“For the benefit of those meditating a voyage to the El Dorado of the West”—Author’s Introduction
90. [KIP, Leonard]. California Sketches, with Recollections of the Gold Mines. Albany: [Joel Munsell, Printers, Albany, for] Erastus H. Pease & Co., No. 82 State Street. 1850. 57 [3, blank] pp. 12mo, original beige printed wrappers (with price of 18-3/4 cents), title within plain ruled border, ads on verso of upper wrapper, recto and verso of lower wrapper, original stitching. Except for small split to fragile spine and minor bumping at lower blank margin of upper wrap, a superb copy, exceptionally fine and fresh. With contemporary ink inscription at top of upper wrapper “Malcolm Douglas” and “by Leonard Kip Esq.” in the same hand, below wrapper title. Preserved in a half brown morocco and beige cloth clamshell case.
First edition.Bibliotheca Munselliana 474 (1,000 copies printed). Cowan I, p. 131. Cowan II, p. 321. Graff 2343. Howes K174 (“aa”). Rocq 10080. Sabin 37946. Streeter Sale 2638: “This is a wonderfully fresh and interesting account of early days in the California gold mines, by the brother of William Ingram Kip, Bishop of California. This book was probably the impelling reason for Bishop Kip’s coming to California in 1853.” Vail, Gold Fever, p. 20. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 119: “A rare and interesting pamphlet”
Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 379a:
A younger brother of William Kip, the pioneer Episcopal bishop, Leonard Kip provided some excellent descriptions of San Francisco, Stockton, mining camps, and life in the diggings around the Mokelumne River area. In one entry, for example, he noted as he approached a ravine “the sounds of many rockers in full play.” His companions, however, suffered from dysentery, scurvy, low provisions, and little success. Consequently, his impressions of California were gloomy. Predicting a bleak future for the state once the gold ran out, he wrote: “It will readily be conceived that California can present few inducements to the settler.” According to the introductory notice, these recollections “. . . were intended for one of the daily papers, but the friend to whom they were sent (in the absence of the author), has assumed the responsibility of publishing them in this form, for the benefit of those who are meditating a voyage to the El Dorado of the West.” The John Goodman copy has a variant wrapper. Instead of showing a price of 18 3/4 cents, the price is 25 cents per copy.
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