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|13. BURNETT, Peter
H[ardeman] (1807-1895). Recollections and Opinions of an Old Pioneer...the
First Governor of the State of California. New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1880. xiii  448 [6, ads] pp. 12mo, original blindstamped
blue cloth decorated in gilt and black. Moderate outer wear and some
spotting, hinges cracked, interior very fine.
First edition. Braislin 269. Cowan I, p. 30. Cowan II, p. 86. Graff 496. Gudde, California Place Names, p. 338. Holliday 152. Howell 50, California 337. Howes B1000. Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 13. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 99a. Mattes, Platte River Road Narratives 76. Mintz, The Trail 66: “Burnett traveled in the same company as Applegate, Lenox, and Whitman.” Norris 446. Rocq 8471. Smith 1282. Streeter Sale 2966. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 29. Zamorano 80 #13. Burnett dedicates the work “To Col. Alexander W. Doniphan, the Xenophon of the Mexican War.” ($250-500)
Peter Burnett, a native of Tennessee, wrote
one of the most important and detailed reminiscences of California
during those rambunctious early days following the discovery of gold. His
is a rare instance of a gold hunter migrating from Oregon. In addition,
Burnett served as California’s first elected American governor, and
consequently, his recollections are an invaluable firsthand account
describing California’s successful quest for the formation of a state
government and its admission to the Union. Dale Morgan, in his fabulous
bibliographic essay in Howard Gardiner’s Golden Dreams (Stoughton:
Western Hemisphere, Inc., 1970), calls this “a highly readable, always
interesting and frequently valuable memoir.” According to his preface,
Burnett began writing these recollections in October 1860, quit the
following month, and resumed the task in March 1878.
——Gary F. Kurutz