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

Lots 48, 48A & 48B

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Item 48. Kotzebue’s Entdeckungs-Reise in die Süd-See, with plates in prefered full color—Russian Navy voyage including a report and significant scientific exploration in California in 1816.
48. KOTZEBUE, Otto von (1786-1846). Entdeckungs-Reise in die Süd-See und nach der Berings-Strasse zur Erforschung einer nordöstlichen Durchfahrt. Unternommen in den Jahren 1815, 1816, 1817 und 1818...auf dem Schiffe Rurick unter dem Befehle des Lieutenants der Russisch-Kaiserlichen Marine Otto von Kotzebue.... Weimar: Gebrüdern Hoffmann, 1821. [4] 91 [1, blank] [2, half-title, verso blank] [93]-168; 176; [2] 240 [1] [4, Inhalt] [2] xviii pp., 20 copper-engraved and aquatint plates (views, natives of Alaska, Hawaii, and Micronesia, and natural history by Louis Choris and other artists; 19 of which are fully colored and on thick wove paper, 4 double-page), 6 copper-engraved maps (5 folding), including Charte von der Behrings Strasse nach Merkators Projection August 1816 (36.6 x 39 cm; 14-5/8 x 15-3/8 inches), 2 folding tables. 3 vols. in one, 4to, contemporary three-quarter sheep over tree calf, original orange gilt-lettered spine label. Early shellacking on spine peeling, corners and edges worn (sections of boards exposed), lower joint slightly split at bottom, interior very fine with only a few traces of foxing (none affecting plates or maps), overall a very good to fine copy, with especially beautiful coloring of plates. Preserved in a half brown cloth and marbled boards slipcase with maroon morocco label. Rare, especially with 19 of the plates in full color.
First edition (with the beautifully hand-colored butterfly plates by Johann Friedrich Eschscholtz, which did not appear in the Russian and English editions; some of the butterflies are specimens sighted in California); present copy with text on good-quality laid paper (leaves bulking to approximately 4 cm), plates on thick Velinpapier, and 19 plates in full, rich, vibrant color. Three issues are usually said to exist, differing as to type of paper used and extent of coloring to the engravings. There is some disagreement among various bibliographers and cataloguers as to the exact characteristics of the three primary issues. David W. Forbes (Hawaiian National Bibliography 525), whom we trust, states that the three primary issues available for purchase were: (1) regular issue, portraits colored, folding plates in sepia aquatint; (2) printed on good-quality laid paper (leaves bulk to 4 cm), plates colored; and (3) printed on heavy pressed wove Velinpapier (leaves bulk to 7 cm.), with plates particularly well colored in several colors. (The plate of the hooded monkey’s cranium is uncolored in all issues.) Furthermore, Forbes discusses an ad which he examined in Kotzebue’s Neue Reise (Weimar & St. Petersburg, 1830), offering yet another issue (Royal Velinpapier “mit den Kukpfern en gouache”), along with still one more rather vanilla variation (text without plates and maps). The list of subscribers accounts for approximately 587 copies in all, 90 of which were issue 3, on fine Velinpapier with the plates specially colored (two, or possibly three, of the latter were reserved for Tsar Alexander). A quick glance at Forbes’s list of located copies readily demonstrates that there are many variations of this work. What is important is that the set be complete with all plates and maps; also, most sources lean to a preference for the plates in full color, like the present copy.
Abbey 596. Arctic Bibliography 9189. Borba de Moraes I, p. 373. Cowan I, p. 132. Cowan II, p. 334: “The best of the editions.” Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography 525: “A celebrated narrative important for its descriptions of Alaska, California, Hawaii, and Micronesia.... The narrative is one of the significant early accounts of California.... The Hawaiian portion of the text is extensive with important observations on life and customs during the reign of Kamehameha I, whose famous ‘red vest’ portrait by Choris is one of the illustrations.” Hill, pp. 164-65: “The description of the northwest coast of America is a most important contribution. The second volume contains a description of California and the earliest scientific account of the Golden Poppy, California’s state flower.... The account of Adelbert von Chamisso, the naturalist, gives a brief description of the climate, birds, and fauna, and paints a depressing picture of the Indians and the work of the missions.” Holliday 617. Howell 50, California 136; Anniversary Catalogue 67. Howes K258. Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 48. Kroepelien 670.
Lada-Mocarski 80: “This edition—all 3 variants—is in many ways superior to the subsequent editions, including the English translation (London, 1821). The three volumes are rich in early original source material on Alaska.... The question arises of the priority in publishing the Russian and German editions. Some reasoning can be advanced in favor of the...German edition being an earlier one, but the evidence is not conclusive for the first two volumes. There is no doubt, however, about the third volume, which in the German edition appeared in the same year, 1821, while in the Russian edition it was not published until two years later. Until a more conclusive evidence is obtained, one way or another, the author decided to describe both the Russian and the German editions of 1821. One should add that the Russian edition has a separate atlas of 21 maps, while the German edition has no separate atlas and only 7 different maps in all three volumes. On the other hand the 11 colored plates of butterflies in the German edition are not present in the Russian issue.” Lipperheide 1457. Mathes, California Colonial Bibliography 82. Streeter Sale 3511. Zamorano 80 #48. ($7,500-15,000)

48A. KOTZEBUE, Otto von (1788-1846). A Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea, and to Beering’s Straits, for the Purpose of Exploring a North-East Passage, Undertaken in the Years 1815-1818, at the Expense of His the Ship Rurick.... London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1821. xv [2] 358 + [4] 433 [1] + [4] 442 pp., 9 copper-engraved plates (8 hand-colored) and 7 copper-engraved maps (4 folding). 3 vols., 8vo, three-quarter nineteenth-century red morocco over marbled boards, spines lettered in gilt, with raised bands, edges tinted yellow. Binding rubbed and moderately worn, vol. 2 front endpaper with old tape repair, occasional light foxing and offsetting to interior, overall a very good to good set. Light ex-library with a few embossed stamps of Burbank Public Library (confined to inner text leaves); front pastedowns with evidence of removal of library materials (some loss and abrasions to endpapers of vol. 2); vol. 3 with “Sold By” stamped on endleaves.
First English edition (Phillips of London published an edition the same year, but it was abridged and contained only 4 maps). Cowan I, p. 132. Cowan II, p. 335. Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography 528. Hill, p. 165. Graff 2356: “One of the great early nineteenth-century voyages of discovery.” Holliday 618. Howes K258. Jones 832. Norris 1979. O’Reilly & Reitman, Bibliographie de Tahiti 776. Streeter Sale 3512. (3 vols.) ($2,500-5,000)

48B. MAHR, August C. The Visit of the “Rurik” to San Francisco in 1816.... Stanford: Stanford University Press, etc., 1932. 194 pp., frontispiece halftone of California poppy, halftone plates after iconography from the expedition. 8vo, original maroon cloth. Spine light and with a few spots, interior fine.
Scholarly edition. Stanford University Publications, University Series, History, Economics, and Political Science vol. 2, number 2. Zamorano 80 #48n (Robert J. Woods): “An extract from the California portion of Kotzebue’s report. It also contains Chamisso’s observations, Choris’s description of San Francisco, and the Spanish documents dealing with his visit. These are printed in the original language with the English translation. [Mahr] questions Kotzebue’s motive for visiting California.” ($30-60)


The Enlightenment came to Russia under the reign of Catherine the Great (1762-1796) and the eastward expansion begun under Peter the Great saw fruition in the establishment of Kodiak by Grigor I. Shelikhov and the Russian-American Company in 1783. With a base in America, the Russian Academy of Sciences entered the field of scientific exploration, and, given that communication and supply to Alaska overland through Siberia via Yakutsk, Irkutsk, Okhotsk, and Petropavlovsk required over two years and was extremely arduous, maritime routes from St. Petersburg to Kodiak were established by the Admiralty and its modernized fleet.
The first Russian circumnavigation was achieved by Ivan Fedorovich Kruzenstern and Iurii Lisianskii in 1803-1806 via Kodiak and Sitka, founded in 1804, and was a success. The Napoleonic Wars interrupted a continuation of such voyages, resulting in isolation of the Alaskan colonies from St. Petersburg, and the Russian-American Company expanded to Bodega and Ross north of San Francisco in 1812 in an attempt to establish agricultural and stock-raising enclaves, and initiated voyages from Alaska to Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands.
The defeat of Napoleon in 1814 reopened the possibilities of maritime supply to Alaska and scientific circumnavigation, and Lieutenant Otto von Kotzebue (1788-1846), a native of Tallinn and young cadet on the Kruzenstern voyage, was appointed to command the second Russian circumnavigation in 1815 with a single ship, the brig Rurik. With thirty-three men, first officer G. S. Shishmarev, artist-naturalists Adelbert von Chamisso, M. Wormskiold, and Ludwig Choris, physician Johann Friedrich Eschscholtz, and navigators V. Khromchenko and V. Petrov, there was no space for scientific work aboard. Sailing from Kronstadt on July 30, 1815, the expedition crossed the Atlantic, rounded Cape Horn, reached Concepción, Easter Island, and the Tuamotu Archipelago, and arrived at Petropavlovsk on June 7, 1816. From Kamchatka, Kotzebue conducted an extensive exploration of Bering Strait and rested at the outpost of Unalaska in the Aleutians from August 26 to September 3 before sailing southward.
On October 2, Rurik anchored in San Francisco Bay where Kotzebue was well received by commandant José Darío Argüello who agreed to supply the expedition with every necessity. Governor Pablo Vicente Solá traveled from Monterey on October 16 to receive Kotzebue and the officers and scientists and, conversing in French, arrangements were made for supplies for Fort Ross, and for the release of Russian prisoners held for illegal hunting of sea otter in Spanish territory. Solá, nonetheless, registered his complaint over Russian encroachment at Ross and Bodega, and on October 25 Ivan Aleksandrovich Kuskov, commandant of Ross, traveled to San Francisco to negotiate differences. After three days of discussion, Kuskov declined to treat the legality of the Russian presence or abandon Ross, and Kotzebue agreed to present the matter before the Imperial Court on his return. In the interim, the naturalists made extensive geographic, ethnographic, botanical, and zoological observations, with the earliest description of the California poppy made by Eschscholtz and extraordinary drawings realized by Choris.
Sailing from San Francisco on November 1, Kotzebue proceeded to Kauai where he remained from November 24 to December 14 and, following further exploration in the south, returned to Unalaska on April 12, 1817, where he repaired Rurik. On June 17, the expedition sailed for the Bering Strait, but finding it still iced, returned to Unalaska until August 16, when the homeward voyage was begun. After making further repairs in Manila, Kotzebue rounded the Cape of Good Hope and reached Kronstadt on July 22, 1818. Although Kuskov complained of Kotzebue’s interference in the affairs of the Russian-American Company, the expedition was considered a success and from 1823 to 1826 he commanded a second circumnavigation with Eschscholtz, again visiting San Francisco, from October 8 to December 6, 1824.
The narrative of Kotzebue’s first voyage, notable for its finely engraved plates and maps, appeared in a second German-language edition in Vienna in 1825. An English translation was published in London in 1821 and in facsimile in New York in 1967. A Russian translation was published in St. Petersburg in 1821. The narrative of Chamisso appeared in his Werke (Berlin, 1856), and that of Choris with lithographs of his drawings in Voyage pittoresque autour du monde (Paris, 1822). The results of Kotzebue’s second circumnavigation were published in St. Petersburg in 1828, in Weimar, St. Petersburg, London, and Haarlem in 1830, in New York in 1967, and in Moscow in 1959 and 1987.

—W. Michael Mathes

Item 48. Color plate from the first edition of Kotzebue, illustrating butterflies sighted in California.

Item 48. First edition of Kotzebue’s voyage, “one of the significant early accounts of California” (Forbes), with plates in full color.

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