Rare Books - Californiana
This list comprises books selected as a representative sample from what is perhaps the Library's finest research collection, Californiana. Charles F. Lummis, City Librarian between 1905 and 1910, acquired much of the material on the Spanish and Mexican periods of California history; John D. Bruckman, Collection Development Manager from 1968 until his untimely death in 1979, added many important titles from the American period. The section is arranged chronologically, and begins with the very rare Informe of 1702 by Piccolo. A highlight from the Mexican period is Estrada's 1835 decree declaring Los Angeles a city and capital of the territory. The American period is represented by early Los Angeles imprints, and ends with a Lummis manuscript of 1928. The descriptions were written by Jeff Weber and Romaine Ahlstrom. Edwin Carpenter of the Huntington Library graciously helped with this section.
The First Printed Account of California
- FRANCISCO MARIA PICOLO. Informe del Estado De La Nueva Cristiandad de California ... Obedeciendo á la Real Cedula de N. Rey y Señior D. Felipe V. Fecha en Madrid á 17, de julio, del 1701. [Mexico, Carracoso, 1702].
First edition. Cortes' captains had visited Baja California in the 1530s, and rumors of wealth to be gained from pearls brought Cortes himself there in 1535. However treacherous storms in the gulf, the and forbidding land, and the hostility of the Indians prevented any settlement there for many years. To zealous Jesuit missionaries, including Eusebio Francisco Kino (later to be famous for his work among the Pima of Arizona), the spiritual darkness in which the Indians lived cried out for relief. Father Kino was involved in an abortive attempt to found a mission in California in the 1680s, and even after he left, he continued to campaign for more, better funded efforts, although the King had suspended more such ventures. Finally in 1697 the Viceroy authorized the Jesuits to enter the area again, provided that the Order bore all costs with no help from the royal treasury. Father Juan Maria Salvatierra went alone with a small force of soldiers and began the mission of Our Lady of Loreto, named for their patroness. Father Kino was not released from his work among the Pima to join him, and Father Francisco Maria Picolo was sent instead. The two missionaries eagerly began to learn the native languages, convert and baptize the natives and develop the mission. Progress was very slow; difficulties immense. When Salvatierra asked for money from the treasury, he was reminded of the terms the Jesuits had agreed to. He went on to make appeals to the King.
At this juncture, help came unexpectedly. Charles II died and Philip V became king. In a cedula of 170l, the king decreed that the California missions were to be encouraged, not abandoned, and he pledged 6,000 pesos per year from the royal treasury for their support. He asked for a detailed report on the work being done, and the Informe is the answer to that request. The report is full of charm, though the fertility of the soil is surely overstated. The King's gift and contributions to the Pious Fund maintained the missions; they did not maintain themselves.
- FR. JUAN DE TORQUEMADA. Los veinte in un libros rituales i Monarchia Indiana, con el origen y guerras, de los Indios Occidentales, de sus Poblaciones, Descubrimiento, Conquista, Conversion, y otras cosas maravillosas de la mesma tierra. Madrid: Nicolas Rodriguez Franco, 1723.
Edited by Andrés Gonzalez de Barcia Carballido y Zuñiga. Second edition. "The revised and best edition of Torquemada's key work on the early history of Spanish North America, particularly Mexico, the Southwest, and California. Although basically an encyclopedia of the history, customs, manners, laws, and religious conversion of the Indians of Mexico, this work is the primary source of Vizcaínó's 1596 and 1602 expeditions and voyage of discovery to California." (Hill Collection of Paciflc Voyages)
- MIGUÈL VENEGAS. El Apostol Mariano representado en la vida del V.P. Juan Maria Salvatierra ... Mexico: En la Imprenta de Don Maria de Ribera, 1754.First edition. Father Salvatierra (1648-1717), born in Milan, Italy, entered the Company of Jesus in 1666 and arrived in Mexico in 1675 together with Father Juan Baptista Zappa, where he served in the Sinaloa missions. A pioneer missionary, Salvatierra founded the first lasting mission in Baja California in 1697. In 1704 he was appointed provincial of the province of Mexico, where he served for two years, after which he spent the remainder of his life dedicated to the conversion of the Indians of California.
- MIGUÈL VENEGAS [PADRE ANDRÈS MARCOS BURRIEL, Editor]. Noticia de la California, y de su conquista temporal, y espiritual, hasta el tiempo presente ... Madrid: En la Imprenta del la Viuda de Manuel Femandez, 1757.-3 vols.
First edition of one of the earliest and most important contributions to the historical literature of California. Father Venegas (1680-1764?) authored the first two volumes in 1734-39. The unpublished manuscript was edited and compiled by Padre Burriel, and in its final form, became the most extensive account of Lower California of its period. The book put an end to the popular myth, which flourished from 1622-1770, that California was an island. Cowan states that, "other than Cabrera, Burriel was the first writer whose sound sense allowed him to reject the apocryphal voyages as unworthy of credit, to restrict northern geography to actual discoveries, and to correctly define in print the peninsula and regions of the Colorado and Gila [Rivers] as far as known." Volume III contains supplemental information compiled by Burriel, supplied to him by the missions which represent surveys up to 1754 relating to early Northwest Coast explorations. In the introduction to Burriel's appendices there is a recommendation to the Spanish government for the colonization of California on the ground that efforts from other countries would be a menace to their existing colonies.
- MIGUEL COSTANSÓ. Diario histórico de los viages de mar y tierra, hechos al norte de la California ... Mexico, 1770.
First edition. For more than two hundred years Spain had neglected to settle Alta California. In the 1760s the threat of Russian and British interest in the Northern Pacific caused Spain to act. The Visitador-General of New Spain, José de Galvez, interpreted the threat as a mandate for the occupation of Monterey. Two land parties and two ships were sent, beginning in 1769. Captain Gaspar de Portolá, with one land party, was in charge of the whole attempt; Fray Junípero Serra was head of the missionaries, and Miguel Costans&oactue; was a military engineer and cartographer. This was the expedition on which Serra founded the mission of San Diego de Alcalá. Portolá went on by land to Monterey with a small group thus far spared from scurvy, including Costansó. They got as far as Drake's Bay, but did not recognize Monterey until the return trip, because of Vizcaíno's misrepresentation of it as a fine harbor. Pedro Fages was left in charge in Monterey, while Portolá returned to Mexico with Costansó. There the Viceroy ordered a celebration to commemorate this extension of Spain's domain. Costansó's Diario with his map was published forthwith. It is rare probably because it was printed in a very small edition for private distribution since its publication had not been approved by the Council of the Indies.
- FRANCISCO ANTONIO LORENZANA. Historia de Nueva España Escrita por su Esclarecido Conquistador Hernan Cortes, Aumentada Con Otros Documentos, y Notas, Por ... Don Francisco Antonio Lorenzana, Arzobispo de México. México: Joseph Antonio de Hogal, 1770.
First edition. Lorenzana, Archbishop of New Spain, compiled this volume to bring together information on the history of the colony. Included are an essay on the Viceroys to date, a reprinting of Cortés' famous second, third, and fourth letters to the Emperor Charles V, written between 1520 and 1523, and a section of plates copied from a Mexican hieroglyphic book showing articles of tribute paid to Moctezuma. In addition, and more pertinent to the Californias, is an account of Cortés' and others' voyages to Baja, and a copy of Castillo's map. Wagner states that the original of this map has disappeared, so we don't know whether Castillo or Lorenzana put the name "California" on it.
- JEAN CHAPPÉ D'AUTEROCHE. Voyage en Californie pour l'Observation du Passage de Venus sur le Disque du Soliel, le 3 Juin 1769. Paris: Charles-Antoine Jombert, 1772.
First edition of one of the earliest scientific joumeys sent to California. Chappé, who had observed the transition of Venus in Siberia in 1761, was sent by the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris to observe the transit of Venus from a point in the Cape region of Baja California, which was to occur June 3, 1769. However, three days after the passing of Venus, Chappé and others in the expedition succumbed to a contagious fever, known as the "black vomit," contracted at the time when the plague was ravaging the country. Thus the journal of Chappé concludes on page 39 with only cursory remarks about California, none of which are of any value. "It has been suggested that this French expedition into the Californias so alarmed the Spanish that they stepped up their efforts to settle these territories." (Howell, Catalogue 50)
- FRANCISCO PALOU. Relacion Historica de la Vida y Apos tolicas Tareas del Venerable Padre Fray Junipero Serra, y de las Misiones que fundó en la California Septentrional, y nuevos establecimientos de Monterey. Impresa en México, en la Imprenta de Don Felipe de Zúñiga y Ontiveros, 1787.
First edition. Junipero Serra was the Franciscan who founded the mission chain of Alta California. Fathers Serra and Palóu were among the earliest of the Catholic missionaries sent to California. This life consists chiefly of the letters from Father Serra to Father Palóu, his pupil and successor. The letters give not only an account of the founding of the missions, but they also give interesting details of the Indian tribes, their manners and customs, as well as general descriptions of the country. "This work of Father Palóu is perhaps the best known of all works relating to California." (Wagner, Spanish Southwest, -i68)
- FRANCESCO SAVERIO CLAVIJERO. Storia della California. Opera Postuma. Venice: Appresso Modesto Fenzo, 1789. 2 vols.
First edition. "One of the rarest primary sources on the history of Baja California which describes the peninsula, its natural history, resources, Indian tribes, and colonies from its first exploration to the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767" (Hill) A native of Vera Cruz, Clavijero entered the Society of Jesus at the age of seventeen, served as a missionary among the Mexican Indians, and went to Italy in 1767 when the Jesuits were expelled from Mexico. Although a great deal of this work relates to the settlement of Baja California, it also contains valuable material on the California missions, with much about Fathers Consag, Kino, Picolo, Salvatierra, Taraval, and Ugarte.
- [LUIS SALES]. Noticias de la Provincia de Californias en Tres Cartas ... En Valencia: Por Los Hermanos de Orga, 1794. 3 vols.
First edition. Sales' account is most important for its information on the organization of the California Missions after the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767. Father Sales arrived in California in 1772 with Father Iriarte and the first wave of Dominicans, and he remained in the area until his recall about 1790. Near the end of his stay he wrote three long letters to an unidentified friend at Valencia, Spain. The first part of the work consists of a number of letters written from missions in California and the Azores, describing the country, animals, Indians, and trials of the missionaries. He states that Venegas' account is in error in certain respects.
- JOSÉ ESPINOSA Y TELLO.
Relacion del Viage Hecho por las Goletas Sutil y Mexicana en el afio de :1792 para reconocer el estrecho de Fuca. Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1802. Text and Atlas.
First edition marking the end of Spain's attempts to control the Northwest Coast. Captains Galiano and Valdes, two of Malaspina's officers, took the schooners Sutil and Mexicana to survey the east end of the strait of Juan de Fuca on what was to be the last Spanish voyage to the area. They encountered Vancouver's expedition at Esquimalt Bay, a presage of the future.
The accompanying atlas volume contains maps of the area and beautiful plates of Nootka, Indians, and artifacts. Also significant is the masterly summary of all the Spanish voyages along the coast, written by Martin Fernandes de Navarete, which makes up the first 167 pages of the Relacion.
- CAPTAIN JAMES BURNEY. A Chronological History of the Discoveries in the South Sea or Pacific Ocean. London: Printed by Luke Hansard & Sons, 18O3-17. 5 vols.
First edition. The most important general history of early South Sea voyages of discovery. in Burney's chapters on the discovery and early settlement of California, he draws on the original narratives or reports of Alarcon, Cabrillo, Drake, Picolo, Salvatierra, Vizcaino, and numerous others. Burney accompanied Captain Cook on his second and third voyages. In discussing the attempts by the Spanish to colonize California, Burney describes the role of the Jesuits, the establishment of the Pious Fund, and the growth of the missions. He also includes discussions as to whether California was an island or a part of the mainland, supporting the early claims of Ulloa that California formed a part of the mainland.
- JUNTA DE FOMENTO DE CALIFORNIAS. Coleccion de los principales trabajos en que se ha ocupado la junta nombrada para meditar y proponer al Supremo Gobierno los medios mas necesarios para promover el progreso de la cultura y civilizacion de los terri- torios de la Alta de la Baja Califomia. [Mexico], 1827. 1 vol. in 8 parts.
First edition. The Junta de Fomento de Californias was an ambitious attempt to colonize California and establish Monterey as a commercial capital to dominate the whole Pacific trade. The topics discussed in the eight papers are the colonization by natives as well as by foreigners; missions; territorial legislation; land distribution and the geography of settlements; and most importantly, the establishment of an Asian-Pacific trading company at Monterey.
- JAMES OHIO PATTIE. The Personal Narrative of James 0. Pattie, of Kentucky, during an Expedition from St. Louis, through the Vast Regions between that Place and the Pacific Ocean, and thence back through the City of Mexico ... Edited by Timothy Flint. Cincinnati: E. H. Flint, 1833.
First edition, second issue. This book is the first printed narrative of an overland journey to California. The Pattie expedition was the second American party to make the journey, and the first to cross Arizona to California by way of the Gila River. "On reaching San Diego, [the Patties] were arrested by order of Echeandia, the governor, their passports being destroyed, and the party most unjustly imprisoned. The incarceration lasted for some time, during which the elder Pattie died." [Cowan] At this time a smallpox epidemic was raging in California. The younger Pattie, who authored this work, knew something of vaccination and is reported to have inoculated "thousands." Pattie's Narrative has often been questioned because its incredible adventures and apparent exaggerations, but according to Wagner-Camp the narrative can probably be accepted as sub stantially true.
In 1849, at the beginning of the gold rush, the author mysteriously disappeared in the California mines.
- JOSE MARIA GUTIERREZ ESTRADA. Primera Secretaria de Estado. Departamento del interior. El Exmo. Sr. Presidente interino de los Estados-Unidos Mexicanos ... Se erige en ciudad el pueblo de los Angeles de la Alta California ... Mexico, 23 de Mayo de 1835.
[with]: RAMON RAYON El Cuidadano Ramon Rayon, General de brigada y Gobernador del Distrito federal. El dia 6 del corriente he recibido por la Secretaria de Relaciones el decreto que sigue ... Se erige en ciudad el pueblo de los Angeles de la Alta California, y sera para lo sucesivo la Capital de este Territorio ... Mexico, 10 de junio de 1835.
Original printed decree giving Los Angeles the title of City. This decree elevated the Town of Los Angeles to the dignity of a city, the first in Alta California, and made it capital of the territory. This measure passed the National congress due to the efforts of Carlos Antonio CarriIlo, provincial deputy from California to the Mexican congress and the author of the Exposition of 1831.
- BASILIO JOSE ARRILLAGA (compiler). Recopilacion de Leyes, Decretos, Bandos, Reglamentos, Circulares y Providencias de los Supremos Poderes y otras Autoridades de la Republica Mexicana ... de Enero a Diciembre de 1828. Mexico: Imprenta de J. M. Fernandez de Lara, 1838.
First collected edition of these laws, second edition of the Reglamento para el Gobierno de la Provincia de Californias, which was first published in Mexico in 1784 and known in only four or five copies. The Mexican province of Alta California continued to be governed by these laws until they were superseded by American law in 1850.
- ALEXANDER FORBES. California: A History of Upper and Lower California from their first discovery to the present time ... London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1839.
First edition. The book is the first one printed in English to relate exclusively to California, and is remarkable for the fact that the author did not see California until long after its publication. Notably, the book has always been considered reliable and accurate. The book was written from descriptions furnished by Forbes's agents in California. According to R. G. Cleland in his classic, Cattle on a Thousand Hills, 1941, much of the material for this book was furnished by Abel Stearns.
- [RICHARD HENRY DANA,JR.] TwoYears Before the Mast. A Personal Narrative of Life at Sea. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1840.
First edition of California's first literary classic and the greatest book of maritime California. Aboard the brig Pilgrim, Dana's "definite and successful purpose in [writing the book] was to give an account of sea life from the point of view of the forecastle, and to secure justice for the sailor." (DAB) An immediate success, Two Years Before the Mast sold 10,000 copies the first year and realized many editions. Dana, however, did not receive just profits for the book, as he sold the rights to publication for only $250. The Los Angeles Public Library copy contains a two-page autograph letter signed by Dana, dated October 18, 1843, referring to the artist and poet Washington Allston, a friend of Dana.
- AUGUSTE DUHAUT-CILLY. Viaggio intorno al globo principalmente alla California ed alle isole Sandwich negli anni 1826, 1827, 1828, 1829 ... Con I'aggiunta delle osservazioni sugli abitanti di quei paesi di Paolo Emilio Botta. Torino: Stavilimento tipografico Fontana, 1841. 2 vols.
First Italian edition, translated from the French by Carlo Giuseppe Botta, who served as the Heros' doctor. Botta's observations of California form an extra chapter, published here for the first time. Only about a dozen perfect copies of the first edition are known. An English translation of this work has never been published.
As Commander of the ship Heros, Captain Duhaut-Cilly sailed to California as a French trader from Mazatlan. While traversing California's coast, Duhaut-Cilly became acquainted with most of the missions, presidios, and pueblos, as well as the many ranchos he visited. His Voyage is the first foreign account of Spanish California.
- WILLIAM PINCKNEY TOLER. Journal of a Cruize in the Pacific on Board the US Frigate "U. States." 2 volumes, 1843-48.
Lieutenant Toler was born in Venezuela in 1825, to an American father and a Venezuelan mother. Raised in the United States, Toler became a midshipman in the U.S. Navy in 1841, sailing in the South Pacific. Toler twice lowered the Mexican flag over Monterey and raised the American: once too hastily on mistaken orders at the outbreak of the Mexican War, later officially and permanently in 1846.
The journal was presented to the Los Angeles Public Library by Mr. J. Hoyt Toler, son of the author, in 1940.
- EUGÈNE DUFLOT DE MOFRAS. Exploration du Territoire de l'Orégon, des Californies et de la Mer Vermeille, Exécutée pendant les Années 1840, 1841, et 1842. Paris: Arthus Bertrand, éditeur, Libraire de la Societe de Geographie, 1844. 2 vols. Lacks atlas.
First edition. Duflot de Mofras, an attaché of the French Embassy in Mexico City, was sent in 1840 by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs to visit provinces on the northwest coast. As Frencb Ambassador, Duflot de Mofras's "special mission was to explore and evaluate the commercial possibilities of California and the Oregon Territory, in order that the French government would be better able to decide whether to become involved in the conflict over Oregon between the U.S. and Great Britain" (Hill). Duflot de Mofras put together a complete description of the history and current state of affairs of the region from the Gulf of Tehuantepec in Mexico, up the coast to the Bering Strait. During his travels through California, he met Lieutenant Charles Wilkes of the U.S. Exploring Expedition and Canada's Sir George Simpson of the Hudson Bay Company Expedition. Each of these men seemed to feel out the others as to the future policy of their countries towards California, and each wrote an account of California during the 1840s, but Duflot de Mofras's account is the most reliable and complete description of the time. The work forms an admirable supplement to Humboldt's earlier account of the same region.
- GEORGE G.FOSTER. The Gold Regions of California: Being a Succinct Description of Geography, Topography and General Fea tures of California ... New York: DeWitt & Davenport, 1848.
First edition. This is one of the earliest accounts of the gold fields in the vast domain just acquired from Mexico. Foster reprints many official documents and includes a small woodcut map which is one of the earliest to mention the "Gold Region." A majority of the details of the book are taken from the travel notes of Thomas Famham and from the official military survey by Emory.
- ERNEST DE MASSEY. Relation du voyage ... en Californie, 1849-50, Ms., n.p., n.d.
De Massey, a younger son of a noble French family, sailed from LeHavre on the brig Cérès in 1849, hoping to make his fortune in the California gold fields. From his departure until he settled in San Francisco as a bookdealer he kept this joumal. Recorded are his adventures and impressions which were mailed home at intervals. The Los Angeles Public Library manuscript seems to have been copied from the original journal.
In 1927 the California Historical Society published a translation by Margaret E. Wilbur of the second half of the manuscript, which begins with DeMassey's arrival in San Francisco. It is called A Frenchman in the Gold Rush, the Journal of Ernest De Massey, Argonaut Of 1849.
- CHARLES WILKES. Western America, including California and Oregon. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1849.
First edition. This is Wilkes's personal narrative of his government explorations to California and Oregon in 1984. This book consists of the material which was not included in his official Narrative, as the region was not yet a part of the United States domain. The text was written after the first news of the California gold discoveries had reached the East. The important topographical map of the Sacramento Valley, based upon the surveys made by Wilkes, is therefore one of the first large-scale maps of the Gold Region.
- BAYARD TAYLOR. Eldorado, or, Adventures in the Path of Empire: Comprising a Voyage to California, via Panama; Life in San Francisco and Monterey; Pictures of the Gold Region, and Experiences of Mexican Travel. New York: George P. Putnam; London: Richard Bentley, 1850. 2 vols.
First edition. Taylor, a distinguished writer, joumalist, and artist who had gained reputation by his travels, was commissioned by theNew York Tribune to report on the California gold rush in 1849-50, when gold-fever was at its height. The book is chiefly made up of Taylor's letters to the Tribune with many additions and corrections which he submitted for publication upon retuming from his expedition. The book met with immediate success, selling ten thousand copies in America and thirty thousand in Great Britain within two weeks of issue. The superb descriptions of daily mining life and events in California are supported with color lithograph plates depicting scenes of Monterey, Sacramento, San Francisco, and the mining camps. Together, they give the best contemporary account of the early gold rush days in California.
- CALIFORNIA LAND CLAIMS.Commission for Settling Private Land Claims in California. Treaty Stipulations between Mexico and the United States. Act of Congress of March 3, 1851 ... San Francisco, 1852.
First edition. "There were more than 2000 Mexican land grants in California, all of which had to be brought before the land commission for final confirmation or rejection. The Commission in January of 1852 issued these regulations and instructions, the basic item in the vast literature of California land claims." (Dawson, Catalogue 15")
- JOHN J. WERTH. A Dissertation on the Resources and Policy of California: Mineral, Agricultural and Commercial, Including a Plan for the Disposal of Mineral Lands. Benicia, California: St. Clair & Pinkham, 1851.
First edition, presentation copy from the author. One of the earliest works on California prepared by a resident observer. These letters originally appeared in the Alta California. The work discusses California's mining industry at length. In the final part of the book, Werth gives an interesting discussion of the agricultural and commercial potential of California, citing specific instances. He also writes of the geographical position of California as a key to commercial growth with Asia.
- JOSE MARIA BLANCARTE. Acta levantada por la guarnicion de la Baja California. Imprenta del Gobierno a cargo de Miguel Femandez Castro, Puerto de la Paz, 1855. Broadside.
"One of the earliest known specimens of printing in Baja California, Puerto de la Paz, 1855. An act prohibiting further filibustering by such adventurers as William Walker and his army'" [Barrett]
The mid-nineteenth century saw some Americans engaged in fomenting insurrections in Latin America. The famous "grey-eyed man of destiny," William Walker, was one such military adventurer. He sailed from San Francisco with forty-five men in the brig Caroline and upon arriving in La Paz they seized the Governor of Baia California and issued a proclamation boasting that Walker was the new Governor. He was met with hostility from the countryside and retreated. In May, 1854, he was humiliated when he made an absurd attempt to conquer Sonora by marching around the gulf. The filibustering of Walker had embarrassed the negotiation of the Gadsden Treaty which brought into the United States Arizona and New Mexico, but not Baja California, where Walker had made his insurrection attempt.
- EL CLAMÓR PÚBLICO, Los Angeles, June 19, 1855- December 31, 1859-
Francisco P. Ramirez, a seventeen-year-old, first issued the weekly El Clamór Público, on June 19, 1855. This was the third newspaper to appear in the city, the Star having begun in 1851 and the Southern Californian in 1854. El Clamór was written in Spanish, with occasional articles in English and French and sought better treatment of the city's Hispanic population. Its demise on December 31, 1859, was noted by the Star, which lauded Ramirez' "marked ability,,, but criticized his "heated and injudicious attacks on the American Goverrument and people which from time to time have appeared in the paper."
- JOSÉ FIGUEROA. The Manifesto ... to the Mexican Re- public ... San Francisco: Herald Office, 1855.
First edition in English, originally published by Zamorano in Monterey in i835. The first edition is the first book printed in California.
The Manifesto is a defense of Govemor Figueroa's refusal to turn mission property over to the colonists who arrived in 1834 as a part of the colonization attempt made during the Mexican regime of Hijar and Padres. This early colonization effort by the regime brought many families to California who afterward took a prominent part in the development of the province.
- EDWARD McGOWAN. Narrative of Edward McGowan, including a Full Account of the Author's Adventures and Perils, while persecuted by the San Francisco Vigilance Committee of 1856. San Francisco: Published by the Author, 1857.
First edition. Edward McGowan, San Francisco justice of the peace, Pennsylvania ex-convict, and one of the chief figures of the San Francisco feuds and violence, was accused by the second Vigilance Committee of 1856 of complicity in the murder of James King of William. McGowan absconded to escape the Vigilance Committee and published his narrative to vindicate his conduct. Upon his return to San Francisco, he edited a weekly paper called Ubiquitious in which he freely expressed his opinions of the Committee and its actions. Uncommon for its utmost frankness and fearlessness, McGowan's Narrative remains one of the few original sources of the period and the only account of the Committee's action from the viewpoint of the "persecuted."
- [JOHN ROLLIN ("YELLOW BIRD") RIDGE]. The life of Joaquin Murieta, the Brigand Chief of California; being a Complete History of his Life, from the age of sixteen to the time of his Capture and Death at the hands of Capt. Harry Love, in the year 1853. San Francisco: Published at the Office of the "California Police Gazette,"1859.
Second edition, pirated from the 1854 first edition. Ridge complained that this edition was a plagiarism, as were other later editions which followed. He wrote this fictional life of the celebrated bandit in order to capitalize on the excitement of Murieta's capture. Harris Newmark wrote in Sixty Years in Southem California, "Murieta, a nephew of Joss Maria Valdez, was a decent-enough sort of fellow, who had been subjected to more or less injustice from certain American settlers, and who was finally bound to a tree and horsewhipped, after seeing his brother hung, on a trumped-up charge. in revenge, Murieta had organized a company of bandits, and for two or three years had terrorized a good part of the entire State. Finally, in August, 1853, while the outlaw and several of his companions were off their guard near the Tejón Paso, they were encountered by Captain Harry Love and his volunteer mounted police organized to get him, dead or alive; the latter killed Murieta and another desperado known as Three-fingered Jack. Immediately the outlaws were despatched, their heads and the deformed hand of Three- fingered Jack were removed from the bodies and sent by John Sylvester and Harry Bloodsworth to Dr. William Francis Edgar, then a surgeon at Fort Miller ... Edgar put the trophies into whiskey and arsenic, when they were transmitted to the civil authorities, as vouchers for a reward."
- WILLIAM McPHERSON. Homes in Los Angeles City and County and description thereof, with sketches of the four adjacent counties; being an answer to inquiries concerning their progress, attractions and resources. Los Angeles: Mirror book and job printing establishment, 1873.
First edition. This is the first boom pamphlet of any merit to be published in Los Angeles. It contains a wealth of information of interest to prospective land- owners and investors. The four adjacent counties described were Santa Barbara, Kern, San Bemardino, and San Diego Counties. Compared to other early Los Angeles imprints, this pamphlet was executed with superior craftsmanship in design and typography.
- LOS ANGELES HERALD. Los Angeles County, California. Ten Thousand Questions Answered. Its Agricultural, Manufacturing and Mineral Resources. Its Geographical and Commercial Positions. Its Harbors, Railroads and Railroad System. Statistics relating to Climate, Cost of Living, Etc. With a map of our back country. Los Angeles: The Herald Publishing Company, 1874.
First edition of the first Herald Pamphlet, this copy being the only known recorded copy. This promotional pamphlet series contained information reprinted from the Los Angeles Weekly Herald. The Los Angeles Public Library has the only known recorded copies of both the first and second (1875) Herald pamphlets and one of three known copies of the third (1876).
- JAMES DE LONG. Southern California, for Climate, Soil, Productions and Health. Lawrence, Kansas: Joumal Company Steam Printing Establishment, 1875.
First edition. The author visited Southern California in 1874-75 and marveled at the beauty of Los Angeles and its orange groves. In his work, De Long includes lengthy extracts quoted from various statistical reports. These reports and De Long's comments together give a description of the growing Southern California economy, agricultural production, and the virtues of health to be gained from Southem California's semi-tropical climate.
Unknown to Cowan.
- DIRECTORY OF LOS ANGELES for 1875. Los Angeles: Printed at the Mirror Book and Printing Office, 1875.
First edition. One of only six known copies. The Los Angeles Public Library copy is complete with its original cover.
This is the second printed directory for the city of Los Angeles. The first Los Angeles Directory was issued 1872 and known in only three or four copies. The directory of 1875 is similar to that of 1872 in that they both contain advertisements from merchants, an alphabetical list of the city residents, and a brief history of the city.
- A. T. HAWLEY. The present Condition, Growth, Progress and Advantages, of Los Angeles City and County, Southem California. Written and Compiled by A. T. Hawley, By authority of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and Published by that body for Free Distribution. Los Angeles: Mirror Printing, Ruling and Binding House, 1876.
First edition, one of 5,000 copies. Gregg Layne, in his introduction to Waters's Check-list, wrote that this pamphlet was "undoubtedly the first of that long and not yet ended series of publications of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. The Hawley pamphlet is not only a valuable piece of Californiana, but is also one of the scarcest of the publications on Los Angeles." (p. 48)
- [J. J. WARNER, BENJAMIN HAYES, and J. P. WIDNEY.], An Historical Sketch of Los Angeles County, California. From the Spanish occupancy, by the Founding of the Mission San Gabriel Archangel, September 8, 1771, to July 4, 1876. [Los Angeles]: Louis Lewin & Co.,1876.
First edition. This first history of Los Angeles County was prepared by the Literary Committee of the Los Angeles Centennial Celebration. It is one of the source books of Southern California history, and was published at the request of the President of the United States when he sent out a request to all the States in the Union to publish county histories for the Centennial year of 1i876. That of Los Angeles County was written in three parts: the first by Colonel J. J. Warner covering the period through the American conquest; the second by Judge Benjamin Hayes, who carried the history through the Civil War; and the third period was covered by Dr, Joseph P. Widney, a pioneer physician, who took the history from 1867 to 1876.
- MAJOR HORACE BELL. Reminiscences of a Ranger, or Early Times in Southem California. Los Angeles: Yarnll, Caystile & Mathes, Printers, 1881.
First edition of the first cloth-bound book to be printed, bound, and published in the City of Los Angeles. Bell's narrative is the classic work of events and conditions during the 1850s in Los Angeles
"Horace Bell came to California in 1852, practiced law in Los Angeles until he was in his eighties, published The Porcupine, a periodical as barbed in style and action as its name implied." (Zamorano 80) Many of the thirty-seven essays that appear in the book originally appeared in this periodical. Reminiscences recounts the exploits of Joaquin Murietta, Moreno, and other famous bandits and desperadoes of the region, as told by Bell "who is never dull and who frequently attains the penetrating gusto of Mark Twain." (Hanna, Libros Californianos.)
- [LADIES AID SOCIETY, FORT STREET METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.] Los Angeles Cookery, 1881. Los Angeles: Mirror Printing and Binding House, 1881.
First edition. This is the first cook book printed in Los Angeles. Published by the Ladies Aid Society to raise funds for the Church, this little volume is particularly interesting for its presentation of the most esteemed delicacies of the early 1880s. Many of the recipes were contributed by well-known Los Angeles families such as the Hollenbecks, Workmans, Hellmans, and Downeys.
- HENRY CHAPMAN FORD. Etchings of the Franciscan Missions of California. New York, 1883.
Limited to 50 sets. Ford visited the missions in a covered wagon and made careful photographs which he later enlarged and worked from. His etchings are among the earliest published views of the missions.
- CHARLES FREDERICK HOLDER. Southern California: Its Climate, Trails, Mountains, Canyons, Watering Places, Fruits, Flowers and Game. A Guide Book ... Los Angeles: The Times-Mirror Co., 1888.
First edition. Charles F. Holder, "a distinguished naturalist, came to California in search of health, in i886, and settled in Pasadena [the year it was first chartered as a city], where he was appointed Professor of Zoology in the Throop Institute. An enthusiastic admirer of the Southland and an early explorer of its islands and mountain ranges, Professor Holder, has devoted much attention to Pasadena and the neighboring coast." [Newmark] Two years after his arrival, he wrote this early guide to Southern California. His many interests led him to publish several books on science, zoology, hunting, fishing, sport and children's stories. "With his gift for popularizing, probably no other scientific writer has contributed more to make known, both in America and abroad, this attractive portion of our great State." Holder was also the originator of the now-famous Tournament of Roses, held each New Year's Day.
- WILLIAM E. HOWELL. William E. Howell's Real Estate Tract Directory and Land Purchaser's Guide of Los Angeles County. Los Angeles: Times-Mirror, 1888.
First edition. Before the Southern California "Boom of the Eighties" Los Angeles lagged far behind San Francisco in public interest and economic affairs of the state. Southem Califomia had been left relatively untouched by the gold rush which caused the boom in the north. A variety of events, including the building of a network of railroads in Southern California, caused Los Angeles to blossom into a sprawling new city. During the 1880s real estate transactions quickly intensified in a climate of feverish excitement coupled with an influx of highly polished mid-western real estate sales techniques and advertisements, resulting in a population upsurge and collapse in 1888.
- MANUAL of the First Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles, Cal. September, 1888.
Beginning in 1851 and through many vicissitudes, pioneer Presbyterian ministers attempted to establish that denomination in Los Angeles. In 1852 there were no Protestant ministers in Los Angeles, causing a Baptist to exclaim "No place needs the Gospel more than Los Angeles. The native population are ignorant and degraded, though possessing the wealth of the land." To him, the Hispanic population was sunk in Romish superstition, while the one quarter who were "Americans" were not likely to favor the preaching of the Gospel either. In 1874 the First Presbyterian Church was founded and did not fail.
- LAND OF SUNSHINE. CHARLES FLETCHER LUMMIS, Editor. Broadside, 1896.
One of the greatest Southwest enthusiasts, Lummis became city editor of the Los Angeles Daily Times, City Librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library, founder of the Southwest Museum, author, scholar, and editor of the Land of Sunshine. As editor, "Lummis made it into the leading literary journal of the Pacific Coast" until 1910. From 1895 to 1909 Lummis filled the magazine with his enthusiasm and scholarship for the Southwest and added many highly regarded contributors whose articles enhanced the importance of the magazine. The magazine was fully illustrated with photographs and views of Los Angeles. Translations of rare documents relating to the Spanish Southwest often appeared here for the first time, including Lummis's translation of Costanso's Diario, 1770, which appeared in 1901 (referred to earlier in the catalogue).
Tis broadside is said by Lummis to be one of the first magazine advertising posters to appear in Los Angeles. It is one of a series of posters for theLand of Sunshine. It was produced by a cyanotype or blueprint process, known to be a favorite of Lummis's.
- JACK LONDON. Martin Eden. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1909.
First edition. This is one of London's two semi-autobiographical novels, the other being Burning Daylight,1910. Martin Eden has been called London's most ambitious work. It is a classic struggle of Martin, who in exchange for intellectual growth, comes to terms with his former ideals which he disavows. His disillusionment leads him to his drowning at sea. The book is set principally in Oakland and San Francisco. London's tremendous success destroyed him. Turning to alcohol, he eventually committed suicide by a self-administered overdose of morphine. Thus his ending was not unlike his character Martin Eden. The Los Angeles Public Library has a complete collection of the first editions of Jack London's principal novels.
- [GRABHORN PRESS] ROBINSON JEFFERS. Poems. San Francisco: The Book club of California, 1928.
Limited edition, number 182 Of 310 copies printed by the Grabhorn Press. With an original portrait study photograph by Ansel Adams as the frontispiece, signed by the author and photographer.
Poems was Jeffers's first book to be printed by the Grabhorn Press. The book reprints several of Jeffers's poems, with On Building with Stone appearing here for the first time. Jeffers is one of the greatest poets of America's literary heritage. Much of what appears in Poems was written during Jeffers's poetic zenith.
- CHARLES FLETCHER LUMMIS. A Bronco Pegasus. [Manu- script], 1928.
In the autumn of 1927, Lummis found that he had an incurable cancer. With characteristic courage and energy, he planned and carried out his final projects; one was this book. In its "Colophon" he wrote "My last months were upon me unawares before I began the hasty gathering together of my fugitive verse of the last half-century ... to Miss Helen Stevens, my little Secretary, I owe ... a vital debt" in preparing the book for publication, ill and near-blind as he then was. On July 10, 1928, that book was finished; on July 11 they began work on the new edition of The Spanish Pioneers. Houghton Mifflin accepted Bronco Pegusus on August 13. Pioneers done, Flowers of Our Lost Romance was begun. The advance copy of Bronco Pegasus arrived on November 12 and on November 25 Lummis died, all projects complete.
The last poem in the book is titled "Helen" and is for his secretary. In 1980, Helen Stevens Wilson gave this copy, a typescript, to Los Angeles Public Library. Laid in is a copy of that poem in Lummis's hand. On a front endpaper is the note "Bound by M.H. Newmark, 905 Beacon St, Los Angeles, beloved friend of Chas. F. Lummis for Helen Stevens, Dec. 1928.