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Auction 15: Fine Collection of Californiana Formed by Daniel G. Volkmann Jr.

Lots 49 & 50: A Hawaiian in the Mines, Birds of California

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49. DAMON, Samuel C[henery]. A Trip from the Sandwich Islands to Lower Oregon, and Upper California; or, Thirty Leaves Selected from “Our Log-Book.” By Samuel C. Damon, Seamen’s Chaplain. Honolulu, Oahu, H.I.: Printed at the Polynesian Office, 1849. Letterpress title within typographic border printed separately to accompany six issues of The Friend, being volume 7, numbers 6-12, continuously paged; [2, title] [2, blank] [41]-96 pp., printed in three columns. 4to, mid-twentieth-century three-quarter burgundy morocco over burgundy cloth, gilt-lettered spine, marbled endpapers. Slight shelf wear, last issue somewhat stained, otherwise a fine copy of a scarce imprint.
    First edition, second issue, consisting of the original sheets published in the regular issues of The Friend (Honolulu) vol. 7, nos. 6-12, Sept. 1 through Dec. 20, 1849, with an added title page. Cowan I, pp. 61-62: “This relation is little known. The author, a clergyman, Father Damon, as he was known, was a famous character in Honolulu.” Cowan II, p. 155. Eberstadt 134:252: “The work is...among the earliest printed in the Sandwich Islands on Oregon and California.” Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography 1726: “Damon’s well-written narrative is a classic, and provides an early account of life in the gold mines. He describes the primitive social conditions at the mines, and the racial tensions extant between the varied groups of gold seekers.” Graff 994. Hill 413. Holliday 160. Howell 50, California 52. Howes D44. Littell 244: “One of the rarest and most important of California items.” Mathews, p. 315. Rocq 15769 (reprint). Smith 2243 (reprint). Streeter Sale 2564.
    “Reverend Samuel Damon, the publisher and editor of The Friend, began his excursion from Hawaii to the Pacific Coast on April 17, 1848. He recounted his trip for his newspaper. The California portion started with the November 15, 1848, issue (number 10). In June, he stayed in San Francisco and expressed disappointment with the city, writing: ‘As a city it did not fill up that “beau ideal” which I had pictured in my imagination.’ He noted the large number of people who had emigrated from Honolulu. From San Francisco, the editor headed to Benicia and wrote about the lack of accurate maps of California. On June 26, he arrived in Stockton, and on July 3, visited Sutter’s Fort. After celebrating the Fourth, Damon continued his tour and stopped at Mormon Island and Kanaka Diggings before taking a trip down the Sacramento River. He commented on the prejudice against foreign miners, lamented the wickedness of some of the miners, and hoped that New England emigrants “will exert a salutary influence.” In number 12, the final issue, he commented extensively on the New England and California Trading and Mining Association, the Monterey Constitutional Convention, and San Francisco. He noted how the city had nearly doubled since his June visit. On July 26, he departed for Honolulu. In addition to Damon’s narrative, The Friend included other news on the mines” (Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 168a).

    Damon comments on California cartography: “NO GOOD MAPS OF CALIFORNIA. Although near three centuries have elapsed since California was discovered–although Jesuit Missionaries have for nearly a century traversed the country–and although much has been published about the country, yet its geography has been but imperfectly known. It is not until to-day, June 25, that I have met with any thing like a tolerably well executed map of the country watered by the waters of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, together with their numerous tributaries. This map was sketched by Col. Fremont, or under his direction, still even this is far from being accurate. It would be amusing to collate the numerous maps or charts supporting to delineate the interior of Alta California. No two would agree. Some make the Sacramento river run due west, others make the San Joaquin empty into the Bay of San Francisco at San Jose; verily the interior of Africa is equally well known to the civilized world. I found it impossible to obtain any definite and satisfactory information respecting the geography of the country, from any existing maps, until that of Col. Fremont chanced to fall in my way. The desideratum, however, will very soon be supplied. One of the good results of the discovery of the gold mines, will be that the vast regions west of the Rocky Mountains, north of Mexico, and south of the Columbia River, will very soon be thoroughly explored. Every river and stream, mountain and hill, valley and canon, prairie and plain, will be explored, and accurately laid down upon the maps. More will be done this year than has been done for three centuries, to obtain accurate geographical knowledge of the country.”
    The issue for October 1, 1849, contains a significant report in the field of women’s history. Reprinted from the N. Y. Evangelist is the story of how Maria Mitchell, a Quaker, discovered the comet that bears her name. This text is the first report in Hawaii of the woman who would become the most famous female American scientist of her time and who is still revered for her place in American astronomy.
($1,500-3,000)

50. DAWSON, William Leon. The Birds of California: A Complete Scientific and Popular Account of the 580 Species and Subspecies of Birds Found in the State.... San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco: South Moulton Company, 1923. Profusely illustrated (photogravure plates, duotone plates, halftone text illustrations–in color, sepia, and black and white). 4 vols., large 4to, original three-quarter dark green morocco over light green cloth, spines gilt-decorated and with sepia calf onlays of bird at tops of spines and black embossed stamps of bird in flight at lower spines, beveled edges. Spines sunned, light outer wear and mild darkening to cloth, mild to moderate foxing to versos of color plates, overall a very good to fine set.


    First edition, the limited De Luxe Santa Barbara edition (#42 of 100 copies), signed by author, and in the special binding. Ayer, Ornithological Library, p. 162. Nissen, Birds 225. Wood, Vertebrate Zoology, p. 313. See W. Lee Chambers, “Bibliographic Notes on Dawson’s Birds of California” (1939). This beautiful set contains popular descriptions of California birds and their habits written by the author of The Birds of Ohio. This comprehensive study went through many editions in a variety of formats. Dawson lavishly illustrated his work with photographs from life as well as with the color plates painted by Allan Brooks. The photogravures are especially dramatic and beautiful.
($750-1,500)


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