangentially or as a single chapter?

The oldest I have is "How to survive on land and sea" by Frank and John Craighead 2nd revised 1956. The first edition was 1947. .

Strange hobby collecting old survival books !!!

Other oldies I have:

Survival in the Outdoors by Byron Dalrymple Copyright 1972.
Appears to be an "Outdoor life" book.

Sea Survival, A manual by Dougal Robertson Copyright 1975
-Bears a nice embossed stamp FDH. .

The Survival Book by Paul Nesbit, Alonzo Pond & William Allen
Copyright 1959 previously owned by a fellow named Glover from Wilmington N.C.
-I wonder if he was able to use any of the info.
-A check shows he is still alive and 90 years old.

A Pilot's Survival Manual by Paul Nesbit,Alonzo Pond & William Allen
Copyright 1959
-Original invoice is in the book from Flying club dated 12/07/78 (interesting date!)

After that many books published since 1990. . (another discussion)

I recall my fascination started with a chrismas gift of "The Last Whole Earth Catalog" and its small assortment of survival books. Some of the "Survival books" in retrospect turned out to be quite underwhelming.


Edited by WesleyH (06/13/16 07:55 PM)

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#281057 - 06/13/16 07:27 PM Re: Oldest commercially published "survival" book?? [Re: WesleyH]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2562
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Interesting topic. I have quite a few oldies in my own archives.

It seems to me that books dedicated to "wilderness survival" as opposed to "living well and homesteading in the wilderness" might have been foreign to people prior to the rapid urbanization that took hold in the middle of the 20th century. Prior to that, for most, it would be like a book on "how to learn to breathe." The skills were part of daily normal existence, and books focused on how to use those skills in efficient living.

A classic Canadian example on the "homesteading" side is Catherine Parr Traill's "The Backwoods of Canada (1836), the practical account and guide based on three years of homesteading in the Canadian bush. A great read, but not exactly dedicated to wilderness survival per se. Except, of course, if you blew it in that time and place, your survival hung in the balance.

I'm sure there was Baden-Powell material dedicated to survival skills for the early Scouts, which was pre-First World War.

On the American side of the pond, there was Calvin Rutstrum with "Way of the Wilderness" in 1946 and Bradford Angier with 'At Home in the Woods' in 1951. These caught the popular imagination, as did "On Your Own in the Wilderness" by Townsend Whelen and Bradford Angier in 1958 (I have a treasured hardcover of the latter, from the first run I think).

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#281061 - 06/14/16 11:44 AM Re: Oldest commercially published "survival" book?? [Re: WesleyH]
adam2 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 362
Loc: Somerset UK
The oldest that I have seen is more of a paper pamphlet than a true book.
"dessert survival" published during world war 2 and required content in the survival packs in aircraft.
Contains advice on conserving and procuring water, staying cool, signalling to search aircraft, improvising survival equipment from parts of a crashed aircraft, and related content.

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#281062 - 06/14/16 01:53 PM Re: Oldest commercially published "survival" book?? [Re: WesleyH]
Montanero Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1051
Loc: North Carolina
Dessert survival? That cake can be dangerous! LOL

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#281065 - 06/15/16 03:09 AM Re: Oldest commercially published "survival" book?? [Re: WesleyH]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5794
Loc: southern Cal
Glad to see Nesbit, Pond, and Allen, on your list. I purchased my copy in 1959 and have been using it ever since. A lot of their material is still pertinent today.
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#281068 - 06/15/16 07:49 AM Re: Oldest commercially published "survival" book?? [Re: WesleyH]
quick_joey_small Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 411
Loc: UK
Still available is Sir Francis Galtons

'The Art of Travel or Shifts and Contrivancies Available in Wild Countries' 1855.

long past copyright of course you can read it free here:

http://galton.org/books/art-of-travel/galton-1855-art-travel-1st.pdf

qjs

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#281069 - 06/15/16 07:58 AM Re: Oldest commercially published "survival" book?? [Re: WesleyH]
rafowell Offline
Member

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 197
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: WesleyH
Anyone have any thoughts on the oldest commercially published tome dedicated to just Survival, as opposed to covering it tangentially or as a single chapter?


I'd say 1855 - the first edition of

"The Art of Travel: Or, Shifts and Contrivances Available in Wild Countries", by Francis Galton (195 pp).

(or the 1856 2nd edition, if you insist it include material on signal mirrors smile ...)

You might argue that it is more of a bushcraft/fieldcraft book than a survival book (since it doesn't assume you are lost from square one).

However, if you only got one book to take with you when marooned, I'm thinking this 1855 book might be a better choice than many books with "SURVIVAL" as the title.

The 5th edition (1872) is still in print, by Barnes & Noble, for example.
(Of course, with copyright long lapsed, you can download it for free in many ebook formats).

For versions browsable online or downloadable as text, epub, kindle, or pdf formats, see the Internet Archive:

1st ed (1855): https://archive.org/details/arttravelorshif02galtgoog
2nd ed (1856): https://archive.org/details/arttravelorshif01galtgoog
3rd ed (1850): https://archive.org/details/arttravelorshif00galtgoog
4th ed (1867): https://archive.org/details/arttravelorshif03galtgoog
5th ed (1872): https://archive.org/details/arttravelorshif00unkngoog
5th ed as audiobook: https://archive.org/details/art_of_travel_1108_librivox

Here's the table of contents of the first few chapters of the first edition (page numbers stripped for brevity, but this is the first 93 pp.)

WATER

1. Where to look for Water
2. To know when it is near at hand
3. Occasional supplies from Rain, Dew, &c
4. To purify Water that is muddy, putrid, or salt
5. To dig Wells
6. To water Cattle from Wells
7. To carry a supply of Water on Pack-saddles
8. To carry Water in a Waggon
9. Small Water-vessels
10. Additional Remarks

FIRE

1. To obtain a Spark,
2. Tinder
3. To kindle a Spark into a Flame
4. Fuel
5. Camp Fires

BIVOUAC

1. Where to seek for Shelter
2. Mattresses, Blankets, and their Substitutes
3. Different ways of Bivouacking
4. Huts, Tents, and Awnings
5. Tent Furniture
6. Rude Houses

CLOTHES, &c

1. Articles of Dress
2. Personal Cleanliness
3. Knapsacks, Knives
4. Dry Clothes

FOOD AND COOKERY

1. Bad and Poisonous Diet.
2. Food from Various Sources
3. Preserving Meat, Fish, Butter, Milk,
4. Bush Cookery
5. Plates and Cooking Utensils

MATTERS OF DISCIPLINE

1. Even Temper . . . .
2. Organising a Party
3. In Case of Death
4. Bush Laws
5. Carrying the Wounded
6. Securing Prisoners
7. Hostile Neighbourhood

DEFENCE

1. Camp Fortification
2. Weapons

HIDING PLACES, OR CACHES

1. To make a Cache.
2. Notices to another Party
3. Secreting Jewels

BOATS, RAFTS, FORDS, BRIDGES,

1. Swimming Rivers
2. Rafts and rude Boats
3. Carrying Boats Overland
4. Hints for Boating Excursions
5. Fords, Bridges,

LINE OF ROAD ACROSS COUNTRY

1. Roads, to mark and find
2. Accidents by the Way
3. Points of the Compass
4. Climbing

==== My obsession - signal mirrors ===

1st ed: 1855 nothing <sigh>
2nd ed: 1856 one page (pp. 121-122)
3rd ed: 1860 four pages! (pp. 151-152)
4th ed: 1867 five pages! (pp. 271-275)
5th ed: 1872 five pages! (pp. 277-281)
_________________________
A signal mirror should be backup for a 24 hr, all-weather radio distress signal, such as a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)

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#281071 - 06/15/16 05:05 PM Re: Oldest commercially published "survival" book?? [Re: rafowell]
WesleyH Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 05/26/16
Posts: 51
Loc: OKLAHOMA
Rafowell,

Thanks for the heads up on that one. I perused the fifth edition and it looks very interesting. I will have to download a copy.

Funny thing though, whoever scanned this copy:

5th ed (1872): https://archive.org/details/arttravelorshif00unkngoog

Must have been seriously having some issues. You will find the first several pages are hands, fingers articles of clothing and who knows what else. If that is not enough there are the occasional pages that look like they were scanned several inches away.

In regards to survival mirrors, I have McCanns excellent book and finally received the "real deal" from his company. I have to give them high marks :-)

Thank goodness it was not a lesson I had to learn in while "Stranded in the jungle, about a thousand miles away!"

Regards!

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#281082 - 06/16/16 05:11 AM Re: Oldest commercially published "survival" book?? [Re: WesleyH]
rafowell Offline
Member

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 197
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: WesleyH
Rafowell, Thanks for the heads up on that one. I perused the fifth edition and it looks very interesting. I will have to download a copy.

For free high quality ebooks, check Project Gutenberg first,
because they don't stop with simple OCR (as Google Books does)
but follow up with two-pass proofreading and correction by volunteers
(which is why they have only ~50,000 titles available vs. ~25 million Google Books)

Fortunately, this one is there:

Art of Travel, 5th Ed., at Project Gutenberg ( epub, Kindle (both with and without illustrations), plaintext, and html)

If you want a clean .pdf version - far better than the one at Internet Archive, download this lovingly produced copy:

Art of Travel, 5th ed. (.pdf), at Galton.org

A great deal of information about the author (including 500 of his works) is available at Galton.org.





Edited by rafowell (06/16/16 05:24 AM)
Edit Reason: Cleanup
_________________________
A signal mirror should be backup for a 24 hr, all-weather radio distress signal, such as a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)

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#281087 - 06/16/16 12:09 PM Re: Oldest commercially published "survival" book?? [Re: dougwalkabout]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3542
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Catherine Parr Traill's "The Backwoods of Canada (1836) is one of my faves too. Great book, Doug!

My oldest is Kephart's "Camping and Woodcraft: A Handbook for Vacation Campers and for Travelers in the Wilderness." Not entirely what we think of as a survival manual, but very comprehensive. Originally published in 1917, my Grandfather had a copy when I as a kid, but an older cousin inherited that version. The copy I'm reading is the 7 printing from 2004.
_________________________
Mom & Adventurer

You can find me on YouTube here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT9fpZEy5XSWkYy7sgz-mSA

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