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Item 9. Brewer’s Up and Down California—“The founding statement of California mountaineering” (Kevin Starr).
9. BREWER, William
H[enry] (1828-1910). Up and Down California
in 1860-1864.... Edited by Francis P. Farquhar.... New Haven:
Yale University Press, 1930. xxx, 601 pp., frontispiece portrait,
numerous halftone plates (many from contemporary photographs and prints),
folding map (supplied from another copy). 8vo, original navy blue cloth,
spine gilt-lettered. A fine, partially unopened copy in slightly worn
d.j. Laid in is Brewer’s original autograph letter signed, to noted
geologist J. D. Whitney, relating to publication of material on Whitney’s
California Geological Survey (1 p., 8vo, written in ink on engraved
letterhead of Sheffield Scientific School of Yale College, dated at
New Haven, January 11, 1869). This is an excellent association copy,
as Brewer was the principal assistant on Whitney’s Survey. Also inscribed
by editor Francis P. Farquhar to California fine printer Edwin Grabhorn.
Publisher’s promotional slip laid in. This copy was at one time owned
by Ron Randall, with his neat pencil notes on rear pastedown; Randall
House catalogue slip laid in.
William Henry Brewer, who served as Josiah D. Whitney’s principal
assistant and field leader of the California Geological Survey in the
early 1860s, wrote a series of journal-like letters that form one
of the best travel accounts describing the totality of California.
Skillfully assembled and edited by that great historian and bibliographer
of the High Sierra, Francis P. Farquhar, Brewer’s detailed letters
cover virtually every aspect of the state from Los Angeles to Crescent
City and from San Francisco to the mines of the Comstock Lode. In four
years, this New York–born scientist had traveled over 14,000 miles
from one end of the state to the other. Probably no one before or
since had tramped over so much territory. Kevin Starr calls his letters
“the founding statement of California mountaineering...they put on
record the exact extent of California’s alpine heritage.” Although written
for family and friends, they superbly chronicle the first systematic
scientific survey of the Golden State.
——Gary F. Kurutz
Additional sources consulted: Lawrence Clark Powell, California Classics (Los Angeles: The Ward Ritchie Press, 1971), pp. 115-27; Kevin Starr, Americans and the California Dream (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 179.