1914 – Rare & Signed Stippled Pencil Drawing with Dedication by Artist & First American to Explore the Tripolitan Sahara – Charles W. Furlong

Exquisite Stippled Pencil Sketch Drawing
Of a Bedouin Crossing the Sahara Desert
With Signed Dedication 
By Well-Known American Artist 
and First American to Explore the Tripolitan Sahara 

Charles Wellington Furlong 


The Hoover Institution Archives in Stanford, California, holds a collection of ten boxes of Furlong papers spanning the years 1917-1963, which contains only one pencil drawing made by him in 1935, eleven years later than the one found in the volume presented here.

The Gateway to the Sahara: Adventures and Observations in Tripoli. 
Author: FURLONG, Charles Wellington
Publisher: New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1914

Signed and Inscribed Dedication by the Author with Beautiful Stippled Sketch. 
8vo. 363 pages, plus plates for illustration, four of which are in colour including the frontispiece, plus 3 maps, one of which is a fold-out. With newspaper clipping printed in May 1924 announcing that Furlong had been granted the title of officer in the “Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres,” a French earned society devoted to the humanities. Publisher’s original burgundy cloth boards, titled in gilt to spine, some wear to binding, particularly corners and spine, otherwise in very good condition, internally bright, most unique and desirable for the author’s exceedingly scarce, skilful hand coloured artwork, and his signature, dated “The Camp, Aug. 12 1924.”

In 1904, prior to modern communications and industry, Charles Wellington Furlong visited Tripoli, and became the first American to explore the Tripolitan Sahara, describing the city as “the most native of the Barbary capitals.” He so eloquently presents an absorbing account of the peculiarly individual North African city, as well as the adjacent desert and its inhabitants. Seeking to experience firsthand the ways of life, including hardships and dangers of desert travel, accompanied by three Arab guides he made several journeys through the “great land of sand and silence.” Herein he recollects an encounter with a large caravan of camels richly laden with their Arab merchants and their wares, shadowy forms of bandits trailing him through a rocky ravine, and a perilous moment which nearly claimed his life.

Charles Wellington Furlong (1874 -1967) was an American writer, artist, photographer and explorer from Massachusetts. He graduated from Massachusetts Normal Art School in 1895. From 1901-1902 he studied at Cornell, Harvard, and Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He was the head of the Art Department at Cornell from 1896-1904. He travelled in North Africa from 1904-1905, Tierra del Fuego 1907-1908, and Venezuela 1910, and in 1915 was a member of an expedition to the West African islands for the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology.

In 1914 he joined the U.S. Army and served for the entirety of the Great World War, following which he became a Member of the American Peace delegation in Paris for one year. In 1919 he was appointed as the Special Military aide to President Woodrow Wilson, for a brief time before being reappointed as a Military observer, intelligence officer in the Balkans, Near East and Middle East. He continued to serve as a Reserve officer for 34 years, attaining the rank of colonel. His knowledge of the Middle East was valuable during World War II.

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