by Cliff Huntington
The three most recognizable archery books initially published in the United
States are The Witchery of Archery, Hunting With The Bow & Arrow
and Hunting The Hard Way. I would take this a step
further with the declaration that this Trinity has probably encouraged
more to accept the challenge of the bow than all others combined. Maurice
Thompson's The Witchery of Archery, in my estimation, is the most
important of the three and ranks among history's greatest archery contributions.
The Thompson brothers' exploits thrilled a Nation still recovering from
the effects of a civil war and generated widespread interest in archery,
particularly in the area of recreational target and competitive shooting.
Next would be Saxton Pope's Hunting With The Bow & Arrow, a
spell-binding account of early big game hunting with the bow and arrow,
Ishi, instructions on bow-building and Pope's thoughts on archery in general.
The final book in the Trinity would be Howard Hill's Hunting The Hard
Way. Hill's book brought the art of archery back into the public eye
and Hunting The Hard Way found a willing audience in thousands of
WWII Veterans a few years out of service, needing the challenge and outlet
archery offered. Hunting The Hard Way did much to popularized and
glamorize archery during the fifties and sixties.
All three books are a must read to the student of archery and one doesn't
have to acquire the scarce 1st Editions to enjoy them, all have been reprinted,
some several times in modern editions that are still available at reasonable
prices and many libraries have them as well. Not all editions are created
equal and in the event you run upon a copy or two at a flea market, it
behooves one to have at least a working knowledge of the collectibles.
Thompson's The Witchery of Archery was published in 1878, is so
noted on the title page, has a bluish-green mesh cloth binding and the
front cover shows the design of a bow and arrow over which is black stamped,
The Witchery Of Archery By Maurice Thompson. This is the scarce 1st edition.
Due to it's overwhelming popularity, The Witchery of Archery was
again published in 1879, but with the addition of chapter XVII, "The
English Theory and Practice of Target- shooting." This book has the
same cover design as the 1st edition but is brown in color and has printed
both the 1878 copyright and the 1879 copyright on the page following the
title page. This is the 2nd edition, also quite scarce. The 1928 edition
of The Witchery of Archery is commonly referred to as the 3rd edition
or Pinehurst Edition. A better title would be The Witchery of Archery;
An Anthology as this book is not a reprint of either the 1st or 2nd
edition but an edited version by Dr. Robert Elmer with deletions, additions
and a chapter by Will H. Thompson titled, "Deep in the Okefinokee."
Contrary to what was recently printed in "Bowhunter," Maurice's
brother Will did not contribute a chapter to The Witchery of Archery,
Dr. Elmer added it in the edited version 10 years after Will's death. This
book has a tan ribbed cloth binding, the front cover has black stamped,
The Witchery of Archery, J. Maurice Thompson, The Archers Company and has
an illustration of a hunter shooting a deer stamped within a rectangular
panel. The date 1928 can be found on the page following the title page.
It was also issued in a leather bound, limited edition. Dr. Elmer's Introduction
at the beginning is a nice touch with a bit of history and a short bibliography
of Maurice's published material. The Pinehurst Edition shows up frequently,
but still highly collectible and a fine read. Reprints are common, both
of the 1879 2nd edition and the 1928 Pinehurst edition. The edition reprinted
in the "Legends of the Longbow" series is the Pinehurst edition.
Saxton Pope's Hunting with the Bow & Arrow was first published
in 1923. The binding is brown in color with cloth hinges and has stamped
across the top of the front, Hunting With The Bow & Arrow and across
the bottom, Saxton Pope's signature in a dark brown. The date 1923 is printed
inside in Roman Numerals. This is the rare 1st edition. The 2nd edition
was published in 1925 by G. P. Putnam's Sons and is sometimes referred
to as the Putnam edition. The binding is a dark greenish blue, has stamped
at the top of the front cover, Hunting with the Bow & Arrow and Saxton
Pope in a silverish color. This edition has two other printings of 1928
and 1930, all identical with the exception of the dates. All three of these
printings are normally referred to as the 2nd edition. The third edition
would be the 1947 edition and varies from the earlier editions in size,
format and the addition of a Forward by A. J. Michelson. Hunting with
the Bow & Arrow was reprinted in 1974 (paperback), in the "Legends
of the Longbow" series and survives as it was written with little
Howard Hill's Hunting the Hard Way was first published in 1953 by
Wilcox and Follet and this edition is commonly referred to as the 1st US
Edition. The binding is red with Howard Hill and Hunting The Hard Way within
black broadheads on the front cover. It was rearranged along with the deletion
of 3 chapters and republished under the title Howard Hill's Archery
Adventures in 1955 with paper covers. In 1956 Hunting the Hard Way
was published by Robert Hale in London and this edition is referred to
as the 1st English or British edition. It was reprinted in 1976 by Jerry
Hill with some minor editing, but basically the same as the 1953 and 1956
editions. Hunting the Hard was also reprinted in the "Legends
of the Longbow" series. The 1953, 1955 and 1956 editions are highly
These volumes can still be found hidden away on dust covered shelves, for
a fraction of their value, waiting for the right person to recognize them
for the treasures they are. Will it be you?