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| 66. ROYCE,
Josiah (1855-1916). California from the Conquest in 1846
to the Second Vigilance Committee in San Francisco: A Study of American
Character. Boston & New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company,
The Riverside Press, 1886.  xv  513  [12, ads] pp., machine-printed
double-page color map. 12mo, original gilt-lettered dark olive pebbled
cloth, t.e.g. Light outer wear, top edge slightly abraded, but generally
a very good copy. From John Howell–Books, with Warren R. Howell’s pencil
note at back: “$20 rytp Zamorano 80.” Small navy blue printed bookseller’s
label (C. Beach of San Francisco).
First edition. American Commonwealths series, edited by Horace E. Scudder. Cowan I, p. 196: “Entirely free from the complexities of thought and style that too frequently attend a work of this kind. This study by Mr. Royce has long since become a pleasing classic and an authority of value upon the history of this state.” Cowan II, p. 545. Holliday 996. Howell 50, California 774. Howes R487. Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 66. Libros Californianos, pp. 52-53 (Powell commentary): “Royce was a colleague of William James, and his attitude toward the California gold-rush is as pragmatic as the noted psychologist’s attitude toward life and human motivation. Royce adopted an objective and clinical position toward California”; pp. 69-70 (Hanna list): “The outside viewpoint of the American conquest and the gold rush—critical, discursive, and complete as only a Harvard philosopher’s composition could be.” Norris 3323. Rocq 11196. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 171. Zamorano 80 #66. ($50-100)
66A. ROYCE, Josiah. California from the Conquest in 1846 to the
Second Vigilance Committee in San Francisco: A Study of American Character.
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1948. xxxvii  394, xv  pp. 8vo, original
red cloth gilt. Very fine in lightly worn d.j.
Josiah Royce’s history, written as part of Houghton Mifflin’s American
Commonwealths series, stands as the most important analysis and distillation
of California during that crucial time period of 1846 to 1856. Those
ten years, more than any other, shaped California’s character and destiny.
The values he expressed in the 1880s are more akin to those of the
present day, and consequently, his book continues to receive high
praise for its astute interpretation of an all-too-imperfect past.
Royce’s study smashed the mythology of the conquering hero in the
persona of John C. Frémont and the red-shirted Argonaut.
——Gary F. Kurutz
Additional sources consulted: Robert V. Hine, Josiah Royce: From Grass Valley to Harvard (Norman & London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992), pp. 143-55; Earl Pomeroy, Introduction to California by Josiah Royce (Santa Barbara: Peregrine Publishers, Inc., 1970); Kevin Starr, Californians and the American Dream, 1850-1915 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), pp. 140-64.
Item 66. Map from Royce’s California from the Conquest.