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|16. CARSON, James
H. (18??-1853). Early Recollections of the Mines, and a
Description of the Great Tulare Valley. By J. H. Carson, Esq. the
Discoverer of Carson’s Creek, and One of the Pioneers of the West.
Stockton: Published to Accompany the Steamer Edition of the “San Joaquin
Republican”, 1852. 64 pp., foldout lithographic map:
Map of the Southern Mines by C[harles] D[rayton] Gibbes.
1852. Lith. of Quirot & Co. corner
Califa. & Mongy. Sts. S.F.
(20.5 x 13.5 cm; 8 x 5-1/4 inches). 8vo, original yellow printed
wrappers, cover title within rules (inside front wrap and recto of
lower wrap with ads, including engraved illustrations of the New
York Hotel in Stockton and Adams & Co.’s Express and Banking
Offices). Wrappers neatly rebacked with matching paper, top margin
of upper wrapper reinforced with glassine tape, small piece of lower
blank corner of upper wrapper torn away, light wear and minor chipping
to fragile wraps, text and wraps creased at center, overall a very
good and desirable copy with splendid provenance, preserved in chemise
and half burgundy morocco over burgundy cloth slipcase. The Huntington–Edward
Eberstadt & Sons–Thomas W. Streeter–Henry H. Clifford copy, with
Streeter’s distinctive pencil notes in text (setting forth variations
between this book edition and the newspaper appearance). Chemise
with Streeter’s note documenting that this copy was a Huntington
duplicate for which he paid $470. Very rare, especially in the wrappers.
First edition in book form; first published in the San Joaquin Republican earlier the same year. Baird, California’s Pictorial Letter Sheets 150 (citing the map in its letter sheet appearance). Bennett, American Book Collecting, pp. 110-11. Cowan I, p. 43. Cowan II, p. 107. Graff 604. Greenwood 321: “The first book printed in Stockton.” Gudde, California Gold Camps, p. 399: “Gibbes’ maps are historically important, though they are not always entirely accurate”; California Place Names, p. 386: “Important source for the names of mining settlements.” Holliday 178. Howell 50, California 351. Howes C183: “Only a few copies known.” Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 16. Jones 1273. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 119a. Libros Californianos (Wagner list), p. 26. Quebedeaux, Prime Sources of California and Nevada Local History 102 (citing the appearance of Gibbes’s map in the 1852 Stockton directory): “Gibbes’ Map of the Southern Mines is one of the most important of all the maps of the California gold region.” Rocq 15744. Streeter Sale 2703 (this copy): “Gives a fresh, first-hand account of the beginnings of the California gold rush.... One of the very few early sketches on the San Joaquin Valley.” Vail, Gold Fever, p. 17. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 36; Maps of the California Gold Region 218. Zamorano 80 #16 (Leslie E. Bliss): “The author’s glowing predictions of the future for the Tulare or San Joaquin Valley have in general been surpassed by the great development of the present.” See also Bancroft, California, vol. 6, pp. 96-97.
“[Charles Drayton Gibbes’s] maps of  (portraying...the State and the Southern Mines) were to become landmarks in California’s cartographical history.... In 1852 the only maps of importance were those of Charles Drayton Gibbes, whose [California] map of 1851 has been mentioned [Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 192 & p. xxxi]. [Gibbes] had a long career in California as surveyor, cartographer, geographer and scientist. His map of the Southern Mines served to illustrate James H. Carson’s Early Recollections of the Mines [and] gives in considerable detail the roads, trails, rivers and towns from ‘Fort Washington’ on the San Joaquin north to Jackson. Mariposa has now appeared, together with Agua Fria, Mt. Ophir, Big Oak Flat, Chinese D[iggings], Columbia, Shaw’s Flat, Tuttle T[own], Carson’s Hill, Knight’s [Ferry], San Antonio and Mokel [Mokelumne] Hill” (Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region, pp. xxxi-xxxii). This map also appeared in the 1852 Stockton Directory (Quebedeaux 102) and as a California pictorial letter sheet (Baird 150). ($40,000-80,000)
16A. CARSON, James H. Recollections of the California Mines:
An Account of the Early Discoveries of Gold, with Anecdotes and Sketches
of California and Miners’ Life, and a Description of the Great Tulare
Valley.... With a Foreword by Joseph A. Sullivan. Oakland: [Printed
by Saul & Lillian Marks at the Plantin Press, Los Angeles] for
Biobooks, 1950. iii-ix  113 [1, colophon] pp. (complete), 5 wood
engravings by Henry Shire, folding facsimile of Gibbes’s Map of
the Southern Mines, large folding map (facsimile of Gibbes’s
1850 Map of the San Joaquin River), illustrated endpapers.
8vo, original maroon cloth over tan cloth boards. Fine.
James H. Carson, an artillery sergeant stationed at Monterey at
the time of the gold discovery, produced one of the great books of
California history and the Gold Rush. He provided some of the most
lively, colorful, and sardonic accounts of those early Midas-like
days when the precious yellow metal could be found with relative ease.
Early Recollections of the Mines has the further distinction
of being the first book printed in Stockton and one of the earliest
works of an original nature published in California. Expressing himself
with a gifted and facile pen, the onetime Army sergeant saw as well
as anyone the sober side of hunting for gold. But he softened the
tales of toil and risk with humor and self-deprecation. He loaded his
text with choice anecdotes, amazing stories, and brilliant descriptions
of life in the golden land.
——Gary F. Kurutz
Additional sources consulted: Douglas W. J. Pepin, “James H. Carson’s Early Recollections of the Mines,” The Book Club of California Quarterly News-Letter 62:3 (Summer 1997), pp. 67-78.
Item 16. One of the most important and rare Gold Rush maps, published in Carson’s Early Recollections of the Mines (Stockton, 1852).