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Auction 12: The Zamorano 80 Collection of Daniel G. Volkmann Jr.

Lots 35 & 35A

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Item 35. The monumental Estracto—“The first published account of the first permanent settlement in California” (Streeter).

35. [PORTOLÁ, Gaspar de (attrib.) (1723-1784)]. Estracto de noticias del puerto de Monterrey, de la missión, y presidio que se han establecido en el con la denominación de San Carlos, y del sucesso de las dos expediciones de mar, y tierra que a este fin se despacharon en el año proximo anterior de 1769 [caption title]. [Colophon: Mexico, August 16, 1770]. [5] pp. Small folio, plain protective wrappers (on laid paper with watermark 1832). An exceptionally fine copy, apparently removed from a larger legajo at some point in time, with contemporary ink foliation at top right of each leaf (225, 226, 227). Preserved in chemise and slipcase of half navy blue levant morocco over marbled boards. Exceedingly rare. This copy was owned by John Howell–Books in the 1970s, and the chemise bears Warren R. Howell’s penciled cost code (lxytxs) and a retail price of $9,500. Although this copy was in Howell’s Catalogue 50, it was not from the collection of Jennie Crocker Henderson, but rather one of the additions that Howell made to her collection.
First edition, the folio issue, for official circulation. Cowan I, pp. 79-80. Cowan II, p. 199. Graff 1264. Howell 50, California 195 (cataloguing the present copy): “Although Wagner would not commit himself on the question of priority, never having discovered any contemporary statement as to which was printed first, Cowan considered the folio issue to be the first. Dr. George P. Hammond presents a conclusive solution to the problem in Noticias de California (Book Club of California, 1958): On the basis of two corrections made in the quarto of spelling errors in the folio, he assigns priority to the folio.” Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 35. Jones 538. LC, California Centennial 26. Libros Californianos (Cowan & Bliss lists), pp. 16, 20. Mathes, California Colonial Bibliography 56. Medina, México 5330. Palau 84307. Rocq 5676. Streeter, Americana-Beginnings 74n. Streeter Sale 2438 (folio issue): “The first published account of the first permanent settlement in California, the Estracto being the preliminary report of the Portolá expedition.” Wagner, Spanish Southwest 150. Zamorano 80 #35 (Henry R. Wagner): “Portolá and Costansó (q.v.) arrived in Mexico City on August 10, 1770, bringing the first news of the occupation of Monterey. The government therefore lost very little time in having the occupation report printed. It is the earliest known printed piece, since Torquemada’s Monarquía Indiana, to contain any information regarding what is now known as Upper California.” ($45,000-90,000)

35A. [PORTOLÁ, Gaspar de]. Noticias de California. First Report of the Occupation by the Portolá Expedition, 1770.... San Francisco: Book Club of California, 1958. 53 pp., folding maps, facsimiles of the 4to and folio editions of the Estracto de Noticias, illustration of Presidio de Monterey. Small folio, original cloth-backed grey boards. Very fine in d.j.
Limited edition (400 copies). ($30-60)


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Born of the great tale of chivalry the Sergas de Esplandián as the island of Queen Calafia decades prior to its discovery, California engendered extraordinary curiosity throughout its early history. Unlike other regions discovered by Spain during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, California resisted occupation for a century and a half following the first attempt at settlement by Fernando Cortés. Even following successful permanent foundations established by the Society of Jesus after 1697, California was the distant edge of the Spanish Empire and was, at best, a marginal province. Following the expulsion of the Jesuits, in 1768 Visitor General José de Gálvez initiated plans for the occupation of Alta California, unexplored since 1602. Through the creation of a naval department at San Blas, this advance could avail itself of more rapid maritime travel coupled with overland expeditions under Gaspar de Portolá and Franciscan Fray Junípero Serra from the California peninsula.
Following the establishment of a base at San Diego on July 14, 1769, Portolá departed to explore by land northward through the more temperate coastal regions of Alta California. Seen by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1542 and explored and charted by Sebastián Vizcaíno in 1602, Monterey, with an adequate harbor for ships of the period and abundant supplies of fresh water, timber, game, and fish, was considered an appropriate site for securing Spanish control of the northern Pacific Coast. Accompanying Portolá was a fellow Catalán, Miguel Costansó, an officer of the Royal Corps of Engineers and professional cartographer and draughtsman. The sole description of the bay of Monterey was that made from the sea in 1602 and published in Manila in 1734 by José González Cabrera Bueno in the Navegación especulativa y práctica, and, as a result, it was bypassed on the march northward and was not identified until the return southward from the bay of San Francisco where the Golden Gate halted further advance.
Upon the expedition’s return to San Diego on January 24, 1770, Costansó returned to Monterey by sea with Father Serra in May and was met by Portolá and Lieutenant Pedro Fagés who had returned overland. With the establishment of the presidio of Monterey and mission San Carlos Borromeo, Portolá and Costansó sailed for San Blas in July and proceeded to Mexico City which they reached on August 10. Their report to Viceroy Marqués de Croix of the success of the expeditions and establishment of Monterey marked the completion of a long-desired goal of Spanish colonization, and resulted in the almost immediate publication of a greatly abridged description in the Estracto de Noticias del Puerto de Monterey..., dated six days following the arrival of Portolá and Costansó at the viceregal court.
This first publication relative to what is today the State of California appeared in two versions, one in folio of three leaves, and another in small quarto of four leaves. The folio version probably preceded the latter and was evidently of a very short press run in that it is far more rare than the latter. The Estracto... appeared in translation in The Official Account of the Portolá Expedition of 1769-1770, ed. Frederick J. Teggart (Publications of the Academy of Pacific Coast History, 1:2; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1909), and was reset in modern type in an edition of 225 copies in Madrid, José Porrúa Turanzas, Editor, 1959.

——W. Michael Mathes






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