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|43. HITTELL, Theodore
H[enry] (1830-1917). History of California.
San Francisco: [vol. 1] Pacific Press Publishing House &
Occidental Publishing, 1885; [vols. 2, 3 & 4]: N. J. Stone &
Company, 1897. 799 + 823 + 891 + 858 pp. 4 vols., large 8vo, original
full sheep, red and black morocco spine labels, edges and endpapers
marbled. Fragile sheep bindings worn (head of spine of vol. 2 chipped, some
small areas with peeling), text very clean. Ex-library, with purple
ink stamps and old manuscript ink call numbers of the Oak Grove District
Library in Sonoma.
First edition, mixed set (first printing of vols. 1, 3 & 4; second printing of vol. 2). Vols. 1 & 2 appeared first; vols. 3 and 4 appeared in 1897 after Stone took over publication. The 1897 edition was followed immediately by an 1898 printing. Barrett, Baja California 1213. Cowan I, pp. 112-13. Cowan II, p. 285n (citing the 1898 edition). Holliday 520. Howell 50, California 1550. Howes H544. Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 43. Norris 1648, 1649. Rocq 16925 (citing the 1898 edition). Zamorano 80 #43. (4 vols.) ($200-400)
Robert E. Cowan, in his A Bibliography of California and the Pacific
West proclaimed Hittell’s four-volume work “The best history of
California within reasonable proportions.” Hittell, a highly respected
San Francisco attorney and author, had worked on this stupendous history
survey for a quarter of a century. The finished product was compared
in monumentality to the works of Francis Parkman and George Bancroft,
and in many circles considered superior to H. H. Bancroft’s seven-volume
History of California. Even today it remains an essential
and frequently consulted reference.
——Gary F. Kurutz
Additional sources consulted: In Memoriam: Theodore Henry Hittell (San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences, 1918); [prospectus] History of California by Theodore H. Hittell (San Francisco: N. J. Stone & Co., 1897); Review of vols. 1 & 2 in Overland Monthly 8, Second Series (October 1886), pp. 447-48; Review of vol. 3 in Overland Monthly 30, Second Series (November 1897), p. 471; Review in The Land of Sunshine, 7:5 (October 1897), p. 208.