BELL, Walter D.M. ("Karamojo", 1880-1951). An extensive archive containing the majority of Karamojo Bell's original drawings and manuscripts. Regarded as the greatest elephant hunter of all time, Bell was born in Scotland in 1880. He volunteered for a mounted Canadian unit, but during action his horse was shot and he was captured by Boer forces. He succeeded in escaping back to the British lines and survived the war without any problems. Bell stayed on in Africa to carry out his passion for hunting elephant. W. D. M. Bell, an intrepid adventurer, he earned the nickname "Karamojo" for his extraordinary elephant-hunting exploits in the Karamoja Province of Uganda and elsewhere. In his career he shot a total of 1,011 elephants, the majority of them by shooting them through the brain with the small bore calibre .275 Rigby that is identical to the Boer 7x57 Mauser. Bell perfected his shot to the degree that he mastered it from all positions, including diagonally from the back. This has since been referred to as a "Bell shot." During WWI Bell again volunteered and became a fighter pilot in modern-day Tanzania. There he gained fame for flying without an observer in the front cockpit, since he thought that they blocked his view when he tried to shoot at the Germans with his big bore elephant hunting rifle. Later he served in France and Greece and got the MC twice. In WWII he assisted in evacuating allied soldiers from Dunkirk in his yacht Trenchmere. He finally died from a heart attack at his Scottish estate in 1951.
Bell's first book, The Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter, is considered by many to be the greatest of all elephant books by the greatest of all elephant hunters, a gripping series of elephant-hunting essays and stories during the glory days of Bell's career. Bell's approach to elephant hunting systematic and revoltionary: he studied the anatomy of elephants in order to establish the trajectory of bullets from any angle, and Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter includes the diagrams of Bell's perfected shot placement. Included in the archive are a vast number of the original manuscripts, watercolors and drawings prepared by the great sportsman.
Provenance: The archive was bought for Russell B. Aitken by Quentin Keynes, circa 1961. Quentin Keynes was a young explorer, member of the Explorers Club and veteran of many expeditions. He made documentary photographs of two Giant Sable Antelope bulls in combat published in Life Magazine in 1955.
1) BELL, Walter D.M. ("Karamojo"). The Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter. London: Country Life, 1923, 4
o. Original cloth- backed boards, gilt-lettered cloth label on upper cover; remnants of upper panel from original dust jacket. Provenance: P.J. Bowker (bookplate). FIRST EDITION, limited issue, number 676. WITH TWO ORIGINAL DRAWINGS BY BELL, mounted on front flyleaf and half-title, respectively (the former an ink and wash of a hunter observing a rhino charge, the latter a blue ballpoint sketch [same subject] inscribed "To Russell Barnett Aitken from Walter Bell in appreciation of a happy correspondence March 1951 'That unlikely solid Athi Plains 1987.'"
2) Another copy, FIRST EDITION, gift inscription on front free endpaper "H.C.P. from Ben Xmas 1928."
3) BELL, Walter D.M. ("Karamojo"). Karamojo Safari. New York, 1949. 8 o. Half brown morocco gilt, t.e.g., others uncut. FIRST EDITION, with mounted sketch in blue ballpoint on half-title inscribed: "to Russ Aitken from Walter Bell, who bequeaths you a method of testing your swing! No scatter guns or you'll ruin your tent. March 1951."
4) Another copy, FIRST EDITION, 8 o. Original cloth; dust jacket. With: Two ALS's (one from Jock McLeod to Major MacLeod, the other from "Donald" to "Capt. W.D.M. Bell" ["Dear Walter"]).
5) BELL, W.D.M. Bell of Africa. London, 1960. 4 o. Original brown boards; dust jacket. FIRST EDITION. Illustrated.
AUTOGRAPHS & MANUSCRIPTS
"Bell of Africa." Original typed and holograph manuscript. [Published circa 1960]. 218 pages, 4 o sizes, heavily annotated throughout in pencil and ink.
PARK, Mungo. ALS. 3 January 1809. One page, 8 o. Ordering books.
SELOUS, F.C. 16 ALS's, including one to Lydekker (2/19/06, 1 1/2 pp.), and 9 to Fagan. 6 September 1899-31 March 1914
1) Walter Bell to Russell Aitken (1pp, sending inscription for Russell Aitken's copy of Wanderings) -- and Note, October 1949 (re: African trophies). -- 2) Russell Aitken to Walter Bell, 7 October 1949 (typed carbon copy). -- 3) Walter Bell to Russell Aitken, 11 October 1949 (3pp, with sketches, discussing rifles, bullets, etc. relating to elephant hunting days. -- 4) Russell Aitken to Walter Bell, 18 November 1949 (carbon). -- 5) Walter Bell to Russell Aitken, 4 January 1949 (3 1/4 pp.). -- 6) Walter Bell to Russell Aitken, 24 December 1950 (2 pp., rectos and versos, with ink sketches of an elephant being hunted). -- 7) Walter Bell to Russell Aitken, 24 March 1951 (1 page, regarding his book). -- 8) Walter Bell to Russell Aitken, 24 July 1953 (2 pp., recto and verso, discussing mss). -- 9) a: Walter Bell to Russell Aitken, 7 January 1954 (3 pp., on hunting, trophies; mentions Selous). b: Russell Aitken to brother, 31 March 1979 (carbon). c: Quentin Keynes to Russell Aitken, 8 June 1961. d: Bank ref., 25 May 1961. 10) Russell Aitken to Walter Bell, 10 June 1953 (1 1/2 pp., regarding Russell Aitken's article on Bell, safaris, etc).
"Some Bullet experiments on a Buffalo Head." 4 1/2 pp., holograph manuscript. [With:] typed carbon copy.
"Succouring of a Wounded Elephant."
4 pp., holograph manuscript with ink sketches of a whale and an elephant, dated 15 September 1951. [With:] type carbon copy.
"The Deer in Scotland." 9 1/2 pp., holograph manuscript. [With:] typed carbon copy.
"Small Bores versus Big Bores." 13 1/2 pp., pencil holograph manuscript.
"Recollections of Elephant Guns." 14 pp., pencil holpgraph manuscript.
"African Nights -- Moonlight." 9 pp., holograph manuscript.
"African Nights continued -- Hunting by Artificial Light". 14 pp., holograph manuscript.
"A Typical Hunt in the Elephant Isles."
7 pp., ballpoint holograph manuscript.
"1914-18 War Interviews(?)." 4 1/2 pp., typed manuscript, with few corrections.
Miscellaneous chapters -- unidentified; some holograph insertions, carbons etc.: XXI, IX, X, XVII [changed to XIV] "This Killing Business"
Containing specifications of an Auxiliary Sailing Yacht for W.D.M. Bell, 28 pp., typed manuscript. 1/4 cloth covers with manuscript drawings and notes inside covers. -- A scale drawing of "Trenchemer." -- Three black and white photographs of the yacht in a yellow folder.
"Karamojo Safari." Preface -- typescript with 1 page holograph pencil: Chap. I -- 11 pp, original typescript with ink corrections; II -- 10 pp. ibid; III -- 16 1/8 pp, ibid; IV -- 13 pp, ibid; V -- 16 pp, ibid; VI -- 11 pp, ibid; VII -- 16 pp, ibid; Lacking chaps. VIII-IX; X -- 16 pp, ibid, with 17-line; holograph at end (lacks pp 97-125); XI -- 6 pp, ibid; [XII] -- carbon (3 copies); XII [XIII] -- carbon; XIII [XIV] -- carbon (2 copies); XIV [XV] -- ibid; XV [XVI] -- ibid; XVII [XVII] -- ibid; XX [XX] -- ibid; XXII [XX] -- ibid; XXIII [XXI] -- ibid
1) Typed manuscript "Long Range Humane Killing a Plea for the Neck Shot" by W.D. M. Bell, 13 pages
2) Miscellaneous typed manuscript, 27 pages, including Here transcribe verbatim the Bahr Aouck chapter from Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter, 18 pages
3) "Handbook on Big Game Shooting" by W.D.M. Bell, 18 pages (typed)
4) Typed manuscript "Small Bores versus Big Bores," pages 1-4, 7-8, 10-12 and 14 and Bell biography
5) Typed manuscript Chapter XVI "Learning the Brain Shot at African Elephant," 7 pages
6) Typed manuscript Chapter XV On Rifles and Shooting, 9 pages plus an additional typed manuscript On Rifles and Shooting, 8 pages.
7) Hand written manuscript on legal size lined paper On Rifles and Shooting, 6 pages
8) Four ink and watercolor drawings, some colored, comprising: a) The Brain-Shot is the only Painless
One; b) Frontal Brain Shot from about 10 yards; c) The Angle a Running Buff holds his head; d) African Lion...
Containing stalking notes - Corriemoilie September 1928 - 24th September to 12th October with numerous comments, observations and pen and ink drawings.
Including photographs of Bell, Scotland, the yacht, natives and game with illustrations for printed works and photographs of ballistic experiments.
PRESS CUTTINGS AND LETTERS
A collection of clippings and letters relating to press.
MANUSCRIPTS FOR BOOKS BY W.D.M. BELL
1) Three folders containing miscellaneous carbons, insertions (typed and holograph), contents pages mss for "Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter."
2) "To Deal with the hyena menace." 23 pp., holograph manuscript in blue ink on 4to sheets of ruled paper; in original mailing envelope.
3) Chapters 21, 22, 23 and another to "Karamojo Safari." 23 pp. on 4to sheets, in pencil.
4) Chapter 1 (article ?). "Looking back on my hunting days..." 12 1/4 pp., blue ink on 4to sheets. Chapter "The Only Known casualty at cricket." 1 1/2 pp., blue ink on 4to sheets; Chapter "Flying Days." 5 pp., blue ink on rect sheets. Each with a typed draft and carbon in an envelope.
5) "Karamojo Safari." Chapter VIII, typed manuscript with corrections; Chapter IX, ibid; Chapter XII, carbon
6) 2 insertions (one typed, one carbon) both with corrections together in one envelope.
7) "[Memoirs]." 48 pp., mostly carbon typescript (one holograph page), heavily corrected, with deletions, insertions, etc. Apparently a reworked draft for his memoirs. Comprising portions of his earlier works, it resembles "Bell of Africa." -- and miscellaneous carbons.
8) "White horse." 15 pp., holograph mss in blue ink; holograph notes, carbons, insertions, sketches, etc. in a portfolio.
NOTEBOOKS CONTAINING HOLOGRAPH MANUSCRIPTS BY W.D.M. BELL
1) "Karamojo Safari," original mss., Chaps. XIII-XIX, pencil and ink.
2) Day Book containing mss. chapters of "Bell of Africa."
3) 2 notebooks (one titled "My Life," [113 pp] the other "White Gold" [80 pp], contains mss., shaping outlines and notes for an autobiography.
4) 2 books containing typed carbon manuscript of "Memoirs."
5) 2 hand written notebooks, "Reminiscences of Walter D.M. Bell," circa 150 pp. starting with "Mystery of The Inland Sea" and "A Nandi Epic."
6) Notebook containing chaps. 1-5 of "Memoirs."
7) 3 soft-bound exercise books containing miscellaneous chapter (one contains chap. 5 of "Memoirs").
8) Notebook containing notes for Bell's "Handbook on African Big Game."
9) Notebook containing a chapter synopsis for "Bell of Africa."
10) Notebook containing chapter synopsis, starts "Salmon Fishing."
11) "Notes-Addresses." Notebook containing notes and addresses and preparatory sketches for "Mystery of the Inland Sea."
An important collection including a large selection of etchings, charcoal, pencil, pen and ink and pastel sketches and pen and ink finished drawings (8 framed) by W.D.M. Bell, some worked-up in full color. Eight framed drawings titled:
1) Bakora rick man
2) Karamojan unmarried girl carried beer
3) A terror to all within one hundred yards
4) They are picked men
5) Nobody touched the living stone of the precious shiff
7) Story without words, Evening Scene
8) No title
Original drawings from "Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter," illustrated opposite p.64 and from "Bell of Africa," illustrated opposite pp.49 and 208. Other drawings are included which illustrate Bell's books.
AN EXTREMELY FINE AND IMPORTANT ARCHIVE
Price Realized is hammer price plus buyer’s premium and does not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.
- $65,725 Set Currency
- $40,000 - $60,000
- Sale 1319 —
- The Russell B. Aitken Collection of Silver Trophies, Vintage
- 4 April 2003
- New York, Rockefeller Plaza