Publication: Jim White and Charlie Lee White, 1948, Wadsworth
First edition. 9 3/4" x 6 1/2" in color pictorial wrappers. 32 pp. Illustrations. Signed by "Mrs. Jim White" on title page. "The fates of cave and explorer officially converged in 1889 when, while looking for stray cattle, Jim White noticed a massive plume of bats rising from the nearby hills. Intrigued, he directed his horse toward the anomaly and found himself at a huge black opening in the earth. He later described this event by saying, 'I found myself gazing into the biggest and blackest hole I had ever seen, out of which the bats seemed literally to boil.' Jim White returned to the area with the help of a 15 year-old Mexican boy and explored much of the cave system with homemade torches and a ball of string to find their way back. When the local economy took a downturn in the 1920s, Jim and his wife moved into a remote shack nearer the cave itself. Eventually Mr. White turned his discovery into a profitable business venture, mining the guano produced by the bats and selling it as fertilizer. During this time, Jim became determined to make the cave more accessible to the general public; he started moving rocks, leveling passageways, and at dangerous crevices drove discarded automobile axles into cracks and strung stranded wire between them for handrails. He did this selflessly, with little thought of compensation, but rather, with a desire that others might one day also witness the sights and marvel at the wonders as he had: a wish to share the deep appreciation and awe he felt for this miracle of nature." Numerous black and white photographs, other photographs are colored using "C. T. Art-Colortone" method. Last sheet contains Park Service visitor numbers to the year 1948. Light wear to the extremities along with scraping to spine. Very good.
Inventory Number: 47599