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

Lots 98-101: Bret Harte, Alameda County, Express Companies

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98. HALLEY, William. The Centennial Year Book of Alameda County, California, Containing a Summary of the Discovery and Settlement of California; A Description of the Contra Costa under Spanish, Mexican and American Rule; An Account of the Organization and Settlement of Alameda County, with a Yearly Synopsis of Important Events, down to the Centennial Year of American Independence, Together with Important Events of the Year 1876. Also, a Gazetteer of Each Township, Useful Local and General Statistical Information, Appropriate for the Present Time. To Which Are Added Biographical Sketches of Prominent Pioneers and Public Men. Oakland: William Halley, 1876. xv [1] 586 [6] pp., wood-engraved frontispiece, 17 wood-engraved plates, numerous text illustrations (architecture, scenes, views), 1 ad printed in blue, gold, and red. 8vo, original blue embossed gilt-pictorial cloth. Some rubbing and fading, lower spine extremity worn, old shelfmark at base of spine, corners lightly bumped, endpapers darkened, uniform light age toning. With engraved bookplate of Joseph M. Gleason on front pastedown, old pencil shelfmark and ink accession number on copyright page, and ink number repeated in blank margin of p. 33.
    First edition. Bradford 2608. Cowan I, p. 103. Cowan II, p. 260: “Leaves of advertisements have been incorporated throughout it, which have not graced the work; but despite this undignified feature the contents form the best source of authority that we have for the history of this county.” Filby, p. 21. Norris 13. Rocq 3. Despite Cowan’s sniffing at the makeup of this standard history, the author remarks: “The advertising feature of the book is not altogether novel. It has been copied from another similar publication. Let not the fastidious be offended by it. Without it, the Centennial Year Book of Alameda County would never appear” (p. xv). The author was a former newspaperman in the county. The wood engravings are signed variously by George Washington Shourds, John William Orr, W. T. Crane, T. J. Pettit, and others (see Groce & Wallace and Hamilton, Early American Book Illustrators and Wood Engravers).
($150-300)

99. HARLOW, Alvin F[ay]. Old Waybills: The Romance of the Express Companies. New York & London: D. Appleton-Century, 1934. xii [2] <504> pp., photographic frontispiece, 48 photographic plates, text illustrations, extra-illustrated with 11 printed ephemera related to California express companies (see below). 8vo, original red ribbed cloth, spine and upper cover gilt-lettered. Spine sunned, frontispiece slightly marred with loss, otherwise fine. With printed ticket of San Francisco bookseller Newbegins on rear pastedown and prospectus laid in. Lacking dust jacket.
    First edition. Adams, Guns 924: “About half of this book deals with train and stagecoach robberies, with information on the James and Youngers, Sam Bass, Black Bart, Evans, Sontag, and others.” Howes H201. Norris 1479 (this copy). Rocq 16908. A well-documented history of U.S. express companies from the beginnings in the U.S. through the early development of the airplane. Laid in or tipped in are eleven pieces of period California ephemera, including several receipts; an 1886 San Francisco Grand Army of the Republic program; a completed waybill for passengers on a May 20, 1867, United States Mail Line train from Marysville to Sacramento; and a fancy engraved receipt for San Francisco’s Choynski & Co. Antiquarian Book Store and Circulating Library, job printers, and dealers in German, Latin, French, and Hebrew Books.
($100-300)

100. HARTE, Bret. The Pliocene Skull...Sketches by E. M. Schaeffer M.D. Dec. 8, 1870. Washington, 1871. [i-ii] 1-8 leaves (=10 leaves), entirely lithographed (on rectos only), title within ornate border, with comical illustrations of California gold miner and humorous verse. Small 4to, original black cloth over flexible mauve paper boards with illustration of a miner on upper board, a.e.g. Extremities nicked, wrappers moderately worn and with some foxing and dust soiling, interior fine.

    First edition (Kozlay’s B). BAL 7424, illustrated opposite entry (suspects Kozlay’s sequence is wrong). Bennett, American Book Collecting, p. 134. Cowan II, p. 268. Howell 50, California 1064: “One of the most delightful of Harte’s books, containing his devastatingly witty poem exposing an elaborate hoax played upon the gullible California Academy of Natural Sciences, which involved an ‘ancient’ human skull unearthed from a Calaveras mineshaft. Dr. Schaeffer’s highly effective illustrations inspired the publication of this first separate edition five years after the poem’s first appearance in The Californian.

Experts differ as to which of Kozlay’s two issues is the first.” Johnson, You Know These Lines! p. 165. Norris 1505. At the end of this gem of Gold Rush humor, the cover illustration of which is widely reproduced, Harte concludes that the skull is actually that of one J. Bowers from Missouri, who was killed when he fell down a mining shaft in Calaveras County, a deduction he arrives at because the skull’s teeth were stained from chewing tobacco.
($150-300)

101. HARTE, Bret. The Queen of the Pirate Isle.... Illustrated by Kate Greenaway. Engraved and Printed by Edmund Evans. London: Chatto and Windus, [1886?]. 58 pp., numerous chromolithographed text illustrations (1 full-page). 8vo, original glazed beige linen with illustrations on both covers (in black, blue, gold, green, and red). Binding lightly soiled, otherwise fine, interior very fresh.

    First edition. BAL 7337 (binding B). Howell 50, California 1096. Norris 1532. Osborne 1:350. Schuster & Engen 165. Thomson 109. Actually published by Frederick Warne & Co., who had taken over the Chatto & Windus sheets. Harte wrote this work after he moved to London but it is set in California and revolves around the discovery of the missing wig for Polly’s doll and how it marks a missing treasure.

The vigorous Greenaway drawings are a departure from her usual, more restrained style. The illustrations were executed by Edmund Evans (1826-1905, see Bénézit).
($100-300)


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